Bradford Question Time.
What’s Bradford Question Time all about? John Atkinson (@AtkiTeach) has all the answers …
Twitter’s great for loads of things: sharing pictures of cats and telling people it’s snowing spring to mind. When Twitter was sold to me by a colleague, I saw it as a way of sharing ideas and discussing methodology with fellow teachers. But then I began to see it as much, much more that a giant staff room.
I found some wonderful people, I made friends (or Twends as they might grotesquely be described) and began to discuss goings on in Bradford. And then I found politicians.
At first, I just watched them. I was a ‘lurker’, as I believe Twitter voyeurs are known. As I watched, I saw some people I knew tweeting them, and being tweeted back. I thought that I was really lucky to have such influential people among my followers. Then, I realised, many were no more influential than me; they were simply taking part, asking questions and giving advice (and often giving something a little stronger than ‘advice’). And I began taking part.
I’d comment on politician’s proposals, ask for clarification and, at times, argue long into the night.
What did this achieve? Did I ever change a politician’s mind? No, of course not. But I did get to understand their thinking, get clarification or answers to questions thrown up by newspaper articles and policy decisions, and get to comment and feedback my thoughts to the source. Moreover, I saw politicians as people: fallible, obviously, but caring, humorous, emotional, living, breathing people, each one of whom wants only the best for Bradford and strives tirelessly to deliver it. In these times, when the voting public feel so far removed from those who serve us, seeing the people behind the titles ‘Councillor’ and ‘Member of Parliament’, I am overjoyed ordinary people like me can tweet and have, for a fleeting moment, the ear of our leaders.
So, during a long conversation with David Ward MP (Bradford East; @DavidWardMP), with #BBCQT tumbling down our timelines, I joked about a local Question Time. Another tweeter saw the idea, thought it’d work and #BDQT, Bradford Question Time, was born.
#BDQT will take place once a month, and is a ‘panel show’ in the tradition of Question Time: politicians, business people, cultural providers, community leaders will answer audience questions. It won’t be just for politicians, just political and just for politicos, because those leaders come from all sections of society and fill all manner of roles.
However, it will be solely Twitter-based and solely about Bradford.
The first #BDQT will take place on 31 January 8-9pm. Anyone and everyone can join in by following #BDQT.
The first panel is really exciting. David Ward MP will be joined by: Cllr David Green, Leader of Bradford Council; Gideon Seymour, Director of Fabric Bradford & Hand Made in Bradford; and Irna Qureshi, anthropologist, oral historian and Culture Vultures regular.
But the most important question is, “Why #BDQT?” The answer is both varied and simple. I want people to see who makes decisions and why they make them; I want ordinary people like you and me feel able to question and interact with our leaders; I want to see debate about our lives out in the open; I want to show that these people love Bradford and what they think will drive it forward; but, most of all, I want to show the people behind the title, and let everyone know there’s a real, approachable human being behind the title, the Twitter moniker and the newspaper stories… to find the people I’ve found.
#BDQT starts on 31 January 8-9pm. Please join us.