What We Stand For
Here's The Problem:
We (the 99%) have a system of government run BY elites (the 1%) FOR elites.
So there are two different but related components to our cause:
1. to try to explain the nature and extent of The Problem, and
2. to propose a humane and practical solution to resolving it.
In order to explain the nature and extent of The Problem, we created The School Of Kindness as a vehicle to re-educate people, most of whom don't really know about the mess we're in, let alone understand it - not through any fault of their own, but because the 1% don't want them to understand. For further information about this vitally important project please follow this link: School of Kindness
Our proposal for a humane and practical solution to The Problem is embodied in the People's Constitution, which can be read in its entirety below.
A very crucial component of any society is how it manages its economy. The People's Constitution proposes an economic model we call EnMo Economics. Limited space on this page prevents us providing the relevant article which explains this new and radical idea in some detail; we've had to place it instead in our "Recruitment" section - which is obviously not the best place for it. However, if you would like to read all about this vitally important subject, please follow this link: EnMo Economics
THE PEOPLE'S CONSTITUTION
The People's Constitution (which can be viewed in full HERE) is grounded on one very simple principle:
The world does not need leaders. It needs humane ideas, and a humane system of organising society.
There's nothing new about this principle. In fact it could be argued that the whole history of mankind is about the struggle of the 99% to free themselves from the tyranny of the 1%. The American writer and environmentalist Edward Abbey, for example, once said,
"Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners."
The People's Constitution is a humane idea which, once in place, can only be changed by the people. There is no role in this model of government for leaders. It describes a system of humane administration which is wholly controlled by, and can only be altered by, THE PEOPLE. It would make control of the 99% by the 1% impossible.
Although I regularly compete in British elections with the intention of completely reforming the British government according to the People’s Constitution, at this moment in history this constitution is mainly intended for the reformation of the United States government. The People’s Constitution should be a model used everywhere in the world, and could, in theory at least, achieve that ultimate aim by gradually being adopted by smaller less-powerful countries such as Britain. But that would likely be a long and painful journey. Because at this moment in history the US is the global super-power, it stands to reason that the best hope for a fairly swift and relatively painless introduction of the People’s Constitution on a global scale is for it to be adopted in the US as soon as possible.
Our proposed solution to the problems that face not just our country, but the whole world, is an entirely new political philosophy I call Free Democracy. Whilst it resonates with already existing sound and humane institutions such as the Swiss Constitution and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, many parts of it are entirely original. However, the core philosophy is simplicity itself, and says:
The people, properly informed, should, if they choose, make the political decisions of their government.
After all, the people pay for their government with their taxes, their labour and their enterprise, so they have every right to make its decisions.
Our People's Constitution proposes a model of government where this philosophy could be delivered. The importance of a humane constitution, properly administered, cannot be understated, because such a constitution is the one and only thing that could offer the citizen long-lasting security, stability and happiness. Human leaders come and go. Very, very few of them truly act in the best interests of the ordinary person. The People's Constitution, properly administered, could do so for as far into the future as we're capable of seeing.
Traditional models of government all depend on some sort of leader, but Free Democracy totally rejects the concept of political leadership, for reasons that I briefly discuss below. I was in my fifties before I began to learn how our world really works. As I’m not a very stupid person, and had an above-average education, that fact alone should help to validate one of the most important lessons I’ve recently learnt: we are all routinely, and continually, misinformed, almost from the day we’re born.
The People's Constitution is not perfect, and doesn't aspire to be. All it needs to offer is improvement on what we have - which is not a difficult thing to do. It's providing that improvement that's the problem, because all of those who continue to profit from the corrupt, inhumane and downright villainous system of government we have had for many centuries will be bitterly opposed to the reforms it suggests. However, once the people have an idea of the sort of government that would truly promote and defend their interests they might decide to create it. And there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't do so.
Free Democracy is wholly original. Nothing like it has been proposed before. Partly this is due to the fact that only now, with the advent of twenty first century communications, is it technically possible. It is neither socialist nor capitalist, as it retains the best elements of both of those models but discards the worst; it rejects leadership and religion, like anarchists do, and retains the anarchists' core value of "treat others as you would have others treat you in the same circumstances" - but unlike the anarchists Free Democracy recognises the essential role of government to protect its values.
2. Section Guide
How do we know if we are being well or poorly governed?
