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It is my pleasure to have been invited to provide an occasional blog on The Four Corners of the Land website. The main theme of these blogs will be how UK and international economic and social policies are impacting upon neighbourhoods, communities and importantly on the practice of community work. I will also be examining the impact of political decisions made both locally and nationally and their effect at both the macro and micro levels.
As we know this is an important year politically for the UK with a general election taking place in early May. At the moment the main political parties are working hard to present their policies in the best possible light whilst denigrating and assailing other party’s policies. All are attempting to secure our important and valuable votes. Years ago British general elections mainly revolved around the success or other wise of the Conservative and Labour Parties. Now we have LibDems, the Green Party, UKIP, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the political parties in Northern Ireland all looking for a share of the final vote and to manoeuvre themselves into a position to influence government policies. What are these parties offering and how will they impact on the neighbourhoods and communities we are close to? The answer is that time will tell although whatever the outcome of the election we will continue to see pressure being brought to bear on public services and the communities they serve.
But as community workers we are well aware that politics is not just about political parties, it is about how different pressure groups, community campaigns and new local ventures are sustaining civil society and trying to raise society’s awareness of the needs of the disadvantaged. It is no surprise therefore that at the same time as confidence in the main political parties appears to be waning, civil society has become even more important and many groups and organisations are searching for, and creating, outlets for a voice for the voiceless.
The concept behind The Four Corners of the Land is an exciting one and I am hoping that my blogs will add to the thrust of this important new venture and encourage you to engage in a debate on the areas I raise and help add to our growing community work knowledge base and emphasise our need to apply our values to the challenges and pressure faced by communities and neighbourhoods everywhere.