The Hannah Mitchell Foundation: An Introduction
The Hannah Mitchell Foundation, formed in 2012, is an independent (and unfunded), democratic organisation which researches and campaigns for progressive regionalism and devolution for the North. We want to stimulate new thinking about ways of getting a stronger voice for The North. We are inspired by Hannah Mitchell (1872-1956) – an outstanding Northern working class feminist, co-operator and socialist who served as a councillor in Manchester for many years and believed in an inclusive and open approach to politics.
The North of England, with a population of over 15 million people, has few of the powers enjoyed by neighbouring devolved nations of Scotland and Wales. Yet it is potentially a powerful ‘super-region’ of the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West.
Devolution has been a success in many parts of the UK. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Greater London have their own elected governments or assemblies. We think it is time for the North of England to have its own forms of democratically-elected regional governance.
It’s a means to an end: above all, it’s about addressing the growing economic imbalance between North and South. We want to grow the North’s pride in itself, as a region which has played such an outstanding role in industrial development but also in culture, education and democratic politics.
Today, the North is more socially and culturally diverse than it has ever been. A movement for Northern devolution needs to reflect that diversity and explore new and inclusive forms of democratic governance, regionally and locally. We want to work with all sections of our society – parties, voluntary organisations, businesses, unions and faith groups – to build a strong lobby for The North.
Our core aims are:
- To make the case for democratic regional devolution in the North of England and to stimulate debate about the best forms for it, whether for the North as a whole or its constituent regions.
- To improve knowledge and understanding of the past, present and potential future socio-economic, cultural and political identity of the North and its constituent parts.
- To co-operate with similar organisations across the UK and beyond to promote regional democracy.
We will also collaborate with others to:
- To promote democratic forms of political representation
- To support local democratic initiatives, from village to town and city level
- To encourage and examine experiments in participative democracy
- To promote industrial democracy in the workplace.