Archive - October 2017

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Rules Rules Rules
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When is a Movement?

Rules Rules Rules

In the first few hours of yesterday I found myself confronted with a series of events all linked by a common thread:  the creation and use of rules.  This links to a conversation I am following that has been taking place amongst groups of Independents forming both in the UK and Belgium.

Firstly, I read about ‘The war against Pope Francis’ whose traditionalist opponents are looking to remove him via the only means they can – proof of heresy.  This rests on a footnote in an article he wrote suggesting that it might be possible to give communion to some divorced or remarried couples.  This has been ruled out by previous Popes, and what a previous Pope says is the word of God, so it would be heresy to challenge that ruling…. If he has done this he can be removed.

Secondly, the morning news included the Australian government losing its majority after the Deputy Prime Minister was found to have dual nationality which is against the rules.   Seven MPs were found to contravene this rule – dual nationality had been conferred to them at birth or by descent and they claimed not to know about it.

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When is a Movement?

I am sometimes asked about the ‘Flatpack Movement’ and I struggle to explain the concept. The Flatpack tag comes – obviously – from Flatpack Democracy, the title of the book I wrote which set out to show how the independents took power in Frome and to provide some simple steps for others to do the same at a local level.  It’s the story of what we did in Frome, and now, making a list of the further 10 or so groups who have done the same, has given some clarity to my thinking.

As well as the 10 groups I know where independents hold power, there are another five who hold some seats, and a further 35 places that we know of where a group is clearly working in that direction.  To a lesser or greater extent these have used the ideas expressed in Flatpack Democracy in some way.  There is an actual ‘Flatpack Party’ in Belgium alongside two other groups there well engaged with the principles and interestingly it was a Belgian who talked about ‘Flatpackery’ – a comment on many things as well as his fine grasp of English!  There are another 3000 ish copies of the book out there doing who knows what. As well as the groups mentioned earlier there are another seven I know of who are, in effect, local parties. However, the one thing they all have in common is their rejection of Party Politics.  If that alone were enough to define them as a Movement, then perhaps they are.

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Copyright © Peter Macfadyen 2014