Daily archives: May 29, 2009

A New Constitution

Constitutional Reform is in the air. I thought I might set out what I would wish to see. I could write a book – indeed I have been thinking about doing so – detailing the reasoning behind my prescriptions, but I thought that at the very least this should provoke some thought:

Independence for England, Scotland and Wales.

A United Ireland.

Each of them Republics.

Written constitution.

Bill of Rights.

International law automatically incorporated in domestic law.

Fixed term four year parliaments in the lower chamber.

100% elected upper chamber, one third elected every two years.

All elections by single tranferable vote.

Elected President for 7 years with ceremonial role.

Prime Minister chosen from lower chamber.

Powerful parliamentary committees which can compel witnesses and evidence.

Local Income Tax.

Minimum 80% of all local government spending to be be locally funded – 100% in wealthier regions.

Local government to decide local law on social issues (in conformity with equality provisions of national Bill of Rights) – eg alcohol and enternainments licensing laws, legality of drugs, euthanasia, prostitution.

No public money for any political party (ie no special advisers, subsidies etc).

Now I doubt there is anyone else who agrees with the entire prescription…

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Milliband Prepares to Stab Brown

Globalisation really has made the world a small place. I am currently in Africa, and last night was speaking with an African minister well connected to a group of New Labour’s senior black activists. He told me that David Milliband has been talking with his brother, two other cabinet ministers and Alan Johnson about how to ditch Brown if New Labour come fourth in the European Elections, behind the Tories, Lib Dems and UKIP.

There is a view now inside New Labour that coming fourth is a very real possibility, and would trigger mass panic among MPs and possibly a spiral downwards to electoral annihilation next year. They fear the Lib Dems traditionally poor performance in Euro elections will be outweighed by a failure of the New Labour core vote to turn out. There are also tensions over the Hazel Blears strategy of trying to motivate the core vote by talking up the BNP threat, with many in the black community feeling this was counter-productive in giving the BNP extra publicity.

Obviously there is an element of Chinese whispers here, but I have no doubt that his account is broadly true and does reflect what it now feels like to be inside as New Labour implodes – as witness the appalling revelation that 52 New Labour MPs have formally requested to be appointed for life to the disgusting croneyism that is the House of Lords.

I wonder if Uzbek government spokesman Andrew Dismore MP is one? No way he’ll hold Hendon, thank God.


Good article on New Labour’s rush for the Lords by Andrew Kettle. Comments are even better.


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