Green proposals for democratic reform build on Magna Carta
Past meets future in Bury St Edmunds tomorrow (Tuesday March 11th) when Time Team archaeologist Dr Helen Geake joins east region lead Green Party candidate Rupert Read as part of his Euro election campaign.
The tv archaeologist, who’s also a Green Party member, will be meeting Dr Read at the Abbey Gate, close to where the Magna Carta was drafted eight hundred years ago.
Helen Geake said:
“The people who met that day in Bury St Edmunds were determined to make the king obey English law and to make justice available to all. Juries were to decide guilt or innocence, so for the first time in medieval England, ordinary people – not just the nobles – got involved.
“Improvements in rights and democracy are often slow. It took over 700 years after Magna Carta for women to get the right to vote or to sit on juries. Remembering and celebrating these anniversaries will inspire us today to keep working to make all voices heard equally.”
Tomorrow, Rupert and Helen will be talking about the kind of 21st century democratic reform the Greens would like to see now, bringing a proportional representation voting system to all elections. Rupert Read said:
“For the European elections we do have a proper proportional voting system but most other elections in England are held using the first-past-the-post system which often produces lopsided results bearing little resemblance to voters’ intentions.
“There has been progress in bringing in fairer systems for the London Mayoral and Assembly elections, and for the Scottish parliament and local elections as well as in Northern Ireland. It is long overdue that proportional representation is extended to the English local councils and the UK parliament, the two most influential layers of government in our country. “
Rupert Read, a writer and lecturer on philosophy, believes the rights of future generations should be taken into account in present day decisions. He says a ‘super-jury’ of citizens chosen at random should act as guardians of future people. His work revisits the surviving strand of Magna Carta identified by Dr Geake,that of trial by jury. It also draws out the core principle of sustainability at the heart of much Green Party policy.
Greens also oppose the political influence exerted by big business and very wealthy individuals. David Cameron made much of corporate lobbying abuses in the run up to the 2010 general election, but has since done nothing effective to reform how this subverts political decision making. In Westminster and Whitehall, and further afield in Brussels, corporate lobbying bypasses the interests of ordinary voters and small businesses.
Closely allied to this is the excessive national spending by big political parties, funded by wealthy individuals, trades unions and big business. Dr Read will be working in line with Green Party values to achieve a fairer society, where all voices are heard equally, regardless of financial status.
“Guardians for Future Generations”, the report by Rupert Read’s Greenhouse thinktank, may be found here: http://greenhousethinktank.org/files/greenhouse/home/Guardians_inside_final.pdf