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UK Green policies for post-referendum Constitutional change


In a policy paper published on Friday, the Greens stated that "dramatic" constitutional changes were needed to rebuild public trust in politicians and the political system.

It said the referendum process highlighted the "urgent need" for a new settlement. It also criticised the "profoundly undemocratic" move by Westminster party leaders to pledge further powers for Scotland without consultation.

"It is no longer tenable for politicians to defend the over-centralised entity that is the present-day British state," it continued.

The central tenet is for a "People's Constitutional Convention", which would consider a range of matters, including:

  • enhanced powers for local and regional government in areas such as housing, energy, public services and business
  • replacing the first-past-the-post voting system with proportional representation (PR)
  • empowering constituents to initiate a "total" recall mechanism for all elected politicians
  • allowing citizens to introduce their own local referenda or initiatives
  • replacing the House of Lords with a directly-elected upper chamber
  • lowering the voting age to 16 for all elections
  • a written constitution setting out people's rights and government responsibilities.

The party says there are precedents for such a move, including in Scotland where a Scottish Constitutional Convention was created and in 1995 produced a blueprint for Scottish devolution.

Ms Bennett, who took over as leader from Ms Lucas in 2012, said: "Our governance is too important to be left to the government to decide on our behalf.

"The Scottish independence referendum process has underlined the fact that politicians alone cannot be trusted to draw up the blueprint for change that both people and planet desperately need."

Some of those voting ideas look like they might work in this country. Readers?

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Well, regarding citizen introduction of referenda and initiatives, people need to learn from the California experience. We have that here, But when they wrote the legislation that allows them they forgot any safeguards against buying the damn things.

So multimillionaires pay small armies of signature-gatherers to get enough signatures to qualify for a place on the ballot. Then, if it's a low-turnout election, ads the $$$ pay for can get these silly ideas within striking distance of passing.

In short: nice idea. Does not work in practice unless people are willing to make sure that power really does go to the people. Which isn't likely to happen any time soon.