(Important note to the reader: There is a lot of content on this page. Sometimes it doesn't always display correctly. If some of the content you're looking at looks particularly out of place, try refreshing the screen. If it still seems unduly strange do please contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org)
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, go here: 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 go here: Enmo
THE PEOPLE'S CONSTITUTION
The People's Constitution is grounded on one very simple principle:
The world does not need leaders. It needs humane ideas, and a humane system of organising society. 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.
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.
The People's Constitution is a work in progress. It first appeared on this website on 13 September 2010, and was last updated on 13 December 2013.
2. Section Guide
4. The People's Constitution
5. Ethical 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.
4. THE PEOPLE'S CONSTITUTION
Section 1 Purpose
Section 2 The Citizen and Their Individual Rights
Section 3 The Citizen and Their Individual Responsibilities
Section 4 Democratic Process
Section 5 The Organisation and Responsibilities of the State
Section 6 The Economy
Section 7 The Press, Media and the Arts
Section 8 The Environment and Animal Welfare, National Heritage, Agriculture, Transport, Essential Services, Communications and Natural Resources
Section 9 Social Welfare
Section 10 States of Emergency
Addendum Ethical Guide
SECTION 1. PURPOSE
The true greatness of a nation is founded on principles of humanity; it is measured by the freedom, political authority and security of its citizens (1); how it cares for its disadvantaged people; how it protects and conserves its natural resources and environment; and how well it is regarded by ordinary people in the wider international community.
Thus the purpose of this document is to provide details of the covenant between the State (2) of Britain (3) and its citizens in order to provide those values. The People’s Constitution is the highest legal authority. No other law, rule or regulation may transcend, conflict or take priority or precedence over any part of it. Any law, rule or regulation that does conflict with any part of this constitution, either in purpose or practical effect, will be repealed and disregarded. No person may breach this constitution, or issue to a third party any order, request or instruction that conflicts with any clause. Therefore it is the first duty of every public servant to know the constitution and serve it as their first and supreme authority.
To provide a system of government whereby the people, properly informed (4), are in direct control of all political decision-making, including government spending; and to provide a shield for the citizen, all animal life and our environment, a shield that may be used easily and effectively against anyone who threatens the rights described below. Therefore all sections of this constitution should be interpreted with that principle in mind. The Ethical Guide is intended to be used to help with additional interpretation whenever constitutional conflicts arise.
This constitution was drafted as a direct consequence of and as response to millennia of elitist exploitation of people and the environment in order to produce wealth and political power for those few privileged elites. Wealth is something that is unique to human society, but which is wholly dependent on human labour and natural resources. Society has previously been arranged so that tiny minorities control vastly disproportionate amounts of labour and resources, nearly always with brutal and devastating consequences, and invariably without any thought to the general happiness of people, the welfare of animals, or the long term well-being of our planet. Many centuries of such misrule has ravaged humanity and the planet and caused unimaginable suffering to all living things. Such irresponsible behaviour by renegade rulers is unacceptable. Therefore this constitution is intended to remove such power and control from elites, to produce a system of government that is firmly and unequivocally in the direct control of a well-informed population. This constitution ensures that no citizen has any more political decision-making authority than any other citizen, and for the interpretation of this constitution, all people are equal.
The People’s Constitution is the property of a well-informed citizenry, and only a well-informed citizenry may change it. Therefore it is vital that the people know and understand their constitution, and that children are taught about it in school. Future generations should be mindful of the powerful forces that will always strive to take control from the hands of the people in order to restore a plutocracy. So the citizen must always be wary of any amendments to this constitution – especially those that might erode those all-important popular controls, restrict human or animal rights, or threaten long term harm to the environment.
The economy is a vital part of any society, and the economic security, rights and duties of the people are every bit as important as their physical security, rights and duties. Many centuries of tyrannical rulers have managed economies such that they and their close allies become extraordinarily wealthy at the expense of the people who provide that wealth. History shows that many of these governments have gone so far as starving their own people to force their subservience and allegiance; and sent the nation’s young to distant lands to kill or be killed - in order to enrich the leaders of such governments and their close allies. This is obviously wrong, and any economic model that allows the people to be so abused cannot be acceptable. The People’s Constitution proposes an economic model whereby all citizens may enjoy free, comfortable and happy lives in exchange for supplying a modest amount of their labour to some public service; and it also provides for those who seek more material wealth to have it – providing they work more, and do not obtain their excess wealth by harming others or destroying the environment. However, it must also be added that although this economic model is perfectly viable, it is also dependent on being left alone by a very tiny minority of people who would wish to see it fail – and such people will always exist – such as those tiny minorities who tirelessly conspired for many decades to crush the perfectly workable socialist model because of the threat it posed to elitist control of wealth.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
SECTION 2. THE CITIZEN AND THEIR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
Purpose – To enshrine the rights of the citizen to a decent standard of life, and freedom of thought, movement and expression; to stipulate specific protections the state must provide; to stipulate the right of the citizen to take part, if and when they choose, in the decision-making processes of the state; and to protect the citizen from harm inflicted by others. It must be the duty of the state to allow its citizens to live their lives as freely as they choose within the constraints of this constitution.
a. if at least sixteen years of age has the right to vote (or not to vote) to elect political representatives as well as the right to deselect those representatives through the Recall procedure outlined below (Section 5); and to vote (or not to vote) in any decision making debate between his/her elected representatives;
b. subject to the conditions of Section 3 below, has the right to:
i. unrestricted freedom of thought, religion, expression and movement;
ii. free education in a state school up to the age of sixteen years and, depending on their ability to satisfy academic or technical entrance requirements, free education up to age twenty four in state universities or colleges;
iii. free access to all NHS healthcare services as follows:
1. Emergency Services (i.e. any immediately life-threatening condition, and/or anything causing acute pain) – whenever necessary;
2. From birth until leaving fulltime education;
3. After reaching the statutory retirement age of 65;
4. When pregnant and up to one month post natal care (for up to two children);
5. Throughout life if born with a genetic illness requiring permanent medical treatment;
6. Throughout life if struck down by permanent injury or illness.
iv. the full protection of the State from any threat against these constitutional rights by any person or organisation;
v. seek employment in any part of the country;
vi. a contract of employment defining statutory employment rights;
vii. work until whatever age he/she chooses;
viii. retire from work, if they choose, at the age of 65;
ix. any information held by any public organisation except for the personal details of other citizens;
x. privacy in their home and family life, including privacy of all their home and family mail and communications;
xi. live anywhere in the country;
xii. leave and return to the country;
xiii. compensation for state appropriation of their property, or for any loss or damage caused by the state to their property;
xiv. compensation for personal injury sustained by any action intended to harm, or through any wilful negligence by a known third party;
xv. join (or not join) any trade union, political party or other organisation.
c. has the following legal rights:
i. they shall not be detained without their next of kin, particular friend, or legal representative being informed immediately upon detention as to why and where they are detained;
ii. they shall not be detained against their will except by due legal process;
iii. they shall not be so detained for more than 24 hours without being formally charged with a criminal offence;
iv. they will be presumed innocent of any such charge until proven guilty;
v. they will have equal treatment before the law, including the right to:
1. know full details of charges faced communicated to them in a language they understand;
2. have defence witnesses heard;
3. have professional legal counsel to act on their behalf;
4. be tried quickly (within 3 months of being charged with a crime)in an official court open to the public, presided over by a legal specialist before a jury or tribunal of ordinary citizens;
5. be tried for civil cases in the nearest court to their home;
6. be heard first if being detained pending trial;
7. not be executed or unlawfully killed, nor punished inhumanely or excessively by the state or its representatives.
vi. they may personally require a magistrate’s court to hear any charge against another individual, organisation or the state, for any breach of this constitution, but shall meet the financial cost of doing so unless the court finds in their favour; such hearings to be convened within one month of the charge being made;
vii. they shall be permitted to partake as members of tribunals, juries or commissions of enquiry without loss of income or other employment rights;
viii. they shall not be tried twice for the same charge unless new and compelling evidence against them is produced.
d. shall not be discriminated against;
e. shall not be extradited to another country without their voluntary consent, or taken by force out of the country.
Children and Non-Citizens
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
a. Children under the age of sixteen years shall have the same protections provided by these constitutional rights as any adult citizen.
b. Non citizens facing legal charges in Britain have the same rights to due legal process as British citizens. Foreign nationals found guilty of criminal offences will immediately be deported to their country of origin after serving any period of detention unless a tribunal convened within one month prior to their release decides otherwise.
SECTION 3. THE CITIZEN AND THEIR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Purpose – To provide a causal link between rights and duties; that the citizen should understand that any claim to protection by the terms of this constitution is conditional upon their adherence to certain responsibilities. The citizen is required to accept the consequences of choices they have freely made, without holding liable any person or organisation not party to those choices. This section is intended to assist when necessary the interpretation of Section 2: when conflicts inevitably arise between individuals, each claiming the actions of the other to be a breach of rights, the rights of the person who first suffered material damage, loss, or harm should take precedence over the rights of the person causing the damage, loss or harm.
