Ending the bureaucratic centralisation of national and local government in our country will undoubtedly help stem the tide of political apathy affecting much of Britain.
According to a 2008 Government Citizenship Survey, only 38 per cent of people felt they could influence decisions in their local area, a figure that has fallen markedly since 2001.
Localism is fundamentally about reversing this decline in civic activism by giving people a real stake in how their communities are run.
This evening’s ‘Question Time’ event organised by the Journal will hopefully kick-start a process by inviting Granthamians to ask questions, propose suggestions, demand action and hold those in Government - local and national -to account.
It is localism in action, and we can be proud that Grantham is delivering the ‘Big Society’.
In my opinion one of the great aspects of localism is that it is more than a one-way process, whereby the public scrutinise those making decisions in their name.
Localism is as much about local people putting themselves forward to help run our most treasured community assets – such as the Grantham Museum, for example – as it is about questioning those in power.
This should be the first event in a regular series of events that will enable the people of Grantham to discuss concerns, ask questions and explore solutions.
But that is down to the people of Grantham. Turn up and have your say, or miss a prime opportunity.
In my role as a County Councillor, I’d like to see bi-monthly ‘town hall’ style meetings where elected representatives and other officials explore the concerns of the people of Grantham in more detail than is possible in simplistic public surveys.
By doing so, local government can become more responsive to the feelings of those people who elect us and fund our activities.
by Coun Richard Davies