The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘constitutional convention’

David Miliband: The Radical

Posted by The Futility Monster on February 10, 2010 @ 09:20

Poor David. But will he get a chance when the clunking fist is no longer in command?

Last night a story sneaked out about how a senior member of the Labour party might actually want some real reform to the British system.

The Guardian claimed that David Miliband is in favour of a “reset referendum”, allowing the electorate to cast a verdict on the nature of our political institutions.

The worrying nature of this article is that it’s very thin on detail. I like his language. I like the idea of radical change to our rotten system, but am totally sceptical about it ever actually happening. After all, last night a mere 69 MPs voted for the thing that would revolutionise British politics: STV.

What does David Miliband intend then? He must have ideas of his own about what he’d like to see, but he is hiding behind the idea, I think, of calling a constitutional convention, something the people of England have never had the pleasure of enjoying.

Note the use of the word England. Scotland had a constitutional convention which produced the blueprint towards Scottish devolution. It worked to such a degree that the Scottish political settlement is now firmly entrenched and is playing an active part in the lives of Scottish residents.

Yes, us poor Englanders have always had to accept the status quo. Our institutions have been grandfathered to such an extent that any proposals for reform are invariably seen as heresy. Indeed, it’s only amazing that the AV referendum got through the Commons last night until you realise that most MPs saw it as a free vote for “change” that will never actually happen.

A constitutional convention could be just what the doctor ordered for the entire political settlement of Britain. A chance to start again and look at the way we want our government to be organised through 21st century eyes.

Perhaps we could have a live twitter stream of the thoughts of the voters flashing up within the Commons so they can see the public’s reaction to their behaviour…

Of course, I’m being facetious, but we do need to look at the way in which we communicate these days and make the British polity more responsive to that.

David Miliband may not truly understand the extensive nature of the proposal he has suggested. But I’m at least pleased to see that some of our major political figures are still thinking that recent changes are still only tinkering.

I know the Lib Dems would support a constitutional convention. Of course the Tories won’t.

But maybe a future Labour opposition will realise they have a real battle on their hands, and can harvest the cynicism in the British public regarding politics to challenge Cameron’s Model New Tories…

It’s just a dream, eh.


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