The citizen has a duty to:
a. understand, respect and abide by the purposes and terms of this constitution;
b. abide by the laws of the land (unless a law conflicts with this constitution - laws conflicting with the constitution cannot be enforced);
c. respect the persons, property and constitutional rights and freedoms of others;
d. take responsibility for their own actions.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
SECTION 4. DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Purpose –To prevent undemocratic procedures eroding the sovereign right of the citizen to be properly informed (4) about political issues, and for the citizen to make all political decisions whenever he or she chooses to be involved in the Democratic Process; and to ensure that any individual involved with the administration of that process fully understands the importance of their responsibility for its proper administration, and the severe penalties for any deliberate abuse of that responsibility.
a. The Resolution
The citizen is the sovereign political decision-maker of the state, and prime controller of public spending. All decisions, whether by local councils or national government, such as election or recall of representatives, policy decisions, authorisation of public spending projects, creation, amendment and repeal of legislation, will all be made according to due democratic process, as described in this section. No public law, rule or regulation will be lawful unless it is made through due democratic process.
The resolution is the question or issue to be decided by secret ballot of citizen voters.
b. The Debate
i. Debates will be publicly notified at least seven days before the debate;
ii. Such notifications will be easily and freely accessible by any citizen;
iii. Debates will be such that they are freely accessible and open to the public and media;
iv. Citizens are responsible for keeping themselves informed about local and national government debates;
v. Time allotted to each debate should not ordinarily exceed two hours and must be evenly divided between opposing views, at least one of which must always reflect the considerations, values and concerns of this constitution;
vi. The procedure will be directed by an independent chairman who will allow only relevant factual argument or opinion to be heard, clearly differentiating between those two types of allowable content;
vii. At the conclusion of the debate the chairman will summarise the discussion, giving equal time and weight to the arguments presented in the debate.
c. The Vote
i. Voting will take place not sooner than twenty four hours after the end of a debate, and not later than forty eight hours afterwards;
ii. Any British citizen should be able to vote in any government debate affecting the area where they live or work or have tax-liable property rights;
iii. The citizen will not be compelled to take part in the democratic process, but may choose to do so whenever they please;
iv. The citizen will not be compelled to vote;
v. The citizen may only vote once per resolution;
vi. Voting shall not be weighted in any way. For any particular Resolution no citizen’s vote will count for more than one vote.
d. Simple Majority and Clear Majority Votes
i. When a resolution must produce a positive outcome, such as the election of people, the result shall be decided by Simple Majority – i.e. anything over 50% of votes cast (on the very rare occasions when the vote might be exactly split, a tie-breaker will be provided such that the voting period is extended for a further twenty four hours and those who previously abstained from voting are strongly urged to cast a vote);
ii. If a resolution is for proposed changes to the law it shall be decided by a Clear Majority – i.e. 55% or more of the votes cast.
e. Constitutional amendments
Resolutions for changes to this Constitution must be open to the whole electorate and will need a Clear Majority of at least 66% in favour of the change.
f. States of Emergency
Due democratic process may be temporarily suspended only in times of national emergency (see section 10).
g. Proper Information
Any information supplied to the citizen for the purpose of helping them to make good decisions must be Proper Information according to the letter and spirit of this constitution. Such information must be factually correct, accurately reflect any conflicting opinions, and be mindful of the citizen’s rights and duties as well as the other concerns and protections covered by this constitution.
h. Constitutional Malfeasance
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
Any state employee who knowingly misuses, corrupts or falsifies any part of the democratic process; or any other person who, acting in a professional capacity, deliberately misinforms others about any public debate, may be charged with constitutional malfeasance and brought before a magistrate’s court. If proven guilty, they shall be removed from their employment and forbidden from working in any similar role again. In addition, depending on the scale of their offence, they may be fined up to half the value of their material assets and imprisoned for up to five years.
SECTION 5. THE ORGANISATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE STATE
Purpose – To broadly define the main components of the State together with their lines of communication and main responsibilities. No part of the system should exist unless the citizen has shown she wants it by freely volunteering her taxes to pay for it, or by authorising the state to provide the necessary finance. Any citizen should be able to inspect at any time the financial records and accounts of any government office. Every person employed by the state should thus be aware that their first duty is to serve the citizen, not state officials, by ensuring the citizen’s constitutional rights and duties are acted upon and enforced in law; and to ensure that any employee of the state fully understands the importance of their responsibility and the penalties for any wilful abuse of that responsibility.
Britain shall be a Free Democratic Federal Republic whose sovereign authority is its people, and whose decision-making authority lies entirely in the hands of its people, PROPERLY INFORMED.
The State comprises The Electorate, County Councils, the Senate, the Presidency, Parliament, and the Administration. Individual counties will have direct responsibility for the administration of county government within the constraints of this constitution. Central government administration will serve to help coordinate the activities of counties, when requested by the counties to do so, and will represent the nation of Britain as a whole at home and abroad.
Councillors, MPs, Senators and the President are all elected by the citizens, are directly accountable to their constituents, and may be dismissed by the citizens. All elections and any other administration of the Democratic Process shall be fully financed by the state. Private finance of election campaigns will be regulated by statute such that no candidate in any particular election will be financially disadvantaged by his or her competitors. Private financial support for any particular position in any public debate will be regulated by statute such that no opposing position will be disadvantaged for financial reasons.
No elected official outranks any other, as no elected official has any decision-making authority over any other elected official; and all receive the same conditions of service as Administration Managers. Public sector salaries and conditions of service will be reviewed not sooner than three years following a general election, and any changes to those salaries and conditions of service must be approved by the electorate. All elected positions are for a maximum term of four years at the end of which time they must be vacated. However, previously elected officials may stand for re-election.
Any elected official may be deselected from office if a Recall appeal by citizens so determines. Recall procedure shall be instigated if at least thirty four per cent of a statistically valid sample (5) of voters in the area represented by that official petition for their removal from office. The state will publish data stipulating what constitutes a statistically valid sample for any constituency and update the data (if necessary) on an annual basis. The petition shall include a written statement of the reason for the petition in not more than 250 words. The office must be resigned within five days of a lawful petition being delivered and new elections for that office immediately arranged. The Recalled representative may stand for re-election but must answer the Recall petition in a written statement of not more than 250 words. The newly elected (or re-elected) official shall serve out the remaining time for that office as though the Recall had not occurred.
a. Public Servants
A public servant is any employee of the state, comprising both elected and unelected officials. Their first duty is to know this constitution and to serve the citizen through the proper administration of this constitution, disregarding (if necessary) any instruction they receive to the contrary. If any public servant ever needs to disregard any such instruction in order to serve this constitution they will not be subjected to any disciplinary action, but may refer the matter (if necessary) to a magistrate for a tribunal decision.
b. Financial Control of Public Services.
All public services will be wholly and directly financed by county and/or state Treasuries, which offices will be responsible for authorising, monitoring and reporting all public expenditure. All public services will make public every year a precise account of how public money has been used. That account will relate to the previous complete financial year, and the records of each and every accounting unit will be complete and accurate to within £100.
c. The Electorate:
i. is the sovereign decision-making authority of Britain. Only the electorate has the power to elect and recall local councillors, MPs, senators and the president; and the authority to initiate, make, change and repeal laws; and decide how their taxes are apportioned;
ii. comprises all British citizens sixteen years of age and older;
iii. is responsible for overseeing the administration of justice by partaking in juries, tribunals and commissions of inquiry;
d. An Elector (acting as an individual or as part of a group):
i. may petition for changes to the law and the constitution by obtaining 10% support of a statistically valid sample of voters from the area(s) that would be affected by the proposed change (50% support required for petitions to amend this constitution);
ii. may determine the order of business in local council and parliamentary debate;
iii. may vote (or not vote) in any public decision-making debate;
iv. is entitled to access any information held by any public servant (personal details of citizens excepted – as in Section 2.b.ix and x above).
e. Elections to positions in the state administration.
i. Any person elected to any government position as a Free Democrat must sign a contract of allegiance to this constitution before they may take up office, and their first duty will be to protect and uphold this constitution and defend the constitutional rights of all citizens;
ii. no elected official shall ordinarily have any more decision-making authority than any other citizen (temporary states of emergency excepted);
iii. elections for all public offices shall be fully financed and administered by the state;
iv. financing of election campaigns by non-citizens, foreign organisations or foreign companies shall be prohibited and, where shown to have occurred, shall result in the immediate deselection of that candidate and a charge of corruption considered for both the candidate and the person or organisation providing the funding;
v. elections shall be administered such that all candidates have equal opportunities to promote their candidature;
vi. where the number of candidates competing for a particular post is greater than five, preliminary rounds of elections shall be held to eliminate by half the number of candidates. This shall continue until five (or fewer) candidates are remaining, which number shall contest the final round;
vii. the winner shall be decided by a simple majority vote.
f. County Councils:
i. County councils are regional authorities responsible for:
1. drafting all by-laws for their county;
2. the proper administration of public finances in the county including public banking facilities, and the collection and distribution of regional taxes;
3. administration of regional militias and civil defence forces;
4. the day to day provision of all public services within their region.
ii All administration of public services and all political decision-making will conform to constitutional requirements. County Councils are not answerable to the national organs of state (i.e. parliament and the senate), except under a State of Emergency – see Section 10 below – and will have the authority and the resources to administer their areas according to the constitution, the law, and the wishes of their electors.
iii Each council shall convene in a venue conveniently located for the majority of citizens living in that region. It shall be open to the public, and ensure its business and decision-making procedures are open and transparent and controlled by the citizens who reside there. Each council may operate according to its own constitution providing it does not conflict in substance from this constitution.
g. County Councillors:
Each county councillor shall represent not more than 10,000 citizens. County Councillors must:
i. be British citizens, and reside amongst the people they represent;
ii. be elected by a simple majority of eligible citizens;
iii. have passed examinations to at least matriculation level in political history, English language, economics and public accounting, and constitutional law;
iv. serve his or her electors by ensuring the proper administration of this constitution.
h. The Senate:
The Senate is responsible for overseeing the proper administration of this constitution across the nation. It comprises eight Secretaries of State – individuals elected to head the eight government departments which are: Treasury; Health; Education; Social Welfare; Foreign Affairs; Transport, Essential Services and Communications; Police and National Security; Arts and National Heritage. Senators have no more policy-making authority than any other citizen. They are responsible for coordinating the administration of their departments whenever Administration managers (see below) require it; and to agree with county councillors national standards and measurement criteria for public services which, once established, should not be changed for at least ten years.
i. must have served at least one term of office as an MP or County Councillor, but cannot stand for election to the senate whilst serving in either of those capacities;
ii. be elected by a simple majority of eligible citizens;
iii. must be chosen not sooner than six months after a new parliament has been convened and not later than twelve months afterwards.
