Total power?


Politics is usually regarded as having winners and losers if we run it with the ‘first past the post system’. I maintain that has been a key reason why there is lack of engagement and a perfectly reasonable cynicism in the foundations of representation – the town and parish councils. Indeed, where party politics has invaded, the thinking that comes with it has been deeply corrosive.
I was therefore deeply moved when the good people of Frome showed their innate political intelligence by rejecting the parties they had supported a few Xs earlier (in national and district elections) and turned to the Independents for Frome in droves.
That pleasure was matched by news that other towns and villages had taken up Flatpack Democracy and used it exactly as I’d hoped – as a DIY guide to taking power in their own communities. This is well described in John Harris’s ‘How Flatpack Democracy beat the old parties in the People’s Republic of Frome’ article today.
The key point John mentions is that a majority of Independents (and in Frome’s case an entire council) can be good for democracy in a way that even a small majority for an ideology led party will not be, because they can represent a full range of views, and they can focus on the issues people at comunity level care about.
Where does this go next? I hope the massive mandate for ifF, and the majorities for other groups, will encourage a steady movement to grow. The egg of real powers leading to real change leading to greater desire to get involved could lead to a whole load of chickens.

About the author

Peter Macfadyen

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

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  • I think its absolutely brilliant and wish other local neighbourhoods would do the same following the example of the book , a DIY practical guide to community organising .

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