Thursday, 28 February 2013

Eastleigh By Election

It just occurred to me, watching  the Eastleigh by election results, that huge amounts of work goes on in a by-election, totally disproportionate to the result.

Thousands of doors are knocked on, hundreds of doorstep conversations.

As a consequence of all that work, one person gets a pretty well paid job. Then everyone goes away, and the streets are empty again. Even with all the politicians and journalists patrolling the streets, the food bank at Eastleigh ran out of food last week.
What's left behind when all the press
and politicians go back to Westminster?

Imagine if all that work of canvassing and door knocking had been intentionally dedicated to linking up lonely and isolated people, building community groups and community resilience, actually solving a few community problems.

It might even make a by-election worth all the effort and expense.

Parliament has so little power these days that most people don't see much point in voting. In Italy they're even voting for comedians.

Political parties have lost their mass memberships and their connections with many local communities.

I think they need to turn themselves around 180 degrees, stop pointing themselves obsessively inward towards Westminster and start pointing back outward thinking about what they can do to actually serve the communities that elect them.

Maybe by-elections should be turned upside down. Instead of getting one person from a community into power, they could be about getting power back to people in the community...

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