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2.8 MILLION GREATER MANCHESTER RESIDENTS ARE BEING DENIED BASIC DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS PARLIAMENT TOLD
 

Star date: 28th October 2015

GM DEVOLUTION DEAL `WOEFULLY UNDEMOCRATIC' SELECT COMMITTEE HEARS

The Parliamentary Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which came to Manchester for a few hours on Monday, heard that the devolution deal for Greater Manchester was `woefully undemocratic and underfunded'.

David Fernandez-Arias, of the GM Referendum Campaign and 38 Degrees, told the Committee that 2.8million residents of Greater Manchester were being `treated as an irrelevance', adding that there was `no public awareness, no public consultation...our basic democratic rights are being denied'...

Full details here...


Undemocractic Devo Manc Deal Undemocractic Devo Manc Deal Undemocractic Devo Manc Deal
click image to enlarge

"This approach is dangerous and unacceptable - it is poisoning the reservoir of our collective goodwill and throttling our potential"


On Monday, the Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Select Committee held an evidence session at Manchester Town Hall concerning the controversial process of Greater Manchester devolution, or Devo Manc, which will affect everything from planning to the NHS.

While campaigners for a referendum on DevoManc slated the event before it took place, arguing that 2.8million Greater Manchester residents were only allocated an hour of evidence presentation (see previous Salford Star article click here), when they actually came face-to face with the Committee they absolutely slated the devolution process.

A report on the proceedings by Stephen Hall, President of Greater Manchester Association of Trades Union Councils, recalls how the Select Committee heard the `frank views' from a range of citizens and civic society representatives...

"One after the other, they calmly and forcefully, pulled back the curtain of spin and rhetoric that has dominated any mention of Devo Manc in official circles up to now, to reveal the naked truth that the people of Greater Manchester have been kept in the dark and totally excluded from the back-room devo-deals struck by Council chiefs in GM and George Osborne" he states.

"The resounding message from the public contributions was that we can't just rely on the 'motherhood and apple pie' platitudes about the principles and ideas of devolution and future 'sunlit uplands'" he adds "The brutal facts are that the GM deals are woefully undemocratic and underfunded, leaving citizens deeply concerned and anxious to understand what the real world plans and consequences will actually be – for health and social care services and for housing, for example. When people were asked if they were `excited' about the GM devo-deals, it's fair to say that this was not met with the response perhaps they had hoped for!"

The Committee also heard evidence, for over an hour, from Tony Lloyd, Interim Mayor of Greater Manchester, Sue Derbyshire, Stockport Council leader, and Kieran Quinn, Tameside Council leader. They merely suggested webcasting meetings and involving local councillors to help with `public engagement'.

Next up were Karel Wiliams from the University of Manchester and David Fernandez-Arias of the GM Referendum Campaign and 38 Degrees Manchester, who were only scheduled to address the Committee for a total of twenty minutes.

Stephen Hall reports that "Karel clearly laid out some very serious flaws in the financial framework underpinning the devo-deals and raised the need to broaden the body of research and policy formation participants", while David quoted George Osborne's description of devolution as `a revolution in government', before adding: "And yet we've had no public awareness, no public consultation, no democratic engagement, no scrutiny, no impact assessment.
 .
"Our basic democratic rights are being denied - treated as an irrelevance, or an afterthought, or an inconvenience, or an obstacle to their fast-tracked and imposed plans" he explained "This approach is dangerous and unacceptable - it is poisoning the reservoir of our collective goodwill and throttling our potential. We now need joint action to improve the health of our local democracy as a top priority, with proper protections and informed consent, for real democratic devolution fit for the 21st Century."

David then set out six stages of 'Pause, Engage, Explain, Listen, Make Changes and then Informed Consent via a referendum', as the best way to involve people... "If they feel disrespected, ignored, excluded and imposed upon, how can they possibly feel that they will want to contribute and get behind it all?" he asked.

In conclusion, David told the Committee that 2.8million Greater Manchester residents are being `herded, at speed, into a mass clinical field trial for mandatory live experimentation' – and that, if a doctor tried this approach in the real NHS world "they would, quite rightly, be stopped, struck-off and jailed!"

The Select Committee also heard that, over the weekend pro-democracy campaigners had gathered over 2,500 signatures in a new 38 Degrees Manchester online petition titled 'Greater Manchester demands: make local democracy a top priority for real devolution!' which is aimed at formally including a specific GM Strategic Priority to improve local democracy...

To sign the petition – click here

To follow the campaign for democracy in the Devo Manc deal see the group's Facebook page Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign – click here

Or Twitter @VoteOnDevoManc

Winston Smith wrote
at 07:55:20 on 12 November 2015
@Devo: The Labour Party is run from its plush London HQ and I think you're right, they do see the North as some kind of shit wasteland - so if we get DevoManc how would we stop Labour from having a say in what happens in Salford? If you have the solution to this, you might even convert me to your way of thinking...
 
