On May 8th I woke up to find that not only did we have a Tory landslide and my local Lib Dem MP Norman Baker had lost his seat, but as people had voted on national party lines so had my hard working Independent local Town Councillor Sylvia Dunn. I wrote to Sylvia expressing my dismay and a few days later found myself in a pub with Sylvia, Sarah McStravick another ex Independent councillor from a different ward and a bunch of other locals who no longer thought national party politics should be running our Town Council. It seems we were not alone and as the week went on we discovered Frome in Somerset had completely taken over theirs in a few short years and we read their book on Flatpack Democracy http://www.flatpackdemocracy.co.uk/ . As the week went on we discovered similar movements as far apart as Liskeard, Cornwall and Alderly Edge in Cheshire.
As a local by election would shortly take place owing to the death of a ward candidate on the eve of the election, we had no time to lose. Within a few days Independents for Seaford was born as a minor political party and an amazing video produced https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu21va8sbz4 along with election leaflets, posters, badges and key rings. All on a shoe string budget of donations of money but most importantly time and skills with the media needed by some very talented people.
We also had a website http://ifseaford.org.uk/ a twitter feed @ifseaford and facebook pages for local supporters
We now had 4 candidates all active in Seaford as there was 4 seats up for election this time.
Next of course the walking started for me ….Initially I went out with Sylvia , Sarah and other volunteers door knocking and talking to residents- very enlightening and a valuable experience though very time consuming.
The key thing now was to get the leaflets out so that residents knew there was an alternative to the nationals.
So that is how I spent the next few days. Walking many miles with renewed purpose round the streets of Seaford in and out of little closes and fighting letter box draft excluders. I now have a new admiration for postal delivery staff…and then there are the dogs.
It is a very long time since I was involved in any sort of politics so I have a lot more to learn about the workings of the Town Council. Watch this space as the next few months are going to be very interesting.
If we can do this is Seaford think what could be done nationally… have a look at our first press release if you are interested