Chairmanship of the senate will rotate every three months between senators. The function of the Chair is to:
i. coordinate the activities of the Senate and its departments;
ii. oversee the proper management of the national budget.
i. The President:
i. must have served at least one term of office as a senator, MP or County Councillor, but cannot stand for election to presidential office whilst serving in any of those capacities;
ii. is the nominal head of state with overall administrative responsibility for representing the nation’s interests by ensuring national constitutional integrity;
iii. is elected by a simple majority of eligible citizens;
iv. must be chosen not sooner than twelve months after a new parliament has formed and not later than two years afterwards;
v. convenes and dissolves the senate and parliament as well as assuming responsibility for constitutional integrity of both houses.
Parliament is responsible for overseeing due process for public debates regarding national issues and drafting subsequent legislation. Each Member of Parliament:
i. represents one county, and is responsible for overseeing constitutional conformity within the council responsible for administration of public services in that county;
ii. must have served at least one term as a County Councillor, but cannot stand for parliament whilst serving as a County Councillor;
iii. must normally reside in the county they represent;
iv. must be chosen by the electors of that county.
k. The Administration:
The Administration comprises the body of unelected public servants who are employees of the State. Public administrators will comprise specialists, clerical support staff and managers. (See Addendum C for organisation models)
i. A specialist is any public servant who deals directly with the public, or whose primary role is in a professional non public-facing capacity such as accountants, lawyers and engineers. Specialists are elected to their posts by the co-workers with whom they work. Although specialists shall co-ordinate their activities by consensus with colleagues, they are individually accountable to a manager;
ii. Clerical support staff are administrators appointed by managers and provide logistical and communications support for specialists and managers. Clerical support staff are answerable to managers;
iii. Each manager is responsible for the overall organisation of a specific public service, including budget management. They are appointed by and directly answerable to specific elected officials such as a County Councillor, MP or Senator;
iv. Public servants will have contracts of employment with a specific county, or with the state, offering similar basic terms and provisions to private sector equivalents. Pay grade structures will not exist. People doing similar work will have the same rate of pay and conditions of service irrespective of age, gender, length of service or location;
v. Decisions regarding all operational issues and how procedural changes should be made will be by consensus of those specialists and support staff doing the work;
vi. Lines of communication between individuals and groups will be between equals, not hierarchical structures, and administered by managers but not directed by them;
vii. Conflicts that cannot be resolved locally or through official grievance procedures may be settled in magistrates’ courts;
viii. Any public servant may be individually accountable in law for infringing or failing to support the constitutional rights of citizens.
l. The Police
The police force will be the sole authority for maintaining homeland security. It will investigate all breaches of the law bringing suitable prosecutions before the appropriate court.
i. Each county is responsible for the maintenance and administration of its police force;
ii. Individual police officers will respect, enforce and defend the constitutional rights and duties of all citizens as their first duty, and may be personally liable for any failure to do so;
iii. Should any police officer receive an instruction that conflicts with any term of this constitution they are required to disregard it and report the matter to a magistrate’s court for adjudication;
iv. No officer referring a constitutional matter for adjudication shall be disciplined for doing so.
m. The Militia
Britain will not maintain a permanent standing fighting force. Each county will be required to train, equip and administer a voluntary militia capable of protecting British airspace, coastlines and mainland; and a civil defence force (CDF) capable of reacting to any national emergency.
i. The first duty of militia and CDF volunteers is to serve the sovereign people of Britain through this constitution, and should they receive an instruction that conflicts with any term of this constitution they are required to disregard it and report the matter to a magistrate’s court for adjudication;
ii. No volunteer referring a constitutional matter for adjudication shall be disciplined for doing so;
iii. Militia officers will be answerable to the MP of the county where they are based who will be their nominal commanding officer;
iv. The militia will only serve under British officers, and those officers will only serve this constitution;
v. No member of the militia will bear arms against any unarmed citizen of Britain, the European Union or British Commonwealth; nor take or destroy the property of any citizen of Britain, the European Union or British Commonwealth;
vi. No member of the militia will take part in any war outside the territorial limits of Britain, the European Union or British Commonwealth, except as part of a properly constituted force legally authorised by the General Assembly of the United Nations;
vii. Volunteers for militia duty or civil defence service have the right to compensation from the state for loss of earnings, or for injuries sustained, whilst on duty.
viii. Volunteers will be taught about the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter and Declaration of Human Rights and any other relevant international laws regarding wars and human rights; and each volunteer will be individually responsible for adhering to those laws – disregarding any instruction he or she might receive to the contrary. Any volunteer who refuses to obey an instruction that might contravene this constitution or international law will not be disciplined for doing so.
n. The Judiciary
The Judiciary comprises those administrators specialised in ensuring that justice is provided. It includes judges, magistrates, public defenders and prosecutors, adjudicators and court officials. Judges preside in high courts and are specialists in criminal and company law whilst magistrates are specialists in constitutional, civil, contract and employment law.
High court verdicts will be decided by juries each comprising twelve citizens randomly selected from the local voters’ roll. Magistrate’s court verdicts will be decided by tribunal of two citizens randomly selected from the local voters’ roll, the magistrate voting only where the citizens’ decisions differ.
i. The judiciary is financed directly by the Treasury, and is independent of any controls other than this constitution;
ii. Whilst previous similar cases may be cited for purposes of legal argument, such cases will not establish binding precedent, and every hearing will be considered and decided solely on its unique circumstances;
iii. Whilst the letter of the law must be considered in all cases, it will be secondary in consideration to the purpose for which a law was made, and arriving at a just conclusion;
iv. Citizens are required to take responsibility for their own actions, and no question of compensation from the state will be considered in situations where citizens have freely chosen to ignore potential hazard or risk, or where intentional harm or careless negligence against them cannot be established.
• Magistrates’ Courts
Any citizen may apply to a magistrate’s court for a ruling on his or her constitutional or employment rights, and the court is obliged to action that application. The state authorities and individual public servants may similarly apply for decisions regarding constitutional or civil law, and those applications will also be similarly actioned.
v. Anyone appearing before a magistrates’ court will be presumed innocent of causing an offence until otherwise proven;
vi. Citizens applying to magistrates’ courts for a constitutional or employment rights hearing may incur costs for doing so. The court administrator will decide if the court will charge for any hearing based only on the applicant’s chances of success. If it is ruled that an applicant must pay their own expenses but their action is subsequently successful, the court will refund the applicant’s costs;
vii. No citizen applying to the court on a question of their constitutional or employment rights will, on the grounds of cost alone, be denied the services of a legal specialist to represent them;
viii. No citizen applying to the court will be obliged to pay any legal costs other than their own;
ix. No citizen applying to the court on a question of their constitutional or employment rights may be charged a fee greater than ten times the local minimum wage hourly rate;
x. Verdicts will be decided by a tribunal comprising a magistrate and two citizens, the magistrate voting only if the citizens cannot agree;
xi. The court will have the power to reclaim its costs and award damages for aggrieved persons proportional to any injury or loss sustained, and will have the authority to enforce its judgements;
xii. A tribunal deciding a constitutional question may order any individual to produce specific information they may hold;
xiii. All cases shall normally be heard no sooner than one month and no later than three months of the initial application, and within four months at the latest. In the event of the four month limit being exceeded through suspected prevarication by one of the parties the decision will be awarded against that party;
xiv. Appeals may be heard at another magistrate’s court, but at the appellant’s expense. No more than two appeals for the same case shall be heard.
• High Courts
All criminal charges and other cases not provided for by the magistrates’ court will be heard in a high court presided over by a judge and jury comprising twelve citizens.
xv. Anyone appearing before a high court will be presumed innocent until proven guilty;
xvi. If a jury remains evenly split twenty four hours after its first vote, the verdict will be for acquittal;
xvii. The court will have the power to reclaim its costs and award damages for aggrieved persons proportional to any injury or loss sustained, and will have the authority to enforce its judgements;
xviii. All cases shall normally be heard no sooner than one month and no later than six months of the initial application, and seven months at the latest. In the event of the seven month limit being exceeded through suspected prevarication by one of the parties the decision will be awarded against that party;
xix. Appeals may be heard at another high court, but at the appellant’s expense. No more than two appeals for the same case shall be heard.
o. National Statistics Office (NSO)
The NSO will be tasked with deciding and maintaining a Constant Measurement Standard (CMS) for all public services and the economy. This will be a set of statistics whose definitions and standards of measurement will be constant. These statistics must be directly relevant to the daily lives of citizens, and whose definition and measurement is constantly maintained until they are no longer directly relevant to the daily lives of citizens.
