Our Call for a National Debate

Ours is currently a very unhappy country, divided and cheerless. People are cynical about politics and unengaged. Fewer people even bother to vote. We know deep down we need change but can’t agree on what it should look like. The only way out is to talk about it.

A National Conversation to debate how we move from here to where we want to be. That needs an agreed process to incorporate what people decide into a legislative programme. No one wants another poorly run referendum with lies and fantasy. There are alternative ways of running debates.  Other countries do this. Let’s learn from them. Let’s make a new start with a new way of engaging the public in politics.

We’ll need to agree on what to talk about. Some of the big questions to be asked are:

  • How does Britain become less centralised? What can be devolved to the UK’s nations, regions & localities?
  • Could/should we replace the Union with a federation of independent nations?
  • How would England operate with the other UK nations having their own Parliaments?
  • What is the role of the GB Parliament versus the Executive?
  • Should Parliament control its own time?
  • How can we help MPs do a better job? Could a National Ombudsman take casework from them?
  • What role should the Second Chamber play? Experts to scrutinise bills or represent the nations & regions ?
  • What voting system should we have? How do we make seats reflect the popular votes cast?
  • What is our Social Contract as citizens? What do we expect from the government?
  • What are our rights?
  • What is the civil services’ job? Who runs national services – NHS, transport, energy & infrastructure?
  • How do we distribute the nation’s wealth more fairly? Through taxation alone? Is that fair?
  • How do we protect citizens? Through a benefits system or a Universal Basic Income?

Big questions need lots of space and time to be widely debated. That means widespread citizens’ assemblies. It needs new TV programmes to spread information widely and to engage the audience.

Any wide-ranging debate will need time.  We must plan for the first three years of a new government to be used wisely. Then, change can come before the 2029 General Election.

So to get any major change, we need a national discussion to take place with whoever wins the next UK General Election. The Labour Party is committed to some constitutional change if it wins. However, they have yet to commit to letting us citizens discuss any alternative options. That has to change. Citizens need to speak and be heard.

Join us in demanding a national discussion. Be a citizen and not just a voter.