For those not in the know that’s the name of a blog that charts both the vagaries and wonder of local government in the UK.  You’ll always find a link to it on the right hand side of the HelpGov home page but if in doubt click here.

HelpGov has a special reason to like We ♥ local government today because they’ve just included us in a list of their own favourite blogs that also deal one way or the other with local government.

They are wise indeed because this is what they say about the HelpGov blog:

Helpgov’s helpful blog

Why? Because we love the style of the blog and the writing of the author, Roger White. It’s a mix of serious posts, helpful suggestions and serious dissection of published nonsense.

One to read: Check out this post about the employability of former local government workers.

I’m flattered.  Thanks people, whoever you are (as local government employees they sensibly choose to remain anonymous).  They in turn are well worth a read if you haven’t checked them out yet.

Postscript 27 June 2012 – I hope it’s not the curse of HelpGov but sadly We ♥ local government announced today that it will no longer be active.  Perhaps that’s why they were doing a round up of their favourite blogs yesterday.  In all seriousness, I think they’ve just found the amount of work needed to blog every day (and I might add in such an entertaining and thought-provoking way) too much effort for a small team also in full-time employment.  I hope they leave their blog online as a valuable archive of what the major and current issues concerning local government in the UK in 2009-2012.  Thanks, guys.

It’s good to know the spirit of compromise is alive and well in the town council that serves the attractive town of Bideford in North Devon (mission – the exciting to deliver the information you need about our decision making processes and support community participation in local democracy) supported by sundry national lobby groups with an axe to grind.

The issue that has occupied a good deal of the energy and time of the sixteen elected representatives of the good folk of Bideford is the earth-shattering question of whether their formal council meetings should start with a prayer or not.

This otherwise quaint custom became a matter of contention because a councillor who is an atheist objected to the routine blessing of the council’s deliberations by a man of the cloth (I’m not sure whether the body corporate of the council is advanced enough to admit a woman of the cloth).  He claimed to be ‘disadvantaged and embarrassed by the practice.’

The council have apparently discussed this burning topic three times without resolution and the upshot is that the National Secular Society has taken a case to the High Court in support of the councillor concerned.  To highlight the absurdity of the case the disadvantaged and embarrassed councillor is now an ex-councillor, presumably having resigned out of disgust or been rejected by his electors for the same reason.  Judgement in the case is currently reserved (lawyer speak for a decision is yet to be given).

On the BBC Today programme this week a spokesman for the NSS was countered by someone equally small-minded from the Christian Institute, so listeners could get a balanced view of this important issue.  For balanced read two lots of propaganda instead of one.

What better subject could there be for a rant as the HelpGov blog transforms itself into something a little more contentious and sheds the need to consider what potential clients think about it?

I think the rant’s already happened, but just to pile on the agony, doesn’t it make you despair?  Surely sixteen sensible adults could reach a compromise on something so fundamentally innocuous?

In the meantime the euro is collapsing, we seem to be creating a lost generation of unemployed young people, the world economy is probably moving into prolonged recession and the planet is arguably warming up to a point at which Bideford, for one, may well disappear under rising sea levels.

The only saving grace in the whole sorry tale is that town councils in England, while perhaps ‘supporting community participation in local democracy’ do…well not very much at all.  Their big brothers and sisters – the district, unitary and county councils are much more sensible.  I hope.