Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Lambeth Country Show

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 22nd July, 2007

lambeth-country-show.jpgI put in a couple of hours on the LibDem stall at the Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park this lunchtime. The weather was kind and there were sizeable crowds, of every age, shape and colour. As well as the fun rides and other family-oriented entertainment, there was a wide range of ethnic foodstalls, a cider tent and a mobile pub. Dozens of local organisations had stalls. Lambeth LibDems’ was festooned with yellow and black balloons, a small selection of literature, petitions etc. To say we were swamped with punters would be a spin too far, but there was a steady trickle of people coming to raise various issues — which made it especially helpful to have some local councillors on the stall for a substantial part of the weekend.

I was interested, but not entirely surprised, to note that the most popular stalls of all were those of what one might call micro-organisations: groups concerned with the history or amenities of a really small locality within the borough of Lambeth. The new localism — in which many people are taking a deep interest in events and conditions both past and present in their immediate locality — runs parallel to a form of global awareness that embraces such things as climate change and fair trade. It’s not true that people are not interested in politics like they used to be; it’s just that the sort of politics many now relate to is different. And the mainstream political parties, including the Liberal Democrats, have to adapt to that reality, or else they will wither and die.


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