The People of the UK Value Work etc

Suggested preamble to the constitution:

- 'The people of the [UK] recognise that it is important that, to the best of their abilities, they strive to use their endeavours and resources to contribute economically to the [UK] and where required shall pay taxes for the benefit of the people of the [UK]'

Reasoning: this is a necessary corollary of valuing and aspiring to have a functioning government and civil service and the guarantee of security in the form of welfare (somebody has to pay for all of this and the emphasis should be on all of us making a contribution)

edited on Apr 10, 2015 by Ian Smith

Ian Smith Apr 5, 2015

Dear All,

I am posting a quick comment here and in my other ideas.

Firstly, I want to say how much I have enjoyed seeing all of your contributions on this and other ideas and how impressed I am with the range of expertise and erudition which has filled these debates.

Secondly, I wish to put forward a couple of suggestions as to a way forward at this stage.  They are:

A.   I suggest that we all refrain from further voting until the ideas have been refined and represented and have then been debated for a while.  My thinking here is that we will want to see the reshaped ideas and see the comments on those refined ideas before we decide whether they are to be voted up or down,  I do not think that we should refrain from voting on comments but perhaps try not to vote too hastily on them.

B.  Now that the hurly burly of the "Hacking" phase (some of it quite savage) has passed, I hope and wish that we will adopt a more collaborative and less combative approach in our commentary, so that commentary is given a chance to be constructive and really do the job of refining the ideas in question.

C.  I would hope that we can refrain from attacking the very existence of the idea under discussion in this phase or the fact that it has successfully gone through to this phase against the wishes of those who voted it down.  I sincerely hope that the previous critics of an idea, will still respect that it found favour with the crowd and now help to refine the idea in this phase.

Thirdly, I will try my best not to introduce any more typos and mangled phrases! 

Best wishes for the holiday weekend!

Ian 

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 5, 2015

Thank you so much for this Ian. Hope you are having a nice easter weekend.

I just want to emphasise what you said about being more collaborative and less combative in our approach from now on. In the end, this Constitution is going to be a commonly created project, and it has to be commonly agreed upon. It is really important that we work together from now and work with the aim of coming to solutions. 

Ian Smith Apr 7, 2015

Dear All,

Before I draft a suggested preamble clause for the constitution, I should be very grateful if you would let me have any further thoughts on this idea and in particular the form of a constitutional clause.

Kind regards,

Ian

Cecilia Rossler Apr 8, 2015

Thanks for your thoughtfulness above, IanSmith1. My thoughts on this idea are that I think the main worries from the phase 1 discussion were:

1. concern over the term 'work' (parents who stay at home are surely contributing but are not 'working' per se)

2. there was concern over the word 'financially'

3. there was concern about mandating 'workfare'/creating a responsibility to work for the sake of society

4. there was concern that the word 'strive' was quite emotive

In my interpretation, this clause is basically saying people should contribute back to society when they can. Perhaps the simplest way of seeing this contribution is through taxation, so I am thinking that a clause simply expressing the value of taxation may avoid the above problems. I would suggest "The people of the UK will pay taxes in order to contribute financially to the UK" as a starting point? I realise that your point also included wider contributions to the UK economy, but I am struggling to see how a clause could be written that doesn't end up 'mandating' work in some way (which I think could be very problematic.)

Users tagged:

Ian Smith Apr 10, 2015

Thanks Cecilia, that is very helpful and I have now reformulated the idea.  Kind regards, Ian

Cecilia Rossler Apr 12, 2015

Thanks Ian! I think it is much better now

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 10, 2015

Wouldn't endeavour to contribute be enough?

I don't think it directly impacts on this but, for information, I posted a draft clause yesterday for my 'Obligation to pay taxes' idea – https://constitutionuk.com/post/84773 – which constrains the form in which taxes can be demanded.

