Sunday, February 19, 2006

British Constitution

Liberty Central, the new portal to assist a coalition of the willing to get rid of Labour looks like it's going to be ready to go in the next few days. Unity at Talk Politics is on a bit of a roll by the looks of it.

Meanwhile Chris at Strange Stuff has already been posting a few preliminary thoughts about what should go in to the Constitution which will follow the overthrow. (It's a little presumptious isn't it? You know, getting together a few pyjama-clad geeks to write a new Constitution for the UK).

I thought I'd put down a few ideas on the higher-level stuff by way of complementing Chris's start.

We need to define very carefully what we are trying to acheive. I would worrty that it could rapidly deteriorate into an exercise in trying to hard code particular points of view into law. We've already seen a few favourite policies put forward for consideration by some bloggers. If we can't get these people to understand the purpose of a written constitution then we are sunk from the start.

Likewise, if we start to get a document framed in the language of "rights" then the whole thing will collapse. People will start to define anything they think valuable as a "right", which means that someone else has the duty to pay for it. We cannot (IMHO) have a document which gives someone the right to live at someone else's expense.

My proposal would be that we are aiming to acheive:

1. Limited government: Clear definition of what we believe government is for. What it can legislate on. By way of a radical thought, why not restrict the Bill of Rights only to defining what government may legislate on. Everything else should be off limits. We should not be about defining the hold that some individuals hold over others.
2. Dispersal of power: Between the house of Parliament. Between Parliament and the executive. Between the executive and the courts. Between different levels of government. Between government and the individual.