Archive - 2019

1
Flatpack Democracy 2.0
2
Flatpack Democracy on Radio 5
3
Keeping it local
4
Wishful thinking?
5
People Power
6
Rights of Spring
7
Did it work?

Flatpack Democracy 2.0

After a gestation period of five years and a great deal of help and input from independents all over the country Flatpack Democracy 2.0 is finally published. It should be available from a good local bookshop near you or you can buy it direct from our publisher eco-logic books at the special price of £7.99 which includes free postage and packing.

Advert over – I am proud to have been part of Frome Town Council, one of the most impactful groups to have been elected at this level.  I am also delighted that Flatpack Democracy (written in 2014) has played a role in encouraging and supporting other groups to find ways to achieve real change at a local level.  After not standing as a councillor this May, I finished Flatpack Democracy 2.0 which aims to further support those already elected as local councillors and encourage others down that route.  With Peter Andrews’ interviews of those already on the path adding considerably to its depth, we hope the story will take this idea further towards becoming a movement for real democratic change which, I would suggest, is needed!

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Flatpack Democracy on Radio 5

Thanks to Chris Warburton on BBC 5 Live for his well-researched interview on Independent Politics. First mention of my new book, Flatpack Democracy 2.0! Out in a few weeks to provide Power Tools for Reclaiming Local Democracy.

Listen to my interview with Chris here

The piece starts at 11:00 minutes in.

Keeping it local

As the crew of good ship Boris settle into cabinet by waving wads of notes at the rest of us through the portholes, it slowly dawns that a fully blown coup has just occurred while most to the nation was looking for ice creams. Possibly even the crew and captain have not yet realised the ship is owned by Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Arron Banks, who are firmly in charge of the sat nav.

The trail of obscenity that got us to this place looks like this: Around a quarter of available voters make the decision to leave Europe; even fewer give us a minority government propped up by a Northern Irish minority party who’s views make Rees Mogg look modern; and finally less than half of one percent give us Boris. Read More

Wishful thinking?

As the final feeble pretence of democracy dissolves, with the selection process of a new prime minister exposing the sick joke we are obliged to accept, it has been good to see and hear alternatives. John Harris’s ‘Any new prime minister is doomed if they don’t fix Britain’s democracy’ says much of what I might have, but better.

His article refers to an earlier one which describes some of the revolt at a local level that has built on Frome’s Independent Movement. I hugely enjoyed spending time with the Devon Quintet of towns recently, where unexpected people have chosen to try and radically up the game in their communities (unexpected by themselves as much as anyone). Perhaps I should not have been surprised at the extent to which the old guard have tried to hang on, and the twists and turns (especially at a District level), which have enabled the Party faithful to retain power. Too often we resist change, even when everything possible is screaming out that we need to.

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People Power

Over the last few weeks I have started to write a short blog dozens of times.  Usually there has been too much to say, often someone else says it just as well before I get there. Last month my focus was very much on the groups organising themselves to stand in May 2nd local elections as Independents.

That was swept to one side by the extraordinary activity of Extinction Rebellion (XR) focussed on London.  They had three demands and it was the third that surprised and interested me most from the start: That the ‘Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice’.  My involvement led to speaking in Parliament Square and Marble Arch to introduce this demand, before very large numbers of people engaged in impromptu People’s Assemblies (these underpin XR’s decision making process and will be used to inform future strategy). Read More

Rights of Spring

As comedians Laurel and Hardy said: “Well , here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into “….. Why so many? Why endless dead-ends and unanswerable conundrums? If we’d written fiction to demonstrate that the Party political, system with elected ‘representatives’, is totally unfit for purpose, it could never have been as well put together as the farce we see before us.

Elsewhere that mashup of fact and fiction is becoming reality as 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays a president in a popular Ukranian TV series, gained twice the vote of his nearest rival in the first round of Presidential elections. He’s following in the footsteps of M55 Five Star Movement in Italy, founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, which gained more votes than any other party in 2018 elections.
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Did it work?

I’ve been poor at writing in this blog space for the last few months.  This has mainly because all my writing brain has been putting together Flatpack Democracy 2.0. This will be the story of what happened after the 2015 elections including how Independents for Frome (IfF) made a clean sweep of the Council getting all 17 elected members. While Flatpack 1 covers how to get elected, the sequel will ask ‘was it worth it’, covering the whole 8 year IfF experiment.

Peter Andrews and I hope to get Flatpack Democracy 2.0 published within the next three months. However with the upcoming local elections on 2 May, we thought those of you who have bravely chosen to go down the ‘independents together’ route would be interested in my observations on what made the 2015 IfF campaign such a success. So, if you want a sneak preview of Flatpack Democracy 2 we would be delighted to send you, free of charge, what will probably be Chapter 5 – the one that deals with getting elected.  All you need to do is go to the eco-logic books website and send us an email by way of the ‘contact us’ tab.

I’m in touch with people from 15 communities who will be putting forward a group of Independents in those May elections.  If you are another one, or know of others, I’d love to hear.  Please do this either through the Flatpack Democracy Facebook page, or the contacts tab on the Flatpack site.

There has never been a more important time to reclaim politics!

Copyright © Peter Macfadyen 2019