Cecilia Rossler Apr 14, 2015

Ian, I think Malcolm's suggestion overcomes the worry from Phase 1 that 'strive' was a bit too emotive. If you are ok with it, I would suggest:

'The people of the [UK] recognise that it is important that, to the best of their abilities, they endeavour to contribute economically to the [UK] and where required shall pay taxes for the benefit of the people of the [UK]'

Scott Wilson Apr 14, 2015

I know we are not meant to attack the idea, but I fear that as it is now worded, it implies a form of slavery.

It implies working all your life (what happens when you retire, is consuming "contributing"?) and that the purpose of your life to is "contribute economically".  What if you want to spend your life producing avant-garde art that no one buys and get sustained because a wealthy benefactor likes you?  

It looks like the Marxist "from each according to his ability", which is slavery or if spending money is a contribution (as a consumer), then it is meaningless?

I think I know the purpose of the provision (being only a preamble), and I am unsure how to progress it, but it looks to me like the preamble to a state that does not prioritise life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but toil, sacrifice and paying taxes.

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 14, 2015

"What if you want to spend your life producing avant-garde art that no one buys and get sustained because a wealthy benefactor likes you?  "

Spending rich people's money is contributing economically. Somebody's got to do it!

Cecilia Rossler Apr 14, 2015

Could you suggest a wording that you would be more comfortable with, that still expresses the original intention of the idea?

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Ian Smith Apr 14, 2015

Thanks. I agree. Would you mind editing the idea. Many Thanks and kind regards.  Ian

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Claire Finn Apr 15, 2015

I agree with LibertyScott wholeheartedly. I think a lot of Ian's proposals are a bit like this. He's trying to get away from the idea that the state owes us all a living without us having to contribute, I think. Which is admirable but it does tend to highlight the problem of thinking the state owes us - inevitably it becomes us owing the state.

Scott Wilson Apr 15, 2015

There are two issues here, one is what to have as a preamble, the second is how to incorporate the values Ian has proposed.

For a preamble, I suggest something a little similar to some others, which is really just an introduction as to why you have a Constitution in the first place:

To secure their inalienable rights, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed: that all laws legislated by government must be for the purpose of securing these rights; that no laws legislated by government may violate these rights and that all citizens are equal before such laws.

We, the citizens of the (United Kingdom), in order to establish such government and protect those rights,  do solemnly declare that by this Constitution, and the associated documents presented here, establish a new Republic (INSERT NAME), that these documents supersede and repeal previous constitutional and quasi-constitutional documents, conventions and practices. 

That is a suggested preamble.  As far as incorporating the suggestions Ian has made, it strikes me it would be better as some provision that states that all citizens are bound by their legal responsibilities and are encouraged to be self-reliant or independent. I am sceptical about having some responsibility to "contribute economically".  Having done a little research, it has shades of Article 16 of the People's Republic of China 1954 Constitution, and RSFSR Constitution Article I(2)(3)(f).  However, I'll propose the following.

So perhaps (not for a preamble but somewhere else)

All citizens are encouraged to take reasonable steps, within the law, to materially sustain themselves and their dependents, and are expected to abide by their obligations under the law.

 

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 15, 2015

I would like to remind everyone that people are still able to vote ideas up and down. So if you disagree with having a proposal about contribution, I suggest you vote accordingly. I think a lot of what LibertyScottUK and clairefinn54 have been saying is more about the merit of the idea which is unfortunately not what we should be debating at this stage.

I do however like LibertyScottUK's last suggestion about independence since it can include contribution and still be minimalist enough. Ian, what do you think about his sentence: "All citizens are encouraged to take reasonable steps, within the law, to materially sustain themselves and their dependents, and are expected to abide by their obligations under the law."? 

Ian Smith Apr 15, 2015

I'd accept that formulation Even though I would prefer to see "shall" instead of "are encouraged to"

kind regards

ian

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Cecilia Rossler Apr 17, 2015

To all users: Please note this phase ends in 1 day. By the end of this phase we need a finalised, concise, clear clause that can go into the constitution.Thank you for your contributions; please keep them as focussed on wording (not content) at this stage.

 

At the moment this idea is phrased as: All citizens are encouraged to take reasonable steps, within the law, to materially sustain themselves and their dependents, and are expected to abide by their obligations under the law.

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