In a democracy, a prime minister installed by 0.2% of the population shouldn’t be able to hold elected representatives to ransom. But Boris Johnson proroguing parliament isn’t the root of the problem. It’s symptomatic of a constitutional settlement that gives too much power to too few people.
This power imbalance is built into the UK’s current political system by our unwritten constitution. The constitution we have enables those with political power to do whatever they want, while denying most of the public a say - at least those who can’t afford to pay to influence politics.
Those who hold power will always have a vested interest in keeping it this way. Brexit won’t change who holds political power. Even General Elections only go so far, sometimes changing which party is in government but leaving in place the same rigged system.
The political system we have right now isn’t serving us. Inequality and poverty are spiralling, a corporate takeover of our public services is being hurried along, and there is inaction on the climate crisis - all to the detriment of society today and future generations to come.
We will only stop the hollowing out of democracy by permanently rebalancing political power. If we want to live in a democratic society we must replace the political system we have now with one that is built by the public to serve the interests of the public.
A new constitution
We need a new constitution that gives the public power over the political system, reflects and protects the shared values that we hold, guarantees social and economic justice, and ends the corporate takeover of our public institutions.
A new constitution alone is not the solution to the problems we face. But creating a new constitution through a democratic convention will mean that it is the people that get to decide how our political system works, and who it works for.
A citizens' convention would put people at the heart of politics, for the first time in the UK’s history, and the new constitution we create together will protect the democratic society we want to build from being undermined by the whims of the elites of the day.
A democratic society is within our imagination, but we won’t get it unless we demand it.
We demand a democratic society, where power is exercised by and closest to the people, and where those who exercise power are accountable to the people.
We demand a citizens’ convention, that will bring together the people of the UK to decide together what kind of society we want now, and what political system we need to respond to the existential threats that we must face collectively.
We demand a new constitution that is built and owned by the people, which safeguards our democracy from the overreach of powerful governments.
We will work together to build a new democratic settlement.