Call to form citizens’ convention alliance

Assemblies for Democracy in London has called for the creation of an alliance for a citizens’ convention on the constitution. It has invited a number of organisations, political parties and campaigns to meet in Parliament in October.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell at an Assemblies for Democracy meeting in Parliament

We have already had a positive response from the signatories of our letter published in the Guardian last year, Time for a new UK Citizen’s Constitution.

The purpose of this meeting is twofold:

i) to share the extensive work our group has accomplished through regular meetings since 2014 in scoping out strategies and processes for the creation of a citizens’ constitutional convention.

ii) to begin explorations towards the creation of a broad alliance of equal partners that would be sufficiently strong to instigate a movement for a new constitution developed and drafted by the citizens of the UK themselves.

With constitutional issues relating to Brexit, questions over the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland, the legitimacy of our electoral systems and the feelings of powerlessness highlighted by events such as the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the time is right for a deeply inclusive conversation on how the people of these isles wish to constitute themselves.

‘WHY THE NORTH WILL NEVER LOOK BACK FROM SELF DETERMINATION’

Guest blog from Robin McAlpine, Director of Scottish think tank Common Weal

I don’t live in the North of England. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a place and not just an event.

Because every time the BBC produces a documentary about Britain over the last 40 years, it seems to me that ‘the North’ is treated as something bad that happened in 1985. The pattern is consistent – pictures of places in the South of England looking a bit run down (that’s the 1970s), pictures of people in the South of England suddenly buying new things in the shops (that’s the start of the 1980s), picture of city traders in the South of England waving wads of money at the camera (that’s Thatchers economic ‘miracle’), pictures of miners and other poor people in the North of England suffering horrendously (that’s the unfortunate side effects of Thatcher’s miracle, or 1985 as people in the South seem to see it), pictures of young people in the South of England taking ecstasy and dancing in fields (thank heavens ‘the North’ stopped happening in time for rave culture). Continue reading