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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...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-3 Votes
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Malcolm Ramsay

The constitution should authorise the courts to rule that a dispute is political, and allow them to decline to authorise enforcement proceedings, where they consider that the law in question is unconscionable reasonable attempts have been made to get it reformed through normal political processes the failure of those attempts is the result of shortcomings in the political system.

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-4 Votes
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Malcolm Ramsay

The jury is sometimes described as the last bastion of our civil liberties, and talk of limiting the right to trial by jury provokes strong feelings. However, the fact that juries deliver the verdict is not uncontentious: people point out, from time to time, that the jury system has serious disadvantages, and it is often suggested that, in some types of case, the decision of 'guilty' or 'not guilty' be transferred to the judge. The disadvantages of the jury system, as it operates...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-5 Votes
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Malcolm Ramsay

Most of my proposals probably have too much analysis for most people's taste so I thought I'd try a short one: The constitution should mandate an offence of 'Governing/Legislating without due care and attention'. I'd hate to have to draft the details but careless actions by legislators and ministers can undoubtedly be profoundly damaging. Should we not demand reasonable standards of care from them?

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-7 Votes
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Comments 10
Malcolm Ramsay

I feel there's a danger of discussion getting tied up in apparent disagreements on matters where there is in fact broad agreement and I think it's worth trying for some clarity on terminology. In an exchange with JimF – in https://constitutionuk.com/post/84153 – I mentioned the constitutional principle that no Parliament can bind its successors. Jim replied that this 'is one of the most important things that must be overturned' and went on to say 'This constitution, and the way it is...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
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Malcolm Ramsay

NOTE FROM THE MODERATORS: This idea has been merged with the idea 'Power to the people'. Please move all discussion there: https://constitutionuk.com/post/83629 A lot of energy goes into debates over exactly what belongs in a formal constitution and I think there's a danger that areas of consensus will get lost in the disagreements. Rather than make the same points over and over again in comments to disparate ideas, I thought I'd set down, in one place, the principles I've been guided...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
6 Votes
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Comments 24
Malcolm Ramsay

I believe that a mature society must recognise the possibility of its own failure and should acknowledge the concept of lawful rebellion. I define this as rebellion which is rooted in a commitment to law: There's no need for it to be permitted by existing laws but it must arise from an undeniable failure of the established system, it must offer a viable solution to that failure, and it must allow a reasonable opportunity for the established system to implement that solution. Only if...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-1 Votes
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Comments 5
Malcolm Ramsay

The fiscal problems that local authorities have under the existing system are well-known. Most of their funds come through central government and their power to raise taxes directly are heavily constrained. But I don't think the roots of the problem are generally recognised and there is a dimension to it (that I've never seen anyone else raise) which makes it doubly pernicious. (The first part of this post is largely reproduced from the Devolution section; the second part, which extends the...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-5 Votes
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Comments 6
Malcolm Ramsay

Phase 2 version (draft 2 amendments in bold): Government fiscal accounting shall be based on an 'official unit of account' whose value may not be either a) arbitrary or b) controlled, wholly or in part, directly or indirectly, by private interests or by agencies outside Britain. Minutes or hours of passive labour shall be regarded as an acceptable official unit of account . This provision shall not constrain the continued use of an established non-qualifying unit of account during a...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
1 Votes
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Comments 17
Malcolm Ramsay

The kind of rational decision-making that lies behind a conscious decision to vote for one person rather than another is very different both from the visceral self-interest which drives much of our activity and from the dictates of conscience and convention which regularly constrain us. Unfortunately, because the Executive and the Legislature are so entangled in our existing constitution, the electorate is forced to elevate one set of impulses over the others and the functions of both...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-2 Votes
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Comments 5
Malcolm Ramsay

Phase 2 version: Every officer of the court shall be expected to recognise serious incompatibilities or inconsistencies within the law which they encounter in the course of their duties and shall be obligated to report them to the court. The court shall establish and manage a forum where such reports can be collated and where the problems identified, and possible solutions, can be freely discussed by anyone who wishes to do so [within the constraints of generally acceptable...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
2 Votes
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Comments 26
Malcolm Ramsay

