Keeping one’s eye on the ball?

“The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness…They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1928, dissenting opinion, “Olmstead v. U.S.”

To equate that quotation to the Harrogate Agenda and #1 & #6 of their demands, which state:

“1. the people are sovereign: the sovereignty of the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland shall be recognised by the Crown and the government of our nations. The people in their collective form, by giving their consent, comprise the ultimate authority of their nations and the source of all political power

6. a constitutional convention: Parliament, once members of the executive are excluded, convenes a constitutional convention to draw up a definitive codified constitution for the people of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which shall recognise their sovereign status and their inherent, inalienable rights and which shall be subject to their approval.

When the Harrogate Agenda becomes ‘mainstream’ and the people have then achieved a position whereby they have gained their rightful status in the ‘pecking order’ then – and most definitely then – do they need to ‘engage brain’ to ensure that never again can they find themselves back in a situation of ‘parliamentary dictatorship’. And that should, in my humble opinion, be one of the prime objectives of the movement of which I am privileged to be part.

Just saying……………..


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7 Responses

  1. Andy Baxter says:

    so true people through inaction are their own worst enemies;

    “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

    Edmund Burke

    there’s not many of us ‘enough good men’ yet but we are moving….

  2. graham wood says:

    I fully support the ‘Harrogate Agenda’ as a worthwhile start to parliamentary reform, but as we all know to get it into “mainstream” is a problem of massive proportions.
    One first step, which may have been discussed this week-end is a decision to open up the debate via the Internet and leading blogs?

    Re Point No.1. It is good that the sovereignty of the people is reiterated and proclaimed as a political base and starting point.
    But of course Ministers and MPs have always paid lip service to this as a principle, arguing that current Parliamentary structure reflects this in regular General Elections and that therefore we have a “democracy”. We know that this is not true and the democracy itself is vitiated by the existing party system. Hypocritically they would still assert that power still “belongs to the people” as it always has been. So they would have no problem, in theory that is, in endorsing this first point.
    However this sovereignty of the people has historically under our own Constitution been expressed as we know in a number of constitutional Acts which, again in theory, ensures that the ‘voice of the people’ is actually heard, and given expression, and particularly in relation to their historic freedoms wherein these are protected.
    We know this is no longer the case – which brings us to consider Point 6 – the proplosal for a constitutional convention.

    Assuming for a moment that this too becomes “mainstream” to some degree, I think we would agree that application of a constitutional convention does itself present numbers of very big problems and ensuing questions: e.g. how long would such a process take? Who precisely in Parliament would be the framers of a new constitutional framework? Would it be left to a cross party selection from both Commons and Lords? Should it form a “common” Constitution for England, Scotland (assuming it remain in the Union for the moment) and Wales acronss the board? Would it be the aim to incorporate any new provisions into our existing Constitution?

    But the bigger question remains concerning the virtual extinction of our existing Constitution, and with it our democracy and freedoms, via deliberate erosion via EU membership, the predominance of Statutory Instruments, and a measure of arbitrary government through the tyranny of the “elected dictatorship” of the party political system which dominates Westminster, and which overrides our Constitution.
    I believe therefore that in the lengthy period of constitutional reform, urgent provision needs to be made to recognise and restore the sovereign status of our existing Constitutional enactments, and to insist that Parliament is bound by these enactments ( in a new binding Bill?), so that the status quo of drift and loss of liberties continue not a day longer.
    Firstly, for example Parliament must be bound by the leading provisions of Magna Carta, in particular Articles 1 & 63, 39,40, and 42, 45, and 61 for a start.
    Also it must be bound by a full restoration of the Habeas Corpus Act (as opposed to the European Arrest Warrant)
    Third, the existing Bill of Rights (unrepealed) of 1689 must stand in all our Courts, and that the Coronation Oat Act, and Act of Settlement remain, and its supremely important Article 4 of the latter is recognised and re-stated as Constitutional law. This summarises the greater part of the spirit and intent of the whole of our existing Constitution: viz –

    “And whereas the laws of England are the birthright of the people thereof, and all the kings and Queens who shall ascend the throne of this realm ought (i.e.must) adminster government of the same according to the said laws, and ALL THEIR OFFICERS AND MINISTERS ought (must) serve them respectively according to the same……….”

    What I am saying in effect is pending any new constitutional framework to be discussed and possibly incorporated into our existing Constitution, then these Acts of constitutional importance must be recognised and applied meanwhile as law.
    Well, just saying….. and hopefully beginning the debate!

    • david says:

      Whew – a comment and a half…….

      To deal with the constitutional matter: This assumes that a majority of those elected are believers in and prepared to instigate direct democracy. It is up to the people to decide what does and does not become elements of a constitution. I can but repeat, HA is not and will never become a political party – all it will ever do is propose suggestions as to what should be the status quo. In respect of your question re Scotland then should Scotland remain part of the UK the national constitution must of course involve them and be one to which they would accept – likewise Wales.

      Regarding the inclusion of Magna Carta, Bill of Rights etc etc in any new consstitution, again that is up to the people. In respect of what laws govern us in the meantime we would have to be bound by existing law, otherwise we become lawless as one cannot just repeal existing law without replacing it with another. Ergo the sooner the new constitutiom is agreed the better for all of us?

      Think about it Graham – you have the additional material I sent you.

  3. graham wood says:

    My last post and typo. There was no Coronation “OAT” as opposed to Oath !!

  4. james Higham says:

    Great stuff – keep at it, David.

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