Monday, July 31, 2006

Remember Community Politics?

In the 1960s,the good old Liberal Party, as was, made a thing out of Community Action or Community Politics, which encouraged us to get involved in local issues etc

Sadly that emphasis is gone but surely it's time it was revived for anyone with an opinion, whatever their political stripe.

As things stand, the local scene tends to be dominated by party activists, racists, local press campaigns, NIMBYs, very PC community groups etc while the majority of residents allow stuff to land on them from above and just sit and moan.

If there was a community centre in every locality, I believe that the 'ordinary person' would be more likely to participate in issues of interest to them and bottom-up politics would gradually become the norm. Participation by Jo Public would stop local councils being so patronising and following their own agendas so much.

So I would encourage you to get involved in your local community in some way. Join a Friends group for your local park or wildlife site. Campaign for positive all inclusive facilities - not just families and children, but old folk, single people and youth too. All categories of people often feel left out and are discouraged. By showing you're interested, they may become involved and feel more part of the community and then volunteer their particular skills for the benefit of all - whetehr it be physical strength, their memory, their friendliness, etc

Let's go for it - talk to your neighbours and get something going where you are. Start in this small way and someone might emerge who can represent your locality who is more grassroots than your present councillor or MP, and who is willing to stand as a community candidate rather than a party poodle.

This sort of thing depends on participation of as many people as possible. It's not reasonable to expect someone else to take the lead. That way lays the perpetuisation of the present top-down dominance of partty politics. We want to turn that on its head and hand power to people who've never had it before - the person in the street!

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