For a British Constitution
Anyone remember the ‘British Bill of Rights’? The Conservatives put it in their 2015 manifesto and its purpose was apparently to replace the Human Rights Act. David Cameron who always left himself a country mile of wiggle room actually proposed it before the 2010 election but the excuse that time was the Coalition happened and, of course, it never was delivered post-2015 because Brexit happened.
It is with Brexit we will start because lets be clear, people will ask, how did our slow incorporation into the EU superstate happen? Well, one good reason is that Britain does not have a written constitution. So, successive governments were able to toss British sovereignty down the drain with complete legal impunity, British courts squashed by European ones? Not a problem because there is actually no legal basis on which that can be stopped because there is no written constitution and therefore no legal basis on which the slow leeching of national sovereignty could actually be challenged. This is the genius of the ‘flexibility’ of our unwritten constitution it allows our lords and masters to do as they please and neuters the serfs (thats our) ability to do anything about it. People case a weary eye on the American constitution but lets for now state this plainly. The whole reason America has a written constitution is to defend its status as a sovereign nation state, principally at the time against the British. So, first argument for a British Constitution is simple – it is the perfect defence against us ever losing our sovereignty ever again because if the government tries to sell us down the river it gives us the legal power and right to challenge the government and actually stops it doing so. It is also perhaps the only way to ensure Brexit actually happens.
The British government is under no legal obligation what so ever to ensure Brexit happens. The referendum was only advisory and there is no law that says the government has to leave the EU. It is perfectly within its legal right to simply ignore the result. Of course, you can argue there is political pressure, ie, if it is seen to ignore the result then people will turn against it and vote it out BUT the fact is that the electorates mood can be variable. If there is a change in the mood music from the electorate then this pressure disappears. Indeed, this is precisely the argument now being advanced in Parliament on all sides to argue, following the disastrous omnishambles of the General Election, that Brexit should be softer. Fact is, if the government plays the long ball game, it could work itself into a position where soft Brexit or even no Brexit at all is electorally viable and indeed this may well be what is already happening. Now if Britain had a written constitution which stated that all referendums were legally binding none of this would be happening.
If you want democratic change in this country then the only way this will happen is through the formulation of a written constitution. For example, if the House of Lords is to be elected then there MUST be a written constitution. We simply cannot have two elected legislative chambers both with mandates from the electorate with no definition of roles and powers – such an arrangement would be a recipe for constitutional chaos, maybe at the outside civil unrest and violence as the two houses lock horns. If UKIP is going to bring Direct Democracy to the people then the only way to do that is through a written constitution. Free speech needs fundamental legal protection and it needs it now. Given the Prime Ministers current death-grip on power and her popularity being equivalent to that of a snow globe in the Sahara we are currently cannon-balling towards a crypto-fascist Corbynist government that will churn out ‘hate speech’ legislation at both the same volume and speed as we are seeing in Canada. This is not to mention that small fact that the power of the governmental executive needs massive curtailment. Currently, the Cabinet exercises massive amounts of power under the Royal Prerogative (powers nominally ‘on-loan’ from the Crown) including the ability to take the country to war without first consulting Parliament. Finally, a written constitution would solve the governmental and fiscal imbalances created by devolution and move us towards a federal United Kingdom and it would finally address the inequitable treatment of the one nation without a voice in all this – England.
Written constitutions are not etched in stone. Congress has the ability to change the American Constitution by a two-thirds majority vote. It has done so 27 times to date including to end slavery and I think we can all agree that was a good thing. Just because America has one doesnt mean we should have the same one and I think here alot of opposition to a written constitution stems from not wanting the right to bear arms included which it doesnt have to be. It is actually a fundamental democratic demand. It is one UKIP should make because finally it would be saying something about the kind of Britain we should be post-Brexit. It would guarantee Britain’s national sovereignty would never be compromised again. So, leadership candidates, who wants to take up the challenge and adopt this policy??