Other measurement devices may be used for specific temporary purposes, but shall not replace any part of the CMS unless citizens so decide.
p. The State Banking System
The state will maintain a banking system, known as The People’s Bank, which shall be fully independent of any private bank. The People’s Bank will:
i. be centrally controlled by the Bank of England acting on behalf of the Treasury;
ii. be locally controlled by a county council;
iii. be staffed by public servants;
iv. provide full banking services, including money supply, to the county council;
v. provide an option for limited essential banking services to those citizens who might want to use it (i.e. such services as current accounts, savings accounts and home mortgage accounts);
vi. not compete with private banks (the primary customer of a People’s Bank will be its local council).
The Bank of England will not interfere with the relationship between a council and its local People’s Bank unless illegal activities are suspected, or it is believed this constitution might be contravened in which case either party might refer the issue to a magistrate’s court for a decision.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
Any person acting in a public or private capacity who knowingly misuses their position for personal gain or advantage, or for the personal gain or advantage of someone else, may be charged with corruption and brought before a magistrate’s court; or if they contrive to ignore information that results in such misuse they may be similarly charged. If proven guilty, they shall be removed from their employment, forbidden from working in any similar role again and forfeit the gain or advantage they made; in addition, depending on the severity of the crime, they may be fined up to half the value of their remaining material assets and imprisoned for up to ten years.
SECTION 6. THE ECONOMY
Purpose – To provide economic security for all citizens, especially the least fortunate, whilst also encouraging small and medium-sized private businesses to flourish. To ensure the economy is managed independently of national and international financial institutions and maintained under the direct control of the citizen: to find an equal balance between the private sector’s right to make a profit and the state’s duty to protect the citizen, natural resources, the environment and all living creatures; to define the boundaries between public and private sector responsibilities for managing the economy; to guarantee the right of the private sector to maximise profits within the constraints of this constitution, the law of the land, compassion for animal life, and respect for the environment and human decency.
b. The creation and supply of money used for any commercial purpose shall be controlled and regulated by government, and managed such that:
The marketplace shall be regulated to ensure that:
i. employee rights are protected;
ii. consumer rights are protected;
iii. animals are treated with care and compassion;
iv. the citizen and the state shall both be entitled to own land and property;
v. consumer choice is delivered;
vi. small business is nurtured;
vii. rogue trading is prevented;
viii. banks and financial services are entirely fit for purpose;
ix. basic insurance services are affordable for all workers, and are entirely fit for purpose.
Counties shall be economically autonomous, taking full responsibility for managing their own economies within the constraints of the constitution.
Taxation will normally be waived for low income earners, and will not otherwise normally exceed 10% of income (but the top 5% of individual earners and businesses may be taxed up to 25%). However, taxpayers will have the right to determine how their taxes are used. Capital flow into and from the country will be managed in such a way that all individuals, businesses and institutions honour their financial obligations to each other, and to the state.
Public spending shall be transparent with all financial records freely available to the public. Public service departments will be directly funded from county and/or state treasuries, such funding to be administered by public banks. State investment in counties shall be in inverse proportion to the per capita income in those counties.
Core Monetary Principles:
a. To recognise and value the fact that the work of ordinary human beings is the foundation of all wealth; and therefore that their work should have a marketable monetary value such that a decent basic standard of living for an individual citizen may be provided in exchange for a minimum of twenty hours of work per week; and the citizen may, if they choose and only if they choose, work for more than twenty hours per week and personally profit from that extra work if they so wish.
i. the state will not incur debts to foreign or domestic private banks for the purpose of providing essential infrastructure and funding public services, but will use public banks instead to create whatever money it needs for these purposes - such money to be properly accounted for and audited by the Bank of England and or Treasury officials, such accounts to be always available for public inspection;
ii. any foreign national debts incurred by the state must be repayable in full within 12 months of incurring them;
iii. other economic principles of this constitution are fully complied with.
a. Ownership of Land
All land shall be vested in the state, which shall have a duty of care to ensure it is properly used to benefit the nation as a whole, with an especial responsibility to preserve natural resources, protect national parks and wildlife and maintain a secure, healthy and happy living environment for all citizens.
The state may invest its land holdings in a public bank, and the profits of such holdings shall be reinvested in the maintenance of state land.
i. The state will:
1. ensure that sufficient land is preserved for farming, market gardens and allotments such that the country is always able to provide enough food for its own consumption;
2. ensure that undeveloped land such as national parks, woodland, forests, moors and wetlands remain undeveloped (except where such development is required for their preservation);
3. prohibit waterways, natural lakes and coastlines from being privately owned;
4. ensure that undeveloped land, waterways, natural lakes and coastlines are ‘free to roam’, though such rights might be confined to footpaths where it can be shown that such a restriction is necessary for preservation of the land or protection of wildlife, livestock and natural flora;
5. ensure that a citizen is able to own land and property to develop and use for their home or place of business, providing that land or property comprises either their main place of residence or their main place of business. However, that citizen shall not have an automatic right of ownership of any naturally occurring fauna or flora living on the land, nor any automatic right of ownership of natural resources above or below the ground. Any citizen who wilfully ignores this duty of care to the land may forfeit to the state their material possessions, and or be imprisoned, and or lose any future right to ownership of land.
6. ensure that all public highways and rights of way are free for anyone to use and are maintained in a sound and safe condition;
7. own at least one public park in every community where any citizen may freely meet and assemble with other citizens - providing always that such assemblies do not prevent the rights of other citizens, or harm the environment or animal life;
8. provide for land to be used for industrial development, but shall ensure that an amount of money is provided for the cost of returning the land to such a condition where it may be used for agriculture, allotments, public recreation or for some other public purpose once its industrial purpose or use as a mine is no longer required; such an amount of money to be made available before any development takes place, and securely invested such that it cannot be used for any purpose other than restoring the land to public use;
9. manage the mining and use of rare or irreplaceable resources such that the state as a whole shall benefit;
10. ensure that land is provided for street markets to operate and small businesses to be nurtured, such land to be made available at a reasonable cost to the market trader/ small business person;
11. own sufficient land for the purpose of ensuring that no one is homeless unless they choose to be, and will ensure that any public housing is safe, secure and entirely fit for purpose.
ii. A citizen shall have the right to buy or sell the land and property that comprises their main place of residence or business.
iii. Trade in land ownership shall be regulated by statute such that profiteering is prevented, and managed in such a way that local residents have the right of ‘first refusal’ at prices they can reasonably afford.
iv. The activities of landlords shall be regulated by statute such that profiteering from rented property is forbidden and that rented property is safe, secure and fit for purpose. Tenancy agreements shall be required to meet statutory requirements with regard to providing safe, secure and decent accommodation.
v. Land used for public communications, such as roads, rail and waterways; or for essential services, such as supplying water, electricity, gas or telecommunications, shall be owned by the state (except where such services terminate at or pass through private property – where the state may have right of maintenance access) but used in such a way as to minimise damage to the environment, not to disrupt farming, and constructed in such a way as to minimise public nuisance.
vi. Ownership of land by non-citizens or organisations living or based outside the country shall not be permitted. Citizens living permanently abroad (5 years or more) may have any of their land holding purchased by the state in accordance with subsection viii below.
vii. The state may (or may not, as it sees fit) own the land where public buildings are situated, or where any state function takes place (such as communes).
viii. The state may compulsorily purchase land providing it can be shown that such a purchase is necessary to the people living near to that land or if it is in some other way beneficial to the country. Where the state does make such a compulsory purchase it will pay 10% more than the commercial valuation of that land, by way of compensation to the previous landowner.
ix. The state may provide for community-based organisations such as churches, charities, sports and social clubs to use state land free of charge providing the land and any buildings upon it are maintained in a good and safe condition, are used for the benefit of the community as a whole, and are democratically administered and managed such that no individual or group of individuals profit financially (except for the salaries of essential staff if necessary).
ii. Each county may set up and manage its own public bank, whose operating charter will not conflict in substance with this constitution. Such banks will comply with operating standards established and maintained by the Bank of England. County public banks may print and circulate their own type of money if they choose to do so (in addition to the national currency - not in place of it). Employees of public banks will be public servants, and profits will be expended on the county's public facilities, or to assist small business projects.
i. The Bank of England shall be managed by the Treasury, acting on behalf of the citizen. Its management meetings will therefore be open to the public and the media, and its executive decisions open for public debate and vote like any other government decision-making process.
The Bank of England shall control the issue, supply and circulation of money (banknotes and coins), manage foreign exchange and capital flows into and out of the country, manage base interest rates for borrowing and stability of pricing, set targets for inflation, and assume responsibility for the proper policing of all banking activities throughout the country.
