Deadline day approaches….

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As the deadline for standing as a councillor approaches – April 9th here – a fascinating range of options is emerging for would be independents.
As you’d expect Independents for Frome had no problems finding more than 17 candidates to follow on from their achievements in the last four years and took only three days to meet the crowd funding target to run their campaign. Theirs is a model of independent individuals working together under a ‘way of working’ – i.e. cooperating with a sole aim of bettering Frome.
Wells Independents are heading down a model which borrows some aspects from Frome and have a great buzz about their activity and energy in attempting to unseat some long standing party politicians in the City.
Shepton Mallet’s The Local Community (TLC) appears to be being led from the front along the lines of Political Party, but clearly independent and Shepton focussed.

Others are much more loosely ‘a group’ – Bath’s Independent Group has a leader and already holds the balance of power. They are formed of standing councillors from other Parties – this gives them an office and staff support, until May 7th when a significant number of new people will join the movement. The challenge may well be post election when herding cats becomes something to face.
Langport have taken this a stage further with Independents standing as individuals – campaigning and working separately. In my view this makes it very hard work to get elected, and without even a semi-formal way of uniting after the election, it makes real impact tricky.
In Glastonbury it seems the temptation of becoming Glastonbury Independents (GIN) has probably been missed this time around with a pragmatic decision to back the impressively together Greens who are standing in every seat. (My big regret of all this is Street missing the opportunity to set up SIN).
Finally, smaller places like the Isle of Wedmore are looking at Independent options and with far fewer councillors, could make a difference with only a few votes; Buckfastleigh has joined the bunch with a clear intent to put new life into local politics; and in a last moment dash for possible inclusion Wincanton has people uming an ahing….
Will British politics be forever changed from the grassroots up come May 8th?

About the author

Peter Macfadyen

Social activist, ex Mayor and Leader of Frome Town Council, author, public speaker, undertaker, grandfather.

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