The Alternative (ICUK)

Introduction

The following article was provided by the Independent Constitutionalists UK (ICUK). They are a UK wide organization, as opposed to a regional organization like ourselves. They have some novel and, sometimes, radical ideas about how the country might get out of the political mess that we appear to have got into. They are in favour of devolution, but their ideas are rather different from those of Transforming Yorkshire. Whereas, subsidiarity (allocating powers to the least centralized authority capable of addressing those matters effectively) and the establishment of a regional government are of immediate concern for us; these appear to be more, longer term aims for ICUK. On the other hand, the ICUK appears to lean more towards public intervention than Transforming Yorkshire. These issues, notwithstanding, it is interesting to note some of the values and aims that we share.

 

The Alternative Towards a Political-Economy for People and Planet

Britain is in crisis, our economy in a mess and our so-called “Representative Democracy” hardly democratic. In or Out, Brexit has opened up real opportunities for change. But What’s the alternative to the mess we’ve got?

The Declaration of Purpose of the Independent Constitutionalists is an attempt to answer that question.

It is designed to be the starting-point for the collective creation of an alternative story; a story to replace the tired, dysfunctional, unsustainable myths of neo-liberal dogma that sees the world as a winner-takes-all market-place with growing the bottom-line as its only ambition. For the rest of humanity, and that seems to be most of us, its every man and woman for her/himself.

Our proposed Alternative is not ideological, decidedly non party-political, and deliberately non-prescriptive. We are calling for others to work with us to create a Unifying Narrative that will begin to ask some of the right questions; questions that address the injustices, unfairness, widening inequalities and ecological depredations of the current system. We believe that the answers to such questions, whatever they are, will necessarily involve systemic & curative reform and renewal of Britain’s broken Political-Economy that now can only be achieved through people participation.

Our purpose is not to divide, but to bring together. We venture to hope that over time, as a comprehensive, inclusive and unifying narrative is addressed by all concerned, a regenerative political architecture will emerge. Not a one-fits-all fix but a co-created eclectic matrix drawing inspiration from innovative thinking about every aspect of the Political-Economy.

But we need to adopt a step-by-step approach. Initially, by appealing to the very many progressive groups and initiatives that already exist and getting them to emerge from their single-cause or specialist “sheds” to sit with each other, to listen and to talk. Our Declaration could then serve as an ongoing synergizing record of emerging consensus.

What kinds of idea might a narrative of this kind open up for public debate? Well, for starters:

  • A new structure of political organization – Political-Representative Democracy that combines citizen involvement through collective deliberation with genuine mandated and accountable representation;
  • A new kind of Independent Politics representative of bottom-up deliberated constituency opinion rather than top-down party ideology;
  • A new Constitution, written, living and accessible that provides entrenched protection for all material, institutional and cultural Commons, in particular the institutions of Democratic Deliberation;
  • A new approach to the economy as sustainable, integrated, inclusive, regenerative and distributive by design, and within which markets combine with Households and Commons and the State to produce human and planetary flourishing;
  • A new approach to land (including its resources) and to money, that sees both as public goods, restoring the latter its social function as a means of exchange. In either case, User rights and responsibilities must begin to replace private ownership as a main mode of social relations.
  • Britain’s colonial control of other nations waned after WW2 with the international call for self-governance. Since the late 1970’s, however, its wealth elite, via under-regulated markets and finance and its vested interests in global corporatism, has begun to colonize its own people. A return to democratic self-governance by the people of Britain is therefore long overdue. It will necessitate the devolution of power, subsidiarity and greater citizen participation within a political space protected by constitutional guarantees. That greater participation will in turn necessitate the creation of new democratic institutions: local citizen assemblies – citizen management of local Commons – local constituency committees electing, through sortition and rotation and so forth, mandated and accountable representatives to – regional assemblies or parliaments (Wales and Scotland already have their own) of the type that the Yorkshire Parliament Campaign is contemplating. Paradoxically, overtime this bottom-up democratic process might lead to a new Confederation – a functional coming together of sovereign equals – of the 4 peoples of the United Kingdom.

 

The above list provides only a foretaste of what our Declaration contains. It is designed to serve as the starting-point for a non-stipulative, emergent and unifying vision of what might be achieved through collective co-creation. If, in other words, umbrella initiatives like the Remaking Democracy Alliance or the recent Wigan event which brought together 45 activist groups from all over the UK, can provide the vehicle, our Declaration (or some co-created version of it) might provide a “shared vision compass”, and a putative destination to guide our nation on its journey towards a new democracy.

 

 

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