The Bank of England shall maintain stocks of foreign and reserve currencies and other recognised instruments of money such as gold and silver bullion for the purposes of facilitating international trade.
iii. Public (state owned) banks may be established wherever citizens decide they are needed and will be overseen by the Bank of England. Public banks may provide citizens with deposit accounts and offer any other banking service approved by the Bank of England. Public banks may create, supply and circulate money to government offices - such money to be used for financing public services approved by local communities, and developing new community projects, infrastructure or works. Public banks may produce a unique scrip to be used to finance public services - such scrip to be recognised as legal tender. The administration of public banks shall be open to public scrutiny at all times, and they shall be regulated and audited annually by the Bank of England.
iv. Private banks may be established, but their actions will be regulated, controlled and inspected by the Bank of England. At least 25% of the asset reserves of a private bank must be held in the form of gold and/or silver metal. and/or land, and/or a global fiat currency.
v. Clearing banks will be separate business entities from investment banks.
vi. The state will not serve as lender of last resort to any private bank.
c. The London Stock Exchange
The London Stock Exchange will serve as the market place for the trading of commodities, company shares and other business products. It shall be managed independently of the Treasury but shall have Treasury representation on its board of directors, and its business will be regularly monitored by Treasury inspectors. Its functions will be regulated such that its actions cannot effect or influence the economy.
d. Insurance and other Financial Services
e. General Economic Principles
Insurance and other financial services shall be regulated by statute such that their operations are transparent and fit for purpose.
The state will maintain a model of the economy that will ensure that every citizen is provided with enough to enjoy a secure and happy life in return for which every working-age citizen may be expected to work for up to 20 hours per week in some public service(if able to do so).
The state will also provide for the private sector to supply lawful non-essential products at whatever profits it can achieve.
When asked by the citizen to do so, the state has a duty to provide the citizen with certain essential goods, utilities and services free and without charge in accordance with its responsibilities under this constitution, or at reasonable prices - depending on the economic circumstances of the citizen. The prices of such essential goods, utilities and services will be set by the Bank of England, and the quality and quantity per person are to be defined by statute, and may not be sold or traded by the recipient citizen to any third party. Any other goods, utilities and services that are not deemed essential by statute, and are not specifically proscribed by law, may be provided and traded by the private sector, at whatever profit margin they see fit.
ii. Central government shall aim to achieve balanced economic development throughout the country, especially with regard to eliminating involuntary unemployment, and controlling capital flight, inflation and base interest rates. The state will support and nurture the business community, but the business community must recognise and accept their social responsibilities to employees and citizens, and their duty to protect the environment, animal welfare and natural resources, as described in this constitution. The state will encourage long term sustainable business strategies; and though it may allow private individuals or companies to undertake high risk business ventures, the state will not finance those ventures in any way or relieve them if they fail.
iii. Although the general principle of economic freedom will be applied throughout the country, central and local authorities may propose temporary measures that depart from this principle providing such action is in the general economic interest of the people living and working in the areas concerned, and does not harm the environment, animal life or the national heritage.
iv. Key social economic indicators (such as life expectancy, average hours worked per week, retirement age, and unemployment) shall be clearly defined in terms relevant and significant to the citizen, such definitions to be constantly and consistently applied until the citizen calls for their change.
v.The government may propose measures when necessary to protect the domestic economy from aggressive foreign markets by:
1. reducing overhead expenses of small businesses through concessions on tax, rent and service charges;
2. providing vocational skills training;
3. encouraging development of environmentally sound and ethically manufactured products by requiring producers to provide accessible and accurate information concerning the origin, quality, production methods and processing procedures for their foodstuffs or other products;
4. managing import and export tariffs.
f. Machines of War, Weapons of War and Other War Materials
Britain will not permit the sale of machines of war, weapons of war or other war materials to other countries. Small arms sales will be restricted to state security services and those whose lawful professions or legitimate pastimes require the use of specific types of small calibre, non-automatic firearms (such as farmers, gamekeepers and gun clubs).
g. Animal Welfare
All businesses that use or deal in any way with live animals will ensure the very highest standards of animal welfare. They will not under any circumstances cause an animal to suffer pain or unnecessary stress; and any part of their business operation involving where animals live or work or how they are transported will be freely open to state or public inspection at any time. Penalties for animal abuse could require the closure of that business and the forfeiture to the state of the assets of the owner and managers of the business, as well as significant prison sentences for the owner, managers and all other individuals complicit in the abuse.
h. The Business Community
The business community will be independent of government controls with the following exceptions. It will:
i. abide by this constitution and other laws of the land;
ii. honour agreements and contracts made, accepting the authority of magistrates’ courts to adjudicate in disputes and to directly sequester funds for reparations when necessary;
iii. provide all employees with contracts of employment defining their conditions of service, duties and responsibilities; and accept the authority of magistrates’ courts to arbitrate in employment disputes and to directly sequester funds for reparations when necessary;
iv. make available to state inspectors for their examination any property or premises owned by the business, or any information about the business, within twenty four hours of being notified of such an inspection;
v. accept as payment for goods any scrip produced by a public bank at a value to be stipulated by the Bank of England, such scrip to be redeemable for that value at any public bank.
i. The State
i. may launch initiatives to boost the economy in depressed areas giving preference to initiatives likely to produce or help facilitate long term employment and self-sustaining enterprises;
ii. may intervene to protect the economy in times of national emergency, and uphold the law, or to protect small businesses from unfair competition;
iii. will protect the consumer and business community by:
1. providing an economic climate that supports fair competition between domestic suppliers of goods and services,
2. administering national trading standards,
3. preventing profiteering by suppliers of essential foods, medicines, fuel and utilities such as gas, electricity, water and telecommunications; and especially ensuring that these essential items are available to vulnerable groups;
iv. may permit public sector organisations and communes:
1. to charge for additional services not protected by constitutional rights,
2. to campaign for investment from the private sector,
3. to save and accrue funds for specific high cost projects.
v. shall legislate to ensure that off-shore banking facilities and other tax havens are not accessible to British businesses or foreign businesses based in Britain;
vi. may impose tariffs in order to nurture the domestic economy;
vii. shall impose limits and restrictions on intellectual property rights to balance reasonable rewards for innovation without causing undue constraint on new invention;
viii. will not impose trade sanctions against other countries or be party to any other form of economic warfare against any other nation (although individuals and businesses will be free to trade or not trade with whomever they choose).
i. Citizens of working age and who are capable of work will be required either to work for a minimum of 20 hours per week helping to provide some form of recognised public service, or to pay an income tax whose value is equal to or more than the cost of working in public service for 20 hours a week.
ii. The citizen will be entitled to work at any lawful occupation of their choosing, providing such work is available and the citizen is capable of doing it.
iii. Employers will ensure that the constitutional rights of employees are provided for.
iv. The state will otherwise ensure that any adult citizen who wants to work, and is able to do so, may be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week helping to provide a public service. The first 20 hours per week of employment in public service shall be unpaid, serving as payment by the citizen for their entitlement to all they need from the state in goods and services. If the citizen wishes to work more than 20 hours per week in public service, and if such work is available, it will be paid for as a tax-free allowance.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
The state may waive the payment of income taxes by those on low incomes and or those working to provide public services. Otherwise, general principles of taxation will be as follows:
i. County councils are responsible for:
1. collection of all taxes in their areas, 10% of which total amount must be delivered to the state Treasury;
2. managing county spending of collected taxes according to the wishes of those taxpayers who provided the revenue.
ii. Income tax shall not normally exceed 10% of income for individuals and businesses (and may be less at the discretion of the relevant council for cases of particular financial difficulty). However, the top 5% of the highest individual earners and richest businesses may be taxed up to 25%.
iii. Value Added Tax (VAT) may be charged on any goods and services, but will not exceed 10% of the cost to the purchaser of those goods or services (and may be less at the discretion of the relevant council for cases of particular financial difficulty). Luxury goods (to be defined by statute) shall incur up to 25% VAT.
iv. Taxpayers will have the right to choose, if they wish to do so, which public departments benefit from their tax payments.
v. The state will control international trade agreements, and legislate when appropriate for trade tariffs and duties.
vi. Legislation for raising, changing or abolishing certain other taxes may be enacted from time to time.
vii. Individual citizens and/or businesses using foreign or off-shore banking or financial services will comply with regulations concerning such services (to be determined by statute), and will be subject to having those services inspected regularly by Bank of England officials and/or government revenue inspectors. Any information required by those inspectors will be clearly stated in the regulations and will be provided within twenty four hours by the individual and/or business concerned. Failure to do so may result in the immediate sequestration by the inspectors of all the British assets of such individuals or businesses until such information is forthcoming.
l. Financial Crime
Crimes committed by any individual or business in the banking, insurance or financial services industries may result in the seizure by the state of all the assets of that business and/or individual. Such individuals may also incur substantial prison sentences and be banned for life from working again in a similar capacity.
SECTION 7. THE PRESS, MEDIA AND THE ARTS
Purpose – To define the rights and responsibilities of the press and media broadcasters, as well as artists. The state will provide for free expression by maintaining a public information service founded on truth, humanity and the long term viability of the nation's ecosystems. This service should be beyond reproach in terms of providing information that is accurate, balanced and humane, and will still be recognised as such by future generations. The state will not support legislation that restricts the type of output of the private press, other media and the arts;however, any organisation purporting to provide “proper information” – i.e. information upon which citizens may rely in order to form their opinions and make informed decisions – will be required as a condition of their operating licence to ensure that information is beyond reproach in terms of providing factual and balanced content, giving equal weight to conflicting facts and opinions.
