Nicholas Dykes: For a New Political Party – 03

Constitutional Reforms

The House of Lords would be renamed the House of Peers and would be entirely elected.  Hereditary and Church of England seats would be abolished.  There would be approximately 100 Peers, elected specifically to represent the counties and large cities.  The Commons would represent the citizens as individuals.  The two houses would be equal in authority.  Commons’ constituencies would be re-evaluated to make them as nearly as possible equal in number of citizens.

Aristocratic titles would cease to have any legal significance but those who inherit them would be free to continue using them if they so chose.

A national competition would be held to rename the House of Commons, which name smacks of the old class system.  The chamber would be enlarged so that every member had a place to sit.

To become law, a measure would have to be supported by two thirds of the members of both houses.  All members would be required to vote, no abstentions or absences would be permitted.  To obtain a seat, a candidate to either house would have to have the backing of 51% of the registered electors in that constituency, and at least three quarters of the electors must have voted in the election.

Seats would be held for six years.  Elections would be held every two years, but staggered, one third of members being elected at a time.  No member could serve for more than two terms.  Election day would be fixed, say May 1, the Prime Minister would no longer set the date.  MP’s would cease to have salaries and pensions.  Parliamentary business would be so greatly reduced that members could continue to earn their livings in their chosen profession.

The Prime Minister would be elected by the members of both houses acting together, and would need to win the support of 51% of the members of each house.  He or she would have to be at least 40 years old; to have a university degree; to have worked successfully for at least fifteen years in a business or profession outside government, and be fluent in a second language.  The position would be held for five years, and would be for two terms only.

Constitutional changes would be established by referendum.

Law-making functions would no longer be delegated to State agencies.

Subsidisation of bars and restaurants inside the Palace of Westminster would end.  All such facilities would be franchised out and would charge the same prices as similar establishments outside Parliament.

Parliament would be constitutionally forbidden from interfering in the economy.  Deficit spending and government borrowing would be prohibited.  The Budget would not only balance, but produce a substantial annual surplus dedicated to paying off the National Debt.

All departments of government, at every level, would be prohibited from giving taxpayers’ money to private charities.

Confederation

In order to satisfy the natural desire for independence amongst peoples of preponderantly Celtic rather than Anglo-Saxon descent; to preserve the many ties that bind us together; and to acknowledge and honour the mutual respect that our diverse peoples owe each other, CORE would pursue a reorganisation of the political structure of the British Isles into a confederation of four nations.

No longer would citizens be ‘governed’ from Westminster.  Rather, the four countries forming the confederation would take care of their own affairs from their own capitals.  Westminster would house the headquarters of the confederation alone – the Confederal Parliament – its main roles being to co-ordinate the defence of the British Isles and any other matters requiring inter-governmental cooperation.  No doubt too, for convenience, London might continue to be home to the English Parliament, though there is no reason why Parliament should not move from major city to major city in a regular pattern:  Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, York, etc.  The Confederal Parliament might rotate between the four capitals in similar fashion.

To be sure, the Irish have already achieved independence and many of them will no doubt look askance at any suggestion of reunion.  Yet unity among the four peoples of the British Isles is a highly desirable goal which should be pursued vigorously.  The practical and economic advantages of common defence, for example, are enormous.

In order to demonstrate that the new arrangement was truly amongst equals, and to dispel historical memories of dominance by one, attention might be given to finding a new name for the associated countries, for example, the British Isles Federation, but that is something for future discussion.

Confederation would be along the same lines as Switzerland, wherein each canton is self-governing and where there is a high degree of independence and local control even down to village level.

An historical example can be found in the American Articles of Confederation – the original treaty between the Thirteen Colonies of North America after independence from Britain – that is, until the coup d’état carried out by the so-called ‘Founding Fathers’ laid the groundwork for the political monster that the USA has become.

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