Transition Tynedale, Transition Network and Party Politics

There has been some debate recently within Transition Tynedale about how members should publicise a political party that they support and whether Transition Tynedale as a whole should align with one single party.

The Transition Network, based in Totnes have been very helpful in clarifying their position on this by referring us to this blog post by Rob Hopkins. I’ve cut and pasted the relevant part of his post here:

Transition and politics

Transition has always sought to bring about and support change at all levels of scale, but with a particular focus on the local level.  Here’s how we at Transition Network talk about our relationship with politics:

Political parties and institutions are part of the landscape within which we’re operating. People within the Transition movement differ in the extent to which they are interested in pursuing change by engaging with the various tiers of government and working through party political channels.  For all these reasons, TN will not:

  • align ourselves formally or explicitly with any political party
  • urge support for any particular party

TN may, from time to time:

  • share platforms with representatives of political parties
  • explore the potential impact of party policies on the changes we want to see in the world
  • publish interviews with, and articles by, party spokespeople. 

In deciding what activities to undertake and what information to publish, TN will: 

  • take a balanced approach which recognises and engages with the full range of political opinions;
  • subject politicians, their policies and opinions to critical appraisal guided by our principles and focusing always on the changes we want to see in the world.

Whether your Hub or individual initiative’s position should be exactly the same or not is up to you, but hopefully the above will be a useful starter for your discussions.

There is general agreement within TT that as we are not a party political organisation, we should not align to any one party as a group. Transition Tynedale should be seen as a place where people of any political persuasion can find acceptance and support in pursuit of our shared aims and objectives. We certainly do not wish to alienate any existing or potential members.

This does not mean that individual members shouldn’t continue their hard work in support of their chosen party. Furthermore, the TT website and blog should be a place where good news within the mainstream political arena can be shared. But it is important that all posts make it very clear that activities external to TT, are not endorsed by the wider membership of Transition Tynedale.

As a general guideline, I propose the following when publicising activities external to Transition Tynedale:

  • Provide links to the external website that is the original source of the information instead of re-blogging/cutting and pasting.
  • Use the ‘blockquote’ feature when quoting external sources. I have used this above when quoting Rob Hopkins.
  • If news is being reported first hand and relates to a non-TT activity, please make this clear; explicitly state that any views are held personally or by the organisation being described. This can be as simple as using the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘my’ in place of the more ambiguous ‘we’ and ‘our’.

I hope that covers most of the points on this particular debate, but if you have any comments, please feel free to add them below or contact me via the TT email address.

Pat Turner
Chair Transition Tynedale

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