A sizeable number of people would answer that it depends on which political party is in power. Labour supporters in Britain, for example, would claim we are being well governed when Labour is in charge, and poorly led when the Tories are in charge; and Tory supporters would say the exact opposite. But it’s easy to see that doesn’t really answer the question. Not only does it confuse the issue with party politics, and ignore altogether the point of the question, which is to try and identify the specific qualities of good or bad government, it also betrays a complete lack of understanding of how government really works i.e. how its decisions are made.
We live in a time where it’s simply not possible to be a reasonably intelligent and humane person and not be at least slightly radical; and it’s also quite likely that this has actually been the situation throughout most of history.
Our government has always been managed ‘top down’, i.e. through various hierarchical systems presided over by leaders, who are themselves subservient (directly or indirectly) to the supreme leader, the head of state. In other words, leadership is as essential to our existing system of government as the circulation of blood in our bodies is essential to life.
So, central to our question of good or poor government is surely leadership? And leadership must surely be dependent on the character, abilities and values of the individual leader?
Society therefore comprises leaders, followers and a confused but vital middle order comprising junior and middle ranking leaders who, because of their low and intermediate positions in whatever particular hierarchy they serve, are both leaders and followers. This quite sizeable group, the vital middle order, is the glue that holds the system together: their ambition for greater personal power and wealth has always been manipulated by their leaders with ruthless and cynical efficiency.
This system of government can work, after a fashion, as indeed it has done for many centuries, but it does not necessarily follow that it provides ‘good’ government. The central assumption of the People’s Constitution is that it does not; and furthermore, not only is the system that is endlessly perpetuated by our leaders not ‘good’, it is downright bad.
I am not the first person to notice this; not by a very long way. To quote Tom Paine, writing in his famous ‘Rights of Man’ more than 200 years ago:
“Change of ministers amounts to nothing. One goes out, another comes in and still the same measures, vices and extravagance are pursued. It matters not who is minister. The defect lies in the system. The foundation and superstructure of government is bad.”
The recent collapse of the world economy, presided over by our trusted leaders, together with the even more recent scandal around MP’s expenses (which was in fact no more than a snowflake atop a monstrous large iceberg) amply demonstrates that very little has really changed in government since Tom Paine’s day.
Most British people labour under the illusion they live in a democracy, and think they have ultimate control over their leaders. Furthermore, and perhaps even more damaging, is the illusion that these leaders, who we think we can control, are driven by a noble and selfless desire to serve our interests before their own. We think these things because it’s what they continually tell us, almost from birth, and then unremittingly throughout life. As economist John Maynard Keynes put it, writing about the most powerful religion on Earth:
"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."
Our ancient system of government is intentionally designed and maintained this way for one reason, and one reason only: to benefit those who administer it. The interests of those who are administered by it come a very distant second which, considering it is largely this group who finance government, is a little unreasonable.
So to return to the original question of how we might know if we are being well or poorly governed, the central consideration must be to examine who most benefits by it, the people or the government itself. If the people benefit more (or at least as well as) those administering government we could conclude that the people are being well governed; and where government rewards itself more than the people, as has long been the case in Britain, we could safely conclude that the people are being poorly governed. It then follows that if the system that endlessly perpetuates such a government is allowed to continue, poor government must continue also.
I do not intend to prove my case here: that we are very badly governed irrespective of which political party is theoretically in charge; our School of Kindness Section towards the end of this page comprises some of the abundant evidence may be found for why I have written this work. Anyone who doubts the truth or sincerity of what I'm saying should spend a little time examining the contents of the School of Kindness. The essential re-education it freely provides to those who don't understand how our world really works will help to make it clear exactly why the People’s Constitution is so desperately needed – not just in Britain and almost every other country on the planet, but especially in the United States.
How governments are organised and administered is the stuff of constitutions. Britain is almost unique in the world for having no written constitution. A constitution is supposed to contain the rules by which rulers must abide. Paradoxically, our government requires almost every formally established organisation in the country to produce a body of rules by which it functions, yet perceives absolutely no need whatsoever for the largest and most important organisation of all, itself, to have one. It’s very easy to see that the absence of a constitution means the absence of rules; and whilst the everyday lives of ordinary people are completely buried beneath rules, regulations and laws, the tiny handful of individuals responsible for maintaining and adding to that overwhelming burden are themselves completely unimpeded. If these people were good people, driven by a sincere desire to do what's best for the rest of us, that might be acceptable. But that is not the case. Our system of government is now, and always has been, controlled by tiny handfuls of very powerful people who are driven only by their own selfish interests.
