It’s a beautiful day in Frome, Somerset today – the sun is shining.

“…..It’s a beautiful day in Frome, Somerset today – the sun is shining. But that’s not the real reason it is a beautiful day. Today the results of the town council elections were announced. There has been so much despondency and trepidation expressed in England since the general election result, a feeling among so many that mainstream politics fails to represent them or their concerns, a genuine fear we are becoming a less caring, less understanding, less tolerant Britain. But in Frome today we achieved something that might sound small but is a momentous resistance to this. Today we found out that, building on their success in the last local election when they took control of the town council, a group of dedicated local people interested in promoting a responsive and responsible culture in our town instead of party political agendas who gather together under the banner of Independents for Frome, won a landslide victory taking ever single town council seat in the election. EVERY. SINGLE. SEAT. No Labour, no Lib-Dems, no Tories, no racist UKIP – not a single seat for a national party. On the same day that our national political system offered so many so little Frome voted for ordinary people giving up their time to make a difference to run our town and not the political class. EVERY. SINGLE. SEAT.

Let it start here and spread everywhere.It’s a beautiful day in Frome, Somerset today – the sun is shining. But that’s not the real reason it is a beautiful day. Today the results of the town council elections were announced. There has been so much despondency and trepidation expressed in England since the general election result, a feeling among so many that mainstream politics fails to represent them or their concerns, a genuine fear we are becoming a less caring, less understanding, less tolerant Britain. But in Frome today we achieved something that might sound small but is a momentous resistance to this. Today we found out that, building on their success in the last local election when they took control of the town council, a group of dedicated local people interested in promoting a responsive and responsible culture in our town instead of party political agendas who gather together under the banner of Independents for Frome, won a landslide victory taking ever single town council seat in the election.

EVERY. SINGLE. SEAT. No Labour, no Lib-Dems, no Tories, no racist UKIP – not a single seat for a national party. On the same day that our national political system offered so many so little Frome voted for ordinary people giving up their time to make a difference to run our town and not the political class. EVERY. SINGLE. SEAT. Let it start here and spread everywhere….”

To be honest, I’ve been in a daze since the count on Saturday, partly finishing off being Mayor, partly thinking about what now!!!???  The words above are from a Facebook Post of Simon Morrisey of Foreground and I don’t even have time to ask if he minds – I trust he will take it as flattery – they are being well shared on Facebook!

About the author

Peter Macfadyen

Social activist, ex Mayor and Leader of Frome Town Council, author, public speaker, undertaker, grandfather.

2 Comments

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  • Hello from the democratic town of Saillans in France!
    I have come across your movement via a friend. And I was very happy to learn about your experience, and your success. I thought it would be a good idea to get to know each other, as we seem to share the same notion of what democracy should look like.
    Two years ago, many inhabitants of our small town of Saillans (1200 people), mobilised against yet another disastrous project by our former mayor. In France, each town, big or small, has a mayor at the head of its town council, and this mayor is given great powers over the ruling of its town. His new project, kept in secret, was to allow a supermarket to establish in the periphery of our town, thus sentencing our remaining shops in the town center to a slow death.
    The effectiveness of our peaceful methods, and strong will of our citizens, managed to stop the project and cancel it altogether.
    This was a few months before the municipal elections of March 2014. Citizens of the town got increasingly involved in discussion groups, about how local politics are run, and how this had a negative impact on democracy. Study groups were also established, with increasing number of citizens joining in, from all political tendencies. The aim was to understand, first of all, in what kind of democracy we live in. Second, if this form of democracy and political system truly serves the people in their best interest. Third, what kind of solutions and actions could we suggest to change or adapt local politics, in order to reform this “elective democracy”, into a true “participative democracy”. Also, how we could transform the all powerful traditional parties to win elections, together with their “professional politicians”, into groups of normal citizens aiming for a “collective form of governance”.
    This took about six months to evolve and mature, into a very organised set of groups (or commissions), and home-made methods to render participative democracy (the citizen’s opinion, choice and project) as effective as possible. And we were getting very close to the municipal elections. With huge support from the townspeople, some of us decided to join a team who would run in these elections. Based on principals of true representation and democracy, and without representing any political party whatsoever. And we got elected in March 2014.
    Our experience is now a strong one, the only town council in France to have officially established a participative democracy, and we continue working with commissions that include the citizens at all levels. In the most transparent and open form of local politics.
    You will understand my interest to create a link between us, and to inform our citizens of your success in England.
    Kind regards,
    David Gourdant
    Elected member of Saillans Communal Council,
    In charge of Culture and Patrimony, Sports and Leisure, and Festivities

  • David
    Merci beaucoup for your comment! Sounds like Sallians has a similar- and fascinating – recent political history. I’m sorry it has taken me a while to answer. I think it is incredibly important that these little revolutions happen. Indeed I think it is the only way the dysfunctional top end of government will be brought in line.
    Here in Frome we are really struggling with the next levels up of local government. Even though our actions have been widely recognised – with two big national awards as Best Town and Best Council recently – petty politics is squasing the will of the people locally and ultimately this will lead to their loosing interest again…..
    Do please stay in touch. as you may know we visit Sablet and Valreas farily frequently, so I hope we can could also meet at some point.

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