Friday, 19 June 2015
A call for a new British constitution
Once upon a time we had a great British value of looking after each other. There was a real sense of comradeship and some fundamental values like we look after our own. I am involved in a political campaign at the minuite about fair taxes and the attacks, insults and vileness that I have witnessed from those who oppose our campaign has been horrendous. The insults that have been spread about Jeremy Corbyn and those who support him in the current labour leadership campaign are just toxic. What happened to the great British right to freedom of speech? What happened to mutual respect? What happened to each to his/her own opinion? But perhaps most important of all, where did this need to attack, insult and discredit anyone and anything that believes or aspires to something different that what “I” believe? To a great degree, we appear to have lost those great British values we once held and it is to the detriment of us all.
This toxicity has even become a normal part of our political system. Long gone are the days of having a debate, each putting their point of view across, while respecting that of the others and then coming to a consensus. In the recent election campaign we never got to hear what each party fundamentally stand for, or how they will fix the problems our society face. The majority of the campaigns from the main political parties was about playing the blame game, pointing the finger at someone else, nobody accepting responsibility for anything and discrediting the policies of their opposers. Our government is about to launch phase two of it’s idealistic and completely unnecessary austerity program, despite warnings from within their own party, the IMF and leading economists. A program that will unleash massive suffering on the poor, disabled and most vulnerable on our society. They claim to have a mandate of the people, but only 24% of the electorate voted for them and I doubt many of them even know the effects the governments policies will have.
Our government wonders why young Muslim men and women are leaving Britain to fight for ISIS is Syria, blaming the Muslim communities and our security forces. They do not think to look at how divided our society is and the effects of the toxic messages it spreads, or the sometimes illegal wars it has participated in around the world. Through attempts to attack our fundamental human rights, on disabled people and the vulnerable through cuts to welfare, sustained attempts to privatise our NHS, participation in wars, selling off our public assets and privatising everything we once owned, Great Britain has lost it’s greatness. We have sold off the values we once stood for, like free healthcare, taking care of the sick and elderly, public ownership of our railways and producing British products. Successive governments have sacrificed those Great British institutions and values at the altar of neo-liberalism and a free market economy. They have gone to war, not to protect our values, but to impose them on others who hold different values. Collectively, they have created a society that is not open to new ideas and beliefs, in fact we now systematically attack anyone and anything that opposes, or thinks differently to what we as individuals believe. Having sold off almost everything we own, our government is now turning us against each other through their political game playing and lies.
Our political system is broken. It is no longer fit for purpose and has all but cost us our standing as a democratic state. We need change and our current political system is unable to deliver the vast changes we need, if we want to become Great Britain again. That means we will have to scrap our current system and go back to the drawing board with a blank sheet of paper and redesign for kind of British society I believe we all want. A society that will reinstate those once Great British values of freedom of speech, mutual respect for others, the concept of real communities that share, welcome and learn from those with individual believes other than our own and we look after people, including those who are not able to look after or pay their own way for whatever reason. The kind of society where the people hold the power and make the decisions rather than big multi national corporations. Where all businesses pay their fair share in contributing to society, rather than artificially shifting their profits to an offshore tax haven. A society that upholds and protects it’s citizens fundamental human rights, rather than trying to abolish them. One that will provide jobs for everyone, in whatever sector they want to work in. Adequate housing of a decent standard could also be a basic standard of our new society. As too could a good standard of education for anyone, whatever their age. We could make our politicians truly accountable to us, with the ability to sack any politician found to be breaking the rules. In fact we could have whatever we want, that would enable us to create the kind of society we want to live in.
The way we can have it is through a new British constitution. I suggest it should become the first ever written first British constitution, enshrined in law and unbreakable. A constitution sets the rules by which the state operates and how it relates to the people. In a new constitution we could remake and rebuild the make up of the state. We could build new ones and abolish those that no longer serve our democratic purpose. We could improve or redesign the state, from the monarchy, state administration, including quangos and the bank of England, police, military, justice system, education system, health, to our political system. Britain is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a written constitution, so we could design and produce the first ever written British rule book, which would outline how we want our society to be. It would be a step towards creating a fairer and more democratic society for all.
Parliament has already demonstrated it’s inability and unwillingness to provide the change we need, through it’s refusal to reform our voting system for example. It therefore falls to us the British people to enact a new written British constitution. So I add my voice to people such as John Mc Donnell MP and organisations like Unlock Democracy who have called for a convention on the constitution. This should be a people’s convention, organised by the people, for the people. We could have keynote speakers to talk about what a constitution is, what is might look like and what it could achieve. There might then be break up groups, with each given a topic to discuss and make keynotes on. I would support the idea of one convention for the whole of Britain, where all people would be invited to come and join in the discussion. This would become a huge movement of British people, coming together to debate and discuss how we want to be government and the roles each part of the state will have in a more democratic British society.
The end result would be the first ever written British constitution. Written by the people, for the people.