One of the keys to the success of any local Issues Forum, is the occasional gathering at a coffeeshop or pub, where various members of the forum can finally meet each other face to face. Its not enough to exchange verbal barbs and intellectual arguments, the real work of building community and strengthening local democracy comes when we sit together over something to eat or drink and share a laugh.
We exchanged stories from the forum, argued about politics and local government, and discussed the value of an online Issues Forum to certain members of a community who might not otherwise be heard. As the evening began to wind to a close, a suggestion was made of organizing a Newham delegation to visit the US (for a change). Maybe next time, we’ll have a beer together in Minnesota.