In October 2013 the Institute of Public Affairs began its unique project ConstitutionUK which aimed to crowdsource the UK constitution. Since then, ConstitutionUK has held a number of public engagement events here at LSE and across the UK, inviting members of the public to participate in drafting a new UK constitution. The highlight of these events was our Constitutional Carnival held in June 2014. We have also built a large online community, receiving over 13,000 comments on our blog posts.
On Thursday 15 January 2015 ConstitutionUK will launch a new online forum, open to all members of the British public. For 10 weeks we invite you to share your views and ideas on what should be in a new modern written codified UK constitution. You will be able to submit content, vote ideas up or down and question the experts. Your ideas and discussions will count. At the end of March your ideas will feed into a Constitutional Convention where we will put together a written constitution using only the crowdsourced content in time for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, June 2015. Discussions will include the role of the Head of State, the Prime Minister, how should we elect our representatives?, what is the purpose of Parliament?, what powers should be devolved?, what should be the responsibilities of local government?, what rights do I have in the UK and how may these be affected or maintained by our judicial system and the European Union. Finally what values do we uphold in the UK? Moderators, all of whom have expertise on different aspects of constitutionalism, will be on hand to assist you with the process of constitution drafting.
When people think about the constitution, they tend to think of some lofty aspirational document that has little to do with their everyday lives. The reality is that constitutional law impacts almost every aspect of the way we live or lives – our right to life, to marry, to start a family, to earn a living, to receive an education, our duty to pay taxes etc. The status quo is no longer an option. As we approach the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, surely we can do better than a bunch of medieval barons managed to pull off in Runnymede in June 1215? Vital questions about the nature of our society need to be addressed. For example:
- The Government continues to push the ‘austerity’ agenda; cutting back on the NHS, education and welfare. The Government and MPs are increasingly failing to understand the implications of ‘austerity’ for ordinary people. Should our constitution protect us from austerity?
- The EU, the European Court of Human Rights and other similar institutions have taken power from the people. In a globalised world, great power lies in the hands of a few private individuals and corporations. We the ordinary people feel voiceless, cut off from the systems of power that govern our lives. Should we have a greater say in how we are governed?
- Scotland has had its say. What about the rest of us? ‘English votes for English laws’ cannot resolve the crisis of identity created by the Scottish referendum. We need an open discussion about the future of the UK and how it should be governed.
The purpose of taking this project online is to reach a wide audience, taking the debate out of LSE, out of London to people across the UK. . This is not an exercise for the metropolitan, cosmopolitan elite. ConstitutionUK’s online crowdsourcing forum will be launched on January 15 and will run for ten weeks. This is a unique opportunity for YOU to have YOUR say. Make YOUR voice heard!
If you want to find out more or get involved please fill out the form below.