Referendum on Head of State

Much of the debate in the Head of State section revolves around the extent of passive support for keeping or abolishing the monarchy. While I'm not personally convinced there's any nett benefit in having regular elections for Head of State, I do think the present position undermines the legitimacy of the current constitution and I fully support demands for a referendum on the issue.

It doesn't seem likely that demanding a referendum through normal political processes will get anywhere at present, largely because the issue is well down most people's list of priorities (as long-term matters usually are). However, I've argued* that issues of this kind could be forced onto the agenda, even in our current system, through jurors asking the courts to explain the source of their authority and refusing to participate if a coherent explanation was not forthcoming.

It would need commitment from individual jurors (and I think it would only be appropriate when there is passive support from other members of the jury) but I think the courts would be very reluctant to come down heavily on someone for expecting clear answers on how authority is constituted, particularly since they themselves are well aware how incoherent the existing constitution is. But, equally, they would be reluctant to routinely excuse anyone prepared to question the system in that way so I'd expect them to press the government to address the issue.

I suggest, therefore, that the need for constitutional reform could be promoted through a strategy of this kind. Ideally, the people doing it would be concentrating on indefensible aspects of the current system (such as the democratic legitimacy of the monarch) and advocating a coherent alternative. I'm a bit doubtful that this project will actually produce a coherent alternative but, even if it doesn't directly, it might well spawn other initiatives which will.

* Sovereign Jury – https://constitutionuk.com/post/102203

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