The Harrogate Agenda

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.



19 thoughts on “The Harrogate Agenda

  1. To be fair I was made aware by you this post was coming and I thought it would need a rebuttal as indeed it sadly does!
    1. You have omitted that you told me that you would only undertake the work on Twitter for THA if there was no editorial control and I accepted that condition.

    2. You did not have the conversation with me about substituting ‘I with We’?

    3. Something me did discuss was my opinion that your ‘Northern’ joke, on your blog, was unwise, but it was YOU that informed me that there was no link could be made between this blog and the THA twitter account you were running, which was something of which I was not aware.

    4. I would like to remind you that you were one of the main proof readers for the pamphlet BEFORE it was published and therefore approved and accepted it and currently you are the ONLY person who wishes to change it.

    5. This is factually incorrect I was planning a meeting anyway. before I made contact with you again, and during our telephone conversations I suggested we could discuss your points when it was held. I however moved away from this offer after you had suggested you might walk out of the meeting if things didn’t go your way or were conducted not to your liking.

    6. Your sequence of events is not correct. I latterly suggested, as is common practice, that you supply before the meeting a summary of the half dozen points, you said you had, which would give attendees a chance to consider your points before the meeting so that we didn’t get bogged down in too much debate. I was naturally keen to avoid any disharmony at the meeting especially as we had not held one for so long.

    7. Before I called you vindictive and obnoxious you had previously put in an e-mail that I was a sycophant, dictatorial, having no mind of my own and my friend and colleague Dr North was a ‘control freak’. You always have been a bit of an angry man in a hurry and have frequently told me your ‘bluntness’, I’d more accurately called rudeness, is just the way you are!

    8. When we last spoke I did again offer you the opportunity to raise your points but with the one condition you supplied attendees with a paper on your concerns before the meeting so they had time to consider them carefully.

    9. I have mentioned in conversations and e-mails that THA may well evolve but at this stage in our development, with the pamphlet agreed by our key supporters, it is not the time for potential disharmony by being in a rush to make wholesale changes with still so much basic work to do on promoting our six demands.

    10. Basically, we have a genuine difference of opinion as while I’m in favour of giving the people real POWER over our politicians I also believe they must be allowed to govern albeit with us being able to say NO when necessary.

    11. Sadly and regrettably you have left us again, as you did very early on when you set up the Harrogate Declaration which having proved UNSUCCESSFUL you did agree to take down. You then set up your own DD4UK which was also a failure attracting little to no interest and you again took it down. In my opinion there is enough evidence to prove you are sadly unable to show flexibility or compromise or to work within a team.

    Meanwhile THA continues increasing its exposure and will be ready and waiting when and if the ‘People’ wish to rally around the cause.

    This is my genuine attempt to put the record straight.

    1. Niall,

      In rebuttal:

      1. What has this point got to do with the price of bread? It has nothing to do with my decision to cease operations on behalf of THA.

      2. Where have I said that we did have such a conversation Why would we have had same when it was agreed that I would not be subject to editorial control, ie input from Richard North or you.

      3. The fact that you have had more than one ‘tutorial’ about twitter is evidence that you don’t know much about twitter. Having had it explained to you the difference twixt the two accounts, why bring up this point? Again, what has this point got to do with my decision?

      4. Whilst, to my memory, I may have proofed the initial version (one on which my name and yours appeared along with that of Richard North; I most certainly do not recall proof reading the on-line version.

      5. In this point you are being economical with the actualité. You asked me what I would do if my ideas were rejected, would I walk away. If yet again you had not had your ear-lids closed you would have heard me say that would depend at the time of the discussion and I could not say.

      6. What is the difference ‘tween ‘latterly’ and ‘a few days ago’? The average person speaks at about 130/150 words a minute. Were I to speak for 15/20 minutes I would be typing something in the order of 3,000 words. In any event I can better explain verbally, in conversation, than in writing.

      7. From Miriam-Webster: Vindictive: disposed to seek revenge; obnoxious: odiously or disgustingly objectionable.
      That you are a sycophant is beyond question as when in any discussion, in rebuttal all you can do is parrot Richard North. That you are dictatorial is again beyond question due to the fact that I am now of the opinion that not only is Richard North a control freak, but that so are you. That I only use one word instead of ten, that I do not waffle to the extent that I have lost the point I wished to make no doubt does make me ‘blunt’ – it does not make me rude.
      Consequently I fail to see the use of the two words you have used is fair or justified.

      8. I have answered this point above.

      9. I hardly think 5/6 suggested changes constitutes ‘Wholesale changes’.

      10. If you knew owt about direct democracy you would realise that politicians elected under direct democracy to not ‘govern’, they ‘manage’ the affairs of their nation – it is the people that govern. If you are in favour of giving people real power then you would not be content with the introduction of elements of representative democracy that currently exist in THA.

      11. Again I must correct you; THD was taken down quite early following a conversation with Richard North as I informed you in an email. That DD4UK did not gain traction was not my fault, but rather the fault of the initially interested who once they realised they had to ‘do the work’ then lost interest.
      ” In my opinion there is enough evidence to prove you are sadly unable to show flexibility or compromise or to work within a team.”. Niall, I could say the same about you – so where does that leave us?

