Growing interest in Dorset’s fledgling grass-roots political independent movement, All for Dorset, has prompted the group to stage its first public meeting later this month.
The event will take place at the Colliton Club, Dorchester on Thursday 24 January, opening at 7.30pm, and will enable people to find out more about supporting and/or standing in the forthcoming town and unitary elections in May.
Alistair Chisholm, town crier and independent councillor, said he had been delighted by the positive and proactive reaction from people about the birth of an independent movement in the county.
Mr Chisholm said it was time for change: “At the end of the day, it is possible to do something that makes a real difference to our local communities. If ever there was a county that needs change it is Dorset – a county that has been sadly neglected at local government level. Let’s go out and do it,” he said.
The meeting will include a talk by guest public speaker Peter Macfadyen, former independent leader and mayor of Frome Town Council in Somerset. Mr Macfadyen, who has worked in social justice for 40 years, has written the seminal book on the local democracy movement, “Flatpack Democracy.” He is a firm supporter of strong grassroots communities to reclaim local politics and deal with issues at a local level.
Mr Macfadyen said he was delighted to come to Dorset to share ideas on how politics can be reclaimed for the people: “Democracy has long been effectively dysfunctional in this country and the impact of this is now being felt from top to bottom of our political system.
“The top end is impossible to change with the speed required, but at more local levels we can really make a difference. The emergence of All for Dorset presents a unique opportunity to remove confrontational politics and replace it with something that works.”
All for Dorset has been set up based on the Frome experience.
The meeting is open to everyone from any or no political persuasion, who is interested in making a positive contribution to our communities across Dorset.
- Independents for Frome (http://iffrome.org.uk ) started in 2011 and managed to get a majority on Frome Town Council that year. Since 2011, they have gone from strength to strength.
- “Flatpack Democracy” by Peter Macfadayan (https://www.flatpackdemocracy.co.uk/ ) is a comprehensive guide to how independent candidates can stand together.
- The Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole (Structural Changes) Order 2018 ordered the dissolution of the county, district and borough councils in Dorset and replace it with a single tier of government.
- The new Dorset Council will replace Dorset County council and the five district/borough councils – East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland.
- Elections to the new council will be on Thursday 2, May, 2019.
- The Colliton Club is based at Colliton House, Colliton Street, Dorchester, opposite the Dorset County Council headquarters.