I’ve been re-reading a book I bought a few weeks ago called “From Arrogance to Intimacy”. It’s another step in the journey of us understanding more deeply how and why democracy has become a charade in this – and many other – countries. I find myself deeply saddened by a potent mix of arrogance and incompetence, in which each of these seem to prop the other up. Recent examples include: David Babbs (main man of campaign group 38degrees) who was treated with complete contempt by a group of MPs last week (“You’re not here to challenge, you’re here to be challenged…”); our District Planning Committee agreeing to a new food store and chip shop despite near universal local disapproval and rejection by the Town Council, with no one from Frome voting (and my comments disregarded because they were deemed ‘political’); and the inflexible arrogance of a similar committee who have now caused a highly acclaimed local herbalist to give up and head for Cornwall – in the process behaving unbelievable arrogantly and aloof. I could go on and on and on…..
I’ve been involved in some great discussions and meetings in the last few weeks, as groups of people fed up with dysfunctional democracy, move towards doing something about it. For all plotters there is a tricky decision as to when to ‘come out’. This may mean some less discrete conversations or it may be a fully blown public call for action. At a certain point it means there is no turning back and from then on things start to move in ways not always under control! For each group the answer will be different – the first movers are moving, but risk peaking too soon, while the casual tortoises may trundle to victory – or not get their act together!
This time of year has death written all over it. The Day of the Dead reflected in Thanksgiving, alongside Remembrance Sunday, autumn leaves and political parties.
I’ve spent a number of evenings recently tucked away in Guy Fawkes style meetings in darkened rooms with groups of tentative revolutionaries in towns around here. Ordinary people totally and utterly fed up with watching the arrogance of politicians preparing for elections with the usual bickering and unfulfilable promises.
“How much time does it take if you are a councillor?”….. “How much does it cost to get elected?”…… simple questions from people on the edge of stepping out and up to take control of more of the decisions that affect their own lives. Is there a moment at which enough people recognise that our current democracy is a sham from top to bottom?
Russell Brand helps to spread that message, but maybe too many people think he’s joking and can’t don’t quite grasp the reality? I’m enjoying testing the tipping point.