Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tomorrow Wales present their case

And so as Elfyn Llwyd and Adam Price call for constitutional reform and a general election in Westminster, today Tomorrow Wales - the 'unofficial' 'yes' campaign - put their case forward for reform outside the Assembly.

Around a hundred people gathered on the steps of the Senedd to back the "Declaration for Welsh Democracy", presented by the Most Rev. Dr Barry Morgan and apparently signed by "prominent Welsh writers, actors, sportsmen, poets, churchmen and politicians"

They include British Lions Team Manager, Gerald Davies and the swimmer David Davies; two of Wales’s National Poets, Gillian Clarke and Gwyneth Lewis, and actor Mathew Rhys.

The Declaration highlights four principles that the government system in Wales should fulfil:

* To be efficient in its use of time and resources
* To be comprehensible and transparent
* To promote wide participation by he public and civil society
* Respect for the autonomy of the National Assembly as the elected body that represents the people of Wales.

"It is very important that people are aware of what is at stake in the debate on Wales’ constitutional future and I am confident that the Declaration will be an aid in raising awareness of this," said Dr. Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales.

"I would urge everyone who believes that Wales needs a system of governance that would allow the Assembly to get to grips with changing the lives of the people of Wales for the better, and which will be stable, accountable and democratic, to support this Declaration," he added.

Dewi Dau



Martyn Richard Jones said...

What Needs To Be Done

1 - A modern, secular and fundamentally democratic constitution for a civil society, to include all aspects of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Children's Rights, and a Bill of Rights, incorporated as the highest law of the land.

2 - A republican federation of regional autonomies – with a UK parliament and president. Wales, Scotland, Regions of England all with autonomy and regional parliament, president and legislative powers. Maybe a combination of the best aspects of the German and Spanish models.

3 - An elected Senate and an elected Congress, members of both houses being directly elected, members of the Senate representing regions/counties, members of the Senate representing UK wide party lists.

4 - Proportional representation – there is a tendency to prefer STV. A system based on the d'Hondt method would be very robust as well as highly representative.

5 - Right of voters to recall and to replace MPs. For example, on a quarterly cycle. Every three months (or so) a constituency has the right to vote to recall it's representative MP – maybe this should be limited to twice in any calendar year. e.g.The right to recall MPs: this would enable electors to force a recall election at any time, if sufficient numbers of registered voters (say 25%) are dissatisfied with their MP's performance and sign a recall petition.

6 - A presidential system, preferably based on the Irish model .. not a monarchy

7 - A revamped Judiciary that reflects the constitutional rights and defends the implicit liberties and freedoms of individuals and groups.

8 - A separate and empowered Constitutional Court, removed from the Judiciary, the Legislature and Government.

9 - A permanent war crimes tribunal.

10 - A permanent ban on all professional corporate lobbying. Transparent, traceable and accountable interaction between elected officials, civil servants and special interest groups.

11 - Elections for all Public offices - no appointments on the nod.

Martyn Richard Jones said...

12 - A new Central Bank, a new banking regulatory body with teeth, not a banker´s club. Membership of the Euosystem .. i.e. a new CB and a new currency .. the EUR .. to replace the BoE and the GBP.

13 - Partition of executive, legislative and judicial branches.

14 - A rigorous restriction on all electoral expenditure.

15 - A legal requirement for all parties to be allowed and required to select and elect candidates democratically, and not on the nod. Right of party constituencies to reject candidates proposed by the party hierarchy. Right of party constituencies to propose and select their own candidates without central interference.

16 - Fixed terms for party leaders. For example, in Finland the party leader isn't elected until they are opposed, they are elected for a fixed term. So for example Blair would have had to stand for re-election as Labour Party leader every four years. This would allow parties to replace their leaders in much the same way we replace governments/MPs, by regular elections.

17 - The primary duty and responsibility of the armed forces must be to uphold the constitution and the secularity of the federation, to safeguard its institutions and to uphold the rights and competencies of the individual communities of a federal UK.

18 - Abolition of the royal prerogative, which gives the prime minister sweeping powers similar to an absolute monarch. These powers, such the power to declare war, should be transferred to MPs and require parliamentary approval.

19 - Strengthen the powers of select committees to enable backbench MPs to hold the government in check. This would include the right of MPs to elect the members and chairs of select committees, with every MP being guaranteed a place on a select committee so they all have specific areas of legislative work. It would also involve sufficient staff to service the committees to make them more effective, and require all government appointments to be subject to confirmation hearings by the relevant select committee.

20 - Abolition of unelected quangos (invariably appointed by political patronage) and the transfer of their powers to democratically elected and accountable local or regional government bodies.

21 - Greater powers for backbench MPs to introduce legislation and to determine the parliamentary business programme.

22 - Etc. etc, etc.