The Liverpool City Region Mayor and Combined Authority – How can they be democratically accountable?

The Liverpool City Region Mayor and Combined Authority –  How can they be democratically accountable?

Unlock Democracy (Merseyside and West Cheshire), cautiously welcomed the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Devolution Agreement between the Liverpool City Region, HM Treasury and the Department of Communities and Local Government, which agreed on setting up the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), consisting on six local authorities in Merseyside and Halton.
 

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Unlock Democracy Greater Manchester AGM 2017

On 28th January members of Unlock Democracy in Greater Manchester gathered for their Annual General Meeting at Cross St Chapel, Manchester

 1.      Present: Jenny Cronin, Peter Davidson, Martine Waltho, Sue Sharples, Tony Taylor, Joe Taylor.

2.       Apologies: Steve Roman, Paul Thomson, Marsha Healy, Walter Houston.

      Jenny Cronin opened the meeting at 11.00 a.m.

3.      Minutes of 2015 AGM held on 30 January 2016 - accepted as true and accurate. No matters arising.

4.      Annual Report and review: Jenny Cronin presented a comprehensive written report of the group’s activities over the previous year and also referred to the report of the People’s Plan Democracy event UD GM held in November 2016. These are included in the E-News emailed to all members and subscribers on 13 January and 21 January 2017 for reference by those who couldn’t attend this AGM. A discussion of the reports took place and it was agreed that the main focus for 2017 should be: proportional representation; collaborating with other campaigns in Greater Manchester (GM) in the run-up to the GM CA mayoral election on 4 May; and then share with other organisations campaigning for democratising the way the mayor and the CA operate.

5.      Financial Statement - presented and accepted. The treasurer, Tony Taylor, will step down due to other pressures, but will remain involved with the organisation. The chair thanked Tony for his contribution to UD over several years. It was noted that UD GM’s bank, Unity Trust Bank has introduced administrative fees. It was agreed that this is unacceptable and the meeting decided that the new treasurer will investigate alternative options with Nationwide and Co-op Bank.

6.      Election of Officers: Jenny Cronin was elected as chair, Joe Taylor as secretary and treasurer, for 2017.

7.      Any other business: Peter Davidson pointed out that Make Votes Count are no longer a functioning organisation and that the bank account in that name has been closed.

Meeting closed 1.00 p.m

Democracy, Devolution & The People’s Plan

Democracy, Devolution & The People’s Plan

Increasingly, power is bleeding away from civil society by the continuous erosion of democratic process. It won’t be given back. The cavalry isn’t coming. To regain lost ground requires that we exercise democracy, not talk about it, dream about it or hold out the begging bowl. We seldom receive beyond that we have the power to demand.

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Voting reform first stop Cambridge

Voting reform first stop Cambridge

Guest blog from Tom Pratt chair of Unlock Democracy Birmingham and Make Votes Matter activist

At King’s Cross station in London, there’s a whole tour dedicated to the Platform 9 and ¾ mentioned in the Harry Potter series as the beginning point for a train journey to wizarding school Hogwarts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t partake in the tour as I was off to a conference which aimed to bring about a future, which some detractors hope will stay fictional, of a country no longer using First-Past-The-Post.

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Voting reform - all in it together

Voting reform - all in it together

Guest blog from Tom Pratt chair of Unlock Democracy Birmingham and Make Votes Matter activist

What connects the Green Party Leader, Liberal Democrat and Conservative members of the House of the Lords, a UKIP MEP, the head of the Local Government Association, the Wessex Regionalists Party and Members of Parliament from Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and Labour? 

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Northern Powerhouse | Actions speak louder than words

Northern Powerhouse | Actions speak louder than words

Guest blog Vicky Seddon  chair of Sheffield for Democracy and Unlock Democracy council member

If George Osborne’s colleagues at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills had wanted to undermine the “Northern Powerhouse” project, this was  very effective way to go about it: announce that its current 13 regional offices will be reduced to 6, and that the current Sheffield office would not be one of those 6 but would close. The reaction has been predictable: shock and horror. 

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Devolution is our agenda and our ground. It’s time to reclaim it.

 Devolution is our agenda and our ground. It’s time to reclaim it.

A recent Radical Hope conference in Sheffield brought much food for thought in terms of campaign priorities for the city. Joined by MPs, MEPs, activists, academics and local people interested in a fairer future the discussions focused around what should be embedded in the Fairness Commission’s work and priorities for the next few years.

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GREATER MANCHESTER DEMANDS: MAKE LOCAL DEMOCRACY A TOP PRIORITY FOR REAL DEVOLUTION!

GREATER MANCHESTER DEMANDS: MAKE LOCAL DEMOCRACY A TOP PRIORITY FOR REAL DEVOLUTION!

On Monday morning, 26th Oct, Parliament's Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee’s 'devolution inquiry’ will be in Manchester. Part of their visit will be dedicated to hearing reports about public reaction to the much vaunted "Devo Manc" deal for Greater Manchester, which obliges the citizens of Greater Manchester to accept an Elected Executive Mayor as leader of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in return for the transfer of some powers away from central Westminster control.

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Electoral Reform - a West Midlands Politics of Networks Special Event

Electoral Reform - a West Midlands Politics of Networks Special Event

Despite the AV referendum result, the clamour for electoral reform didn’t die- it merely suffered a flesh wound. This was clear from the numbers of people that signed the Change.org petition created before the general election by 16 year old Owen Winter, a Cornish MYP. Then, the general election occurred- we all now know that the 2015 general election was the most disproportionate ever. 

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Magna Carta in Merseyside: Do we need a new settlement for 2015? - Saturday 23rd May