Notes of a meeting which took place at The Yard café in Salisbury on Saturday 10 June 2017 immediately following the agm.

There was a report on the launch and a discussion about future events.  It was agreed to consider a public meeting and inviting Peter McFadden of Frome to talk about the progressive alliance.  Peter is well known for his ideas on ‘Flat pack Democracy’.  This is likely to be in the autumn.  Another invitee is Perry Walker of TalkshopAction: AH

Democracy café.  This is set for 16 September at the Arts Centre in Salisbury.  Other locations were suggested among them schools and also a presence at the Citizenship day on 20 October at Bishop Wordsworth School.  Action DB

As the meeting was held the day after the results of the general election were known and the major upset which resulted, members were keen to debate it and its implications for the work of Compass.  Among the points made were the following:

  • the youth vote was significant.  Pollsters had discounted their views in their surveys on the grounds that, on past performance, they would not turn out but they did and their voting was significant especially in university towns
  • turnout was good which again countered the pessimistic view that people did not care
  • the interview that Peter Mandelson gave on Radio 4 demonstrated that he – among others – simply did not ‘get it’ in terms of understanding Jeremy Corbyn’s appeal and his achievement during the election.
  • the turnaround from what was being cast as a crisis for Labour following the predictions of a Conservative landslide, and the outcome which is looking like a crisis for the Conservatives, was dramatic.  The exit polls were a real surprise.  [two of Mrs May’s advisors have resigned while this was being written]
  • this seems to signal the end of austerity and it was noticeable that the word scarcely appeared during the election
  • the media – especially the Sun and the Daily Mail – made huge play on Jeremy Corbin’s alleged links to terrorist organisations yet the result of the election is a link up between the Conservatives and the DUP.  They in turn have close links with the UDA.   This was truly ironic
  • the Ukip vote seemed to have evaporated and the voters have gone either to the Tories or Labour.  The Greens also did poorly
  • the low number of hustings in Salisbury was noted
  • in Salisbury, John Glen increased his majority but the increase in the Labour vote from 15.3% to 26.1% was a surprise.  The Conservative majority over Labour fell from 40% in 2015 to 18.8% this week.

Progressive Alliance.  There was a long debate on this subject.  Points made include:

  • the Labour party may be less inclined to engage in a PA in view of the encouraging result they got in the election.  Boundary changes have not yet taken effect though and the party is likely to lose around 20 constituencies when it does
  • some discussion about evidence based policy and a more scientific approach to government.  Too much it was said was based on the ‘prejudice of those in power’ rather than a concentration on policies that worked.
  • Demarchy was mentioned and this is another word for sortition.  This is where citizens groups are assembled to enable them to become informed about an issue and contribute to policy making
  • it was noted that people feel disconnected from the political system (although turnout was higher in the election) and wanted a way to improve it.  Did it matter what anyone thought when decisions seemed remote?
  • it was felt that this was a big subject and that a sub-group be formed to take it forward.  Action: DB

Two members spent a short time on a ‘I love tax’ event in the Market Square, temporarily suspended because of the Manchester events.  It was agreed to repeat it in the autumn.  The tax system needs an overhaul and attitudes need to change.  A link to the Salisbury Transition was discussed without coming to a conclusion.

Fund raising.  The group is in need of funds and ideas included:

  • a market stall and it is known that there are some spare slots.
  • coffee morning at St Thomas’s
  • membership subscription

Housing.  This is one of the areas we want to prioritise and it was noted that there is no forum in Wiltshire.  It was agreed that the next meeting would concentrate on this issue.

[there was no time for a report on the Web site.  Key items would have been:

  • figures of views are: February; 395, March; 391, April; 342, May 177
  • All time views went through 2,000 and are at 2072 (9 June)
  • the views/visitor figure is around 3.69 (May) and indicates people are reading more than one item, not just clicking away
  • Facebook activity is very low
  • we have 6 followers
  • 4 people are regular contributors]

Date of Next meeting: Saturday 22 July at 11:00 at the Yard (see link at the top of the page)