The Harrogate Agenda is not Democracy

For approximately 2/3 years I have been engaged in a discussion with Niall Warry, Director of The Harrogate Agenda,, which on some occasions culminated in fierce arguments, about The Harrogate Agenda and its progression coupled with some of its content.

The website for the Harrogate Agenda contains this preface, along with the six demands:

The premise on which our movement is based is that democracy means “people power”. The word democracy stems from the Greek word, dēmokratía, comprising two parts: dêmos “people” and kratos “power”. Without a demos, there is no democracy. But people without power is not democracy either.

Our current system of government is known as “representative democracy”. That phrase is a misuse of the word democracy. People do not hold power: that system cannot by definition be a democracy. We seek to return power to the people. We are concerned with power – who holds it and under what circumstances and controls, and how to get more of it. Above all else, we hold to the core principle that in a true democracy the people must hold the power.

Our objective is to recover power. Our focus is on the acquisition of power. And once we ourselves, the people, hold the power, we can then attend to the many problems and injustices that plague modern society. But without power, there is only protest – and we achieve nothing of any lasting value. To help us acquire power, we are adopting the original strategy of the Chartists. Like them, we felt it was vital to frame a very limited number of achievable demands – six in number……….

I have during the aforementioned period been attempting to obtain a response to a few questions:

  • Why would someone ‘high jack’ what was originally intended as a people’s movement for his own ends, until I recalled this article in which it is stated:

But my thinking is that this happens alongside our current system of representative
democracy, which I rather like, even if it has currently lost its way.

  • If ‘Representative Democracy’ is a misuse of the word democracy because people do not hold power then what is the point of encapsulating within the six demands the requirement for an advisory/take note referendum, one which the government of the day can ignore if they so wish?

In regard to this point I refer readers to Demand 4, paragraph 4.

  • Recently The author mentioned above has been lamenting, on his blog:, the depths to which our present system of government has plumbed. At the same time the Director of The Harrogate Agenda, Niall Warry, has been retweeting relevant tweets on the same subject and adding: This is why we need The Harrogate Agenda (with link).

I commented on one article, coupled with one retweet from Niall Warry and stated that I found it ludicrous that they so did when for the past 8 years they had the means to have begun the negation of their current fears; which, needless to say, brought forth cries of disapproval, blame, censure and condemnation,

  • The question was also posed why The Harrogate Agenda had been relegated to stage six in FlexCit when that document (page 364)sates:

….there is little point in recovering powers from the EU, only to hand them back to the same institutions that gave them away in the first place…..

Which begs the question why The Harrogate Agenda was not ‘progressed’ alongside stages 1-5 as a separate campaign.

In further pursuance of the aim to obtaining answers to my questions a further exchange of emails took place with Niall Warry during the past few days; of which follow some extracts from the replies I received. I will not bother readers with the entire content of said replies as they contain some, of what I consider, snide remarks of a personal nature, coupled with some rather childish observations and comparisons.

  • To use a military analogy he (Richard North) is the Officer Commanding THA and I have no reason to doubt the direction he gives.
  • Yes, THA supports the basics of Representative Democracy obviously though reformed in line with our six demands.

As an aside, at this point I have to make known my admiration of Richard North for his knowledge and research abilities, but unfortunately, he brooks no opposition to his views in the same manner as do other ‘defacto’ dictators.

In response to the aforementioned two quotes, two further questions:

  • Who appointed/voted him as Officer Commanding THA; likewise Niall Warry as Director?
  • The basics of representative democracy cannot be combined with elements of direct democracy – they are as different as chalk and cheese. Therefore whilst The Harrogate Agenda contains any elements of representative democracy, be it just one basic element, Messrs North and Warry are guilty of trying to make a silk purse from a pigs ear.

It is incumbent on me, therefore, to announce that I can no longer support The Harrogate Agenda, nor any part of it.




2 thoughts on “The Harrogate Agenda is not Democracy

  1. THA, is it dead? Yes it passed a long time ago. Mind you it had been invisible, like a beetle under a stone, for most of its life. Do we mourn its passing? No, not at all, it has gone to a better place, so they say. Rumour has it a copy sits in the Brautigan Library, perhaps alongside a copy of the Euston Manifesto? That would be nice. Two failed attempts at creating a better world and two fallen bravehearts in lock-step forever more. That would be both romantic and fitting. So have we learnt from this episode? No not a bit of it. The old crew go stumbling on much as before. But there must be something left behind surely; a roll of honour perhaps? No nothing like that at all. So how shall we remember them? We won’t.

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