The following text was posted to the Guardian UK web site on May 21st in their Comment is Free section in response to a call for suggestions about how to reform Westminster. Within 18 hours the moderators had removed it; not sure why as it does not defame anyone, it is on topic and relevant and does not seek to promote any commerical enterprise.
In the spirit of really free comment, I post here the original…
So we’re finally ready to think about the alternatives? Good. Not a moment too soon.
For those seriously interested in this, I think you have to figure out a system that reflects the natural organization of people, not just in England but in the EU and everywhere else. The timing of this furore coincidental with the EU elections highlights the need for reform across a much broader spectrum than the UK.
There is a model for the kind of regional/national configuration discussed above, mated with a system of proportional representation that actually works; you can find all the details at http://www.standardsoflife.org/mlr
What you will find as you work your way through the practicalities of political reform is that it will require a (new) constitution with a bill of rights. These are not things which spring happily to the minds of many in the UK, but they are essential. Constitutions, necessarily, require a good deal of thought before they are adopted and so reforming the political system could take quite a while… unless someone’s been thinking about this for a while already, and assembled the basic building blocks of a constitution already that would work well in the UK, builds on the strengths of exisiting international law and could work within an EU framework… http://www.standardsoflife.com/Constitution+Template
One “trouble” with an enhanced system democracy is that it inevitably means that power is devolved down. The consequence of empowering people is that they are unlikely to be very happy with the top-down systems in place today, including the economic system. So that means that political reform will be followed (very quickly) by a (large) wave of support for reform of the economic and social support systems. Are we ready for that too? We’d better be. And it’s a wonderful opportunity too, this is the chance to humanize the economy and green our wealth creation systems – at just the moment when it’s essential that we do both of those.
So what is going to be the face of ecomonic reform that people are likely to demand once they have their new political voice? The end of abject poverty, the right to work for themselves, the availability of a more balanced life that allows for real living during our working lives, the removal of dole-based, means-tested poverty-traps? Probably all of those and some more! Luckily there’s a good model of meeting all of those needs while preserving the best elements of a market place economy that allows everyone to leverage their own ingenuity to make as much money as they care to while, at the same time, keeping the greater peace and prosperity of the whole society in focus too. Universal social services mated to a directly linked progressive tax system. Details at http://www.standardsoflife.com/material+infrastructure
The UK is the perfect place to do all this. Small enough to be able to, big enough to make it work and influential enough to spread the word and gain the cooperation and involvement of other nationstates.
The UK is a really hard place to do all this. Old enough to be attached to its traditions, young enough to be only a fledgling in real republican politics and sufficiently interconnected with Europe to inevitably attract remote as well as local resistance.
But this has to be done, the future of our planet depends on it. The only way to a sustainable future is through sustainable prosperity and that requires just the kind of democratic reform that is arising here. It may be hard but it’ll get easier once we start. Who’s for starting now? I am.
I invite your comments freely !