Monday 12 October 2009

Time for a citizens' convention

Next Leftists Sunder and I have both signed a letter in this morning's Guardian calling on MPs to vote for the Citizens' Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill in the new Parliamentary session.

The letter reads:

'MPs returning to Parliament this week might like to think that the fury they faced earlier in the year due to the expenses scandal is now behind them. Yet the storm was as great as it was because of an underlying sense of alienation that has been developing for years.

'Some of the ideas which emerged during the conference season aimed at closing this gulf between the political class and the public have been positive contributions, but none of them amount to the sort of fundamental change which we now desperately need. In particular, while Gordon Brown's support for holding a referendum on electoral reform is a welcome shift, the promise of a vote on an electoral system hand picked by the Prime Minister will be greeted by much cynicism.

'The UK needs an independent citizens' convention to ensure that such decisions cannot be skewed by political self-interest. It is too late to complete such a convention before the general election, but it could be legislated for and begin its work in a matter of weeks. Its work could then progress regardless of which party goes on to form the next government.

'We therefore urge the Prime Minister to ease the passage of the Citizens' Convention (Accountability and Ethics) Bill through Parliament. By establishing this process Gordon Brown will signal a commitment to democratic reform in a way that no amount of manifesto commitments and pledges could achieve. '

Signed by

Peter Facey, Unlock Democracy
Caroline Lucas MEP, Green Party
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
Claire Rayner
Tony Robinson
Sunder Katwala, Fabian Society (personal capacity)
Neal Lawson, Compass
Jessica Asato, Progress
Carey Oppenheim, IPPR
Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote
Pam Giddy, Power2010
Anthony Barnett, Open Democracy
David Babbs, 38 Degrees
Elaine Bagshaw, Liberal Youth
Ron Bailey, Local Works
Jonathan Bartley, Ekklesia
Tamasin Cave, Spinwatch
Peter Emerson, De Borda Institute
Nina Fishman
James Graham, Social Liberal Forum
Alex Hilton, LabourHome
Sunny Hundal, Liberal Conspiracy
David Miller, Spinwatch
Vicky Seddon, Unlock Democracy
Nan Sloane, Centre for Women in Democracy
Alex Smith, LabourList
Graham Smith, Republic
Stephen Tall, Lib Dem Voice
Samuel Tarry, Young Labour
Perry Walker, New Economics Foundation
Stuart Weir, Democratic Audit
Stuart White
Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Democratic Audit

1 comment:

Robert said...

I can see it now ex MP,s will sit on the the panel deciding who should be punished, ah yes what about the citizens, well sacked MP's are citizens.

MP's who do wrong the Police should be involved courts should be involved and the bloody sack.