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 Post subject: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:23 am 
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There are only a couple of places to fill for the Old Swan meeting, although we will accept bookings for "reserves", and may be able to squeeze a few more in on the day.

With that administrative task all but complete, thoughts are now turning to the agenda, and the framing of our six demands. We have chosen the model of the Chartists, but the figure of six is not cast in stone. Simply, it has historical resonance, and is as good as any to start with.

Readers may note that we are not seeking to frame a highfalutin declaration of principles. The objective is more modest and down-to-earth, framing a series of practical demands, which are achievable in the medium to long term and which will make government better and more responsive.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:45 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:34 pm
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I think that electing our Prime Minister would effectively make him or her our Head of State which in practice is what he is. There would seem then to be no role for our monarch, which would be very important, as there are many who still support the monarchy, even though they are little more than a rubber stamp. I personally like the idea of a written Constitution, though I foresee a big argument about what would go in it. I think it would require massive popular support before parliament would consider it. Actually I like all your proposals. I hope that one day I get the opportunity to vote for them.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:52 am 
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RAENORTH wrote:
At stake is the fundamental issue of whether US courts have the right to overturn a law, despite it having been approved by a large majority of the Congress. Obama apparently believes not, but a federal appeals court seems to be calling the president's bluff.
Hey, Obama buddy, if you don't like a country where individual freedom trumps government coercion maybe you shouldn't be President of the United States, huh?

I have a place and I'm really looking forward to it, by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:13 am 
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If a court is going to be the final arbiter on what is or is not compatible with a written constitution (and no appeal to extra-territorial jurisdictions like the EU), be careful how you choose the judges.

Here they emerge, usually from a "progressive elite", chosen behind closed doors by the "progressive elite". In the US, of course, the President nominates Supreme Court justices who then have to be approved (by the senate, I think?). Over time this produces a bench which America accepts as reflecting the balance of political opinion.

Stay with our present system if you want Hampstead judgements including references to legal norms and treaties elsewhere.

=======================

We should also aim for a federal state, so that English government reflects English votes.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:16 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:28 am
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Demands

1. Return train fares between Coventry and Harrogate to be less than £100 on a Saturday even when booked online in advance.

2. Room rates at the Old Swan to be less than £100 even if bookable now in advance for July.

I will therefore be present in spirit at the Northern Congress. If Midlanders and Southerners of Referist means would find it amenable to meet in St Mary's Guildhall in Coventry for a similar congress I could make the arrangements. Perhaps the Regional Charters could be composited and agreed at the Autumn Plenary.


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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:23 am 
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Derek wrote:
I think that electing our Prime Minister would effectively make him or her our Head of State which in practice is what he is. There would seem then to be no role for our monarch, which would be very important, as there are many who still support the monarchy, even though they are little more than a rubber stamp. I personally like the idea of a written Constitution, though I foresee a big argument about what would go in it. I think it would require massive popular support before parliament would consider it. Actually I like all your proposals. I hope that one day I get the opportunity to vote for them.



The Monarch has consigned herself to the role of a ceremonial figure, with no actual power. The prime minister has indeed become the de facto head of state ... I thought it would be a good idea to recognise the reality. That does not prevent the monarchs continuing their ceremonial roles ... I'm told it is good for tourism.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:24 am 
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Brian wrote:
Demands

1. Return train fares between Coventry and Harrogate to be less than £100 on a Saturday even when booked online in advance.

2. Room rates at the Old Swan to be less than £100 even if bookable now in advance for July.

I will therefore be present in spirit at the Northern Congress. If Midlanders and Southerners of Referist means would find it amenable to meet in St Mary's Guildhall in Coventry for a similar congress I could make the arrangements. Perhaps the Regional Charters could be composited and agreed at the Autumn Plenary.


Brian ... yes ... the intention is to have a road show ... we'll set up regional meetings and build the movement from there. The intention is that this should be the first of many.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:26 am 
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John Page wrote:
If a court is going to be the final arbiter on what is or is not compatible with a written constitution (and no appeal to extra-territorial jurisdictions like the EU), be careful how you choose the judges.

Here they emerge, usually from a "progressive elite", chosen behind closed doors by the "progressive elite". In the US, of course, the President nominates Supreme Court justices who then have to be approved (by the senate, I think?). Over time this produces a bench which America accepts as reflecting the balance of political opinion.

Stay with our present system if you want Hampstead judgements including references to legal norms and treaties elsewhere.

=======================

We should also aim for a federal state, so that English government reflects English votes.



Very good points. There is probably a method by which judges can be elected/selected which will reduce the establishment bias. This needs to be explored.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:27 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
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The role of the Monarchy is a back-stop. In English Law all Authority resides with the Sovereign and it is precisely because she rubber-stamps that she still has that Power.
This immensely simple device of channelling all Authority through one person who then lends it out upon receipt of Oaths means that anyone who gets too big for their boots may have their Oath and hence Authority rescinded.
So I would like to demand that:
Any pretensions to Authority or Jurisdiction by any foreign power or potentate within this Realm is Constitutionally Illegal and Void.

