Ed Carlisle lives in Beeston Hill in south Leeds. He co-runs Leeds charity Together for Peace (t4p.org.uk), and is involved in a load of community and city projects including: the Holbeck viaduct scheme, Park Run, the South Leeds Life blog and newspaper, a bit of youth-work, and more. He keeps hens, and tries to grow veg. He likes film, coffee, cats, and real ale, and is married to a very patient lass called Tania. His big current project is standing in the local elections in May 2015: edleeds.org!
Like many people, I’m passionate about Leeds and its communities. There are so many good, cool people in this city, making great things happen. Some of it’s out-and-out worthy/charitable stuff, like the incredible Leeds2Iraq winter clothing appeal last month (and about 10,000 other local projects and events like it).
But also, it’s simple stuff – like the immensely popular LeedsBook and LeedsFace groups on Facebook, where thousands of regular people (most of them strangers to one another) are every single day sharing stories, memories, ideas for the city, debating, etc.
Indeed, between us, we’re constantly – in many different ways – talking about what kind of city we want, what kind of world we want, what’s important in life and what’s not, making decisions together, and what we can each do about it. And it struck me: isn’t that what politics is, or what politics should be? That is: different people talking, learning, sharing, and taking action together.
And yet, politics nowadays seems pretty irrelevant, very faraway from most of us, in a bit of dead-end. Hear me: there are some great people involved in politics (like I know some local councillors, working really hard to make a difference in their communities). But the world of politics seems to have become dry, boring, unattractive – and most of us have switched off.
Which is a shame, because the stakes are high. Every day, politicians in Leeds, in Westminster, and indeed across the world, are making decisions that we know very little about, that really affect our lives. So, call me idealistic, but I wonder if we could reboot politics. Make it fun, interesting, creative, fresh – maybe even a laugh.
Luckily, I’m not alone! The last few years have seen the global Occupy movement, the fascinating Scottish independence vote (when 80%+ of people came out and voted), and massively popular political movements like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain (check them out online).
So, I’ve never really been into politics – but this year, I’ve decided to embark on an adventure, stand in the local council elections in May (for the City and Hunslet council ‘ward’, which includes the whole city centre), and see if together we can have a go at rebooting politics. I’d love to hear from you, work with you, and create a fun little revolution. Check out www.edleeds.org for more info, or watch out for more info over the coming months here at Leeds City Magazine.