Intriguingly, having no written constitution presents no obstacle to the taxpayer being burdened with an entire government department somehow dedicated to the topic. Up until 2007 it called itself the Department for Constitutional Affairs. It has now been absorbed by the Department of Justice (no doubt because someone finally latched onto the irony of naming a whole government department after something that doesn’t exist). We also have numerous individuals who are regarded as experts in constitutional law – a quite remarkable talent given that no such law can be produced for our inspection. No doubt these good people would point to such historic documents as Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights and, rightly, remind us of the fundamental cornerstones they once provided in the endless struggle for human rights, both here and in the rest of the world (clauses from Magna Carta appear almost unaltered in the American Constitution and in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights).
But Magna Carta was never intended as a safeguard for ordinary people (its clauses refer to ‘freemen’, a sort of privileged middle class – the vital glue of the time. Commoners, un–free men, were regarded as the personal property of feudal lords, and obviously had no personal rights at all, so were implicitly excluded); and of the 63 clauses which comprised the original Magna Carta all but 4 have been excised from current British statute books. Whilst the Bill of Rights is also hugely important in that it legitimises the supremacy of parliament over monarchy, it fails to endorse the supremacy of the people over parliament, and continues to recognise the right for an unelected individual with a hereditary claim to ‘rule’ as the country’s head of state – a principle that is hardly consistent with democracy.
The mere existence of a written constitution does not of course guarantee some form of superior government. Zimbabwe has one, for example, but no one could seriously suggest that the government of Robert Mugabe was therefore a champion of democratic freedoms. Also it must be said that every other country in Europe has had written constitutions for at least a hundred years, but these documents haven’t prevented the likes of France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Italy from enjoying their fair share of colonial exploitation and plunder. And today’s greatest threat to world peace, the mightiest empire that ever bestrode the planet, the self-appointed leader of the ‘free world’, is run by a government supposedly controlled by a written constitution – hardly a ringing endorsement for the concept.
So why should we bother, and why should the People’s Constitution be any different to these other, practically ineffective documents?
In the end it comes down to policing. A nation may have the most enlightened constitution that’s ever existed, but if it’s police and judiciary are unable (or unwilling) to enforce it, it’s less than useless. It stands to reason that if you are in a position to not only make a law, but also enforce it as and when suits you, you are in a position of considerable power. Throughout the history of mankind this position of considerable power has routinely rested in the hands of an infinite succession of dictatorial tyrants and their supporters – never ordinary people. Although there have been many attempts (some moderately successful) at replacing the inevitably corrupt administrations such power creates, the evidence indicates a gradual backwards slide to some variation of corrupt dictatorship, so that these brave idealistic revolutions eventually revert to tyranny. As today’s so-called democracies were evolved from the more honest and obvious tyrannies that preceded them, many of the features of those tyrannies have been carefully preserved – such as how government polices itself.
So although many countries can proudly display ‘democratic’ constitutions, few provide meaningful and effective means for the people to call their leaders to account – such as the repeated failures of recent attempts to indict British and American leaders to face charges of war crimes following their illegal invasion of Iraq. The People’s Constitution is very different and offers two unique and original solutions to this problem.
Firstly, it not only requires every public servant to serve the constitution as their first duty, ignoring if necessary any instruction to the contrary they may get, it also provides a mechanism for ensuring they do so – well, as much as it’s possible to do that: every public servant works for the constitution first, and human administrators second. Traditionally, because of rigid hierarchical bureaucracies, control by the citizen of the public servants she pays for is impossible – as intended. Traditionally, public servants work for more senior public servants who are themselves controlled by tiny handfuls of immensely powerful individuals. Ordinary "front line" public servants must simply obey orders - no matter what. Such blind subservience has been the prime cause for much mind-numbing institutional brutality by some public servants for many centuries in most parts of the world, which continues to this day. The taxpaying citizen who pays the salaries of all these officials may as well bark at the moon as expect her concerns to intervene between the sacred bond between public servants. The People's Constitution scraps that invidious chain of authoritarian control by senior "leaders" over ordinary public servants, requiring ALL public servants to serve the constitution as their First Duty, ignoring when necessary any instruction to the contrary.
