Today has been titled Greater Manchester Petition Day urging people to `have a voice on the future of Greater Manchester'.
Back in November, Tory Chancellor George Osborne signed a deal with the leaders of the ten Greater Manchester councils, including Salford, to devolve some power to the region which included the imposition of an elected Mayor. No citizens were consulted on the deal and organisations ranging from Greater Manchester Trades Council, to the Green Party, the Reality Party and TUSC, called for a referendum.
"The Green Party is in favour of devolution when done correctly" said Deyika Nzeribe Chair of Manchester Green Party "It has to be discussed and accepted at a local level. The Green Party therefore calls for a consultation of the people of Greater Manchester, followed by a referendum, to decide whether we want devolution and if so, what form it should take. This is the biggest governance change in Manchester in a generation - people have a right to decide this for themselves. We will work with others to make this happen."
This morning, referendum campaigners were out on Salford Precinct getting people to sign petitions and the response, they said, was overwhelming...
"Seven out of ten people I've asked have signed this petition so that shows what the feeling is out there" explained Eric Thorpe "The accountability of any elected Mayor is to other leaders, there's no other people involved.
"When you look back at what happened in Scotland, as soon as it looked like the vote was going `Yes' something happened which I've never seen happen before, where all three main parties dropped everything and scurried over to Scotland" he added "We're not even getting a vote."
Others had issues with the deal itself, citing the inclusion of privatisation and cuts as part of the agreement, and the loss of the Greater Manchester Police Commissioner whose role would be subsumed into the Mayor's job, meaning even less accountability for Greater Manchester Police.
The call for a referendum on `Devo Manc' went out right across the region, with a petition launch at Albert Square in Manchester at lunchtime... "The people of Greater Manchester must have a referendum on Devo Manc, an agreement of a small group of politicians to stitch us up with a Mayor, despite the people of Manchester voting against having a Mayor in 2012" stated campaign flyers.
To sign the online petition – click here
For further details see related Salford Star articles...
• Greater Manchester Devolution Democracy Deficit – click here
• Devolution and the Greater Manchester Fat Cats – click here
Photo by Steven Speed