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!
We have a slightly different challenge here in Frome as we face the prospect of engineering re-election. Personally I had hoped that the massive success of non-party ‘rule’ over the last few years would mean that no one would stand with a Party political alliance at this level again – how naive! Each week the local papers are starting to see more articles and letters claiming great success, influence and impact, or slagging off the opposition, from Party politicians whose name we have not seen since the last election. While this is undoubtedly a successful technique, it increases the cynicism and disillusionment of the electorate. This is why we said we’d never do this. But my goodness it is hard not to hit the send button (especially of easy to use social media) as the false claims and deliberate confusion starts to emerge.
Personally, I remain clear with five months left to actually do something useful for the people who elected us, it would be tragic to divert energy to activity which reduces the chance of building the active democracy we seek.