The People’s Constitution creates a hugely decentralised public sector where the citizen has considerable power to ensure public servants do the jobs they’re paid to do. The ordinary citizen may bring charges against anyone who breaches the constitution, irrespective of rank or position; and any public servant whose job is related to acting on those charges must do so as their first duty. Officials performing their First Duty are protected by the constitution from any form of retribution or disciplinary action or sanction by other public servants; and the citizen may police the arrangement through her elected councillor who, having the power to fire any public servant for failing to serve the constitution, has significant control of the public services in her area; and the elected councillor risks being recalled by her voters if she fails to exercise that control. This is intended to allow the ordinary citizen meaningful access to the constitution, and provide her with real tools to enforce it. In other words the People’s Constitution provides the means for the ordinary citizen, together with the humble public servant, to directly police government and not hope, as is currently the case, that government will properly police itself under the benevolent gaze of trusted leaders.
Secondly, and resonating with the question I asked at the beginning, the People’s Constitution must be a model of good government because it wholly belongs to the people. In other words, because the ‘goodness’ of government is a matter that only the people can decide, and because the people directly control government through this constitution, it stands to reason that it must be as good as the people can make it. This obviously turns on a crucial assumption: that the majority of people are good people, who will, when properly informed, make good decisions. I believe absolutely that this is the case: whereas history is bursting at the seams with evidence of trusted leaders who have made bad decisions, there is no evidence where the people, when properly informed, have done so.
No supreme leader or tiny group of elites can lawfully interfere with the People’s Constitution. Only the people control it and only the people can change it. So, different political figures will inevitably come and go as they have always done, and some may try to forcibly scrap the constitution in order to restore power to traditional elites. But it would not be an easy thing to do, and once done, would not be an easy thing to maintain: when the people eventually have real and meaningful power, they are unlikely to lightly give it up.
Once it is clearly understood, as Tom Paine obviously did, that the problem is with our system of government rather than the people who appear to control it, the solution becomes obvious: the system must change. The only way our poorly government can be cured is not by removing from power a particular individual or group of individuals and replacing them with a new set wielding exactly the same powers and presiding over exactly the same system, but by creating an entirely different decision-making process whereby no privileged elite may ever wield so much power, and where the welfare of the people is given its proper importance at the very heart of government. The only way the ordinary citizen may be confident that governments are making trustworthy decisions is if the ordinary citizen, properly informed, is the person making those decisions.
The model of government presented here is so completely different to anything that has previously existed that it cannot properly be labelled with any existing title. I call it Free Democracy for convenience, as writing and talking about it requires some point of differential reference, and real freedom and real democracy are two of the highest and noblest ideals known.
In the democracy to which Free Democrats aspire, government is entirely subordinate to the People’s Constitution, not some supreme leader. The constitution belongs entirely to the people, and can only be altered with the people’s consent. The constitution is the set of tools by which we the people determine how we live with each other, and how our government serves us. The constitution should be the highest legal authority in the land, the law with which we can defend ourselves simply and unaided if necessary against other individuals, organisations or the abuses of the state. This constitution not only provides for the citizen to personally bring charges against those who violate its terms, it requires that the enforcers of the law, and any other public servant, serve it as their first duty, disregarding any contrary instructions they might receive from any third party. In other words, this constitution, properly empowered, should be the only protection the ordinary citizen ever needs.
Anyone with a marginal familiarity with constitutional law will recognise in this document a passing resemblance to the Swiss constitution. I make no apology for that. Switzerland is probably the most democratic country on Earth; and despite its landlocked position and lack of natural resources, colonial possessions or standing army, it nevertheless manages to be one of the richest and most successful nations on the planet whilst maintaining security for its citizens, sound social policies and high environmental standards. Switzerland is alone amongst its European neighbours in having managed to keep its people safe from war for almost two hundred years, even when completely surrounded by it, twice, and, it should be repeated, without a standing army. It alone in Europe resists the suffocating stranglehold imposed by European bureaucrats. Whilst it is accepted that Switzerland being the traditional home of world banking might not be entirely unrelated to its economic success, it still follows that there are some lessons to be learnt from such a country that is significantly and directly controlled by its citizens.
Most people conditioned to trusting their lives to leaders are understandably unsettled by anything that proposes something different. Initially they fail to see that ordinary people just like them might possibly be more dependable decision-makers than some well-groomed, over-confidant, TV-friendly politician. Whilst Switzerland provides a very good example of a successful country that has long trusted government decision-making to its ordinary citizens, it is not the only example of the practice. We are all familiar with a much better known model – trial by jury.
