I never would have believed it but have recently decided to offer myself for election as one of the four Councillors for Perth South returned to Perth and Kinross Council in the local elections of 2007.

One reason for standing is that I have long campaigned for a preferential and proportional voting system such as PR, which enables candidates with different views to stand alongside each other, rather than run against each other as happened with the divisive First Past the Post system.  If I fall into bad habits of slagging off other candidates, please remind me!

That said I do think that, along with most Councils in Scotland, Perth and Kinross Council has tended to take decisions which indirectly fit in with the needs of the money system rather than the needs of ordinary people.  Why should any of us be charged for visiting the public toilets in town? When I took a leaflet about a day in Bridge of Earn for Dances of Universal Peace to the new Perth Concert Hall aka 'Horsecross', I was told I couldn't blutack my small notice on any surface, but would have to phone one of two [!] firms in Edinburgh for permission, who had the 'contracts' for signage - ye Gods, and the Horsecross people like to think of what good community links they are building .... even though 40 percent of the visitors come from out of town, often by ecologically damaging private cars.  And even our beloved library service is now 'capitalising' on its own noticeboards to promote library service facilities and events - fair enough - but now to the exclusion of non-profit community notices, which must now be specIAlly looked for in a folder, where once they could catch the eyes of library users going in or out.

I could go on, but doubtless you will have examples of your own which I look forward to hearing about.

Even if I am not able to change the pro-business/'development' drift of Council decisions I hope that if I am elected as a Councillor, this will help to create openings for me (and others) to work as a community development change agent in ways which help people imagine better futures, develop our confidence,  and exert more control over our lives in Perth South than we would otherwise have.

I should also say that I have offered my services to run workshops on sustainability and gender issues to various departments of the Council, also the local prison service,(where I am accredited as an occasional Buddhist prison chaplain), so far with no takers. I have also done various trainings led by the Scottish Civic Forum on how to design and facilitate constructive meetings and events, by the charity Alternatives to Violence, and by trainers in Non-Violent Communication.