Back in 2012 an event took place that was, one could say, ground-breaking where the subject of democracy in this country is concerned and in which I was invoved in the initial stages; namely the formation of The Harrogate Agenda. It was due to my disagreement in respect of the direction it was being taken that prompted my subsequent resignation.
As readers may be aware The Harrogate Agenda is a means of returning power to the people instead of leaving it where it currently resides: with politicians. The reason for aiming to return power to the people is because ‘democracy’ derives from the Greek: ‘demos’ – people; ‘krartos’ – power; hence: people power.
Once again, as readers will be aware, I have not hesitated to mention The Harrogate Agenda when writing about democracy: the latest mention of which comes in this article, one which has prompted a few comments; notably from the Director of The Harrogate Agenda.
The original idea behind The Harrogate Agenda was that it should be a ‘people-led’ movement leading to a form of government similar to that which exists in Switzerland. For that to occur it had to be promulgated; and that it has not is the reason for the title of this article: ‘what might have been’. That a strategy was adopted of ‘workshops’ clearly did not work as those I attended comprised virtually the same attendees – numbering about 20/30. As a means of ‘spreadiing the word’ that strategy failed dismally.
It was never the intention of The Harrogate Agenda that it should become a political party; rather, by spreading the idea of direct democracy – which is the intention of The Harrogate Agenda – it would result in a demand by the people for direct democracy, a system which would result in giving them control of their nation and their lives. Thus from that idea would come candidates who would form a political party who would, in turn, campaign for direct democracy.
That the foregoing has not occurred can only be blamed on those who ‘took control‘ of what is supposed to be a ‘people-led’ movement – and who, with their formation of a limited company, are those ‘in charge’. So it is reasonble to ask, in the following four years since the inception of The Harrogate Agenda, just what have they been doing – to which, on the face of it, the answer would appear to be: zilch.
Oh, The Harrogate Agenda features in FlexCit (a document which has my wholehearted support – bar the order in which The Harrogate Agenda is mentioned: Stage Six), ie: tail-end charlie – but, once again, one has to ask why such a fundamental and necessary change to our democracy is the last step in extracting this country from membership of a supranational organisation which is not itself ‘true democracy’.
In answer to a question from Douglas Carter – who enquired: Do you think the Harrogate Agenda will eventually necessitate a new political party for the purposes? the response that was forthcoming was: It’ll have to be adopted by the political parties. I think if we start a new political party, power rather than change becomes the aim … rather like Ukip. Forgive me, but it was never an aim of The Harrogate Agenda to become a political party. The wording: by the political parties leads one to assume the response means one of the existing political parties, which is never, ever, going to happen – turkeys do not vote for Christmas. I have yet to hear the oft-quoted Owen Paterson ( who seems to believe in the principles of FlexCit) agree with the diminuation of his class.
Had The Harrogate Agenda been ‘promoted’ logic dicates it would surely have ‘caught on’ with the vast majority of the electorate, especially those who do not bother casting their vote because they feel if they do vote, nothing changes. From what would surely have been the ‘new majority’ would have come those willing to stand for election under a party banner, which for the sake of an example, would perhaps have been labelled the Direct Democracy Party.
We are told by the Director of The Harrogate Agenda, in the aforementioned link, that we should ‘learn from history’ and in stating such refers to the Chartists. He never fails to remind us that it took centuries for their wishes to come to fruition – but he himself fails to learn from history. Did the Chartists have access to an internet whereby communication was made virtually instant? Did not the aims of the Chartists get ‘taken over’ by the political elite, due to the fact that the Chrartists had no means of gaining support for their beliefs within a resonably short timeframe?
The Director of The Harrogate Agenda pleads that there was no money to publicise same, yet an appeal for funds was successfully made to garner support for The Leave Alliance – so why not for The Harrogate Agenda?
When I queried why The Harrogate Agenda was stage six of FlexCit, pointing out that surely prior to regaining this country’s sovereignty there existed a need to ensure that said sovereignty was not handed straight back to those who had ceded it, no defence of that policy has been forthcoming.
Again, regular readers will know that I have stated had The Harrogate Agenda been actively promoted the result of the forthcoming referendum would have been a ‘given’ for the leave side. The Director of The Harrogate Agenda, in the comments to my article linked to above, states: ….you honestly suggest that The Harrogate Agenda could in just four years, with no money, have become embedded in the publics mind to make the results of this referendum a ‘Brexit’ given. Yes I do and with, it is felt, some justification.
The Harrogate Agenda was formed into a limited company with just two directors (one of whom resigned just four months later) who, I then contend, ‘parked’ the issue due to one event: namely the outcome of the 2015 general election whose outcome they had not foreseen; consequently winning the resultant referendum took precedence. What was that about power, rather than change, becoming the aim? At this point one has to ask a basic question: having taken control and thus the direction of same, it becomes a tad ‘rich’ for those of us ‘underlings’ to be expected to do what is their job for them.
I must then turn to FlexCit – the basics of which I repeat I am fully behind – and the complaint that those in the ‘Westminster Bubble’ fail to acknowledge its existence. It is any wonder when one of its aims is to dispense with that which prevails at present; namely a democratised dictatorship – a system wherein a minority have engineered control over the majority?
The Director of The Harrogate Agenda, in the comments of the above linked article, accuses me of being Ted Heath Mark II. Far from it because it is not ‘sulking’ to which I will plead guilty; that to which I will plead is frustration with the ignorance and misdirection of one who would have us believe he ‘directs’ a movement which should be changing the basis of democracy in our country – and for the better. That one such has to plead ignorance of 5* and AfD (see comments mentioned above) – and the accomplishments that each have achieved within a relatively short political timeframe – can but beggar belief. If 5* Star and AfD can accomplish that much, why not The Harrogate Agenda?
In his latest comment on my linked article the Director of The Harrogate Agenda writes: First, given that I believe THA is a 25 year + project…….as the priority became the campaign to leave the EU without which constitutional reform will NEVER happen. Is it not logical to believe that constitutional change can happen prior to leaving the European Union and that achieving that cessation of this nation’s membership of that odious body would then be a given – and thus a requirement?
All I seem to hear is but excuses for ‘mismanagement’ of an idea that would solve the deficit in our democracy; that would have made the result of the forthcoming referendum a foregone conclusion; and which would have negated Cameron’s ‘Project Fear’; coupled with the fact it would have also negated all the verbal incompetence that we hear from the likes of Cummings, Johnson, Gove, Farage and Hoey.
The title of this article is derived from a comment on this blog – a new one to me – in which, in listing those blogs who are anti-EU, kindly includes mine with the comment: The pros and con of the Electoral Commission Lead designation process and what might have been.
What might have been indeed, had those commandeering an idea actually done something with it. It is no defense of the Director of The Harrogate Agenda berating those of us of who believe in the idea; they ‘highjacked’ what was to be a people’s movement and in so doing one can only assume that power, rather than change, became their aim.
Of course, expecting the Director of The Harrogate Agenda to accept any of the foregoing is akin to him agreeing heaven is similar to hell.