Frome: improve the article

Category:feature request
Project wiki:Minguo Community Project
Related pages:#13403: Frome

Fred had an interesting question regarding the selection process for the IfF candidates, who were "selected by an independent group of people."
Who were those "independent groups of people" and who selected them?

As we are not from Frome, we are genuinely curious and would like to understand the process better so that, maybe, it can be emulated elsewhere.



Title:Frome: who selected the selectors?» Frome: A Step Forward in the Evolution of Democracy

Modern so-called "democratic" governments are party-based systems, in which political parties put forth candidates and the people choose a representative from the party-nominated choices. The individuals the people elect to represent them are, instead, committed to represent their parties. This arrangement has resulted in a serious democratic deficit.

To correct this deficit, the town of Frome, U. K., in May of 2015, elected 17 independent candidates to fill the seats on the town council, replacing all the party politicians that had traditionally held those seats.

This significant step forward in the evolution of democracy was not spontaneous. It took place after years of groundwork were laid by thoughtful and active members of the community. Now, the concept risks being lost because it has not received much publicity. Few of us know it occurred, and even fewer (including myself) understand the mechanics by which it was accomplished or the challenges it continues to face.

To correct this dearth of knowledge, we encourage everyone with a knowledge of, or even an interest in, this important event, to participate in an examination of the circumstances surrounding Frome's turn from a party-dominated system to one committed to party-independent government.


In May 2015, the voters in Frome, a town in the United Kingdom, eliminated established political party candidates from their elected offices and replaced them with Independents. A report of the event was published in The Guardian. This was, as far as I know, the first successful attempt to rid local government of the cancer of party politics.

I stand second to none in my admiration for IfF, Independents for Frome, the people who were able to accomplish this major step forward in the quest for democracy. However, the report of the occasion says the candidates:

"... were then selected by an independent group of people. And they were genuinely independent."

Is that not worrisome? It raises a concern in my mind that is shared by others who commented on the report.

Who are this "independent group of people"? Is this not another top-down arrangment where a group of elites decide who will be the candidates for public office? Is IfF simply a new party with a different name? How will the "independent group of people" maintain their independence? How will they avoid Michel's Iron Rule of Oligarchy? As Taptoe asked in his 22 May 2015 comment on The Guardian article:

The way for politics to evolve?

They were then selected by an independent group of people. And they were genuinely independent."

Small question: Who picked the group that picked the independents

I hope someone with knowledge of this significant event in Frome can help explain how the changes there will result in a true democracy, a bottom-up arrangement where the people choose the candidates for public office and the issues they want their Town Council to address.


Title:Frome: A Step Forward in the Evolution of Democracy» Frome: who selected the selectors?

The goal here is to discuss how to improve the wiki page.
We need to document what we already know, the process.
We also need to somehow introduce the questions for which we do not have an answer.


I'm sorry. I completely misunderstood. I thought the issue was Frome, and it's move toward democracy.

My bad.


It is about Frome and its move towards democracy!
More importantly, it's about how we can document this in the wiki, without using the word "I", in a factual manner.
Once the known facts are documented, users can use their private spaces to express whatever they want on those facts.


You've completely lost me. This thing was posted under "Issues". It seemed to me the term "Issues" meant the section would head issues to be discussed. Since you used the word "Frome" in your title, it looked like the proper place to discuss the events in Frome. The re-wording of the "description" more completely described the significance of the events in Frome and the purpose of the discussion.

I planned to invite people with knowledge of the events in Frome to offer insights and opinions regarding them, and started drafting a letter to accomplish that. The notion that I'd have to tell them they'd be offering their comments in their "private space" never occurred to me.

Obviously, I have no idea what you're trying to do. You have goals that are at odds with my own, and it's beginning to look like the differences can't be resolved.


I planned to invite people with knowledge of the events in Frome to offer insights and opinions regarding them, and started drafting a letter to accomplish that.

That's an excellent idea!
I have started a new discussion thread for that purpose:
I'll link to it from the wiki page on Frome.
You can add the draft you were preparing for that purpose as the first comment in the discussion thread.
Thus, we'll be two to invite them, instead of only one person. Union is strength.

Meanwhile, we can still improve the wiki article, adding to it what we do know about the events there.


Title:Frome: who selected the selectors?» Frome: improve the article

I have improved the wiki article further.
The more I learn about Peter Macfadyen, the more impressed I am. Thank you very much Fred for sharing their story with us.

Here is the money quote from the article:

The somewhat oxymoronic idea was to form a group of independents – in the sense that political diversity was held to be a strength, and there would be no whipping on council votes. Instead, the new group would be held together by a codified way of working that acknowledged the inevitability of disagreement, and a sense of purpose that would differentiate it from the kind of old-school independent councillors

Basically, all the members of the 'party' remain independent and can vote as they please. They may not always agree, but they find a way to work together moved by a common desire to do what's right for the community.

This is a key point. How can we introduce it best in the article?

Peter Macfadyen also says he wants a pluralist government, rather than the usual politics which is divisive and confrontational. He's truly inspiring!


Fred, as to the question: who selected the selectors?
It appears they selected themselves. It's just a group of local guys who took matters into their own hands. That's the best I can guess from the information that we have so far.


Regarding the part of the quote: "no whipping on council votes". This is I believe a British English expression, used in British politics. Is the meaning understood by the average American? Do you use the same expression in America or in Canada? There is a lot to say on this.


By the way:

The notion that I'd have to tell them they'd be offering their comments in their "private space" never occurred to me.

I don't think we use the phrase "private space" with the same meaning. I mean it as opposed to a wiki article where it is inappropriate to say "I", because a wiki article represents facts that are agreed upon by the whole community.

If we want to achieve anything meaningful, we need to move beyond the contrarian approach to politics and facilitate cooperation between people, encouraging to work together despite their difference.