Community Politics

Community politics is a movement in British politics to re-engage people with political action on a local level.

Most developed amongst the Liberal Democrats but adopted to some extent by the British Greens, other parties, and Independents.

Community Politics is based on small-scale action on local political issues. To give an example of how it works: Residents are irritated by rubbish dumped by a playing field. A 'non-community' political response would be to issue a statement calling for more resources to be allocated to deal with dumped rubbish. A 'community politics' response would be for local councillors to lead a group of people to clear the rubbish themselves, then inform the local community through a newsletter.

The result is a stronger local community who feel that their representatives are achieving something, and a better chance of even the most under-resourced local authority taking the time to stop the problem in future.

The low-budget techniques are easy to adopt. No television advertising, mass direct mailing or contacts with national newspapers are necessary.

Community politics principles can be applied to any area and by any party. The keys are local action on residents' concerns and effective communication with local residents through newsletters and face-to-face contact. Parties which espouse community politics often meet with electoral success (e.g. the Liberal Democrats' ability to break out of the third-party trap), particularly in areas which have been dominated by one political party. In Letchworth Garden City local residents, disenchanted by local politics and the local establishment, petitioned for their own town council and elected all 24 members as independents. (All the seats had been contested by the main political parties).

Read more about Community Politics:  National and Local Initiatives

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