A NORTHERN AGENDA
The EU Referendum has thrown British politics into turmoil. Completely absent from the debate has been any thought as to the implications for the North of England, which voted – overall – heavily for Brexit. We recognise that there were many different and contradictory reasons for that, including a strong sense of marginalisation in many Northern communities, socially, economically and politically. But we cannot ignore the strong undercurrent of racism which we completely deplore.
It’s time for a new Northern agenda based on progressive forced working together. The Hannah Mitchell Foundation is a cross-party voluntary association which is committed to social justice, extending democracy and a vibrant Northern economy. In particular:
- We want to see a North which has much more responsibility for its own affairs, with democratic devolution – at the very least – along similar lines to that enjoyed in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and London but taking grassroots power much further, to neighbourhood level
- We remain committed to Europe and believe that ‘another Europe is possible’ – based on social justice, mutual respect, tolerance and sharing – and is achievable in or out of the EU. We will build stronger links with our sisters and brothers across Europe, with full support for a ‘Europe of the Regions’
- We want to see a blossoming of Northern culture which is inclusive, vibrant and diverse
- We want a Northern economy which is expanding, with an emphasis on green industries and an expansion of Northern-based research and development
- We want to see an end to hatred and intolerance, for a North that is a great tolerant and welcoming place to live and work for everyone
- We want to reach out to our sisters and brothers in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other parts of England to develop a modern, progressive federal Britain
- We want to see political parties, civil society, trades unions, faith groups working together to achieve this agenda and putting aside their differences to achieve real change. This includes the longer term aim of electoral reform and in the short-term a progressive alliance at the next General Election
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June 29th 2016
Jo Cox, MP. – Statement from the Hannah Mitchell Foundation
Jo Cox was many things – an outstanding Member of Parliament for the West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen, a much-loved local campaigner, a champion of the refugees displaced by wars, a great person to be with. She was also a member of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, the campaign for democratic devolution in the North of England. She shared our vision for the North, and for Britain and Europe, that was democratic, prosperous, multi-cultural, socially inclusive and egalitarian. She was convinced the vision could only be realized if Britain remained part of the European Union.
Because she worked tirelessly towards this vision, Jo Cox was assassinated. On June 16th, she was stabbed and gunned down in her constituency by a man associated with fascist organisations. Though he acted alone, and may have planned Jo’s murder alone, he was not in any simple sense a lone killer. All actions arise within particular contexts and these help shape and drive those actions forward. The context in which Jo’s killer acted was that of the Referendum debates and, particularly, the toxic, anti-foreigner, anti-EU Leave campaign. Its propaganda, whether it flowed from Farage and UKIP, from Johnson, Gove and others on the far right of the Conservative Party, or from the likes of the Sun and Daily Mail, provided a warped ideological legitimation for Jo’s assassination.
For everyone who seeks a better future for the North and for Britain, as Jo Cox did, the best and most immediate way to honour her life and work would be to vote Remain on June 23rd.
We mourn the tragic violent death of our treasured member Jo Cox. A brilliant MP and a lovely person. We are moved by the statement from her husband Brendan: “Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo. Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous. Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full”.