Taunton – people before politics public meeting
A public meeting has been called to engage voters who have the chance to elect Taunton’s first town council in 50 years. With an election scheduled for May 4, the first priority for everyone involved, is to get residents to register to vote by 17 April.
The meeting is to be held under the banner of “putting local people before part politics.”
However the new Town Council will almost certainly be political. The LibDems are boasting of having put up councillors for every seat in every ward, but Conservatives, Labour and Greens are all putting up candidates. It is sad to record that there are just 3 Independent candidates standing.
So whatever the election outcome, it is inevitable that the new council will be dominated by political candidates. Perhaps it was with that in mind that Transition Town Taunton called a public meeting for 18 April. It will take place at 7pm at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton.
In their own words, Transition are asking a big question. “At last Taunton will have a voice, but will it be genuinely democratic?“
Together with Climate Action Taunton they hope to foster genuine participatory democracy in the new Town Council. To do so they are drawing on the experience of three nearby Town Councils to get pointers on how to achieve this.
The three councils selected are Portishead, Frome and Bruton. At Portishead and Frome, local Independent groupings have got together to persuade the electorate to ditch politicians. Both councils are now run by the Independents. Bruton has always been a non political council. Thoiugh with no disrespect to a well run council, that is less unusual for a smaller town council.
Transition hope that Taunton can learn lessons from other councils. By listening to their communities and harnessing the knowledge and enthusiasm of local groups, you can deliver. Anyone interested in community involvement in local decisions and project implementation is warmly welcome to the meeting. Teas, coffee and cake will be available and the event is free.
Speakers will include:
- Ewan Jones, Chair of Bruton Town Council and
- Peter Macfadyen, author of Flatpack Democracy and former chair of Frome Town Council