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Unlock Democracy Council (East constituency)
Who I am:
As Charter 88’s Chair, I oversaw the merger with New Politics Network to form Unlock Democracy in 2007. I am now Unlock Democracy’s Chair.
Coordinator of “Sheffield for Democracy” formed 2010, after “Yes” campaign. We lobbied for Community Assemblies to remain as conduits between public and councillors; held public meeting on regulating lobbying; submitted evidence to the Government consultation.
I retired 4 years ago from Sheffield Hallam University; was manager in Student Services. Always active in my trade union, NATFHE (now UCU), becoming national Honorary Treasurer.
Involved with the Art Fund; accompanying young people when interviewed by police.
Why I am standing for Unlock Democracy's Council:
In the five years that Unlock Democracy has been in existence, we have gained in membership, profile and strength of influence: our ability to respond rapidly to issues and to coordinate responses, from members and supporters via both social media and traditional methods, is recognised by politicians and civil servants. We are at our strongest when we can backup the issue we are working on with local activity. Our responses to Lords Reform and Statutory Lobbying consultations have been impressive. Maintaining that campaigning edge is essential.
This means a good partnership between the political leaders of the organisation (Council), and the Director and his staff team. It is a small team, and the demands on its time are enormous; getting the balance right between what we want to achieve and what is possible with our resources is challenging. As Chair of Council, I believe I have played a significant part in that balance: supporting our staff whilst ensuring members have their say.
I personally have brought motions to AGMs on mainstream issues: decentralisation and local government; on quangos; how to make progress following the referendum on the alternative vote. My contribution, I believe, is both strategic and practical.
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