New super council for the North would enable region to ‘take back control’

Political leaders are being urged to support the creation of a new Northern super-council in an effort to boost the region’s economic growth and “take back control” from central government.

A new report from the IPPR North think tank warns that the region’s current network of city deals and combined authorities is “too small” to compete on the global stage and must come together to increase their clout.

They should also consider the creation of a new people’s assembly, it suggests, with members chosen at random from local communities to help guide the region’s economic and political agenda. This would “galvanize” the Northern Powerhouse agenda, and give areas like Yorkshire greater influence in the post-Brexit world.

Read on…


5 thoughts on “New super council for the North would enable region to ‘take back control’

  1. Are we considered to be absolutely stupid? – Such sheer and utter contempt ! There is no possibility whatsoever of ordinary citizens from communities, even if chosen at random, ever having any influence whatsoever. The only control will be by the usual murder of political crows whose only objective is power. We are in a mess. Who got us here? The very same politicians who are now ramping up futile rhetoric to pump up their already over-self-inflated egos ! They should just go, never to return. Mad doesn’t enter into it, their arrogance knows no bounds. and on and on and on . .


    • Why not try reading the actual report before you draw your conclusions.

      “The north of England has been a hotbed of democratic protest and
      innovation for many centuries. From Yorkshire’s Pilgrimage of Grace
      in 1536 to Manchester’s Peterloo massacre in 1819, northerners have
      always been at the forefront of political and democratic reform as
      such protests gave rise to the Chartists and the Suffragettes who have
      been instrumental in creating the type of parliamentary democracy and
      universal suffrage that we see today. However, just as such historical
      movements marked transitions in the wider economies and societies of
      their own eras, so we need a reinvention of contemporary democracy
      to mark our transition to what many commentators refer to as the fourth
      industrial revolution.
      This essay is not the place to articulate even the broad parameters of
      such a transition, but my third and final idea needs to be set in this
      context: a Northern Citizens Assembly must herald a new approach to
      democracy championed in the North and for the North, but must also
      showcase an alternative future for democracy across the whole world.
      There have been relatively large-scale experiments with citizens’
      assemblies in a number of countries over the past 10 years: Iceland,
      Ireland, Canada and the Netherlands have all used a similar approach to
      addressing matters of constitutional and electoral reform. Also, in cities
      and regions there have been one-off experiments with citizens’ juries.
      They have been carried out in slightly different ways and with mixed
      success. My proposal for a Northern Citizens Assembly varies in two
      ways: first, it is not a single entity but a series of interlinked bodies; and
      second, it would be established for the long term and not for a one-off
      exercise. In this sense it draws its inspiration from processes of Athenian
      democracy rather than more contemporary citizens’ juries. …”


  2. It is a wonderful theory but still smells the same as the idea for a ‘Mayor of Yorkshire’.
    Ed Cox fails to put any flesh on the bones. ‘ members chosen at random from local communities.’
    Which communities? What will be the selection criteria? Will political activists be banned from selection?
    How will he or the IPPR prevent the proposed assembly and super-council becoming another mouthpiece for the Labour party instead of being constituted as a multi party group to represent all views?
    The whole idea needs a lot more work and details including funding and spending powers.


    • Colin,
      Of course, there is no flesh on the bones – IPPR is simply an ideas shop; …but a decent one!
      Somehow we have to get the North out of the attitude that leads to @pleasant’s response above.
      Having lived in Switzerland in the 90’s, I have some real experience of how a community can change things – and often against the wishes of the “politicians”.
      Back in the ’80’s, I saw some genuine popular democracy in my local Kebele meetings in Addis Ababa (“Kebele” is equivalent to our “Parish Council”) – and all residents had to attend those.
      Do you attend the Area Assembly meetings?
      The meeting minutes are no longer published on the RMBC site. They used to be.
      …and neither are the Councillors “Gifts and Hospitality” Statements. They used to be.
      Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
      Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

      Samuel Beckett


  3. @rr
    Thanks for the response.
    The biggest problem I have with this and similar ideas is that Britain is not the US or Switzerland who have self governing states/cantons.
    We do not have a federal style government in Britain, whether we should have is a debate for another time.
    I’m all for devolving powers from central government but the evidence so far is that the SCR and/or a super council discriminates against Rotherham and the political bias could mean party politics takes precedence over financial prudence or long term economic stability.


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