New political movement for independents launched in Bristol
A new political movement was launched in Bristol last night - one in which "politics" is a dirty word.
The Independents for Bristol (IfB) is an umbrella organisation to help individuals become councillors to serve the city.
Stephen Perry, co-convenor of the meeting at City Hall in College Green said traditional politics meant it was virtually impossible for anyone with no political leanings to become elected.
He said the new organisation would help independent candidates by helping them produce leaflets and perhaps even some funding.
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He stressed IfB would not:
+ create "whips" to make independents toe a particular political line;
+ draw up a manifesto;
+ have any kind of leadership structure.
He said: "Political parties are more out of favour now than perhaps at any time in recorded history.
"They are weak because people are fed up with party politics, particularly in local government."
He said the political landscape had changed in Bristol because we now had an elected mayor to run the city.
Mr Perry said: "When he was elected, the independent mayor knocked down the door to City Hall - now it is time for us to walk in."
Chris Sunderland, who describes himself as a social entrepreneur and also helped to organise the meeting, said although the mayor George Ferguson was an independent, he had nothing to do with the group and was not their leader.
He said: "I think it is time to stop defining ourselves by using party political labels.
"By using them, people are constrained and their freedom is curtailed."
He said the time was right for a sea change in local politics so independents could represent their neighbourhoods and serve Bristol.
Guest speaker was Mel Usher, leader of the independent group on Frome Town Council where they won ten of the 17 seats two years ago.
He said they never tried to discredit traditional politicians and were not preoccupied with making sure they were elected again.
About 80 people turned up to the meeting and volunteers from the floor said they would serve on a selection panel to choose candidates.
For further information, visit the website, www.ifbristol.org.uk