Too often local government feels like something done to us rather than with us. People I talk to often describe a divide between the decision-makers and the rest, with one group calling the shots from their ‘ivory tower’ and the rest living with the consequences.
And I have some sympathy with that – after all, nearly all council meetings are held in Petersfield.
But it shouldn’t feel that way. Councillors are local residents too, with the same ambitions and concerns for their local area as everyone else.
None-the-less it’s easy for people to feel separated from the process and believe that a council does all its work behind closed doors.
That’s why I’m taking our council meetings on the road and giving every corner of the district the chance to see decisions made firsthand.
Our Full Council meetings were previously held exclusively at the council HQ in Petersfield, but now they will be on tour around the district, bringing power to the people.
If you have ever complained that decisions are made out of sight, then this is your opportunity to see it happen.
Come and watch your representatives working on your behalf. You can submit questions beforehand that will be answered on the night. Complain no more. Take part. Get involved.
Our roadtrip starts with a meeting in the Old Hall, at Horndean Technology College, on Thursday, July 27, and will proceed around the district meeting roughly once every two months.
Perhaps you’re not passionate about local politics, and that’s fine, but you will be passionate about the town you live in, the way it is changing and how it is being shaped.
It’s at meetings like these that the little decisions are made that can end up making a big difference to your area.
Don’t come expecting a spectacle, there are very few dramatic moments in a council meeting. Seismic shifts in policy are very rare.
What it’s really all about is the accumulation of tiny decisions that, taken together, add up to something profoundly meaningful.
That’s where the magic lies, in the reign of the mundane. Where each act is a brushstroke that helps make up the whole picture.
The truth is every council meeting is open to the public to attend. Or you can watch live or recorded on our website. But attending the meetings in person brings the process alive and renders the whole experience more real and more relatable.
Local democracy is not a closed shop, there is no ivory tower where decisions are made. It happens in plain view and it is there for everyone to see.
Now we are bringing it to your doorstep and you are invited to take to come and see it. You will be more than welcome.