The finances are looking a little healthier with about £250 in the bank and another £400 winging its way from another source, which means that we can start thinking seriously about events we’d like to organise. We have decided to abandon the idea of having a fundraising stall in the market square because of problems with Compass’s public liability situation and instead roll up to one of the city centre car boot sales held on the third Sunday in the month. Members will do this as and when they can rather than arrange a specific day.

We are in the process of going through the EU General Election Data Protection Regulation changes and the results have been encouraging. To date we have had 53 people responding positively, which means that at the moment we are 27 people adrift. If you still want to receive emails from us then you still have time because the deadline is 25 May.

We talked about activities that we would like to do in the light of our statement of intent posted on this website. We discussed the possibility of having quarterly city-centre stalls on the areas of interest we have homed in on, which include working towards a fairer election process, taxation and party funding (full details can be read in the post on this website entitled Five things to fix our politics). In the end we decided to have a more general stall in the autumn about the aims of Salisbury Compass, although we haven’t settled on a date yet. We briefly discussed the idea of campaigning for a Citizens Jury embedded with Salisbury City Council. The idea would be to use the idea to act as a rallying call for a Progressive Alliance in Salisbury in light of the current administration’s attempts to squeeze out effective opposition. This would have a cost to it but one suggestion is to abolish the two enforcement officers, whose job seems to be to harass homeless people, and use some of the money saved to fund the Citizens Jury. And on the back of that its first task would be to have informed deliberations on homelessness. Clearly more work needs to be done on this, in particular the mechanics of how it would work. Following on from Cllr Caroline Corbin’s talk to the group last month a couple of members said they would try to attend some meetings of the city council to see for themselves what is going on.

Arrangements are progressing for the EqualiTeas party at the Secret Garden Salisbury in Mill Road between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday 10 June. There will be poetry readings, a mini democracy café and a table-top game celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act which gave everyone over the age of 21 the right to vote.

Salisbury Democracy Café has inspired two more similar ventures with Oxford Compass planning to stage its first democracy café on 7 July in Oxford Playhouse; and on Saturday I attended the start of the new Theology Café at St Thomas’s Church. I am also in the early stages of negotiations with Wilton Town Councillor Paula Johnstone to help set one up in the town. There is also a possibility that one could be established in Andover. So, it really is an idea that seems to be catching on. Salisbury Democracy Café itself had fewer participants on 12 May but that was more than made up for by the quality of the deliberations, a visit from a Caroline Roaf of Oxford Compass before the launch of its café – and Batman, who popped his head round the corner to say hello during a break from the Comic con duties in the City Hall. I have also negotiated with Salisbury Playhouse to have the café permanently on the second Saturday in the month, although there may be one Saturday when the Hawking’s Room will not be available. Obviously, we’ll keep you posted.

The next Salisbury Democracy Café will be held between 10am and 12noon on Saturday 9 June, followed the next day by the EqualiTeas party. The next Salisbury Compass meeting will be held on Saturday 23 June between 11am and 1pm at the Yard Café in Dews Road.


Dickie Bellringer