A Parallel Universe

Sometime soon I will switch to positive news of a New Dawn for Democracy, but first a brief comment on my encounters with life somewhere else. Last week we brought local councillors from nearby Parishes together to meet each other and to hear of an opportunity to compete for EU money aimed at supporting rural areas. The Powerpoint contained a lot of words but it slowly emerged the money pot contained pretty little money. It also emerged that this is tightly linked to projects aimed at economic growth and that the economy is all about money. Just money. Nothing that might benefit the environment, wellbeing or anything social.  This narrow outlook misses key opportunties and frequently results in a nett loss in term sof everything but income.
Repeatedly I see reality at a community level moving in one direction, with real energy and verve and the juggernaut of the past chugging towards the rocks. This month’s Transition Network asks ‘Is Transition political’ and I will unashamedly pinch a quote from Rob Hopkins’ blog which summarises where I want to be and where I want Frome and other local communities to be:

The left wing think tank Compass recently wrote, in their reflections on the European election results:

A new economy is waiting to be fashioned via companies serious about climate change, through peer to peer lending schemes to really challenge the big banks, through crowd sourced investment like Kick-starter and sharing platforms in which we borrow and lend big ticket items we don’t often use. A myriad collaborative projects made possible by new technology, democratic initiatives like Abundance and big ideas like B Corps that change the very social nature of companies.
Although this relates to climate change, I believe its essence applies much more widely. The need for change is moving too quickly for many of the systems we continue to operate. I don’t wish to spend any more time in a dark room discussing how we might direct small amounts of money to marginal projects when something much more exciting is going on outside.  We need to be braver.

About the author

Peter Macfadyen

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

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