Campaign for Northern Democracy

A new grassroots campaign by the North for the North

Help shape the future of the North of England

Define and promote the North’s democratic rights

Fight back against the Westminster politics+media circus

Jointly with our friends at Compass, in 2021 the Hannah Mitchell Foundation is launching the Campaign for Northern Democracy – a grassroots campaign by the North of England for the North of England.

The campaign is also supported by Peoples Powerhouse, Same Skies and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Sign up here to find out more about the campaign and to vote on the issues you would like the Campaign to focus on. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you represent an organisation that might like to support the campaign, please drop us a line here.

Read the call to set up a Campaign for Northern Democracy below.

An invitation to join the Campaign for Northern Democracy

The North of England is in tough times. Covid has killed many thousands and upended the livelihoods of millions. Northern exporters are being hammered by Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. Throughout all, the Johnson government continues to plumb new depths of contempt for democratic norms.

But the North’s problems of social injustice and strategic economic weakness were already there. Forty years of ‘neoliberalism’ and ten years of austerity had taken their toll. 2021 after Covid offers the chance for a reset: people don’t want the new normal to be like the old normal. But the North needs a whole new economy and a new social contract if we are to “build back better”.

The Campaign for Northern Democracy argues that constitutional and democratic reform is a vital ingredient in the great task of building a new economy and addressing social injustice across the North. To succeed in fixing our social and economic problems, we must first fix the problem of the North’s woeful democratic deficit and abject subordination to the Westminster politics+media circus. It’s not the whole solution, but it’s a crucial part of it.

The Campaign for Northern Democracy is a grassroots movement, demanding democratic reform that works for the North. We invite all citizens and organisations who are working for a better North of England to join us.

Things we can campaign on, with your help:

A voice for the North of England. As the future of our disunited kingdom rises to the top of the political agenda, the North needs its own voice in the debate. Often the North has more in common with Scotland and Wales, and we must not accept London and South East elites speaking as if for the whole of England.

Revive the North’s great local government tradition. Help fight for more resources for local government services in the North and greater financial autonomy – without this, there is no regional power. Promotion of democratic scrutiny (including of Metro Mayors), civic education about what local government does and why we need it, and electoral reform for local elections.

Support independent Northern media. Help support independent regional and local media across the North, especially Northern-wide platforms for Northern-wide information exchange and debate. Otherwise we will be relying on Andrew Neil’s GB News to find out what is happening in our own region.

Reform voting and the Westminster parliament. Electoral reform to give us a fair voting system and other major reforms to the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Democratic devolution – break the Whitehall monopoly. Break the Westminster/Whitehall monopoly over budgets and policy. Stimulate debate across the North about the best form of regional democratic empowerment – from elected assemblies for the North as a whole or for its constituent regions to federalism, or even full independence.

Progressive regionalism. Widen and deepen knowledge of, and pride in, the best of the North’s cultural and political identity and radical traditions – in a modern, civic regionalism open to everyone from all social backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and religions.  

Participatory and deliberative democracy. Support experiments in participatory & deliberative democracy, and highly local democracy, such as citizens’ assemblies, citizens’ juries and participatory budgeting.

The Campaign for Northern Democracy

The Campaign for Northern Democracy initially aims to be an umbrella group raising the profile of the North’s democratic deficit and providing a platform for the broad, inclusive debate the North needs to have on the options to fix it. In the future, should our supporters wish it, we may campaign for specific policies and solutions.

To sign up for the Campaign for Northern Democracy, click here: A new grassroots campaign by the North for the North (actionnetwork.org)

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