The People’s Plan

The People’s Plan – an exercise in participative democracy: 15th November 2015

By Rashid Mihar

The People’s Plan for Manchester is an ambitious learning exercise in how to listen and understand the views, ideas and priorities of as many people as are willing to share them with a view towards changing what’s going on around us.

This is democracy in action, by contrast with the flawed version of devolution which was dressed up as an offer but has essentially been imposed on Greater Manchester by the government without even a semblance of consultation.

This is a region where the conversation of identity, destiny, autonomy and democratic vision had already begun before George Osborne stepped in with the so-called Northern Powerhouse, which local authority leaders fell over themselves in their unseemly haste to sign up to. Continue reading


Guest blog from Robin McAlpine, Director of Scottish think tank Common Weal

I don’t live in the North of England. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a place and not just an event.

Because every time the BBC produces a documentary about Britain over the last 40 years, it seems to me that ‘the North’ is treated as something bad that happened in 1985. The pattern is consistent – pictures of places in the South of England looking a bit run down (that’s the 1970s), pictures of people in the South of England suddenly buying new things in the shops (that’s the start of the 1980s), picture of city traders in the South of England waving wads of money at the camera (that’s Thatchers economic ‘miracle’), pictures of miners and other poor people in the North of England suffering horrendously (that’s the unfortunate side effects of Thatcher’s miracle, or 1985 as people in the South seem to see it), pictures of young people in the South of England taking ecstasy and dancing in fields (thank heavens ‘the North’ stopped happening in time for rave culture). Continue reading

Greater Manchester, democracy and the People’s Plan – November 22nd 2016

Devolution is coming to Greater Manchester – or is it? The government has imposed a ‘super mayor’ to rule over a combined authority and what is clear is the absence of democracy in the process. This is the case both in the way the original decision was made as well as how the new structure is planned to work. Continue reading

Exploring the ‘fracking polemic’ through democratic Convergence – Craig Thomas, University of Manchester

Assemblies For Democracy invite people to an event run in association with Craig Thomas from the CURE research centre at the University of Manchester. The event will be based around a new role-play game built from Craig Thomas’s research on conflict around proposed fracking in Greater Manchester. The focus of the game is on stakeholders that came together around opposition to an exploratory well drilled into the shale bed in Barton Moss, Salford. Continue reading