MAKE the POLITICIANS LISTEN to YOU!
[Daily Telegraph -Wednesday, June 27-2007]
Traditional Tory supporters could be forgiven for raising a slightly sceptical eyebrow at David Cameron's recent promise to open his policy-making process to public debate.
The STAND UP, SPEAK UP initiative calls on Conservative Associations across the country to organise meetings for members of the public to have their say on PARTY POLICY
In a letter to party activists Cameron calls this an unprecedented policy debate, but many Labour supporters may have felt a queasy sense of deja vu.
The Big Conversation, launched by Tony Blair in late 2003, promised to give the public an opportunity to influence Labour policy. Blair toured the country holding consultations and thousands logged on to the campaign website to post their suggestions. However, when the 2005 election arrived, not a single policy could be traced back to the
IN REALITY MANY FELT, IT HAD BEEN A BIG CON
The eagerness of both Labour and Tory leaderships to reach over the heads of their own members in order to formulate new policies indicates
A SERIOUS BREAKDOWN IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS.
People join parties to effect change and expect their input in terms of activism to be rewarded with a say in the direction the party takes. Yet internal democracy has been largely sidelined in favour of a reliance on focus groups, policy forums and non-binding votes at
Becoming an MP does not guarantee that you will have significant input into policy. many hard-working members end up frustrated by the lack of consultation that has become the norm on both sides of the House. If even MPs find themselves side-lined in the policy making process,
WHAT HOPE DO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC HAVE ON INFLUENCING THE DEBATE?
The temptation to throw up our hands and say a plague on all your houses may be great - and from the tone of the comments on the Telegraph website, some readers may have already succumbed -but this is not the time for cynicism.
The urge for PARTIES to CONTROL DEBATE has been accompanied by a significant FALL in VOTER TURNOUT.
PARTICIPATION at the last two GENERAL ELECTIONS has been THE LOWEST SINCE THE WAR.
Party leaders recognise that something needs to be done to reconnect the electorate with the political process.
Gordon Brown has already shown he is aware of the scale of the challenge, promising to take action to build
TRUST IN OUR DEMOCRACY
-using his first speech as PM-in-waiting to call for a more open form of dialogue between citizens and politicians genuinely to debate problems and solutions..
When he committed himself to bringing forward reform proposals to
RENEW THE CONSTITUTION
-with the first draft
CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM BILL
-later this year - many sat up and took notice. Although viewed by many as dry and dusty, constitutional reform has the ability to addresss the
ISSUE AT THE HEART OF THE MALAISE IN OUR DEMOCRACY
-THE LOSS OF TRUST IN POLITICIANS OF ALL PARTIES
The first step would be to construct a
NEW BILL OF RIGHTS
-and the settlements of the 17th century, but also reflecting modern notions of
Such a document would embody traditional British values of
FAIRNESS and TOLERANCE
-while reminding us that we have
RESPONSIBILITIES TO ONE ANOTHER
It would also protect the
RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL
-when they come into conflict with the
POWER OF THE OVER-MIGHTY EXECUTIVE
Ultimately, a new
BILL OF RIGHTS
would provide politicians with a
SET OF RULES
WE THE PEOPLE CONSENT TO BE GOVERNED
-rules that would be known by
-unlike the present situation, whereby, under our currently invisible constitution, any government with a majority can simply move the goal-posts.
BUT WHO SHOULD FRAME THIS NEW SETTLEMENT
Surely politicians have a conflict of interest in formulating the rules that govern their behaviour?
While welcoming Brown's initiative on this ISSUE, should we just sit back and wait for him or David Cameron -
TO TELL US WHAT OUR RIGHTS ARE?
The fact the Gordon Brown already has a draft BILL planned has caused concern that any consultation will be bogus, providing merely a figleaf for more top-down decision-making. The time has come for people of all political persuasions and none to become pro-active in this debate.
BROWN HAS SET THE AGENDA-LET US TAKE THE INITIATIVE.
Last week, the
-published a call for Brown to undertake a full deliberative process before reforming the
Instead of relying on a
-which can often deliver pre-determined solutions, Power wants Brown to convene Citizens Assemblies, where the true meaning of
BRITISH [ENGLISH] VALUES
-can be openly debated before enshrined in a
BILL OF RIGHTS
Power has drawn together a wide spectrum of people and organisations -it is not often that I find myself agreeing with
, for instance -illustrating that
THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE THAT LENDS ITSELF TO THE OLD STRUCTURES OF LEFT AND RIGHT.
The formulation of a
BILL OF RIGHTS
-goes to the heart of
WHO WE ARE
BOTH AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS A NATION
It will not solve the problems we face in the modern globalised economy, but it will provide us with a set of principles around which we can build a cohesive society.
THe process by which we agree the principles will be crucial if the final document is to have and legitimacy in the eyes of the public.
A CONSTITUTION WRITTEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS BY POLITICIANS WILL NOT RESTORE TRUST
Worse ,it would squander a great opportunity to the public by empowering them to participate in a genuine debate about
FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY
Between now and the next
-both Brown and Cameron will be searching for ways to differentiate themselves not only from each other, but from what has gone before.
Already ideas such as localism and constitutional reform are being aired in the hope of engaging the public interest. In order for our politicians to replace warm words with action, we have first to demonstrate our willingness to become involved.
POWER INQUIRY PETITION
-is the first step in this process.
YOU CAN SIGN UP AT
[Before this ISSUE can be properly dealt with the following matters will have to be aired and honest answers given and drastic action taken for there to be any possible success with this major undertaking.
1) We need to know and clarify how everything would have been today with regard to our
RIGHTS and LIBERTIES
if the UK had rejected the EEC Accession Treaty in 1972.
2) WE would need to withdraw from the European Union for the very reason that our accustomed system of law and our constitutional parliamentary democracy is not compatible with the continental system.
3) On this side of the English Channel the
STATE is the SERVANT of the PEOPLE
THE REVERSE IS TRUE IN EUROPE.
4) We have advocated that no MP should serve more than one term in the House of Commons which would encourage more people from all walks of life to give time to serve their country. It would also make our representatives more able to stand against the party line as they would not have to consider that they might be de-selected at the next election.
5) PR-PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION should be introduced at Westminster which would give a voice to the millions who have no representation in
OUR HOUSE OF COMMONS.]
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION to the EU
SIGN TODAY ON LINE
* July 18-2007
JOIN THE 10 DOWNING STREET PROTEST
Readers can add their support to the growing clamour for a REFERENDUM on the '"REFORM TREATY" by signing up to a 10 Downing Street 0n-line petition
The Petition reads as follows:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to guarantee that the British people will be permitted a binding REFERENDUM on any and all attempts to resurrect the EU " CONSTITUTION" (and any or all of its content) regardless of nomenclature."
Deadline for the PETITION is 31st January,2008
Eurofacts 27th July 2007.
'The Spirit of England'
In London on St.George's Day -1953
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND CORRUPT ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE FOR THE TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
[All underlined words have a separate bulletin