The administration of justice is arguably the first duty of any society. Britain has long used trial by jury to determine guilt or innocence. Whilst far from perfect, it is trusted far more than any other judicial system because it is ordinary people, properly informed, who serve as decision-makers, and not some elitist group.
No discussion on political models is complete without an economic model too.
Capitalism, as it has been practised for the last three decades, must surely now be so completely discredited that it doesn’t need any further debate: it has become an obscene abomination that cannot be tolerated by any society that calls itself humane.
Whilst there have been many attempts in the past to create truly humane economic systems, most (such as communism) have included a requirement for equal wealth distribution and imposed the notion of equality to quite ridiculous extremes. If it is allowed to operate (seldom the case), communism is a perfectly operable economic system, but really requires the unanimous consent of its people in order to do so. So it too is far from perfect as it fails to provide for those who want more, different or better than their neighbour, or for those who want to own their own property, and who are fully prepared to work harder in order to have these things. Although these may seem silly and trivial concerns, they are nevertheless quite normal human desires, and the failure of government to allow them, and indeed to vilify those who feel them, is not conducive to creating a happy society (which cause must surely be the ultimate goal of any government).
Socialism, as it has been practised by Scandinavian countries for example, attempts to offer the so-called ‘third way’: where the citizen is well protected by the state, but where private enterprise is also allowed; but the traditional weakness of socialism is that it tends to foster huge bureaucracies that serve absolutely no useful function whatsoever other than providing pointless employment for unnecessary bureaucrats at the expense of private enterprise, or individual fulfilment.
The common cause for the failure of all these systems is political leadership: they all require the existence of some form of pampered and privileged elite who are largely indifferent to the effects upon the ordinary citizen of their different economic systems, as long as the lives of the elites remain pampered and well provided for.
The People’s Constitution proposes another option: an economy that fosters and encourages small businesses to generate as much (or as little) wealth as they choose; and small, locally financed and controlled state administration systems that almost eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy.
At the start of this introduction I asked how we could know if we are being well or poorly governed. Until it is actually enacted, the People’s Constitution serves as a template, a yardstick for the average citizen to compare the government she has with the government she should have. It is an idea of what good government should be, a model that sincerely places the welfare and interests of the ordinary citizen at the heart of government, which should, after all, be the purpose of government.
It is hoped that this work also serves another unique and original function.
We are wholly conditioned almost from birth to believing that we must be led – that no other form of government is acceptable, or imaginable even. It isn’t hard to see that this belief is a necessary lever of control for those who want to dominate others, and especially to dominate the wealth of others. Such people are fervent disciples of the gospel of leadership. But is leadership really an essential requirement of government? I believe not.
The essence of Free Democracy is that the ordinary citizen, properly informed, should, if he chooses, make the decisions of his government. So it follows that if the humble citizen is key decision-maker, leaders are irrelevant. Absolutely fundamental to the success of this philosophy are the qualifying conditions that the citizen be properly informed, and that he is free to take part in the decision making process, or not take part in it.
In other words it is hoped this work might establish in the mind of the citizen a notion of real independence, an idea that she might not actually need to be led anywhere or told what to think. Providing she has learnt how to think (a simple enough task for any decent school) she only needs to be properly informed, and provided with a reliable means of making the decisions of the government she pays for, as and when she chooses to. Therefore we need good information, and reliable tools to use that information to make our own decisions. We do not need leadership.
Accepting a very few exceptions, the overwhelming lesson of history is that leaders place their own interests before those of the led, and often a very long way before them. It stands to reason that if government is under the control of such people it will simply be managed as a tool to further their own interests. Such a government cannot also serve the interests of the people, and must therefore be poor government. Good government, one that truly protects the interests of the people, can only be achieved if the people, properly informed, have complete control over its decision-making process. The People’s Constitution, which is the property of the people, delivers that control.
2. Section Guide
a. The single most important thing to understand about this work is that it’s simply a work in progress. It does not presume to offer Utopia, or some other timeless model of perfection that must never be altered; it is simply my best effort to propose a starting point, to invent a system of government that could deliver the political philosophy I call Free Democracy; a system that no individual, or small group of individuals, could ever dominate, control or manipulate; a system that only the people can alter as and when they choose. The non-perfection of this work is not a weakness, it is its strength.
It isn’t very difficult to see that perfection is unattainable, and to delay change until perfection can be produced is to ensure that change never happens – a situation that perfectly suits those few who really pull the strings. No new model of government needs to be perfect, it only needs to be better than what went before; and the core assumption of this work is that this is exactly what the People’s Constitution is: imperfect, but considerably better than what we have.