      I note that you have failed to respond to the antipenultimate paragraph – I wonder why?

      1. David i have a comment in moderation for some strange reason, its basically abaut Mr Warry taking a trip to Italy to see have the 5 star movement organised themselves

    2. Niall, it really is time you made an appointment with the creator of the Italian 5 star movement, i think they could actually teach you something about how to establish a successful “movement” as they’ve moved into the business of government

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you want reall power to change things you’re THA thing needs to become a true political party, otherwise it’ll come to nought

      it’s ironic that the 5 star movement and THA are about the same age yet just look at how much more successful they’ve been compared to your own efforts, do yourself a favour, get on the plane and learn something!

  2. To answer you penultimate paragraph which I can assure you I was NOT intentionally ignoring is:-

    As I’ve tried to point out to you recently, by quote an author who used the word DD in a book published in 1950, there is NOT one definition of DD. I’m fully aware you have done extensive work on understanding DD in Switzerland but I just don’t agree that DD therefore has to mimic that country’s method of governance line for line and word for word.

    As to your HD site I find it hard to accept you would have taken it down if it had been a success.

    Finally to ensure your readership of this blog FULLY understand the essential fact in all this let me state finish with this – after much toing and froing I did finally discuss with you the possibility of you explaining your concerns at our next meeting if you could present to the attendees a summary of your points before the meeting. This is normal practice for meetings if major ideas for change are proposed and the fact sadly is that you refused point blank to do this and the next day took down THA Twitter account.

    By any fair analysis, and from my extensive experiences of leadership, you have proved, since 2012, that you are inflexible, incapable of compromise and not a team player.

    You know where I am if you ever have a road to Damascus conversion to become a team player and work together for the common good of improving our system of governamnce to make it more democratic.

    1. 1. I did not say that you had failed to answer my penultimate paragraph, I specifically referred to my antipenultimate paragraph. I trust you know the difference?

      2. Direct democracy is defined as a system whereby the people are in control, ie they govern whether that be by assent or dissent to what their politicians do. Therefore anything else is not direct democracy.

      3. You were not party to the discussion I had with Richard North, so I sincerely trust that you are doubting my previous statement on this matter and thereby calling me a liar?

      4. I have already answered this point (so why repeat it?) and explained why I took the decision that I did. As to taking down the THA twitter account, you were informed of this; and in answer to your question how long you were informed a day or two.

      5. Change the record, Niall. please?

      6. As to any ‘conversion’ let me say this: whilst THA remains with you as a Director, whilst THA remains in what appears to be an ‘iron grip’ and thus will not accept change (or even the suggestions for change) then the chances of my ‘conversion’ are zilch.

      I bid you a courteous goodbye on this blog.

  3. Ah antEpenultimate – sorry!

    The THA pamphlet was a group effort but as I’ve said i gave you the opportunity to bring up your points at the meeting if you circulated your poiunts first – you refused.

    My aim in engaging from the start of your post was simply to show you spun out the events of recent weeks to show you in the best possible light and to quote you back to show you were economical with the actualité !!

    I know you took down HD on request and I’m certainly NOT calling you a liar but I am saying, and you have been ignoring my obvious point, that I wonder if you would have taken it downif it was proving a success??

    You are right we will have to agree to disagree.

    1. So I made a typo in respect of antepenultimate – would you like to re-read your last reply: “if you circulated your poiunts first ” – earlier: Something me did discuss” – need I continue??? Don’t try and be clever Niall, it never works!

      As it happens THD was gaining traction through telephone conversations with those interested; the fact nowt appeared in print is beside the point.

      I did not ‘spin out events’ to show me in the best possible light – it was a factual resume of events comprising a few words.

      Now what was it you did not understand from the final sentence of my last response? If I have to be blunt – and where you are concerned, it becomes necessary; so, to be blunt: sod off!

  4. Hi,

    dogs are never really comfortable in other peoples’ mangers.

    I have followed THA from embryo through fertilisation & all through its protracted birth.
    I appreciate the birth was hard won but births are, I gather, always hard won. The parents of the concept were very much Richard North, Niall Warry, Pete North & Tony Scholefield with input by others, both visible and some like myself less so.
    I was aware of your involvement joining along this trail and also your frequent efforts to run out of the manger barking to distract & try to create your own following – I watched in the belief that you might destroy consensus and infact THA but were very unlikely to create a viable consensus to carry your efforts foreward.

    THA has survived both with you and also when you were outside barking & failing to get a following for lack of consensus.

    I am not sorry to see you go as you have been damaging to the consensus THA had achieved.

    By all means go off on a toot of your own but it seems sad to realise you have failed in your efforts separate to THA such that you now resort to washing YOUR dirty washing in public to try to harm both THA & consensus.

    An honourable man would have handed back control of the account they had managed FOR the consensus, when they realised that organisation no longer fulfilled their ambitions but NOT then withold the site yet use the mailing list ‘entrusted’ to them to try to childishly & petulently dump all over those who had trusted you.

