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.
Unlock Democracy Greater Manchester is part of a coalition of campaigning groups profoundly concerned about the undemocratic nature of present Government devolution proposals and in particular the fundamentally flawed nature and scope of devolution plans for Greater Manchester and, by default, its citizens.
You can sign an online petition at the following URL;https://you.38degrees.org.uk/…/manchester-demands-democrati… to demand greater public scrutiny of/input into current plans
Please also fill in a reason why you are signing because the petition findings will be analysed and presented to members of the visiting committee.
Amongst the manifestly obvious problems with present proposals could be listed;
• A complete lack of public engagement in the entire process
• Their geographically piecemeal nature, for example; the environs of Greater Manchester (such as Cheshire) are irrevocably interwoven with the City itself, yet they will be treated as entirely separate in future governance of the city
• The entirely economic, ie. business, focus of current plans (take a look at the 17 Strategic Priorities set by the GMCA itself to gauge its success - see attached PDF) to the virtual exclusion of all other considerations (Social, Environmental or Democratic) - in short, there is a huge question mark about who will benefit from devolution proposals as presently structured?
• Concentrating huge political power (controlling perhaps £10s of billions of taxpayer revenues) in the hands of a single person (the elected Mayor) without the proper checks and balances in place one would expect for such a role - there will only be indirect electoral accountability/scrutiny/challenge via a "Cabinet" constituted by leaders of Greater Manchester's ten district councils
• No new electoral process/voting system so virtually zero prospect of a more inclusive spectrum of political ideologies being represented in the new governance structures - majoritarian voting will be maintained - no proportionality in any of the electoral processes under consideration for new devolved governance structures
Please sign the petition (during Sunday) and register your disapproval of current plans - this is our chance to make our voices heard!
Guest Blogger: Peter Davidson, Unlock Democracy Manchester