This work will always have powerful enemies. Because this constitution requires that all political and economic control is passed into the hands of the people, and awards to the people rights that have always been resisted by our traditional rulers, it follows that that tiny but all-powerful minority would lose their power to control us, and will therefore always be bitterly opposed to such changes. Even once their political power is removed the elites will remain a threat, and will always seek to restore their control; so for that reason two safeguards should be instituted from the moment the constitution is enacted:
i. The constitution should be adopted, ‘warts and all’, in whatever form my last revision appears. This is because I have written it with a sincere effort to hold the general interests of the people, animal welfare and the long term health of our planet uppermost in my mind; and whilst this work can obviously be improved, I don’t know how. What I do know is this: change that limits or restricts the rights of the people, properly informed, to make the decisions of their government should always be resisted.
ii. Once adopted the People’s Constitution should remain unaltered for ten years in order that its principles have time to become established. The people must have ownership and control of the constitution, but in order that the constitution has a chance to fight off its powerful enemies it will need to be protected through its first and most vulnerable years. Therefore a ten year transitional period should be imposed from the day of its enactment with a moratorium on any alterations to the constitution. (See ‘Transition’ below) Because the constitution protects rather than prosecutes, this condition should not cause any serious problems.
b. The constitution is constructed so that each section begins with a brief note about its purpose. This is important. Justice has frequently been denied to ordinary people by the simple expedient of ensuring that only the privileged classes have access to expensive lawyers to ‘interpret’ (i.e. twist and manipulate) the letter of the law. The constitution attempts to provide a simple but powerful shield that any citizen could use for their defence entirely unaided by expensive lawyers; and the stated purpose of each section is meant to show why that section exists, in order to clarify when necessary the wording of the section itself. The wording of the section should never be given a preferential weight to the common understanding of the purpose of the section – it is quite impossible to draft a law that caters for every possible contingency, and this fact has aided too many of history’s villains, and victimised too many of history’s innocents. A clearly stated purpose before each section is intended to provide a guide to the ordinary citizens of tribunals who should be the final arbiters of all constitutional disputes.
c. Section Two is about the individual rights of the citizen. The voting rights are, unsurprisingly, entirely consistent with Free Democracy. None of the other rights described here should astonish anyone blessed with libertarian sympathies. The clauses about legal rights are especially necessary. Human rights have never been a priority of British governments, who have generally opposed anything that might loosen their vice-like grip around the throats of the people. The high-water mark of freedom enjoyed by British citizens possibly occurred in the 1970s. Ever since then human rights have been in decline, and at the turn of the millennium were deteriorating so rapidly that the grim social wasteland of the nineteenth century was looking more and more familiar. The legal rights listed here are largely consistent with those of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and should be a basic minimum for any nation that calls itself civilised.
d. Section Three is short but I believe fundamentally important. Rights should never be separated from duty: no one should expect their individual rights to outweigh their responsibility to respect the rights of others, and a duty to take responsibility for their own actions.
e. Section Four is an attempt to explain how the citizen might take up their rightful place at the heart of government decision-making. Free Democracy will undoubtedly be a popular and successful means of government, providing citizens are properly informed (i.e. given truthful and relevant information from a humane perspective), and the system by which it is administered is simple to use, secure from fraudulent use, and cheap (i.e. unencumbered by wholly unnecessary bureaucracy).
f. Section Five is, if anything, more radical than section four. It describes an entirely different model of government administration to any that Britain has ever seen.
It’s very difficult for people to grasp that Britain is not a real democracy. This is because almost from birth and then throughout our lives every mainstream source of information tells us otherwise. However, the proof of our non-democracy is compelling: the country is headed by an unelected aristocrat who claims the position through hereditary title; half of our parliament comprises unelected aristocrats or people who aspire to be aristocrats, whilst the other half comprises elected representatives of the people who must obey the instructions of a tiny but immensely powerful elite – not those who elected them. Just a very little effort at studying the subject can quickly demonstrate that Britain is far from alone, and that very few countries that call themselves democracies truly deserve the honour of being called a democracy. Indeed there is abundant evidence, should one care to look for it, that today’s empire and the one that preceded it have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that real democracy is exterminated wherever it shows any signs of life.
