How Flatpack Democracy beat the old parties in the People’s Republic of Frome

On 7 May 2015, the small Somerset town of Frome voted against traditional party politics and gave a coalition of independents control of all 17 seats on its council. As the crucible of ‘flatpack democracy’, Frome is leading a small-scale political revolution — and it’s one that is spreading.

‘It has to be total revolution or nothing: that was our stance’ … the 17 independent councillors who now make up Frome’s town council. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt
‘That day, when we won 17 seats, was amazing, just this feeling of, “Wow — there’s stuff we can do”’ …Peter Macfadyen, Kate Bielby and Mel Usher of Independents for Frome. Photograph: Independents for Frome
‘The meetings are infinitely friendlier now, more open. We get crowds sometimes’ … a council meeting in Frome. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian
‘There was none of that old chattering and bickering — they were achieving things you could see in the town’ … Kate Bielby, new mayor of Frome. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt for the Guardian

Light on a Dark Mountain

The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.— The Dark Mountain Manifesto

    Keith Parkins

    Written by

    Writer, thinker, deep ecologist, social commentator, activist, enjoys music, literature and good food.

    Light on a Dark Mountain

    The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.— The Dark Mountain Manifesto