I’ve not written here for a little while. Annabelle and I went to Poland when the UK was suffering the general election and I’ve fallen out of the loop of politics for a few weeks. I was more than happy to do that at the national level – for the first time in 40 years I didn’t vote. It simply seemed wrong to engage in a system that I have complete contempt for – a view enhanced by my bedtime reading ‘Beasts and Gods – how democracy changed its meaning and lost its purpose’ by Roslyn Fuller. I can see it’s exciting that Jeremy Corbyn defied so many critics, but we now have a government that sees bribing a bunch of extremists with public money in order to stay in power as acceptable….. and that having a garden makes Michael Gove a suitable man to oversee our environment.
But yesterday I re-found where I need to be. Sitting in a small room in a town near here with a group of energetic activists. Angry and frustrated at the utter hopelessness of their town council, but excited and inspired at the opportunity a local revolution could bring. These are people commitment to community activity and organisations with a desire to see change, fed up at the lack of support and endless rejection of their ideas. For me there is nothing politically more hopeful than their desire to reclaim local democracy and use it to move on from the stale negativity which blights most local councils.
I’m giving evidence to the ‘Commission on the Future of Localism’ on Monday in Bristol. I’m feeling emboldened by these new revolutionaries (as I continue to be by those of Bradford on Avon, Monmouth, the Haswells Community and their like…). If the Commission can do anything, surely it has to call for changes to make it easier for more movements like these to emerge and thrive.