Vital Constitutional Reform now Critical

The crisis in UK politics today is a threat to stability. Brexit may be the issue and the moment of crisis, but it is symptomatic of a deeper malaise which must be addressed urgently.

In his Reflections on the Revolution in France , Edmund Burke stated the classic definition of Conservatism when he said,

A state without the means of some change is without the means of its  conservation…..

and he qualified that by saying

but even when I changed it should be to preserve. I should be led to my remedy by a great grievance. In what I did, I should follow the example of our ancestors. I would make the reparation as nearly as possible in the style of the building.

His advice is timely. Events today are exposing the need for real reform in order to recover the viability of our representative democracy.

There is now “great grievance” regarding:-

  • MPs who act in direct contradiction of the manifesto they are elected on

  • the implementation of the referendum result [on both sides of the issue]

  • a Parliament which is out of touch and failing to reflect the range of views in the country

  • a government which delays and prevaricates on serious issues but cannot be obliged to account for its actions in less than 5 years

A government which wants to govern effectively and lay to rest the current widespread crisis of confidence among the electorate will bring forward reforms to address such manifest grievances.

This will inevitably fall to the government to be elected later this year when the May administration finally fails.

The following proposals are both radical and necessary.

  1. Requiring by-elections for representatives who break faith with the electorate by voting or speaking against the manifesto on which they were elected

  2. Requiring a 10 year implementation period for the decision of a referendum vote before the matter may be balloted again

  3. Removing the appointment of Lords from the Executive and instead electing them by full proportional representation according to the % polled by a political party nationally in a general election

  4. fixed 3 year terms for all directly elected representatives at all levels to ensure more timely accountability to their electorates

Further elaboration can be found on the dedicated Page on this site.

An incoming government which refuses to introduce something along such lines will neglect to safeguard our democracy and our system of government.

Urgent action is needed.

But will parliamentarians even acknowledge it, let alone take responsibility ?

Such negligence can only lead to serious and regrettable consequences.

Without active correction, the current crisis will lead either to extreme, even violent reactions – or else to a total breakdown in public confidence in our democracy marked by apathy and rejection.

It is incumbent on democratic parliamentarians to pre-empt such consequences and protect our system of peaceful and participatory politics.

Dereliction of duty has serious consequences.

Ray Catlin