The Tangled Webcast

8th September, 2010

Quite by accident, yesterday I tuned in to the last half hour or so of the webcast of the full Council meeting of Cornwall Council.

It was an interesting spectacle by all accounts, if you take some sort of interest in local politics.  Webcasts have been around for years and we’re quite used to seeing our MPs on TV in the House of Commons.  I liked the idea that I could see and hear how our councillors are engaging in council business in Truro.

Then I watched as members discussed the motion to extend webcasting… and listened to the amendment… and then I tried to keep up as collectively they tried to pick their way through what everything meant.  Time was pressured because lunchtime was bearing down (nothing like a hungry Chairperson to keep things on track.)

Councillors Rowe, Wallis and Folkes have described proceedings wonderfully in their blogs.

And this is why the webcasting is so important, so the wider general public who elect these well-meaning people to represent us can actually see and start to understand what happens.  The amendment to the motion was passed 44 to 37 votes but evidently many did not know what they actually voted for. Or against, presumably.  More than ticking boxes, I can now see who engages in the debate and how.  I can see how debate is handled.

I can also see now why some of our councillors might not want this sort of exposure – it could be uncomfortable.