    No doubt you will want the last word but please don’t bother me with your failures and betrayals any further.

    I wish those taking THA forward, with such faults as I may believe it has to work with the consensus I support.

    No one can be expected to please all of the people all of the time THA must be applauded for carrying the consensus forward & I wish them well with it as I believe there is an increasing need for a measured structure of DD.

    As with Theresa May’s deal and the American Declaration of Independence and any complex concept there is a time to declare with integrity that you support the deal with its faults as better than any alternative actually available – The forward step in consensus is better than fighting over the newborn & risking its death, there is a lifetime ahead to refine the details – May’s Deal for example offers at least 2 years of refinement once Parliament acts with integrity & honours its promises, with many years ahead to further define it just as I hope THA can maintain a consensus & where that growing consensus believes it has due cause makes ammendments democratically by a consensus NOT just to respond to a barking dog happier outside.


  5. Thank you for your comment and the views expressed therein; views to which you have every right to put forward.

    Unfortunately trust works both ways, coupled with the fact that an honourable man should have principles and remain true to them. He also has the same right to air his views as I am sure you would agree.

    One point: I have not used any mailing list that may have been ‘entrusted’ to me and I have no idea from where you may have been so misinformed.

  6. Greg you’re talking insulting garbage!

    frankly David has shown great “honour” by allowing you to basically insult him on his own blog which is more than can be said of the likes of Richard North or his rather obnoxious son,Pete, who’s just lost a court case and will have to pay £20000 for his daft remarks, although his father has come out with the same kind of utterly stupid remarks before

    Greg you talk about the birth of the THA but in reality it was a still born project which didn’t, and won’t go any further than the current level of rather obscure debate, ergo there really isn’t any consensus about it or its development, it’s supposed to be a part of Richard Norths flexcit “plan” but he hardly ever mentions it, instead he leaves it to his trusty mate Mr Warry who occasionally drops it into the debate on blogs of the Norths,not that it does much good, as they now, the Norths that is, tollerate a bunch of raving europhiles who couldn’t care less about democracy, sovereignty or much else!

    so, as far as I’m concerned, neither of them are particularly honourable people, they’ve done nothing but attack their own side, and insult people, they’re certainly not team players, they have a terrible reputation, so i think Davids remark about Richard North is well founded and totally justified

    you make the totally wrong assumption about those who are taking the THA “forward”, becouse no one is, simple as that!

  7. As UK politics falls apart at the seams what might happen next? Well some people will implore us to stop sneering. However, as leading by example is rare of late this may not come about. Or we may see a mass movement of the public to create an organisation devoted to changing our lives, people clamouring for THA. Also unlikley as 99% of the population have never heard of THA. You may think I’m impatient but years have past since the first meeting at Harrogate and in that time political movements like AfD have started and now hold real power. THA is never going to come about; so why is that? I’m tempted to say perhaps there was no plan, or the wrong kind of plan. But that’s not the case. Like the Euston Manifesto the people behind it were the problem. And yes I’ve read both THA and EM and know they are chalk and cheese I refer to the practical political skills and other actions needed to create something that ‘works’.

  8. Quote: “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.”

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the CONDITIONS for Real (Direct) Democracy need to be present. Otherwise there’s only the tendency or increase in these properties within the current system of politics possible.

    What are some of these CONDITIONS?

    A sense of shared identity: Culture, History, Mature Institutions, Language, Race, Religion, “Unity of National Purpose or Vision/Values”

    But one of the conditions that seems very amenable to analysis is Size ie Size of Demos where “demos” attempts to capture all of the above variables to varying degrees.

    But also Size seems to play a role with respect to another important factor with respect to Demos: Political Intelligence / A well informed active and organized electorate who USE domains of knowledge with which to vote according to.

    Looking at a particular “Demos” that is homogenous with respect to the above and of a sufficiently manageable size, an example might be Basque People?

    Whereas the UK is too large and too diverse (divided) to effectively transition to Real (direct) Democracy, it appears? At least Scotland and Wales have potential at their scales of size and higher homogeneity or even regions within these nations do so.

    Whereas the more dense the population, the larger the population, eg cities it seems to me that you move further AWAY from Real (direct) Democracy and TOWARDS Representative Democracy?

    Additionally, above the Nation unit is the ever-larger International level, I suspect as the EU shows (Supranational) and other levels of POWER operate removed from Direct Democracy?

    To add one more consideration: Brexit was a revealing Direct Democracy endeavour in the UK: Revealing because given so much power to find accurate and insightful knowledge to aid voting, on the whole the vast majority of the electorate failed in this respect: A pre-requisite to the means towards more democracy, maybe?

  9. Having waited for anything like a believable way forward from THA I have cast around looking for another potential home. I believe I may have found it, The Democrats and Veterans Party, For Britain appeals as well but D&V have some good ideas as regards organisation and a declared intention of exercising a form of DD as part of their manifesto.

    1. I have had a quick read of DVP and whilst their aims are laudable I do not believe it is true DD. Personally I do not want a form of DD – I want unfettered DD!

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