One key element of the Harrogate Agenda is that the movement does not have a defined ‘leader’ and rejects the idea of morphing itself into a political party.
Part of the thinking is that the focus remains on the aims of the movement, allowing every supporter of those aims to have the autonomy to organise meetings and events and support the campaign in a way that suits them.
In this way internal intrigues are thus diminished and autocrats are prevented from seizing the direction of the movement and diverting the energies of supporters to activities that suit a different agenda. It is a reflection of the dwindling trust in political parties among ordinary people.
This shift has accelerated as politics has become ‘professionalised’ to the extent where future party figures are groomed from a young age in party youth sections, read politics and economics at college and then work in think-tanks and policy institutes before being streamed into party candidate selection. Real world experience and a productive employment history is noticeable by its absence among this political class.
With this in mind we notice that another non-aligned, organic, grassroots movement has similarly rejected the idea of electing a leader or forming a political party, while still recognising the need for a government.
Regardless of the cause this movement is pursuing, this is yet another striking example of the rapidly changing approach to politics and campaigning that deliberately marginalises the political parties and strives to keeps them and their influence at arms length.
We are seeing the advent of a new politics, one that operates in a way that encourages people power instead of seeing that stripped away by the political class which hijacks and plunders each passing bandwagon.
People are increasingly joining such campaigns because they have a great deal more confidence that grassroots movements won’t be saddled with the party political baggage and the selfish motivations of power seekers who use politics as a route to personal enrichment and seek reward from the self selecting establishment they inevitably service.
Times are a changing.