For the last 2/3 months I have been authoring @the_harrogate Twitter feed on behalf of The Harrogate Agenda (the account is now deleted for reasons which will follow). Whilst ‘managing’ the account an attempt was made to ensure that the word ‘I’ was never used, instead using the word ‘We’ when suggesting changes that were needed to our form of democracy. The reason for attempting to keep my identity ‘secret’ was to ensure that no opening was made for people to infer my views, on my own twitter account (@scribblinseaham), were those of The Harrogate Agenda. In that regard I can but hope that I was successful.
Having read The Harrogate Agenda, line by line, it struck me that there were aspects contained therein that were not what I considered true direct democracy. After many telephone conversations with Niall Warry, the Director of The Harrogate Agenda, I suggested that a meeting could be convened during which I might raise said points and in the ensuing discussion some agreement, or not, could be reached.
Initially that was accepted, yet about a week ago he informed me the meeting would just be to review ‘where we are’ and ‘the way forward’. I declined to attend as this would have been a further ‘talking shop’; and I have attended enough of such THA meetings in the past.
A few days ago it was suggested by Niall Warry that it might be possible to find 45 minutes in the planned meeting for me to air my concerns but that he wished me, via email, to set out my views in writing which were to be attached to the Agenda. This I refused so to do, suggesting that this particular item on the agenda could be notated as: Suggested amendments to The Harrogate Agenda with my name appended. This was turned down flat by Niall Warry; and there the conversation ended.
Over the last 24 hours I have received three emails from Niall Warry accusing me of being vindictive, obnoxious and believing that only my views on direct democracy are the correct ones. I replied that I am not stating that only my views are valid and that I merely wished for the opportunity to air them in a meeting, have a discussion and let others accept or negate them – nothing more, nothing less.
It also seems to me that THA is more like a manifesto, one telling people the form of DD that they can have. If people want DD then it will be up to them to decide what form it should take. Likewise, in suggesting a form of DD, it is up to those of us who are interested in THA to decide what the initial suggestions are – not Richard North and Niall Warry by what may be termed ‘dictat’. I would suggest that they both either accept this viewpoint otherwise they are no better than the political paries that currently exist.
If true direct democracy is to be adopted then the people must have unfettered control of their politicians, their own lives and the future of their nation. The Harrogate Agenda, as currently written, has many areas where control is being ceded to the political class and thus falls back on elements of representative democracy.
As a result of Niall Warry’s decision(s) I advised him that I felt unable to promote a form of direct democracy with which I did not and could not believe; consequently I deleted @the_harrogate twitter account.