In my view, a constitution is essentially pragmatic. Its primary purpose is to define how power flows within a society. I believe it should perform that function as concisely and clearly as possible and should avoid making anything binding which does not absolutely need to be. From that perspective, I believe a constitution should avoid trying to entrench specific values because values can and do change with circumstances. A society which has developed an effective framework of law and...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
1 Votes
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Comments 12
Malcolm Ramsay

To my mind, the convention that central government is always sovereign over local government is a serious failing of our present system. It undoubtedly needs to be, in some spheres, at some times, but a truly representative system should be capable of reflecting the fact that, just as our priorities shift in regard to which functions of government are more important, they also shift in regard to different levels of government. Our existing system provides no mechanism for us to express those...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-1 Votes
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Comments 18
Malcolm Ramsay

Phase 2 proposed clause (first draft): No individual shall be required by law to pay taxes, or otherwise contribute to society, in any form which that individual has no natural capacity to supply or cannot freely obtain. This provision shall not constrain central or local government's right to accept payment of taxes from any individual or corporate body in any form which is mutually acceptable.   Phase 1 text: (Original title was 'Obligation to pay taxes provides a route to...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
6 Votes
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Comments 8
Malcolm Ramsay

Phase 2 Version (first draft): Every individual who has rights of citizenship by birth shall have a right ('their birthright') to inherit, directly or indirectly, a fair share of the nation's stock of private residential, agricultural and industrial land. The law shall define what constitutes a fair share with due regard to: the principles enshrined in this constitution; the need for efficient allocation and effective stewardship of the nation's primary natural resource; people's...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
1 Votes
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Comments 40
Malcolm Ramsay

  A lot of the dissatisfaction people feel with the first-past-the-post system stems from its failure to provide proper representation for those who support smaller parties. My view is that politics is only dominated by party considerations because there is a fundamental polarity in the functions of government – a polarity which is not properly represented in the structure of its institutions. As I see it, left and right parties tend to favour different areas of policy – welfare on the...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-2 Votes
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Comments 8
Malcolm Ramsay

Phase 2 version: Parliament and the courts shall endeavour to keep all laws consistent with each other, and with the values and principles explicitly enshrined in this constitution or taken for granted [without significant dissent] by the general public. When it encounters an incompatibility between a statute and higher laws or generally accepted uncontentious principles, or between different provisions of the constitution, the Supreme Court shall either issue a Declaration of...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
5 Votes
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Comments 17
Malcolm Ramsay

I believe the monarchy in its current form fatally compromises the legitimacy of the existing system. I find it impossible to respect a constitution in which the person who in principle has ultimate authority is widely considered to be a figurehead with no real power – a figurehead who presides over a system in which accountability is regarded as paramount but whose own position is unassailable. The unassailability of the monarchy creates a void at the heart of government. The monarch...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-3 Votes
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Comments 10
Malcolm Ramsay

  As a central tenet of the constitution, the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty needs to rest on solid foundations. In its current form, however, it has become detached from the circumstances which gave rise to it and now, to my mind, violates the principles which once gave it strength.   The doctrine developed at a time when Parliament consisted of three independently powerful bodies – Crown, Lords and Commons. Two of those bodies, however, have since had their power vastly...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
0 Votes
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Comments 12
Malcolm Ramsay

  Political debate often focuses on how leaders and representatives are chosen but to my mind, in a healthy society, it is the question of how and when they are removed which is paramount. In practice, if millions of people are electing a few hundred representatives, it's impossible for most of the electorate to have much real knowledge of the people they're choosing, and the outcome is primarily determined by the preliminary selection processes. In my view, most of us do not care very...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
-1 Votes
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Comments 18
Malcolm Ramsay
 

Malcolm Ramsay

Lincoln, United Kingdom

Joined this community on Feb 21, 2015

Age
50-59

Gender
Male

Highest level of Education
A-Level

Should the UK have a written codified constitution?
No

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