Saturday, September 20, 2014

Scotland the brave

I've done two blogs on the Scottish referendum result and the aftermath. One is more normal Downtown Friday blog, which is here. A flavour:
There has been an awful lot of hyperbole amongst think tankers and pundits about the triumphs of the Manchester experiment. But it would be wholly wrong to equate this with any kind of awakening of a civic mood for independence.
 But if we think the Tartan Spring is on its way to Manchester we have a lot of waking up to do. There are wards in Greater Manchester with voter turnout at miniscule levels. So small as to actually undermine the democratic mandate.
 There is an argument that because local government has become about bin collections and cuts to services that there is nothing to vote for. The aspiration has to be to correct that through real power, proper engagement and meaningful change.
Then I was guest commentator on Prolific North, the media news website. Where I picked up on the theme about political engagement and the role the media can play. A taster:

And the media has a role to play. What kind of North do we want? Do we have respect for the institutions of power, those that seek election and those that make the hard decisions, are do we turn over and yawn. Will all of the efforts to create a new constitutional settlement for how our cities can be run better be reduced to a newspaper poll about whether Marco Pierre White could be Mayor of Leeds or Shaun Ryder in Manchester.
Scotland has had a generational opportunity and is hopefully now working out how it can work effectively as part of the United Kingdom. That conversation has started here too. It mustn't get obsessed with structures, but it still desperately needs something to connect to people about what the new politics will be like.

And as if by magic, our next DISCUSS debate on the 8th of October will be on the race to give power to the cities. 

Eventbrite - English devolution. More power to the cities.