I’ve really been enjoying my politics this last week! While the French election results drifted past, the various mayoral and county council elections happened, and vast amounts of energy went into the pacts, facts and alternative truths of the Westminster election. My attention has been elsewhere.
I’ve been at the epicentres of uprising. With Indy Monmouth, who’s magnificent seven are the largest group on the council after their whirlwind campaign. With Ideal Bradford, 10/10 for effort, campaign, humour…. and 10 seats won in Bradford on Avon. And with The Haswells Community Party, who generated the third highest turnout in County Durham, and a clean sweep in their elections, replacing the entire council and its chairman – a standing Labour county councillor – 13 weeks after they first came together (full story coming up later).
Amongst these 26 people there is a spectrum of experience, views, beliefs and differences. What they have in common is a desire to spend some time getting deeper into the issues of their community and responding to what they hear without any constraints, ideology or instructions from political parties.
I know there are many more – especially in revolutionary Durham. There are also many places where independents have stood against the system and found how hard it is to broach the walls of the higher levels of government. Well done the Cynon Valley Party which came second in 8 wards and first where Gavin Williams was elected as their first councillor. But their real triumph includes holding 38 public meetings; nearly 300,000 viewings of their videos; 2250 Facebook followers and developing a positive vision for their valley which is out there snapping at the heels of the party politicians.
Just by standing as independents – elected or not – ‘ordinary’ people have changed the shape of local democracy, moving it towards real interaction between community and local government and reclaiming politics for the people.