osborne stitching up Greater Manchester like Chinese have done in Hong Kong

this is a piece by Stephen Hall, which I’ve copied from Facebook:

The Chancellor dismisses call for referendum on Devo Manc and says “the talking is over”.“What people here want to see is real transport improvements, they want to see the Oyster card scheme rolled out to the whole of Greater Manchester they want to see the investment in the skills, the businesses.” Really?

While additional investment in transport and new skills, such there is actually going to be any, are to be welcomed, few if any Greater Manchester residents support the idea of a new elected Mayor, and most are highly suspicious of any so-called devolution package which is to be imposed on them without any proper public scrutiny and whether they like it or not.

Additionally, not one of the the leaders of Greater Manchester’s ten local Councils has any democratic authority or mandate from the people of Greater Manchester to speak on their collective behalf. None at all! Neither have they even asked Greater Manchester residents whether they want to be part of any Manchester City region devolution deal, or whether they might actually prefer to be part of a wider devolution to deal for the North West, which might even include more devolved and “substantial new powers” for local communities, or even if they want any kind of devolution at all.

GMATUC are reliably informed that the Chancellor made the whole Devo Manc agreement conditional on the ten GM local authority leaders agreeing to a new Mayoral set up, and that if they didn’t do that it would be withdrawn entirely. If that is so, then they should have refused to sign it rather than simply rolling over and meekly accepting what effectively amounts to a sell out of our democratic rights, just to get control of a bit more cash, with a whole series of strings attached, than they have control of now.

They could have also pushed for something a whole letter better, with less strings attached, and which could have involved a real devolution of powers to the regions and then put that to the people in a referendum. If Osborne wouldn’t agree to that, then maybe they could have even pushed for a better deal from the next Government? Instead, what we are presented with is little other than a stitch up.

Our campaign for a referendum will continue whatever Osborne and our ten local authority leaders say, and the more they oppose it, the more the public will get behind it in our view. It’s not a done deal, the talking isn’t over and we aim to prove it.

Sign our petition now at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/people-must-have-right-to-vote-on-devo-manc. Printed versions available from stefan.cholewka@btinternet.com

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