A Constitution should not constitute local government.

Local government should remain a creature of Parliament, and not be enshrined in constitution, primarily because of the disparate views of what powers it should retain and because local government is not essential in exercising the core powers of the state to protect rights. It exists for various political and administrative purposes, but it is not fundamental.

Many want local government to exist in an effectively federal system, with distinct powers.  Advocate a federal government if you wish, but that is not local government of hundreds of councils. There should be flexibility for central government to devolve, centralise or abolish functions at the local level.

A constitution should constrain itself to the establishment of government which is an extension of rights and the protection of those rights.  The level at which the administration of that is undertaken is not a constitutional matter.  However, it is a constitutional matter to constrain the powers of local government.  In other jurisdictions, it is a core role of the courts to judge the constitutionality of actions of local government, if it passes bylaws or exercises powers in a manner that is disproportionate or which unjustly denies the freedoms and property rights of certain individuals.

REFINED PROPOSAL:

"The Constitution should remain silent on local government" (no clause needed)  OR

i. Nothing in this Constitution will require Government to, or limit Government from, establishing local government by legislation, to which it grants powers, rights and responsibilities.  

ii. No local government body may have any powers, rights or responsibilities that would enable it to violate, infringe upon or limit any rights under this Constitution.

iii. No such local government body may have any powers greater than those granted to Government under this Constitution.  

 

edited on Apr 14, 2015 by Scott Wilson

Edward Jones Apr 11, 2015

Now we've entered the refining phase, how do you think this idea could be refined to a more concise proposition?

  Please continue to vote for/against ideas and feel free to change you original vote.

Tom Austin Apr 11, 2015

It appears that I have voted-up this proposal, this must have happened in the closing moments of the previous stage, for although I am 'pro' the title of this proposal I am not content that 'parliament' should decide on the matter of how a Local Authority be constituted.

So, unless 'LibertyscottUK' can reform this proposal to accommodate some form of bottom-up 'right' to decide upon the (re)creation of LAs I shall have to down-vote this proposal.

Scott Wilson Apr 11, 2015

I am not opposed to people wanting to seek "bottom up" options to create local government, my key point was that it should not be defined in a Constitution.  I will issue a revised and refined proposal in the next few days.

Scott Wilson Apr 14, 2015

I have updated the proposal, taking two different options.  One is the simplest, to not mention local government, on the basis that there is no reason why central government can't simply legislate to create devolved entities which have some of its powers and are limited in the same way central government is.

The other is a "belt and braces" approach explicitly stating local government may be created or may not be, and that its powers are not greater than that of central government, and that local government is limited by the Constitution as well.

I prefer the first approach, given all forms of local government are established by legislation, and there appears to be no reason to simply let that be the case.  Then it is clean, local government is limited by that legislation and the legislation itself must be consistent with the Constitution.

Tom Austin Apr 14, 2015

"This Constitution shall be read to contain no restrictions as to the formation or control of Democratic governance at local or regional level save where it prescribes the rights of the Citizenry to have their Democratically expressed opinion be held to be paramount."

Perhaps instead of, "Democratic governance at local or regional level" we could say, "subordinate governance"?

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 14, 2015

Isn't this proposal fundamentally at odds with many of the other proposals in this section which require aspects of the relationship between central and local government to be defined in the constitution?

Share