Saturday, August 04, 2007


Reading The Guardian editorial this morning I was struck by the coincidence of topic with a lobbying campaign which also contacted me today: Unlock Democracy by the merged Charter 88 and the New Politics Forum. The Guardian recalls Brown's proposals on constitutional reform which came out a month ago. Remember? I thought not. He suggested that: the royal prerogative covering a range of powers be transferred from the executive to parliament; a pre Queen's Speech consultative process; a duty on public bodies to involve local people in major decisions; publish a review of UK voting systems; plus a possible written constitution.

Brown suggested a 'national conversation' but. as The Guardian comments:

If he expected to be met with the excited chatter of a nation redefining itself, he will have been disappointed. A conversation that began as a murmur has already tailed off into a whisper.

We are all familiar with this syndrome, from.....where else but the Blair years? You think of an 'eye catching initiative', you announce it with a fanfare, you pick up the transient publicity points and then you quietly forget all about it. And your credibility dies just a little. I do hope Gordon is not embarked on a similar course here because people like me, faithful old foot-sloggers for the party, will not stand for any more false promises and will sling our collective hook.

The Unlock Democracy campaign is designed not to let Gordon off the hook but to hold him to his promises to consult. EDM 1763, already signed by 50MPs, proposes a Citizens Convention Bill which would oblige the government:

'to set up a Citizen's Convention to look at modernising UK governance within twelve months of it becoming law... to involve people from all sections of society and to cooperate with the Convention in implementing its recommendations'

Maybe this initiative will fail but I think it's a promising one and deserves support I'm going to send in a small donation this cause about which, if you feel the same as I do, you can find more here.

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