The Constitution Party seeks to govern the nation of what is at present the United Kingdom. But to do that well and properly the present constitution must be changed. And so constitutional change is at the heart of the programme. Hence, the name of the party.
Current political parties put forward as their programmes shopping lists of measures, which may be implemented by new laws, new quangos or new executive decisions. Consequently they only scrape the surface of our problems. Furthermore, these changes can be reversed at any time by an incoming government as easily as they were brought it.
A Constitution must be founded upon what is usually referred to as a "Political Philosophy", and so to formulate a revised Constitution we have to first define our political philosophy.
In doing this we benefit from the previously formulated Political Philosophies of many great minds of the past, both in Britain and elsewhere. In this we look mainly to Republican Political Philosophies because most of them are. This is because political philosophies apply mostly to modern states or the republican states of ancient times.
We also look to the experience of 2500 years of Republican governments in the Ancient and Modern, Old and New Worlds.
We also draw conclusions by observing non-Republican states.
A major concern of republican constitutions and republican theorists and writers throughout the history of republicanism has been the accumulation of too much power in one or a few offices of state or empire – usually the executive or head of state.
Such accumulation resulted is what used to be called tyranny or what we call today dictatorship. Republican constitutions have sought to devise ways of avoiding this.
The traditional solution to this problem has been twofold
The basic offices usually identified are threefold
In addition there may be a fourth office which upholds and defends the constitution usually called a constitutional court or a supreme court
In the UK today, the office of head of state lies officially with the monarch but because the monarch does not by recent tradition exercise the power of this state the position falls to the Prime Minister. Because the Prime Minister is selected by his or her party in the House of Commons (the legislature) the offices of executive and legislature are effectively merged. This creates a concentration of power in the hands of the Prime Minister which is very damaging. As Lord Hailsham said in 1978 the prime ministerial office in the UK is in effect an “elected dictatorship”
These four offices are all directly part of the government. We find this identification of the powers in society as residing only in four governmental offices too narrow and far from representing the reality as it, naturally and inevitably, occurs in a modern state.
Clearly there may be powerful and influential individuals, bodies and companies within society but unless these have such power because of some role or some licence conferred by government they are constrained only by the law. The constitution is not interested in them.
Where individuals, bodies and companies do have their power, at least in part, because of some role or some licence conferred by government, they should be of interest to the constitution. Examples are the civil service, the military, chartered professional bodies, registered trade unions, the judiciary and, very importantly, banks. The last have special status conferred by the government and can operate in crucially important ways that no other companies can.
Thus a modern constitution for a modern state must recognise more powers than the traditional executive, legislature, judiciary and constitutional court and provide a means for harnessing and restraining these powers.
No existing modern constitution does this and grave defects in society arise as a result and the power of banks and others are unleashed unrestrained properly by the constitution. This is most evident in the United States which suffers from an inflexible, more-than-two-centuries-old, republican constitution. Although the UK does not have a written constitution the similar defects exist in the unwritten constitution with the similarly malign results.
This constitution for New Britain follows from this political philosophy which identifies and describes all the powers that inevitably operate in any modern state.
These powers we call estates or government estates and they are four in number
To be continue ....