Devo wrote
at 18:56:13 on 11 November 2015
@Winston haha the Salford Star is the left's answer to the Daily Mail mate! Take most stories with a bucket of salt!! Whatever the council's faults they've got to know the area better than a bunch of burocrats sitting in London who see Salford as the same thing as Skegness, Swindon or Scunthorpe.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 16:48:03 on 11 November 2015
@Devo: As mentioned, I really don’t care who runs the NHS as long as they do it properly. You’re right, the NHS is an inefficient mess, but you think handing it over to the likes of Salford Council would make everything OK???? Like they’re a shining beacon of fairness, democracy and efficiency??? I suggest you read more Salford Star stories about how the council does things, because that’s what your ‘local’ NHS will look like under DevoManc.
 
Devo wrote
at 07:07:14 on 11 November 2015
@Winston haha what a load of scaremongering b@ll@cks! Politicians don't run the NHS, clinicians and administrators do!! The NHS is a bloated inefficient money pit as it is. You just don't want local people shaping their services as they see fit. You must LOVE the establishment or have an interest in keeping things as they are. You WANT to STOP local people having their say. Now THATS undemocratic.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 16:10:21 on 10 November 2015
@Devo: You've obviously fallen for the lie. The theory is great, but the reality will be totally different. You think that just because someone has a Labour rosette and gets voted in on a 30% turnout that they'll somehow know how to run combined local NHS and Social Services?????? This is just the national government deliberately abdicating responsibility, knowing full well that when it's a balls up they'll be able to blame the Labour Party in Greater Manchester. The STRENGTH of the NHS is that it's National and Public. Would you have a local ARMY as well??? What DevoManc is about is cutting the NHS up into smaller, less effective pieces and, ultimately, privatising it. And no, I don't discriminate as to who runs it, as long as they run it well. Would you choose a surgeon to save your kid's life based on their authentic local accent rather than their skills and experience??? Or maybe you'll prove me wrong by telling me exactly how you, as a 'local person', would manage NHS Informatics, for example? Or what the mechanism might be that would democratically decide between hip operation for an old person or social care for a child? As I say, great vote winning theory but in practice it'll just mean local politicians making their usual shit excuses rather than national politicians making their usual shit excuses, and millions of pounds being lost in a very badly planned restructure.
 
Devo wrote
at 18:24:10 on 09 November 2015
@Winston Smith - no there won't. I take it you like your city being run from London and that Londoners know better what our city needs than local people? You're having a laff!
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 12:16:18 on 09 November 2015
@Devo: DevoManc will be even less democratic than the system we've got now, as there will be even more layers of politicians and bureaucrats all serving their own interests. Not to mention the many private firms all extracting £Millions for profit rather than health care, social care, etc
 
Devo wrote
at 22:36:43 on 08 November 2015
Devolution can't come soon enough! Personally Ive had it to the back teeth of distant self serving MPs presuming they know best, running the city like some sort of colony, now THATS undemocratic.
 
Michael F in Salford wrote
at 18:52:36 on 30 October 2015
As long as we pay too high a wage to elected Mayors and Councillors this will continue to fuel a drive by those for greater grabs of authority. I want to see Salford Mayor get no more than £10k a year with all them elected Councillors getting no more that their Mayor. This will save we austerity people in Salford half a million pounds towards services for our vulnerable citizens. It is time to end the fat cat, gravy train of career politicians in England.
 
Are the loonies are representing us? wrote
at 07:35:07 on 29 October 2015
Why aren't we hearing anything from Salford's MPs on this great combining of control, do they not understand that it will be them next. Step forward the sole MP for a not so Greater Manchester. This is all about having one controlling body in GM, it's a backwards step we need to reintroduce LOCAL town councils not combine everything into one big unconnected mess.
 
Biff Takethat wrote
at 18:57:02 on 28 October 2015
Democracy is irrelevant regarding DevoManc. Here’s why: All 2.8 million people affected cannot, ever, be informed adequately enough to make a realistic decision. The complexity of it is such that only a knowledgeable few MIGHT have a proper inkling of what’s going on. Trust politicians to understand on our behalf??? Unlikely – the top managers in these organisations are hardly going to volunteer information on what a costly mess it all is (even if they understand it themselves) and your local MP won’t be able to go bypass them and dig for dirt (unless they’re some kind of auditing or organisational expert). If you want evidence, look at the CCGs, CSUs and LATs. If you don’t know NOW what’s going on in GM with these, you won’t stand a chance of understanding what will happen when various health and social agencies, councils, GM NHS, private companies and who knows what all get together for DevoManc. It'll be SPECTACULAR! (not in a good way)
 
Joe Taylor wrote
at 18:56:59 on 28 October 2015
The next step will be to hand in the 38 Degrees petition to Tony Lloyd, see what he has to say and then meet for a brew and figure out what next. If you sign or have signed the petition, you will be kept very much in the loop.
 
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