Since publishing Beyond Fear and Loathing in 2012 my interest in local politics and local community issues remains strong. The extent to which local issues are ignored bothers me. A local issue in one place is almost certainly a local issue somewhere else. There are lessons to be learned.
I recently wrote Reconnecting, locally, which argued that the local level has a lot to offer for those interested in reinvigorating democracy and re-engaging citizens.
At a more local* level in the last couple of years I have focused on instances of what I believe to be poor behaviour exhibited by local politicians. Digging into the minutiae that gets overlooked or ignored. These are the little things that when accumulated are not so little any more, and are not so isolated.
Lessons from history for council (or, how to win friends) outlines an instance of a local council forgetting, or ignoring its past. This is particularly in relation to bad behaviour in meetings and poor relations between elected councillors and staff.
I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree provides detail of how a council avoiding its obligations, and siding with one particular perspective has contributed to a long-running community problem.
The nature of public debate shows how one highly skilful and awfully dedicated politician is able to avoid and deflect issues. Putting active and engaged citizens who ask troublesome questions in their place.
In response to my ongoing interest, and to provide a focus point, I’ve now created Everyville, a monthly bulletin of events in local communities and councils – the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m committed to a monthly bulletin throughout 2016. After that I’ll see how I, and others, feel about it. You can see Everyville here: https://everyvilleblog.wordpress.com
If you like it please follow it. And tell others about it.
*My local place has changed. A few weeks ago my partner and I moved from the Shoalhaven on the NSW south coast to Kyogle in the northern rivers area of NSW.