The state is your servant, never your master. It should defend people from every threat – but it should not use that as a premise to infringe unnecessarily on the freedom of the individual. As far as humanly possible, it should crush bureaucracy and hand power to the people.
- David Cameron, April 2010.
It is time for the reality to match the fine rhetoric.
The Harrogate Agenda seeks to bring about genuine democracy. Democracy is about more than being able to vote, it is about ensuring our country has a proper democratic structures at all levels and that the people hold power. The Harrogate Agenda movement is a grassroots one. It is not party political or positioned at any single point on the political spectrum.
1. the people are sovereign: the sovereignty of the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shall be recognised by the Crown and the government of our nations. The people in their collective form, by giving their consent, comprise the ultimate authority of their nations and the source of all political power;
2. local democracy: the foundation of our democracy shall be the counties (or other local units as may be defined), which shall become constitutional bodies exercising under the control of their peoples all powers of legislation, taxation and administration not specifically granted by the people to the national government;
3. elected prime ministers: to enable separation of power, prime ministers shall be elected by popular vote; they shall appoint their own ministers, with the approval of parliament, to assist in the exercise of such powers as may be granted to them by the sovereign people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; no prime ministers or their ministers shall be members of parliament or any legislative assembly;
4. all legislation subject to consent: no legislation or treaty shall take effect without the direct consent of the majority of the people, by positive vote if so demanded, and that no legislation or treaty shall continue to have effect when that consent is withdrawn by the majority of the people;
5. no taxes or spending without consent: no tax, charge or levy shall be imposed, nor any public spending authorised, nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government except with the express permission of the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a properly authenticated budget which shall first have been approved by their respective legislatures;
6. a constitutional convention: Parliament, once members of the executive are excluded, convenes a constitutional convention to draw up a definitive codified constitution for the people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which shall recognise their sovereign status and their inherent, inalienable rights and which shall be subject to their approval.
If you use Twitter and mention the Harrogate Agenda please consider using the hashtag #HarrogateAgenda