Whether or not you admire the decision of 11 (and counting) MPs to defect from their original party to go independent, this week – and beyond - may be a turning point in British political life, with implications for politics throughout the country; including local politics.
The 2 party system that has dominated British politics since long before any of us was born is falling apart. The impact of Brexit and the accompanying poison that has infiltrated the public conversation, means that a party rooting for conservatism and a party calling for socialism (plus a third party that isn’t quite sure what it wants) are irrelevant to the priorities that concern most people.
Setting aside the fact that the impact of climate change makes Brexit look like the most petty and superficial of issues which will be washed away in the not too distant future, we are still left with a political system whose heyday was the 19th Century when Gladstone and Disraeli took it in turns to rule the waves.
Us vs them. Good vs bad. Sitting on either side of a dangerously antiquated building, hurling insults at each other and behaving like badly brought up children. If this is the best we can do, then we really are in trouble.
MPs belonging to one of the major parties are encouraged to behave like one-eyed football supporters, blind to their own faults and insisting on magnifying the slightest failing on the other side.
So what are the implications for our local politicians?
In less than 3 months, there will be elections in Bath & North East Somerset, which will have more of an impact on your everyday life than most of the decisions made in Westminster. For the next 4 years, the 59 women and men who we elect, will run this amazing place we live in; the question is, how will they choose to do so?
As a resident of B&NES you have a choice. Do you want someone else to decide how your community is run, someone whose main qualification is to belong to a political party with an ideology made elsewhere? Or should you help make those decisions yourself by becoming a BIG councillor?
And as a voter you also have a choice. You can vote for someone because she or he belongs to a party you have always voted for. OR, you can vote for someone from the new local independent party BIG whose only loyalty is to the electorate. BIG has no central party organisation in London; it is not part of a wider political agenda, with divided allegiances to its leader. We are local.
BIG represents the desire of its members and the wider public for an authentic and common sense form of local politics that is focused on the place we live in. This may be the beginning of an earthquake in politics. It starts here. Join us and you can be part of it.