The People's Republic of South Devon reporting on the rise of indies and smaller parties, and much else
Always good to report on the grass-roots vibrancy coming out of South Devon, where we are focussing much of our social activity.
One of the reasons we set up the Daily Alternative was to show how important it is for localities to create their own media. Local and civic power can be generated by committing to a regular publishing schedule, using the available digital and social media tools.
Building up a picture of the world which makes sense to that community, and also reaches out to the wider world for good ideas and inspiration, is very important for a sense of genuine - not fake - control being taken back. (We’ve blogged before about how strong local media can reduce polarisation in localities, making them less susceptible to national populist campaigns).
So we were delighted to receive this report on the recent advance of independent candidates and smaller parties from a platform called The People’s Republic of South Devon.
PRSD has been going since 2005, and today has a number of channels, which show a proper spread of the area’s diverse interests - society, arts (with a fascinating “cultural snapshot” feature), as well as a cheekily titled MPs and Wannabes, alongside a Campaigns channel).
The locus of the site seems to be Torquay - and they have a very quirky “other history” of the town, which allows the celebration of counter-cultural movements, lurid local myths, and notable eccentrics. It’s important for localties to be able to recover their inner diversity and worldliness.
The Hull City of Culture programme - so much a model for town and city cultural regeneration - dug into their history and discovered an amazing tradition of avant-garde art (see history here).
We see phenomena like the PRSD as an example of how the increasing general turn to the “local” in national policy must remember one thing above all (which was forgotten in the Big Society avalanche) - that in the networked age, localities have already reached for the tools to express their voice and interest. And that it’s more about amplifying what’s there, than coming in with all-singing-and-dancing new platforms and methods.
In that spirit, and with donation link to the fore, best of luck to the PRSD!