The Harrogate Agenda: "Continuing the work..."
Page 1 of The Harrogate Agenda: "Demands for governance by the people for the people":-
"The original aim of the Chartists was to reform the political system to make it more democratic. And, although five of their six demands were eventually conceded, their work was not done. The system, although improved, is still very far from democratic. Thus we seek to continue their work, with another six demands, which we intend to be the focus of a new political movement."On 1st October, 2016, I attended a meeting for The Harrogate Agenda. To choose one single subject to define the heart of the meeting: Power. There was some very deliberate and defined discussion at one point in the meeting concerning Demand 4: The Peoples Consent with respect to the mechanics of power. On the one side you have The Peoples Consent requirement to legislation proposed by Parliament and on the other hand you have Parliament's Consent to legislation proposed by people, which sparked a number of questions: Who then holds true power if the "right of proposal" is curtailed"? Or how is power truly restrained? There's more on this (see the website link above) on Page 14-.
This example is at the heart of the movement mentioned here and in the above passage all within the ambit of Power:-
- More democratic
- Continue their work
- Six Demands
- new political movement
Much is made today, for example today's Daily Politics, just the latest example of types of power:-
- Money (eg funding sources)
- Vote Count (eg MPs per party) - this one mentioned
- Communication (eg data mining)
- Prestige (eg social hierarchies)
It's tempting to explore so much more and to elaborate on the ideas behind these basic ideas on power so much more, too. But to keep this report succinct: If we stop and consider that maybe our present politics really does revolve around such accepted notions of power as summarized above, then a consideration of where we are at with respect to political change as it exists today, may be in order:-
In times of transition or change, new problems arise. Not only are these new problems to solve, but old ways of viewing problems may themselves become problems too?
When you translate the above "viewing" into how the politicians "view" peoples current problems you end up with the type of "party speeches" that have been aired in the past few days, the usual fodder dolled out year on year:-
- 'Building a bigger, better, fairer more inclusive society'
- 'Those at the bottom neglected will be included again'
- 'We will regain control of immigration, housing, economy and...'
Hence, in my opinion, at The Harrogate Agenda meeting, there was the feeling of being dwarfed by the scale of the problem: If this is such a good idea, why hasn't it already been done before, a "sanity check" style of question?
Interestingly, The Chartists already did attempt this, as stated before! And by the very means of perceived power of their time, too:-
"The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims..."What did they rely on that made them successful? I think if there is going to be any kind of success, for The Harrogate Agenda, then finding out what "this" is, will be essential; if it isn't already known? For more discussion on the challenges understanding this, Scribblings From Seaham provides further commentary:-