“DevoManc”, for the many of you out there who haven’t heard about it yet, is a collaboration between Chancellor George Osborne, and the Greater Manchester Council leaders (most from the Labour Party with one Conservative and one Lib Dem)
Osborne is the Austerity Chancellor, the axe-man of the “co-ruling” Conservative Party (who did not win a clear majority in the 2010 General Election), whose political mandate runs out in several weeks time. It’s probably also fair to say that The Conservative Party are unpopular in Greater Manchester !
In Manchester in 2012 53.2% voted NO to a Mayor, but this has counted for nothing in the scheming of the “DevoManc” deal, that is being shunted through by the featured politicians at high-speed with no mandate, no real authority, no public consent and no public popularity – for example, only 23% of the Crumpsall electorate voted for Richard Leese in the 2012 local elections and only 10% of the Salford electorate voted for Ian Stewart in an unpopular Mayoral election, with low voter turn-out
As has happened with fracking, we are starting to see the general public say that there is no social license for “DevoManc” and social media is also showing the peoples’ resistance – the Labour Party signatories are being called “CollaboraTories” and the hashtag #dodgydeal is doing the rounds on Twitter !
This GMRC Statement, of Monday 16th February 2015, puts the initial survey of the people into perspective, making the case for a referendum all the more stronger
Results in from the Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign’s survey in Sir Richard Leese’s, Crumpsall Council Ward on Sunday 15th February 2015 show what the pro-referendum on Devo Manc campaigners say, they have found to be a similar case everywhere “….that the people of Greater Manchester overwhelmingly agree with the call for a referendum on the Greater Manchester Devolution Agreement a.k.a. Devo Manc once they find out what it’s about, and how it might impact on their lives.”
Their survey also found that 98% of those questioned, don’t agree with what Sir Richard Leese and the other Greater Manchester Council Leaders are doing, in imposing Devo Manc on the people of Greater Manchester without any form of public scrutiny or consultation beforehand.
Interesting to also find out that despite Sir Richard describing the ‘Devo Manc’ deal as “radical constitutional change” and media coverage in the press, and on TV and local radio about the deal, only 1 in 5 of the Crumpsall Ward survey respondents had even heard of it, or knew any kind of devolution and radical change in local Government was to take place. Even less knew what it was about or involved. This can only beg the question, say the pro-referendum campaigners, “on what basis Sir Richard believe’s he has any kind of electoral mandate for what he and the other Greater Manchester Council leaders are doing?”
The campaigners further go on to say “When it was explained to all those who agreed to take part in the survey what ‘Devo Manc’ was, and that it could have massive impact on the provision of all our public services for decades to come, and could even lead to a new layer of local taxes being introduced, despite 86% of those surveyed saying they agreed with the principle of devolution to the regions, 95% agreed with our call for a referendum on the deal. 76% also said they would prefer a wider North West devolution settlement rather than a Greater Manchester one.”
This is another thing, which the campaigners say “Greater Manchester Council leaders have also failed to ask people, in the rush to grab the £2billion of promised ‘devolved’ spending offered by The Chancellor as part of the Devo Manc deal”….”they failed to ask whether the people of Greater Manchester might prefer a North West deal rather than the imposition of a city-region deal.” The same goes they said : “for whether the people of towns like Wigan and Bolton, or indeed any of Greater Manchester’s other local council areas even want to be a part of a new Manchester City region, whether it has a Mayor or any devolved spending power or not. Surely, they should at least be consulted?”
Though their survey results, the referendum campaigners are happy to admit, “are not rigorously scientific, but rather of a good range of ages (between 16-69) 50% women and 50% men, and an average age of 34”, they believe, “re-affirm what they already know from talking with many hundreds of people across Greater Manchester – that a clear majority, once they know what the devolution settlement is about, support the call and campaign for a referendum on the Devo Manc deal.
The next Council Ward the campaigners hope to target and carry out the same survey is Wigan Council leader and ‘Greater Manchester Combined Authority’ Chair Lord Peter Smith’s Leigh West Ward (details to follow)
The next meeting of the Campaign will be at the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street, Manchester on Wednesday 25th February 2015, 7.00pm start
Author: Beryl Winstanley