Peter Macfadyen, Campfire member and our guest on our forum sofa this coming Tuesday (October 10th) at 20:00 is a town councillor and one of the architects behind Flatpack Democracy, a DIY guide to creating independent politics. His story is an extraordinary one.
THIS IS THE FORUM THREAD - OPENS 20:00 Tuesday 10 October
Macfadyen is the former mayor of the small town of Frome in Somerset.
Resiliance.org says "In many ways he is a legendary figure in the world of local politics in the U.K. As the story goes, a group of frustrated Frome residents were having a pint at their local pub The Griffin, grumbling about politics. An old story, perhaps. But this one ends very differently: A few years later, and they had completely taken over. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but after running as independents on a platform of rejecting party politics, these political misfits won 10 of 17 town council seats and the mayorship in their first election. And the second time around, they won all 17 seats. A complete revolution."
The group is known as the Independents of Frome, and their goal is to take back politics by bringing power back to the local level. This means rejecting everything that Westminster stands for. No more blind affiliation to parties and to partisan politics. No more inaction in the face of climate change. No more bureaucracy. No more pomp. No more business as usual."
Peter entered politics by mistake - he was involved in the Transition Towns movement which was known as 'Sustainable Frome' locally. He was frustrated that the local town council ended up in constant arguments along party political lines and facilitated a couple of key meetings, realising that there was quite an appetite for independent politics.
In this interview, Macfadyen tells his story and describing some of the very exciting initiatives that the town of Frome has been able to launch in the last few years. He also talks about local and national politics, the dynamics of gentrification or regeneration, and much more.
The way they are doing it in Frome is a way of expanding the definition of politics - being involved in the issues that affect your life.
"Politics doesn't work. We have to change it from the bottom up."