“Think tank” and a “B-Team Westminster” devise their own version of “devolution” in a room in Glasgow, but forget at least one thing – to ask the people!
Today, February 9th 2015, a group of people from Respublica, a think tank that you’ve probably never heard of, amusingly given the nickname “NoPublica” from a canny group of Scots, went to a conference that you probably didn’t hear about, cheekily titled by some as “Scummymede”, and that you weren’t invited to, to decide a charter for you, known amongst those in the know as the #magnafarta
The thing about think tanks is precisely that, they think, they don’t know, so why get them involved in the first place ?
Northerners are currently scratching their heads wondering why George Osborne is forcing an un-elected “interim” Mayor on Greater Manchester when Nick Clegg is saying that West Yorkshire won’t be forced to have a Mayor to get “devolution” ? Yet Ed Milliband is saying “devolution shouldn’t be a Westminster stitch-up” ? These guys are looking increasingly like a group of school-boys who can’t get their story straight !
Like in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish Independence Election the “political elite” are acting very erratically, Lord Smith of Wigan is telling us via the MEN to “knuckle down and get on with it” ? How is that giving people greater powers ?
The fact is that “DevoManc” has failed before it has even started !! The concept of “DevoManc” that is supposed to give the people of Greater Manchester greater powers fell at the first hurdle when George Osborne refused a referendum last year, even more shocking when this refusal of a referendum has happened just a few months before an election, when the full electoral apparatus would be available to take a poll of the people on whether they want a Mayor or not
A package that is supposed to devolve powers to the people failed it’s first litmus test within days of the announcement of the so-called “DevoManc”, the announcement from Osborne shows this concept to be just the average politician double-speak, the intelligent interpretation is “We are going to say you can have more power so it might look good in the media but you can’t actually have more power, in fact you’ll have less power”
The politicians have sensed there is a public mood for change and increased local democracy, and “DevoManc” is the proverbial fig leaf, hastily announced by a small clique of politicians with no public consultation, in the aftermath of the 2014 Scottish Referendum campaign where Westminster almost lost huge amounts of power in a large area of the North of the UK
Announcements are made in the media and on Twitter about huge decisions that have been made in Council chambers, “think tanks” and sleazy conferences promoted by scummy PR organisations without discussion with the people, who most of the current politicians have been elected to serve and represent up to 6th May 2015 only
There seems to be more fait accomplis/stitched up/done deals and decreasing levels of public consultation between elected (and un-elected) officials and the general public who they are supposed to represent
Not only do we have a fiscal deficit in this country, we also have a deficit in democracy, and it is time to bridge that democratic deficit
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Salford Star, 9th February 2015, Core Cities UK Devolution Summit Backlash