The interface between government and the public who pay for it are the public services. In Britain the public services are tightly controlled from central government; and because the people have absolutely no control over their central government it follows that they have even less control over their public services. The People’s Constitution proposes a remedy for both our non-democracy and the services that we pay for but over which we have no control. The proposition is based on the simple premise that because the people pay for government and their public services they have the right to directly control both of those institutions.
Although this model is original, there are unmistakable similarities with how other successful nations are organised – such as Switzerland. The People’s Constitution proposes a decentralised federal-type arrangement, where counties, directly controlled by their citizens, not central government, assume responsibility for almost all public services in their areas. It describes a republican model where the head of state is elected. There is no restriction to a British aristocrat being the head of state – providing they are elected to the position. The head of state should be a largely ceremonial position, presiding over a small administration whose main function is to facilitate, support and co-ordinate when needed the smooth running of county administrations. The core of the section regarding the public services, and all the personnel who are employed by the state, is that county and state work for the taxpaying citizen, and are felt by citizens to be working for them, not vice versa. Two of the most radical features of this section are the militia and the judiciary.
Britain’s armed forces are a considerable power, and have been for many centuries. However, like the NHS, the ‘defence’ establishment is little different to any other government bureaucracy. Until a trusted and effective world police force is in place Britain should be in a position to defend her borders; but the burden of self defence should be shared by all citizens and not used as an excuse (as it nearly always has been) to create powerful permanent war machines designed solely to wage wars of plunder and destruction in other people’s countries.
Justice cannot be said to exist until every citizen regardless of rank or position is truly subject to the law; and until the full judicial system is freely accessible by the disadvantaged – not just those who can pay for it. So the judicial system described here is an attempt to provide affordable justice for all, and by suggesting a low level model for how I believe most public bodies should operate – by replacing the existing, much discredited, hugely hierarchical management systems with much smaller public services with management responsibility entirely devolved to the site where that particular public service is being delivered.
g. In Section Six I consider the economy. The economy of a society is vitally important to its wellbeing. The model described in the People's Constitution is based on EnMo Economics, which is itself fully described here:
h. Section Seven is about freedom of expression, a core value for any libertarian and real democrat.
i. Section Eight attempts to make provision to protect our environment, national heritage, agriculture and natural resources, and identifies the need for ensuring good transport and communication systems.
j. In Section Nine I try to address the issue of social welfare. It is the duty of any responsible government to provide some ultimate protection for its vulnerable people. Few people are vulnerable all of the time, whilst many are vulnerable some of the time. The permanently vulnerable should be permanently protected. However, it is reasonable that the larger group should be expected to make its own provisions for the hard times, resorting to state assistance only as a last resort.
k. Section ten provides for the temporary suspension of Free Democracy. This can only be permitted in situations of such dire emergency that the communication systems upon which Free Democracy depends are seriously destroyed or compromised to such an extent they cannot be trusted.
Britain has not yet deteriorated to such an extent that the only way this constitution could become reality is through violent revolution. At this moment in time (2010), the constitution could be introduced using our existing system, and this is obviously the preferred option. I envisage that eventually a general election will be held where the People’s Constitution is the deciding issue – a bit like the general election of 1832, which was supposedly about ‘Reform’. But unlike that fake reform, this constitution offers REAL political change. However, when that happy day comes, and the people finally get to decide on real reform, the vote should also include a condition that once enacted the People’s Constitution should not be repealed or amended for a transition period of ten years.
Initially an inflexible period of transition might seem unreasonable. However, every general election effectively produces a similar result. Every general election imposes a tiny set of dictators upon the country for at least four years, a set of rulers who are outside the control of those who elected them, and who will impose upon a largely unwilling nation endless laws without sparing a second’s thought for whether or not the people might actually want those laws. Furthermore our leaders have often conspired to form ‘cross-party alliances’ in order to impose laws that should not be changed for considerable periods of time by the possibility of new governments. Such conspiracies often result in leading our nation into illegal wars or imposing cruel oppressions on our own people. So in one sense, it’s little different from what we have long been used to, without realising it. But in fact it’s far more considerate than what we’re used to because it at least shows the people exactly what’s proposed, and asks the people for their permission to accept it with a ten year transition condition; and it is considerably more liberating than the existing situation because the people would have immediate control over all other changes proposed by their government.
