>”Mum’s Army” – the wave of the future?

An interesting Guardian feature on the ‘Mum’s Army’ network of independent women candidates http://society.guardian.co.uk/localgovt/story/0,,1765784,00.html
opposing anti-social behaviour, organized – in a sign of the times? – by the women’s magazine Take a Break. Essentially a support network, in part virtual, in part more traditional clusters of activist links at local level, with similarities to the more well publicized Independents’ Network set up by Martin Bell and Richard Taylor MP. The Mums have no programmatic statement, organization or ‘party’ discipline but might– despite their homespun origins – to be a wave of the future, echoing comments a colleague of mine made that parties are no longer the ‘bounded systems’ they once were. Of course, as the experience of CEE civic movements shows, above the local level, in office and over time, such ‘party’ issues cannot be ducked. Parties are functional and exist in the form they do for a reason, despite sundry ‘challenges to party’ identified by journalists and political scientists over the last 30 years or so. But is local politics – despite its anaemic powers in the UK – a kind of hothouse for part organizational change and innovation, albeit with some very tender, exotic and short-lived specimens. In another life I would do a PhD on this.

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