Why be a city councillor?

I first met Oscar during last year’s Buzz Tour because of his connection with Transition Cambridge and neither of us spoke much of politics. Yet when I met him in the days running up to the election, I was on the Green Party campaign bus and he was speaking to hundreds of people on the street explaining why he wanted to get elected. At the last election Oscar became Cambridge’s only Green Party city councillor, having never been a councillor before.

In his maiden speech last week, Oscar made two proposals that were passed by the council, one about TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and one in defence of human rights. As a result, Cambridge has joined 18 other UK cities in pledging against TTIP.

 

Frome and an iron age month

Although last year’s Buzz Tour did not pass through Frome, I made a visit there this year because it is a place where a lot of environmental activity seems to be happening. I’ve heard Frome described as being in the same family of towns as Brighton, Totnes and Bristol, and interestingly there seems to be a certain movement of people between them.

In 2011 Independents For Frome formed, aiming to transcend party political disputes and reengage democracy by fielding independent candidates for all wards. The independents had a landslide victory and the council is still independent-led now, with the Green Party stepping down last election in order not to divide the vote.

welsh mill hubAt the Welsh Mill Hub I discovered Edventure Frome, a school for community enterprise, helping young people to get projects off the ground. To top the day off, after showing the documentary I met Jane at the pub who was preparing to live for a month by iron age technology. This will be the second time Jane has undertaken such a project with a group. They tan their own leather, make tools, light fire by friction and live using only technology available during the iron age.

“The hardest part was leaving,” Jane told me, “I can’t wait to get back!” Jane does not have a website for the project as she believes in face to face verbal communication, but later this year she will be doing a TED talk in Totnes, at which point I will grab it off the internet and share it with you!