Introducing Guisra

By Michael Dakin – Guisra Founder, 17-May-2023

When I talk to people in Guisborough there are some themes that stand out in conversations. Firstly many residents have a high level of distrust of local politicians and secondly residents feel that whatever little is done in Guisborough, it is done to them rather than with them. In fact although I heard many individuals state their dissatisfaction with the situation, the depressing impression I picked up was people feel powerless to change anything. Considering the amount of people that expressed little faith that voting would solve anything, a 36% turnout in Guisborough for the local elections isn’t too bad.

I admit to sometimes being cynical about our elected representatives or at least with the system they represent and how it lacks effectiveness at a local level. For over a decade British towns have been in decline due to cuts in central spending and yet councillors tell you how proud they are that they’ve coped under difficult circumstances. National government will always find reasons not to invest. It is an ideology not a necessity. Investment in our towns would stimulate the economy, not undermine it. It is an ideal way to put money into the economy without creating inflation as long as it is carried out in a planned manner.

Guisra is all about what we as residents can achieve. We can change the situation where somebody else decides where and how money is spent in our town. We can stop wasting time asking councillors for things and start telling them what we expect. We, as residents, can own the change. We, over twenty thousand residents, can have a far greater influence on outcomes than 8 Ward councillors.

Here is what Guisra will do:

  • Work together to agree on what the town needs and the priority of our projects and policies
  • We will set expectations for future design of the town including what any new housing should look like
  • Together we will create a detailed portfolio of changes to vastly improve the town
  • The portfolio will have all the details about how to achieve these changes
  • We will outline budget change and task the council to find ways of funding our needs
  • We will review council budget planning and ensure it meets our expectations
  • We can fund action to make improvements to the town in addition to what Redcar and Cleveland council offer
  • As a powerful group we can lobby the council to listen and respond to us.
  • With the power of the internet we can communicate with residents much more easily and effectively, truly keeping everybody in the loop
  • We can set an example to other towns and as each town and ward builds their own resident assembly we can work together to effect the change that truly meets all our needs
  • Councillors and eventually government will have to listen to us if they want to be re-elected. Failing to listen to us will be failing to listen to what the residents demand

It is exciting to think what we can achieve together. See how the assembly structure will ensure that we don’t have a few overworked people but rather teams of us sharing the work. Guisra will be structured in such a way to protect us from corrupt individuals looking to use the assembly to gain personal power.

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