This period of transition is very important, not only because the constitution will have powerful enemies intent on causing its elimination –especially during its first years when it will be at its most vulnerable – but also because with the best will in the world some of the changes proposed could not take place overnight, and a little time should be built into the process in order for the inevitable teething problems to be reasonably resolved. Although it will be possible to introduce some sections of the constitution with immediate effect (such as the all-important sections on rights and duties) other sections will take much longer (such as reformation of the public services). During transition the constitution should not be amended, but adopted ‘warts and all,’ and a sincere national effort made to implement the whole of it as soon as possible. Proposing such radical change, together with a condition to leave it unaltered for ten years is a very big thing to ask people to do. But the People’s Constitution is a beautiful thing. It is inherently humane, with nothing in it that would allow harm to be done to anyone, or to animals or to the environment. In other words, there is nothing in it for the ordinary person to fear.
Also necessarily different from the steady-state constitution is the appointment of elected officials. The constitution requires that in the steady-state some elected officials (MPs etc) have certain minimum educational qualifications and have already served at least one term as county councillors. Obviously it will not be possible to meet these conditions when the constitution is first enacted, and a ‘transition administration’ will need to be established where the qualifying conditions are waived. This temporary relaxation should not extend beyond the ten year ‘settling in’ period of transition.
It is essential that a basic electronic voting system for the new decision-making model is in place within the first six months of transition. The traditional decision-making system should be suspended in the interim in order to encourage progress with the new one (although provision should be made to cope with emergency situations). It is more important that imperfect voting systems are temporarily tolerated if necessary rather than to permit delays waiting for supposedly foolproof systems – delays the constitution’s enemies would inevitably exploit to maximum effect. It must be expected that such a huge constitutional change will take time to get right, but this must not be allowed as an excuse to delay it happening at all. Each county should create and evolve their own system, fully expecting to make mistakes and experience problems. Not only will this expedite the process it will provide a variety of different and innovative solutions which will lead to evolving the most successful one.
Intimately connected to electronic voting systems must be a reliable public information service. As the infrastructure for this already exists, all that’s required is for a change in broadcasting policy. The constitution requires that people are properly informed. Once again, individual counties should evolve their own information systems; but basic essential components must include equally weighted factual content for and against issues as well as equally weighted opinion for and against issues. The other crucial ingredient to ensuring people are properly informed is an understanding of humanity – a basic idea of what’s right and wrong. This is not a difficult thing to do. One of the most ancient principles of morality forms the backbone of our Ethical Guide, and it should be the controlling influence behind all debate. That principle is: to do unto others as you would have others do unto you, in similar circumstances. Providing the means for people to be properly informed should be a relatively straightforward change to make, so there’s no reason why an effective system should not be functional within the first six months of transition. Directly related to public information during transition should be a public education programme.
The People’s Constitution has been created for a very good reason – that the people have been deliberately misinformed for many centuries in order that powerful elites may plunder the world. This message needs to be widely and thoroughly taught through a public information programme as soon as transition begins in order that the people completely understand why this constitution is so desperately needed.
Because the public sector would be the largest group to be significantly affected by the new constitution, it is right and important that certain protections are built in for the individuals directly affected.
The new organisation for public services replaces the traditional centralised hierarchical management structure with a decentralised lateral administration model. In the new model a significant number of existing public service managers will become redundant, and those who do not become redundant will no longer be entitled to the excessive salaries they currently enjoy. However, instead of immediately imposing new and drastically reduced salary scales on remaining managers, their salaries should be gradually reduced over the transition period whilst they oversee the reorganisation of their departments, until the new scales become universal. Ideally no worker should be made redundant without first having the option of re-employment, albeit in a different role and/or different location. The new constitution will still require public servants, so options for re-employment will exist, but many will have very different and hopefully more satisfying jobs working directly for the taxpayer.
Perhaps the most controversial reformation of the public services will be to the armed forces. The People’s Constitution requires that Britain no longer maintains a permanent standing defence force. This will initially appear a heresy of the highest order. However, there are a number of successful countries which cope extremely well without permanent armies (such as Switzerland), and without attracting any noticeable challenges to their national security. So there is no reason to assume that Britain has too much to fear by adopting a similar policy. The existing regular armed services are to be replaced with an expanded function of the existing territorial services, whereby every citizen may be trained either in the part time armed services or in a new part time civil defence force, both of which are to be organised similarly to other public services rather than the traditional hierarchical ranking structure.
All of the proposed changes should be fully functional within ten years, by which time the transition period should end, and the constitution itself then available for amendment as the people see fit.
Now see the People's Constitution in full HERE