"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." Harry S Truman.Yesterday I attended, in Leamington Spa, a follow on meeting from July, in what is another small step in the long road of implementing the Harrogate Agenda. Power is rarely given, it is instead taken, so it must never be underestimated that to do so will be a long arduous process. Yet it is remarkable in such a short space of time how far the movement has come.
One of the main aims of the meeting was to agree and ratify the six demands, demands that seek to give people power over their employees (politicians), a mechanism which for example can effectively sack them for gross misconduct if necessary. Ratification was achieved, with everyone present signing in agreement a master copy of the demands which hopefully will become a symbolic document for prosterity.
Then we moved onto strategy and tactics and a limited form of organisation by the establishment of a Limited Company by guarantee, and creation of internet tools such as a website, social media and Youtube videos.
However the overriding theme was that this was to be a campaign of ideas rather than one based on personalities. A theme echoed in the room by the sentiment that we hoped to be forgotten in the light of possible success. Ideas are the most potent - and dangerous - which is why most dictatorships around the world censor the mechanisms of distributing them, usually in the form of the arts; books, paintings, music etc. Now, as most vividly demonstrated by China, it's also the internet.
Here we can take our cue from, of all places, the EU. It infects all of our lives yet very few people have heard of its main spiritual leader and creator - Jean Monnet. The EU has become a battle of ideas and not one of party loyalty. Monnet was a man who largely shunned the spotlight yet his legacy is all encompassing...all around us. He once said:
"There are two kinds of people; those who want to be something and those who want to do something"So what works for our enemies can also work for us
The key with anything political is timing. As demonstrated earlier this week, and which has been there for sometime, is the absolute disillusionment and anger with our political process. Never has been such a vapid hole in our political class nor such ill-disguised contempt. For example in today's news yet again MPs are to debate prisoners' right to vote despite giving a conclusive answer last time. Of course now there's the irony that prisoners could vote for PCCs. Then in today's Telegragh are the thoughts (I use the term loosely) of Ed Milliband (my emphasis):
The Labour leader uses an interview with The Sunday Telegraph to declare that he is a major advocate of reform [of the EU] and says arguments advanced by eurosceptics should not simply be dismissed - because some of them are right.You can almost hear him spit while uttering the word 'peasant' as he says it.
As with any demonstration of people's anger - the last people to hear it are politicians. When the groundswell of public opinion takes hold and eventually in most cases attacks the capital of any country, and those that reside in it, the attitude of those that govern us is invariably; "bloody hell where the hell did that come from"?