This reaffirms the essence of a 1688 Declaration of Rights demand and puts a stake through the heart of any Treaty giving away any hint of Sovereignty.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:31 am 
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SandyRham wrote:
The role of the Monarchy is a back-stop. In English Law all Authority resides with the Sovereign and it is precisely because she rubber-stamps that she still has that Power.
This immensely simple device of channelling all Authority through one person who then lends it out upon receipt of Oaths means that anyone who gets too big for their boots may have their Oath and hence Authority rescinded.
So I would like to demand that:
Any pretensions to Authority or Jurisdiction by any foreign power or potentate within this Realm is Constitutionally Illegal and Void.

This reaffirms the essence of a 1688 Declaration of Rights demand and puts a stake through the heart of any Treaty giving away any hint of Sovereignty.


The monarch used to be a back-stop. In all matters where it has counted, however, the monarch has rolled over and done as she was told. Thus, we are a constitutional monarchy in name only. We need to recognise that, and take the appropriate steps to constrain the powers of the executive. The ones we have are not working.

As to "giving away any hint of Sovereignty" you will see this in my suggestion that "we may assert that no law shall be passed without the active consent of our parliament (requiring thereby a vote), and that no treaty or other device shall obtain which prevents parliament amending, changing or even rejecting a law or a proposal for a law – and that no such law, even when passed, shall stand unless also it is constitutional".

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:33 am 

Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:59 pm
Posts: 1862
The Underpants Gnomes manifesto

Step 1: Copy Switzerland.
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit.

Quote:
Secondly, I would suggest, we need an elected prime minister. That is not wholly linked with the above, but it seems to make sense. On the US lines – and recognising the predominant role of the prime minister in our system – we should as a nation elect our premier, who should not then be an MP, and nor should any of our ministers.

I am reluctant to go down the route of a President. The 'executive' is the civil service and our representatives seem to defer to them at every available opportunity. MPs don't seek a mandate for much anymore at elections.

Can you make being PM less attractive than it is? The US President is constrained by the constitution. What ways can there be to poison the chalice a bit for a Prime Minister rather than giving them more authority through having a proper electoral separation of Parliament and the Executive. How about barring anyone in the Cabinet from voting in Parliament? That would erase the payroll vote and put a check on the number of jobs that the PM can dole out to his chums.


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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:56 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 10:52 am
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I'm sorry I cannot be there, it is an excellent idea.
I was thinking about ensuring that no Parliament can bind it's successor, I do not think that is quite clear from the "no law that is not Constitutional shall stand". This is in the Bill of Rights but no one takes any notice of that nowadays.
I see your point about the Monarch but am not too happy about an elected Head of State. Although thinking of the Heir to the Throne, maybe you are correct. Separation of executive and parliament would seem to be essential if we are ever to get power back where it belongs.

However, have a good meeting, I look forward to reading all about it in due time.


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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:59 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
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Ministers from HoL, MPs to specialize in oversight of Executive, no promotional route through to Executive??

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:02 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:15 am
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Location: Brussels, Belgium
To those who are braying for Obama-care to be rejected on the grounds of individual liberty, I urge caution.

The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that the state can appropriate an individual's land if it can be proven that building something else there may realise more tax revenue (this is the refusal to reject the law of Eminent Domain). Basically, an individual's property rights are non-existant in the US if a federal, state or local government take an interest in that property.

More formally, I'm referring to The Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) affirmed the authority of New London, Connecticut, to take non-blighted private property by eminent domain, and then transfer it for a dollar a year to a private developer solely for the purpose of increasing municipal revenues.

So individual liberties really have been rolled back in the US before Obama.

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 Post subject: Re: A constitutional democracy
PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:10 pm 
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gareth wrote:
The Underpants Gnomes manifesto

Step 1: Copy Switzerland.
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit.

Quote:
Secondly, I would suggest, we need an elected prime minister. That is not wholly linked with the above, but it seems to make sense. On the US lines – and recognising the predominant role of the prime minister in our system – we should as a nation elect our premier, who should not then be an MP, and nor should any of our ministers.

I am reluctant to go down the route of a President. The 'executive' is the civil service and our representatives seem to defer to them at every available opportunity. MPs don't seek a mandate for much anymore at elections.

Can you make being PM less attractive than it is? The US President is constrained by the constitution. What ways can there be to poison the chalice a bit for a Prime Minister rather than giving them more authority through having a proper electoral separation of Parliament and the Executive. How about barring anyone in the Cabinet from voting in Parliament? That would erase the payroll vote and put a check on the number of jobs that the PM can dole out to his chums.


Not a president ... an elected prime minister. And neither he (she) nor the ministers should be MPs. The PM gets elected and then appoints ministers. That way we have proper separation of powers.

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