State imposed censorship of artistic expression, or of any individual expressing their opinion, is forbidden. The state will defend the right of individuals, the press, media and artists to unrestricted freedom of artistic expression within the constraints of subsection b below;
ii. Freedom of Information
British media and broadcasting authorities have the right to unrestricted access to information held by public bodies (providing that such access does not infringe any part of this constitution); and access to all state decision making events and processes;
iii. Artists and those providing venues for artists to work will not require specific licensing.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
i Professional media organisations and companies that provide information purporting to be news or information of any other factual nature will be required to ensure that information is truthful, balanced and clearly differentiates between factual content and personal opinion.
ii. These constitutional powers permitted to individuals, media, press and artists offer no protection against private charges of libel, slander or other perceived violations of constitutional rights. Companies and individuals will accept responsibility for their own actions, and liability for compensation for damages if appropriate. However, compensation awards for such claims shall not be excessive, and will be in proportion to the unjustified physical or material losses, damage or harm actually sustained.
iii. State Media Services
The state media has the same entertainment rights as any other broadcaster, but with the additional responsibility of ensuring that its coverage of political events is founded on compassion for humanity and all other living creatures, and concern for the long term sustainability of all the world’s ecosystems. Public information financed by the state shall conform to the highest standards of accuracy, and shall reflect and give equal weight to conflicting points of view. Factual information provided to the public by the state will aspire to be recognised as being beyond reproach in terms of accuracy and humanity, not only by contemporary generations, but also by the historians of generations to come.
SECTION 8. THE ENVIRONMENT AND ANIMAL WELFARE, NATIONAL HERITAGE, AGRICULTURE, TRANSPORT, ESSENTIAL SERVICES, COMMUNICATIONS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Purpose – To provide for the care and protection of all animals; and the preservation and proper management of national parks and places of natural and historical significance; to preserve cultural traditions, languages and customs; to ensure that Britain is capable of feeding itself, but without necessarily requiring it to do so; that affordable, efficient and reliable transport and telecommunications are maintained. This section also aims to ensure the consumption of renewable resources does not exceed the rate they are replenished, and that energy supplies are efficient, affordable and largely harmless to people, animals and the environment.
a. National parks, endangered wildlife, agricultural land and places of natural and historical significance will be defined by statute, and preserved, protected from harm or conserved.
b. Cruel or negligent treatment of animals by humans may be specifically outlawed by statute and or considered a violation of this constitution.
c. The state will ensure that agricultural land and agricultural services are sufficient to feed the population, and that sufficient reserves of food are maintained such that the population could be fed for at least six months in the event of a national emergency.
d. All counties shall be required to provide and enforce legislation protecting the environment from manmade damage and pollution, and ensuring that renewable resources are not consumed at a rate greater than they are replaced.
e. Local traditions, languages and customs may be protected by statute providing they do not conflict with these constitutional rights.
f. Water supplies, essential services and other natural resources may be defined and protected by statute to ensure they are not exhausted at the expense of future generations. Policies encouraging the use of renewable energy sources will be supported in preference to those requiring fossil fuels.
g. The state has overall responsibility for maintaining an efficient public transport and telecommunications system, with counties individually responsible for general administration and maintenance of these services in their areas.
h. The state will ensure that no citizen is denied access to secure and comfortable shelter, food and clean water, basic energy supplies, communications, and public transport.
i. Each county will ensure that villages, towns and cities have public parks and or green spaces managed such that citizens may use them safely for rest and recreation, and naturally occurring fauna and flora can thrive – such parks or green spaces to be in sufficient number they are not normally overcrowded with people.
j. The protections relating to this clause may not be changed without ballots attracting 75% support from counties that would be specifically affected by proposed changes.
k. Each county shall establish and maintain a Public Works Department whose purpose will be to help, if required, to co-ordinate any construction or maintenance work being done on any public land or buildings, or public roads, railways, waterways, stations, airports and harbours, or public utilities such as communications, energy supplies and waterworks, or any other construction or maintenance work required for providing any necessary public service.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
SECTION 9. SOCIAL WELFARE
Purpose – To define the rights and responsibilities of both the state and the citizen with regard to social welfare. No citizen shall be without food and potable water, clothing, secure and comfortable shelter and access to basic medical care, unless they choose to be without them.
Counties are individually responsible for containing social spending within the limits of their budgets whilst providing for:
a. ensuring that no child or citizen is without warm clothing, secure and comfortable shelter, nourishing food, facilities for maintaining personal hygiene, and basic health care.
i. Citizens permanently needing such support from the state will receive it;
ii. The state shall establish and maintain sheltered accommodation centres within communes where the basic material provisions of this section may be supplied directly to those citizens who need them;
iii. Citizens of working age who are normally able to work will accept that state support is intended only for temporary use, and that if citizens require state support they will comply with state support services’ efforts to restore them to independent living;
iv. Any claim by the citizen to the social rights described in this section are dependent on their acceptance of a duty to work for a minimum of twenty hours per week, if capable of doing so – such work to be provided by the state if necessary.
b. paying unemployment, sickness, disability, maternity benefits and retirement pensions, as well as providing social care and emergency services.
i. Citizens of working age who are able to work will recognise their duty to do so.
c. managing their own systems for punishment and rehabilitation of offenders.
i. Prison facilities must adequately remove career criminals from the law abiding community;
ii. The rights of convicted criminals will always be secondary in consideration to the victims of their crimes;
iii. Rehabilitation services will only be accessible to criminals who sincerely accept responsibility for their crimes and have a genuine intention to reform their behaviour;
d. protecting employment rights.
i. Standard minimum employment rights shall be protected by statute and or this constitution, and assumed in all cases where employers fail to provide contracts which comply with state minima.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
Each county will establish and maintain communes with the following basic principles:
i. The commune will be managed by a supervisor, who shall be a resident elected by citizens living and working there; and run according to its own operating constitution, which shall not conflict in substance with this constitution;
ii. The supervisor will normally serve for one year and then stand down for a new supervisor to be elected. A supervisor may serve more than one term, but may not serve consecutive appointments;
iii. A state administrator will be appointed to serve the commune by working with the supervisor to ensure conformity with this constitution and to provide liaison with the wider state;
iv. The commune may organise itself and its workers in any lawful manner, but all work is to be equally valued i.e. an hour of one person’s labour is equal in value to an hour of any other person’s labour;
v. The commune shall try to pay its own way, but may apply for, and receive, state assistance to do so. No one person shall profit financially from the commune, with any income generated being returned to the commune;
vi. People using the commune will be either resident or non-resident. All of these people shall have a right to use all the facilities of the commune providing they adhere to its rules;
vii. The commune will provide any resident or non-resident with the basic necessities stipulated in this constitution;
viii. Non-residents may have full access to the commune facilities providing they work for the commune for at least twenty hours a week in whatever capacity the managing team of the commune decides;
ix. Any citizen will have the right to live in a commune, but if they are of working age they shall commit to working for at least twenty hours a week in whatever capacity the commune decides – such work to be within the citizen’s capabilities;
x. Citizens working in a commune for the minimum twenty hours will not be paid, but remunerated instead by having the right to use all of the commune’s services and facilities;
xi. No citizen will have to work for the commune for more than twenty hours a week, but may do so if work is available there and if the citizen wants to do it – such work to be regarded as overtime and remunerated at the national minimum wage or in some other equivalent way;
xii. Citizens working in the commune may also work outside it if they choose to do so, but the work of the commune shall take priority;
xiii. Children, people with serious disabilities and retired people living in a commune may work if they freely choose to do so, but shall not be required to do so.
SECTION 10. STATES OF EMERGENCY
Purpose – To provide contingency arrangements for times of war (6) or natural disaster.
The president, acting on the authority of parliament, may declare a state of emergency either in a particular region, or nationally during times of war or natural disaster. A state of emergency will not be declared for longer than three months, but may be renewed by the support of a majority of parliamentary MPs. Decision-making may be devolved to elected councillors and MPs from the relevant areas for the duration of the declared state of emergency; but such decisions will be identified as a state of emergency decision and be valid only for the duration of the state of emergency.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
The military will never under any circumstances assume command over the nation’s elected representatives, but may advise those representatives, when asked to do so, during the course of the emergency.
States of emergency may result in temporary suspension of the citizen’s right to control the decision-making process. But such suspensions may only be justified when essential communications are not working correctly, and may only last until communications are working normally once more. A state of emergency will not affect any of the citizen’s other basic rights or duties as described in Section Two and Section Three above.
1. Citizen - For the purposes of this document a citizen is anyone who is:
a. born in Britain or
b. born elsewhere but is normally resident in Britain and has regularly worked in British public services or paid British income taxes for at least five years.
2. State - The State is the collective term applied to the people and offices of public administration. Any person or office mainly employed to perform a public service and who receives funding from local or national treasuries for that service is a part of the State.
