Local Democracy for Everyone: The Luddite Antithesis

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part the #notwestminster Team from the early stages, so to see the resulting Local Democracy for Everyone event come to fruition in such a successful way is a proud moment. Working with Carl Whistlecraft, David Bundy, Diane Sims, Aggie Wilstrop, Andrew Wilson, Andrea Robinson and Jane Wallace, has been a privilege.

To have held the event in Huddersfield, a stronghold of the Luddites, somehow seems appropriate. From the outset there was a feeling of how do we break and smash to smithereens the giant machine of democracy. But in antithesis to the Luddites smashing up new machines, progressive and modern advancements in technology for production which threatened peoples livelihoods and ergo their communities, we were aiming to smash up a system that has for too long disenfranchised individuals and communities and look at ways to re-build it into something meaningful and real – Local Democracy for Everyone.

It would be easy to ramble on and put in my own two-penneth, but there have been a number of blog posts offering a range of insights already, so in case you missed them, I’ve referenced them below. Read them all, they’re all worth it.

Carl Whistlecraft: It might only be a thank you post, but it will give you an insight into how things came about, who was involved and why he thinks the event was such a success. It’s people!!

Diane Sims: My #notwestminster Journey, is more than a post about the event itself, it is about an inspiring journey that certainly resonates with me, and I expect will do so with others as well.

Sara Turnbull: Writes of her reinvigorated view that a council’s democratic services function should and can be much more than providing support to council committees.

Dave McKenna: This is an interesting insight on the #notwestminster hashtag and the concept of what it represents to one person – I like it and I am adopting it and maybe I’ll consider further what it means to me.

James McLaughlin: “The key message I’ve taken away from the event is that local democracy is not about structures and rules…but it is something more dynamic and less rigid – An Antidote to Sir Humphrey

Carl Haggerty: A brilliant summing up of what the day meant – “a special event…took place that created the space, time, inspiration and curation to bring together an amazing group of people.”

John Popham: This Storify demonstrates in words, pictures and tweets just how much activity was going on that day – a really good curation that charts from start to finish.

I don’t know what an alternative term for an anti-Luddite might be in a local democracy context, but I’m sure I am one and think these people above are too. Answers on a postcard…or Tweet!


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