Flatpack Democracy books
Since 2013 the Flatpack Democracy movement has shown that, by standing as a group of independent local councillors working closely together, people all over the UK can and do steer their local councils to thrive and prosper, democratically. Both Flatpack Democracy books are practical guides and inspiration for you to get going.
Flatpack Democracy Info & Resources
Resources Mentioned in the Books
When setting out to democratically take over your local council (and mentioned endlessly in Flatpack Democracy) all the important rules and advice - such as how to register a 'minor party' - are to be found on the Electoral Commissions website. It has a sister site About My Vote which gives information to the individual how to register to vote etc etc.
None of the above are related to the interesting and important Electoral Reform Society which campaigns for a better democracy.
Some of the most interesting thinking about how democracy could look in the future, current ideas and radical thinking on the subject can be found in The Alternative website and weekly newsletter.
We go on about the Localism Act and the effects it could have for more dynamic and meaningful councils. You can download a PDF outlining the main points in 'plain English' - at least that's what it says on the tin.
The Isle of Wight Independent group created and published an excellent Framework for Change that is the equivalent of Frome's Ways of Working and Principles rolled into one.
Articles from the National Association of Local Councils' Magazine, by Mel Usher: these five articles, linked here as a PDF, tell the story of IfF from a different angle – written essentially for employees of local councils and councillors. They are a light and easy read – enjoy!
There is a load more up to date and interesting material at the Indie-Town.uk project, set up to help inspire and inform people interested in local level Independent politics.
Frome Town Council Strategy 2016-2020: A Town of The Future For The Future
Flatpack 2.0 makes various references to the town council strategy and how it was created. The link to the document is here. Annual work plans were then created to turn the strategy into action. A link to the 2019-20 Plan is here. And the budget then created to allow the work plan to happen is here.
Further resources mentioned in Flatpack Democracy 2.0:
This is a useful guide to resolving conflict within groups, put together by a group in Frome.
A great little guide from Ideal Bradford:
Flatpack Democracy in Action
Flatpack Democracy was sold as a ‘DIY Guide for Creating Independent Politics’. We have directly sold copies to a number of European countries, significantly to Holland, Belgium and Denmark, with others going to Canada, New Zealand and America. Who knows where copied sold through other outlets have ended up! Some of these have led to campaigns to take over local councils in versions of the way outlined in the book. Others have stimulated ideas leading to new attempts to retake local democracy.
The book also led to a number of TV reports, perhaps most surprisingly in South Korea, and ‘political tourists' are now a regular amongst visitors to Frome. In the UK we know of over 100 places where serious attempts have been made to engage with the system, of which around 20 have resulted in councils run in a similar way to Frome. There are probably many more. Of particular interest is a cluster of small towns near to Buckfastleigh in Devon, who are now working to support each other in their efforts to make local politics work for their communities. Many of these are described in Flatpack Democracy 2.0 along with direct experiences from the campaigns and early adventures of newly independent towns.
InterviewsWhen we were putting together Flatpack Democracy 2.0 we thought it would be useful and add an additional depth to the book if we drew on what was happening elsewhere in the world of local democracy. We had been following upwards of 100 independent groups round the country as they moved (or not) towards taking control of their Parish or Town Council. We chose these places as a typical cross-section of the length, breadth and dynamism of the Flatpackery movement. Each person interviewed kindly gave up their time and were generous in sharing their experiences. We can’t thank them enough. The interviews were free-ranging and sort of followed a pattern - click to see a PDF of the interview:
- Ecohustler Podcast, July 2021: Interview with Peter MacFadyen
- Crysse blog review of The Spark BBC interview, June 2020
- BBC Radio 4, The Spark, May 2020: Peter MacFadyen interview on The Spark
- Renegade Inc., December 2019: Peter Macfadyen on Misrepresentative Democracy
- Extinction Rebellion Future Democracy, October 2019: Video with Peter, on democracy and Flatpackery
- BBC 5 Live, September 2019: Peter Macfadyen interview with Chris Warburton
- Reuters, September 2019: Mother Earth's MeToo moment: English town joins campaign for 'nature's rights'
- Positive News, July 2019: Revolution in Frome: Flatpack Democracy
- The Guardian, June 2019: How to take over your town: the inside story of a local revolution
- The Alternative, May 2019: The leaves are fluttering everywhere now... Flatpack-Democracy-inspired groups make advances in UK local elections
- The Alternative, April 2019: Vote Leaves! Flatpack-inspired independent candidates are rustling everywhere, challenging old-party politics
- Upstream Podcast, April 2017: Welcome to Frome
- IWA, May 2017: The theory of flatpack democracy
- The Guardian, May 2015: How Flatpack Democracy beat the old parties in the People’s Republic of Frome
About Peter Macfadyen & Contact
You can email Peter MacFadyen here.
Peter has worked in areas of social justice for 40 years. A consummate networker, he is constantly looking to find ways of bringing people and organisations together.
Trained as a gardener, he then worked with disabled people and disability rights organisations in Africa and India. His work with Comic Relief over the last 20 years has focused on grants assessing and most recently supporting ways to reduce the impact of climate change on poor people.
Back home, he founded Sustainable Frome and is a Director of Frome’s Renewable Energy Co-op. Through these he better understood both the missed opportunities and potential of local government, leading to his role in initiating Independents for Frome (IfF), the group of individuals whose take over of Frome Town Council is the focus of Flatpack Democracy. Peter chaired key committees and served as both mayor and leader of the council. He did not stand again in May 2019, instead writing Flatpack Democracy 2.0 to complete the legacy of experience sharing.
Recycling, reusing, organic, growing, cooking, grandfathering and bicycling are all central to his activity. Peter’s wife Annabelle and children Ben and Amy are also all variously engaged in creating a more sustainable future, with the whole family now involved in Extinction Rebellion and other campaigns, and Peter’s focus on Closed Economies and compost!