3. Britain - The area contained within the internationally recognised territorial limits of the United Kingdom.
4. Properly informed – It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that Proper Information is freely available and easily accessible to the citizen; but it is the responsibility of the citizen to access that information. Proper Information is that which provides a balance of factual, verifiable information together with the opinions of those who support and oppose any particular position, with equal time and space provided for both sides of the debate. Specialists providing information should be those who do not stand to gain personally from the outcome of a debate, and the people should always be mindful of this condition and always question the motives of the person informing them. In addition, where relevant, Proper Information must ensure that at least half of any argument is expressed through the ethical considerations that inform this constitution and/or Ethical Guide (Addendum A).
5. Statistically valid sample - A group of 100 citizens randomly selected according to standards stipulated by the National Statistics Office, and who have voting rights in the area where the sample applies.
6. Times of war or temporary states of emergency – For the purposes of this clause, the meaning of ‘war’ should be specific to the invasion of foreign armed forces within the territorial boundaries of Britain. Temporary states of emergency should be declared only when a natural disaster has destroyed the normal means of communication upon which the proper administration of this constitution depends, and applied only to areas directly affected by that loss of communication, and last only for the duration of that loss of communication.
Purpose: The People’s Constitution accepts the right of any person to practice the religion of their choice, and to peacefully practice the customs and rituals of any religion. However, the constitution does not recognise the right of any religious authority to infringe the rights and duties of any citizen as defined in this constitution, and where such religious authority does conflict with such rights and duties the constitution will take precedence. Therefore in the absence of any established religion, the People’s Constitution promotes the following ethical guidance.
The first premise of this guide is that the existence of God (or gods) has never been proven, and until such proof is forthcoming it must be the duty of mortals to establish a humane and compassionate code for their own existence, and that of all living things, and for the long term viability of all living things on our planet. The core assumptions of this guide are that the purpose of human existence is the pursuit of happiness, which can only be found in helping to provide happiness for others, extending compassion to all living creatures, and in preserving our environment and natural resources for the benefit and happiness of future generations. No one should define someone else’s happiness, nor hinder their search for it, providing that search does not cause suffering to other living creatures, deny the happiness of others, or cause harm to the environment, or other people’s property.
These articles are not, of themselves, enforceable in law. They are standards of right and wrong to which every citizen should voluntarily adhere in order to facilitate peaceful co-existence with each other, and with all living creatures.
1. You should not take the life of another person.
Although the stricture that we should not take the lives of others is probably as old as human society itself, there has possibly never been a period in history where the taking of life has not been legitimised by some war or another; or assumed by the state in the shape of lawful execution. Although a very few of these wars and executions may indeed have been just, their number is tiny relative to the far greater number of unjust wars and executions.
Similarly, it is unlikely there are many doctors who have not at some stage hastened the death of some suffering soul. Clearly there are rare and exceptional circumstances when the taking of another life might be totally justified, such as defending one’s self or family against lethal attack, or ending terminal suffering; but this number is so very small that the general case must be that taking another person’s life is absolutely wrong.
2. You should not intentionally harm anyone or cause undue suffering to any living creature.
Exceptions are obviously similar to point 1 above.
3. You should always try to make others happy.
It is not always possible to do this as some people have a natural disposition to be miserable and will go to extraordinary lengths to have their way. So where it is unusually difficult to please others through their own desire not to be pleased, a refusal to add to their troubles should suffice. A genuine pleasure in helping to facilitate the happiness of others whenever possible is natural to most people; it is an instinctive human characteristic that should be treasured and nurtured.
4. You should not steal.
5. You should respect the property of others.
6. You should honour the agreements you make with others.
One of the most common sources of discontent and suffering is the failure of people to keep to agreements they make. Agreements should not be entered into unless there is a genuine commitment to honour them.
7. You should help to preserve and protect the environment.
Do nothing to intentionally or negligently damage, harm or foul the flora and fauna, public facilities or others’ private property; nor should you support any person or organisation who behaves recklessly in this regard.
8. You should treat all people with the same courtesy, respect and objectivity you hope others will extend towards you.
We each have a right to be different, but can only claim that right for ourselves if we extend it to others.
9. You should not behave with careless indifference to the feelings of others, or with reckless negligence of the consequences of your actions.
All of us say and do things that occasionally hurt others in some way. It is impossible not to. The essential component of this principle is intention. If we do not intend to harm others, we should not be judged as harshly as those who do intend it, or those who do not care about the harm they cause.
10. You should not be oversensitive to the words and actions of others when they clearly have not intended harm.
The other side of the same coin. If someone has offended you but clearly did not intend to do so, or has not been recklessly negligent in their actions, then the possibility is that you are being oversensitive to whatever it is they said or did, and it is you that is at fault, not them.
11. You should not manipulate or use others to do wrong.
People who choose to live outside the law frequently use or pay others to be immoral or break the law for them. Manipulators such as these are more evil than those they influence or use, and should always be regarded as such.
12. You should take responsibility for your own actions, compensating others if your choices cause them material loss or damage.
13. Women should not have more than two children.
The planet has been overpopulated for many years. This is the single most important factor behind the ecological destruction of our environment. The state should make provision to ensure that any woman who wishes to have a child is able to do so, whilst also encouraging women ordinarily to have no more than two children.
14. You should work to the best of your ability in order to provide for yourself and your family, and to help and support wider society.
(RETURN TO SECTION HEADINGS?)
The state is obligated to help people use their labour in ways that are useful to the public sector. The state is NOT obligated to provide cheap labour for the private sector who, if they wish to employ people, will need to provide proper rewards and incentives. The state will try to help provide socially useful jobs for anyone who is able to work but is struggling to find it. But the citizen should recognise the importance of willingly contributing their labour to support the public sector in exchange for the help and support of the public sector, and to understand how important their labour is to the success of society. However, no one should be compelled to spend most of their waking hours doing work they do not want to do. A certain minimum number of hours per week (20, say) should be recognised as a sufficient labour requirement to expect from a working-age adult in return for the full protection of this constitution and the state; but that minimum requirement must not be onerous and must allow the citizen plentiful free time to use as he or she sees fit.
THE SCHOOL OF KINDNESS - Leading the War on Error
The School of Kindness
OUR FIRST CONCERN, AS LOVERS OF OUR COUNTRY, MUST BE TO ENLIGHTEN IT." Dr Richard Price
The School of Kindness project is an attempt to help people to understand the nature and extent of The Problem which exists not just here in Britain, but to varying degrees throughout the world, in each and every community.
The reason The Problem exists can actually be summed up very simply. It is this: we are all of us misinformed and misled from the day we're born to the day we die. Henry Ford knew that and once observed:
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
The fact that we cannot trust our leaders is a very difficult and unsettling truth to grasp, and the first purpose of the School of Kindness is to try to prove that simple claim; because once it is properly understood then, and only then, can real progress be made towards finding the humane solutions our planet so desperately needs.
(The full set of short films by John Andrews about the School of Kindness project can be seen here)
The Czech writer Milan Kundera famously said:
“The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
It’s only partly true; for it assumes that the people have important knowledge about power that might be forgotten. For most of us, this is simply not the case.
We are all led to believe, almost from the day we’re born, certain truths; truths which are never in fact proven to us, truths we are conditioned to just accept ‘on faith’. Some of us eventually get to discover these truths are anything but true and are, at best, honest mistakes taught to us by basically good people who sincerely believed them too... but who were equally misled themselves.
The philosopher Bertrand Russell basically agreed when he said:
“Man is born ignorant, not stupid. It’s education that makes him stupid.”
as did historian Howard Zinn:
“Once I got out of school I started to learn things.”
At the risk of stating the obvious, none of us knows what we don’t know. I was middle aged before I understood that even though I was quite well educated, and regularly followed the news on the BBC and The Times, I had been tricked: the way the world really works is very different from how our fine institutions would have us think it works. The proof of this is available in quite a few superb books that are never widely discussed.
The following few books comprise the syllabus for our Introductory Course on Essential Studies in Humanity. They are all excellent, very readable and go a very long way to creating the memory Kundera was so rightly concerned about losing.
‘Web of Deceit’ - Mark Curtis
‘The Shock Doctrine’ - Naomi Klein
‘The Blood Never Dried – A People’s History of the British Empire’ - John Newsinger
‘Captive State - The Corporate Takeover of Britain’ - George Monbiot
‘The Guardians of Power’ - David Edwards & David Cromwell
‘A People’s History of the United States’ - Howard Zinn
The simple act of reading, powerful and effective as it is for the business of learning how our world really works, can be further enhanced with moving pictures and music.
One of the best websites I know for this type of information provides the complete film work of John Pilger, and I cannot recommend it too highly: John Pilger .
As for musical enlightenment, I wholeheartedly suggest the following titles:
Picket Line Party.....by Cosmo
Ordinary Heroes.....by Ryan Harvey
Blowback.....by Ryan Harvey
Liberty Tree..... by Leon Rosselson and Robb Johnson
Margaret Thatcher - My Part in her Downfall..... by Robb Johnson
Mr Lud's Song.....by Luddites200
A Proper State..... by Leon Rosselson
Celebrating Subversion..... The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow
Relevant links to some of these great artists are:
robb johnson (Do check out "Siege of Madrid", or "Sunday Morning St Dennis"... pure genius)
Unmissable movies and documentaries.
