Connectivity permitting, on this post we will be blogging live from the second Harrogate Agenda meeting taking place today in Leamington Spa. Updates also via Twitter. If you want to tweet about today’s meeting please use the hashtag #HarrogateAgenda
1725 Reflecting on the meeting today the group has achieved a great deal in a short space of time. But no one is under any illusions, the positive vision of achieving a truly democratic country will be years in the making. A lot of work will need to be done to help people understand the concept and envisage a future where ordinary folk decide this country’s direction rather than the politicians. This is a worthwhile movement that has no interest in appealing to cheap ‘celebrity’ endorsement or dictating what others must do. This is about changing the UK for the better and bringing about a settlement that results in genuine localised people power and the neutering of the establishment. We will continue carrying the message and hoping more people will join in the journey to transform the UK for the better.
1558 The meeting concludes after a check for any other business. We have ratified the 6 Demands, discussed the campaign’s organisation structure, explored the Harrogate Agenda’s strategic approach and looked at the mechanism for withdrawal from the EU in a way that secures the interests of Britain’s business and ability to export our goods to our neighbours in a way that is legal in the EU and protected by WTO agreements.
1507 The fine details of how UKIP’s EU withdrawal plan would prevent our ability to export to the remaining EU member states are discussed, demonstrating how EU law would stop imports from the UK. The answer is to keep all EU law in place upon withdrawal and slowly establish trade agreements to preserve a single market via the EEA, before treaties enable laws to be repealed.
1423 Leaving the EU is not the aim of the Harrogate Agenda. However delivery of the Harrogate Agenda would make membership of the EU incompatible with democratic people power in a localised form.
1415 An excellent lunch is now over and Richard states to somewhat surprised attendees: “I do not want to leave the EU…… if all it means is handing power from one bunch of unaccountable morons in Brussels to another groups of unaccountable morons in Westminster.” It makes no sense to focus all energies on exiting the EU unless there is something that serves the interest of the people to move to. Without real democracy and a positive vision of the future first it would be out of the frying pan and into the fire.
1259 Andy rounds off with the most defining strategic part of our campaign, using the words of John Lennon:
When it gets down to having to use violence then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour.
1245 Andy is now giving the group an insight into strategy concerning social movements. Again this all lends itself to a campaign to advance ideas that will bring about people power and true democratic control, correcting the inverted relationship between master and servant. People will hold the power, but it won’t happen with a directive approach or top down cascade of what the people should do with their power.
1223 Success with our efforts will be when our ideas are absorbed into the public consciousness and accepted generally as the way this country should work. That will put pressure on the politicians as the people demand power and actively work to take it back. It may take many years but it will be done away from the establishment, without celebrity endorsement faux glamour. Ideas and the reasonableness of our vision are king.
1215 A fascinating insight from Richard about how the success of the Harrogate Agenda in the future can be measured by the extent to which the people in the room have been forgotten. This is not an electoral campaign, it is a campaign of ideas for people to recognise, identify with and push forward. Lessons from the way other campaigns have flounderehare well learned and being applied to this effort to democracy real democracy.
1150 A quick coffee break and now refreshed the attendees are back in the room and the agenda item for discussion is the group’s organisation and structure.
1121 The pamphlet being prepared about what we are looking to achieve is the foundation of our push for democracy. It isn’t a stand alone document. Social media, public meetings, specific campaigns, our thinking and actions via those and other mediums will be founded in our demands and the principles we embody. The document will be a reference point. Our efforts will be far more interactive and high profile.
1102 Discussion explores concerns about what achieving the 6 Demands means for the constitutional settlement in the UK. Answer in the room from Tony is that the 6 Demands only take back power and give it to the people. The Harrogate Agenda is not dictatorial. The people will decide what to do with the power taken back from the establishment.
1045 The demand for a directly elected Prime Minister is provoking excellent debate in the room. Would having a directly elected PM unleash a bigger beast than we have now? This concern is addressed by a focus on more local ‘bottom up power’ meaning the PM would have a different set of responsibilities than now.
1000 The delegates have arrived and coffee is flowing. The mood in the room is upbeat and there is an air of anticipation and a real sense that we can achieve something significant.