A Local Constituency Pact: grassroots manifesto for strong local democracy

Gavin Barker - 26 January 2019

We must define the rules and principles by which power is exercised. With the constitutional crisis brought about by Brexit, we may be nearer to that moment than we think.

A ‘local constituency pact’ is hardly the most exciting title for a campaign initiative. To the seasoned campaigner for whom blockading London bridges or dangling from a crane with a giant banner saying ‘RESIST’, is what it is all about, then this proposal is hardly going to get the blood racing. But bear with me, hear me out and just maybe I can persuade you that this tool, if shared and applied widely, could be vital to restoring real democratic power.

First pause for a moment and ask yourself why we have to resort to increasingly desperate and imaginative tactics to get our voice heard – whether it is the bike ride against inequality, or the Sleep Out campaign to end homelessness? This is not to dismiss the impact of such campaigns, or the relevance and urgency of their message. Rather, it is to highlight the failure of ordinary means of democratic expression – our vote and our voice – to make a difference. In a debased democracy, these no longer count. Yet in resorting to bold acts of civil disobedience and innovative campaign tactics, the danger is that these lean more towards media spectacle and soundbites in place of informed public debate... See more