Archive - May 2014

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Is a drift to the Right an opportunity to rebuild democracy from below?
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What has a fence to do with democracy?
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Dysfuntional Democracy 2.

Is a drift to the Right an opportunity to rebuild democracy from below?

This week’s local elections have seen an almost total collapse of the BNP. Depending on how you do figures, they have also seen a decrease in UKIP, or marginal increase…. The Europeal elections see the same BNP collapse and an surprisingly small increase in people voting UKIP.  European elections saw an even lower turnout than last time…so as usual most people voted I DON’T CARE.

But does the hype around UKIP, the Pan European rise in the Far Right, and fear of this amongst the 90% who didn’t vote UKIP,  mean more people at community level who do care are likely to get involved? In Flatpack, I make the case that there has never been a better time for this. My fellow ifF councillor Toby Eliot sent me this on the subject:

Over the last few weeks a significant minority of the posts in my Facebook feed have been informing me how bad UKIP are. It’s not just one point being made; I’ve been tutored on the antics of bizarrely behaved candidates (where do they find them?), crazy policies rolling back civil rights and a frightening level of open intolerance. The information has arrived in a variety of formats including bold info graphics, parodies of election leaflets and links to more in-depth articles.
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What has a fence to do with democracy?

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Please note this fine fence. Featured not only on a field in Frome, but also in the Telegraph last week. Some months ago a field on the edges of Frome came up for sale by action. Some of the many people who had used it for years to walk their dogs, pick blackberries, picnic and do country stuff, got together to raise funds to buy the land. However, there wasn’t time to do this before the auction. So they asked the District council to intervene using their fine new powers of Localism to hold up the sale for 6 months while the people tried to raise enough loot. Read More

Dysfuntional Democracy 2.

I’ve been to a couple of meetings recently which perfectly illustrate two areas I cite in the book as going wrong.

The first was billed as a ‘consultation’ on sports provision in the town, put on by the District Council who own land on which sports happen, contract out sports provision, and have a top level strategy. Half a dozen cabinet members at the high table start off by telling us there is no money and there won’t be; they are already well on the way to a new long term contract for the sports centre; and we can talk about anything else we like. A few representatives of under facilitated sports pluck up courage and put over their views. We are promised a report – and some weeks later there is no sign of anything.
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Copyright © Peter Macfadyen 2014