Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Revolution? No thanks. Radical Reform? Yes, definitely

Guardian: Jonathan Freedland writes "The Speaker exits with revolution in the air. I say, bring it on".

Well, OK Jonathan, I see what you are driving at, but steady on a minute. Hold your horses. It is all very well for you as a journalist to use the revolution word, but as a political party with its feet firmly on the ground, the Green Party has a duty to think these things through.

Yes, this MP expenses mess must be a trigger for a Parliamentary and constitutional rethink, an opportunity for the British people to reassert their authority and renew an archaic and dysfunctional Parliamentary system. But Revolution is not the word for it. I do not think the British people are ready to storm the barricades, smash capitalism and all the rest of it. If the denizens of the political Left could by some miracle overcome their abstract, analytical approach, their sectarianism, and their manifold implanted MI5 agents and try for a revolution, it would swiftly be overcome by the police and the army, and the most probable end result would be a right wing coup and a Britain ruled by Prime Minister Nick Griffin. Lovely.

So revolution is out. Instead we should be calling for Radical Reform - a platform of political changes to herald a renewal of democracy in Britain.

Here is your starter for ten:
  1. A General Election as soon as practically possible
  2. MPs get a flat rate London basic accommodation allowance
  3. Criminal charges against any fraudsters in Parliament
  4. Elect MPs and all in the Second Chamber (i.e. the old House of Lords, now abolished) by Proportional Representation
  5. No more pantomime dresses/routines allowed in Parliament
  6. A new written Constitution and Bill of Rights for the UK
  7. Strict controls and real-time transparency for donations to political parties from corporations
  8. Strict controls on corporate lobbying
  9. Electorate to have power to recall an unsatisfactory MP
As I say, this is just a start, but the Green Party, when it gets a moment, maybe on June 5th, should get in touch with all NGOs with an interest in democracy and draw up a brief set of demands along these lines (modelled on the Put People First demands for financial reform: in fact these could be incorporated) and call a date for the demonstrations to begin. Said demonstrations to be held in Parliament Square, without the usual "Oh, it's 5 o'clock, time for tea" dispersal that so disables the effectiveness of British demonstrations.

Bring a tent, tea making equipment, and Portaloos. Inform the Met that kettling will be allowable in this case, because we are not going anywhere until our demands are met, but that baton charges and any other anti-democratic actions by police will be filmed and published on YouTube.

The Revoution will not be televised, but the Reform sure as hell will be shown on YouTube.

1 comment:

Phil said...

We'd have to be careful which "proportional representation" scheme we used.

Party lists are open to the same sort of abuse by parties as the present system, so I'd favour the good old Single Transferable Vote system.