‘We are losing our shared space’, someone in the office said the other day.
Certainly the idea of compromise and living with and accepting difference seems to be disappearing from political life – from life – at an alarming rate of knots. At a national level and at a local level.
In the US, the Presidential battle has become a war of attrition; the violence beneath the surface is palpable; the rhetoric allows for no common ground, no shared interests among voters on different sides.
In this country the in/out referendum was divisive and hubristic. Commentators on either side have implied that opposing supporters are either metropolitan elite or ignorant and provincial.
And it seems to me that social media in all its guises has contributed to this trend. In many ways over the past few years social media has been an exciting development on the local democracy landscape; but one of the downsides is that it makes it very easy to brook no dissent. If you don’t like what some one says you just unfollow them or block them.
So at our recent C’llr magazine editorial meeting a similar discussion lead to a decision to make ‘Populism’ the focus of the next (December) issue of C’llr. What does the dissatisfaction with traditional politics and parties and the rise of ‘outsider’ candidates and parties mean for local government and local democracy?
It’s a theme we’ll pick up on this blog from time to time as well. And we would welcome contributions from readers. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss writing a post or, as always, feel free to comment below the line.
The next edition of C’llr magazine will be out in early December.