This morning I received my copy of ‘Citizen’, the magazine of Unlock Democracy.
Let me have a confession here the first political organisation I joined at the age of seventeen,nearly thirty five years ago was ‘The Campaign For Electoral Reform. Even at those tender years I realised that the political system we lived under did not reflect the diversity of political thought in the United Kingdom.
First Past The Post (FPTP) favoured one Fabian Social Democratic Coalition (Labour), against another conservative centre right coalition (Conservatives).
Since then we have reached the stage that one soft left party (The Conservatives) are in bed with another soft left party (Liberal Democrats), opposing them is a increasingly hard left big State party (Labour). Not much of a choice if you are a Jeffersonian small state classical Liberal! Largely that choice has been denied me, I have successfully not managed to vote in one MP or Councillor in thirty five years that has reflected my views.
This is largely because I vote with my heart rather than voting for the least worst option.
So having been disenfranchised for thirty five years I am attracted to Proportional Representation, it was for this reason I joined the Liberal Party, unfortunately I found my local party was not very Liberal at all, I left when the Liberal Party was taken over by the Social Democratic Party, and became a fully fledged left of centre Social Democratic party, only paying lip service to Liberalism by retaining the word Liberal in the title.
We are now promised a Referendum on AV next May, as part of the price ticket for the Coalition. I do not think that Conservative and Labour Parties are going to vote for AV because they are quite happy with the current carve up.
Lets be clear AV is not proportional so it is not my first choice, but it is an improvement on FPTP. Therefore reluctantly I will support AV, as the status quo is simply not tenable any more.
AV does promise to-
- At least make my vote count for something
- Give smaller parties and Independents a fighting chance
I do not buy that it will make MP’s more accountable, or that elections will be fought on areas that are important to me, or that it is anti extremist.
For that we need to have a root and branch campaign that truly takes back Parliament, that of a new Constitutional Settlement. We have nothing fundamental since 1688, apart from ‘The Great Reform Bill of 1832′ which was largely an adjustment to new economic realities. The Swiss in the meantime have had three rewrites of their written Constitution in that time. Central to their Constitution is the premise that State is subordinate to the individual.
At last year’s Convention of Modern Liberty, the stage was packed with some notable thinkers and writers, and wannabees from the three major parties. I got the feeling that they felt it was something they felt that they should show up to.
The best and most impassioned speakers came from the floor, demanding a new Constitutional Settlement. This was some six months before the Expenses scandal broke. I now just wish that the Convention had been held last summer instead.
Alexandra Runswick in ‘The Citizen’ writes that that she wants to see fundamental reform, advocating a Bill of Rights and the Protection of Civil Liberties, you cannot get either of these until you have a Constitution that puts the Individual above the State, sadly I think that ‘Unlock Democracy’s aims are far to limited. More along the line of ‘we would like our masters to be nice to us, whilst we are being told how to live our lives’ that treating people as individuals, who have a broad spectrum of opinions and would actually like to have some say in where their expropriated money is being spent.
To this end I am proposing that at this years Libertarian Party conference we change our name to the ‘Libertarian and Constitutional Party’, every policy that the LPUK expounds comes from the basic premise that the State is Subordinate to the Individual, that needs to be enshrined in a written Constitution that comes from the bottom up, not is forced on us from above. Cantonal/Lander Federal United Kingdom is the only thing that is going to hold us together.
A centralised State creates torpor,corruption and malign influence and colossal waste. The Swiss Model is something I can recommend.
It is time we wrote our first contract with Government in nearly four hundred years.
Andrew P Withers