I am on my way back from two Flatpack linked events. The first in Richmond – run by Compass – was on Alliance Building. I’d been asked because Frome’s council could be regarded as a Progressive Alliance operating beyond an electoral pact that is just to gain power. Vince Cable and Jonathan Bartley spoke from LibDem and Green perspectives and Barry Langford as a ‘labour man’ – though the Labour Party seems intent on ploughing its own furrow into oblivion. All three spoke of why electoral agreements are the only way to avoid decades or Tory rule and potentially to get us to a working form of proportional representation, which is the only way to drag us back from the joke masquerading as democracy we currently have. Klina Jordan – co-founder of Make Voted Matter then spoke – having the great pleasure of 100,000 signatories to their petition just being reached. (And I told the story of Frome).
I am travelling back from Amsterdam and a packed day with Pakhuis de Zwiger. Through various Pirate Party connections they’d connected with Flatpackery and asked me to take part a set of workshops. Lucky Amsterdam having Pakhuis as such an extraordinary resource of place and people to catalyse and ferment!
The afternoon brought a collection of activists together to look at how elements of Frome’s experience might enliven and inform possible entry into City elections next year. The evening event placed four of us on stage surrounded by an audience invited to join the conversation in ways so much more effective than usual. What’s so impressive for me is the energy there is for real alternatives; the IT options increasingly available to be used in really novel ways; and the desire , depth of knowledge and political thinking there is available!
Speaking of alternative….. what I missed in the UK was the launch of the Alternative UK – a new political platform (not a party) set up to ‘….catalyse a new politics that goes far beyond our current reality. To focus on engagement more than elections, on values over ideology, and on futures that include, not exclude. ….’
This chimes perfectly with everything I heard in Amsterdam and later in conversations with Thomas Goorden who has driven ahead with adopting much of the early Frome Flatpack methodology in an amazingly active group established in Antwerp. Key to their ethos is a set of ‘Ways of working’ based on Independents for Frome’s and with clear overlap with the core values of Alternative Denmark.
The challenge now is for the UK and Dutch energy to move from workshop and screen to lists of candidates and face to face engagement in the way Thomas is in Antwerp. At this moment there is plenty of energy and excitement looking to do just that.