Here are a few unmissable movies and documentaries, in no particular order:
"Capitalism - A Love Story" By Micheal Moore
"South of the Border" By Oliver Stone
"Sicko" By Michael Moore
"The War You Don't See" By John Pilger
"Compliance" By Craig Zobel
"Utopia" By John Pilger
"Who Killed The Electric Car?" Narrated by Martin Sheen
"Fahrenheit 911" By Michael Moore
"The Corporation" By Joel Bakan
"Taking Liberties" By Chris Atkins
"Inside Job" Narrated by Matt Damon
"The Power Principle" By Scott Noble:
1 - Empire
2 - Propaganda
3 - Apocalypse
The Zeitgeist Trilogy of films by Peter Joseph:
After these pleasant distractions, the serious student should of course never stray too far away from the main business at hand....
READ! * READ! * READ!.....
The gaining of wisdom is not in itself a difficult thing to do, for it needs only the ability to read and the time to do so. The books listed above are an excellent start on that important journey. The books in the Reading List below provide further illumination and understanding of how our world really works.
I have used a crude star-rating device which the student might find helpful. But it comes with this word of caution: it is entirely subjective, and therefore should not be overly trusted. It is my personal opinion of how useful a book might be, together with its readability. The student is strongly encouraged to form her own opinion on the subject.
* * .....Important
* * * .....Essential
The following reading list was last updated on 1 November 2013
* * * ....."Behind the War on Terror".....AHMED, Nafeez
* ....."Economics and World History".....BAIROCH, Paul
* * * ....."The Corporation".....BAKAN, Joel
* * ....."The Puzzle Palace".....BAMFORD, James
* * ....."The Spanish Civil War".....BEEVER, Antony
* * ....."Capitalism's Achilles Heel".....BAKER, Raymond
* * * ....."Killing Hope".....BLUM, William
* * * ....."Rogue State".....BLUM, William
* * ....."The New Economics" BOYLE & SIMMS
* * ....."Bodyguard of Lies".....BROWN, Anthony Cave
* * ....."At the Barricades".....BURCHETT, William
* * * ....."War is a Racket".....BUTLER, Smedley
* * ....."Bad Samaritans".....CHANG, Ha-Joon
* ....."American Power and the New Mandarins".....CHOMSKY, Noam
* * ....."Hegemony or Survival".....CHOMSKY, Noam
* * ....."Profit over People".....CHOMSKY, Noam
* * ....."Rogue States".....CHOMSKY, Noam
* * ....."Year 501 - The Conquest Continues".....CHOMSKY, Noam
* ....."History of the Protestant Reformation".....COBBETT, William
* * ....."Blood and Religion".....COOK, Jonathan
* ....."Private Planet".....CROMWELL, David
* * * ....."Why are we The Good Guys?".....CROMWELL, David
* * * ....."North Korea".....CUMMINGS, Bruce
* * * ....."Secret Affairs".....CURTIS, Mark
* * * ....."Unpeople".....CURTIS, Mark
* * * ....."Web of Deceit".....CURTIS, Mark
* * ....."Hijacking America's Mind on 9/11".....DAVIDSSON, Elias
* * * ....."MI6".....DORRIL, Stephen
* * * ....."The Compassionate Revolution".....EDWARDS, David
* * * ....."The Guardians of Power".....EDWARDS & CROMWELL
* ....."Newspeak for the Twenty First Century".....EDWARDS & CROMWELL
* * ....."The Condition of the Working Class in England".....ENGELS, Friedrich
* * ....."The Great War For Civilisation".....FISK Robert
* * ....."The View from the Ground".....GELLHORN, Martha
* * ....."Anarchism and Other Essays".....GOLDMAN, Emma
* * * ....."The Town Labourer".....HAMMOND, JL and Barbara
* * * ....."The Village Labourer".....HAMMOND, JL and Barbara
* * * ....."Letter to a Christian Nation".....HARRIS, Sam
* * * ....."The Ecology of Commerce".....HAWKIN, Paul
* * ....."Triumph of the Market".....HERMAN, Edward
* * * ....."Manufacturing Consent".....HERMAN & CHOMSKY
* * ....."A Game as Old as Empire".....HIATT, Steven
* ....."Age of Revolution".....HOBSBAWM, Eric
* * * ....."Century of Dishonour".....JACKSON, Helen Hunt
* * * ....."Beyond the Green Zone".....JAMAIL, Dahr
* * ....."Debunking Economics".....KEEN, Steve
* * * ....."Occupy Money".....KENNEDY, Margrit
* * ....."Anarchism, A Beginner's Guide".....KINNA, Ruth
* ....."Fences and Windows".....KLEIN, Naomi
* * * ....."No Logo".....KLEIN, Naomi
* * * ....."The Shock Doctrine".....KLEIN, Naomi
* * * ....."The First Casualty".....KNIGHTLEY, Phillip
* * ....."Century of War".....KOLKO, Gabriel
* ....."Anarchism".....KROPOTKIN, Peter
* ....."The Crimes of Patriots".....KWITNEY, Jonathan
* ....."The Permanent War Economy".....MELMAN, Seymour
* * * ....."Captive State - The Corporate Takeover of Britain".....MONBIOT, George
* * ....."Hot Money".....NAYLOR, R.T
* * * ....."Where Does Money Come From?".....New Economics Foundation
* * * ....."The Blood Never Dried - A People's History of the British Empire".....NEWSINGER, John
* * * ....."Homage to Catalonia".....ORWELL, George
* * * ....."Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs".....PAGE, Lewis
* * * ....."Age of Reason".....PAINE, Thomas
* * * ....."Rights of Man".....PAINE, Thomas
* * ....."The Best Democracy Money Can Buy".....PALAST, Greg
* ....."Confessions of an Economic Hit Man".....PERKINS, John
* ....."Who Runs Britain?".....PESTON, Robert
* * * ....."Distant Voices".....PILGER, John
* * * ....."Freedom Next Time".....PILGER, John
* * * ....."Heroes".....PILGER, John
* * * ....."Hidden Agendas".....PILGER, John
* * * ....."Secret Country".....PILGER, John
* * * ....."Tell Me No Lies".....(Edited by) PILGER, John
* * * ....."The New Rulers of the World.....PILGER, John
* * ....."Falsehood in War Time".....PONSONBY, Arthur
* * * ....."Whitehall: Tragedy and Farce".....PONTING, Clive
* * * ....."Other People's Money".....PRINS, Nomi
* * ....."Shaking the World".....REED, John (Edited by John Newsinger)
* * ....."Currency Wars".....RICKARDS, James
* * ....."The Social Contract".....ROUSSEAU, Jean-Jacques
* * ....."The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire".....ROY, Arundhati
* * ....."The Algebra of Infinite Justice".....ROY, Arundhati
* * ....."The Arms Bazaar".....SAMPSON, Anthony
* * ....."Who Runs This Place?".....SAMPSON, Anthony
* * * ....."Dirty Wars".....SCAHILL, Jeremy
* * * ....."Treasure Islands".....SHAXSON, Nicholas
* * * ....."American Holocaust".....STANNARD, David
* * ....."Globalisation and its Discontents".....STIGLITZ, Joseph
* * * ....."Mismeasuring Our Lives".....STIGLITZ, SEN & FITOUSSI
* * * ....."In Search of Enemies".....STOCKWELL, John
* * * ....."The Making of the English Working Class".....THOMPSON, EP
* * * ....."Blank Check - The Pentagon's Black Budget".....WEINER, Tim
* * ....."Legacy of Ashes - The History of the CIA".....WEINER, Tim
* * * ....."Empire as a Way of Life".....WILLIAMS, William Appleman
* * ....."The Politics of Lying".....WISE, David
* * * ....."A People's History of the United States".....ZINN, Howard
I always have at least two books on the go at any one time, usually three and sometimes four. One of these books is invariably a novel, many of which are every bit as useful as non-fiction as they often stimulate thought or suggest new areas of knowledge to discover. Some of the best novels I’ve read, and which are relevant to The School of Kindness and would be rated three stars in my view, are:
Pat Barker “Regeneration”
Marcus Clarke “The Term of his Natural Life”
Charles Dickens “Bleak House”
Charles Dickens “Dombey and Son”
John Le Carre “Absolute Friends”
George Orwell “1984”
Eric Maria Remarque “All Quiet on the Western Front”
Upton Sinclair “Oil”
John Steinbeck “Grapes of Wrath”
Robert Tressell “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”
Anthony Trollope “The Way We Live Now”
Evelyn Waugh “Scoop”
None of the large "news" providers should be trusted, as books such as "Manufacturing Consent" and "Guardians of Power" can prove. They should of course be glanced at from time to time, but always, ALWAYS with a critical eye. Alternative news providers such as Russia Today are excellent for bringing to our attention many important events which our own trusted leaders are always slow to provide, at best. But it is the internet which is the very best source of reliable information. It isn't always easy, of course, but at least good information can be found on line with a little time and effort. There are many excellent websites which provide first-class information on a daily basis. Here's a sample of some I use regularly:
Information Clearing House
Most of John's Political essays may be found here:Comment.
John's book on The People's Constitution (2013 edition) is available directly from the publishers: People's Constitution
An older (2010 edition) but far more detailed account of the issues behind Free Democracy and the People's Constitution is also available from the publishers here: Peace Talk
If you're looking for a lighter, but still educational read, you might like to try "The Road to Emily Bay" Emily Bay. This is an historical novel based on the events around the nineteenth century Chartist rising in England which came very close to repeating the example of the French Revolution.