only search

About David Rickard

David Rickard is a freelance researcher and writer, and is the author of the 'English-nationalist' blogs 'Britology Watch' and 'National Conversation For England'.

Articles by David Rickard

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

England needs a constitutional convention - now

There is almost no vision for what the UK could look like post-referendum from the British elite. England's voice continues to be repressed. We have launched a petition calling for a constitutional convention, for England, and we hope you'll add your name to it - here's why.

The Daily Mail, the Milibands and the failure to talk about England

The Daily Mail said that Ralph Miliband hated Britain. Their evidence was quotes about England. This tells us much about the attitude to Englishness...

The Saddamisation of Bashar al-Assad: how Britain may just have escaped another Iraq

The Commons chose to stand back from the cusp of military intervention in Syria. Is this a knock for British national pride or a chance to learn from our imperial past?

We can’t resist privatisation unless we reinstate the national

The tragedy of privatisation in England is that it is controlled by that of Britain. Those reactionaries who then focus on the issues with Britain are diluting their cause; we need to concentrate our energies and campaigns in one direction – that of England and England alone.

The ‘Great British Summer’, or Last of the British Summer Wine?

The festivities around the London Olympics and Diamond Jubilee will paint a picture of a stable, timeless (simultaneously modern) Great Britain. But the Anglo-Britishness it appeals to is far from the present-day reality of contested identity and authority, in which England is preparing to speak.

Capital E Nationalism versus little e (and €) capitalism

To be a big player in Europe, England needs to be a big nation. Britain cannot fulfill that role because it is not a nation, but an empty shell.

E-Petition for an English Parliament: Why you should sign it

Independence for England is supported by over 35% of English residents, yet politicians doggedly avoid the 'English question'. Now it's time to break through parliament's silence.

David Rickard

It’s 2050, and how the world has been transformed over the past 40 years or so! In so many ways, they have been 40 years in the desert for God’s people, which is how humanity is now generally known. First, there was the terrible conflagration in the Indian subcontinent, when Al-Qaeda-inspired Kashmiri separatists and sympathisers within the Pakistani military launched a nuclear attack on New Delhi and Mumbai, leading to the inevitable Indian retaliation against Islamabad. Now, those terrible days, which spread nuclear contamination across Asia and beyond, can be seen as the dying embers of a religious extremism that seems incomprehensible to us now.

But first, there was the devastating humanitarian and economic crisis resulting from the nuclear strikes to contend with, which took us to 2033: that momentous year that started with the killings on the Temple Mount, which then spread out across Israel like a terrible second Holocaust, but culminating in those heady days of autumn when the leaders of all the world’s faiths came to make their solemn act of repentance and vows of reconciliation. Who could have predicted the miraculous collapse of the walls of separation between the faiths, just like – in another sphere – the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dismantling of the Israeli Security Wall in 2031?

Now of course, we can see the providential path that led from those first visions in Bosnia back in 1981, just ten years before the war that set Christian against Christian, and Christian against Muslim. It has taken these terrible wars and atrocities, not to mention the disastrous effects of climate change, to teach us humans that the only way we can address the challenges we face is to work together in a spirit of open democracy, brotherhood and peace. And now we can look forward to the promised new era when humanity shall live as one body, united in faith and in shared enjoyment of the fruits of the earth.

Scottish independence would open the way for constitutional reform

Scottish independence would spell the end of Great Britain. The UK would live on, but would need to be radically re-defined and re-designed. Constitutional reformers should grasp the opportunity presented by Scotland’s possible departure from the Union would open the doors to large-scale constitutional reform

The AV counting method undermines its raison d'etre

The method by which AV votes are counted makes it impossible to assess which winning candidates enjoy the genuine support of the majority. Therefore the parliamentary majorities produced by AV will be more unreliable, contestable and illegitimate than under the present system of First Past the Post.

If you're English, you're white - that's according to the 'National' Census

Those filling in the 2011 National Census in England and Wales are not offered the option of including 'English' or 'Welsh' as part of their ethnic-group identity. In other words, according to 'British' officialdom, 'English' and 'Welsh' are white-only terms.

The absented centre: Middle England, the 'squeezed middle' and the Big Society

If the Big Society is in the middle of everything, where are state, the people and England? David Martin asks in this Friday Essay whether Britain can claim to have a centre any longer.

Why is AV and constituency size lumped in one bill? Don't accept this back-room deal.

Just why has the proposed reduction in constituency sizes and number of MPs been linked together in a single bill with the referendum on AV? On one level, it’s a political trade-off. On another, the constituency-resizing plan meant the Lib Dems were compelled to choose AV, rather than any other form of PR.

Was Ed Miliband’s majority the result of an AV mis-count?

Was the system used to elect Ed Miliband as Labour's new leader flawed?

Counter-intuitive tactical voting could favour the Lib Dems under AV

A myth about the Alternative Vote is that it eliminates the need for tactical voting. It doesn’t.

AV for the Commons and PR for the Lords: Towards an English Parliament

Reforms to Westminster that could lead to the creation of an English Parliament.

And then there were three: the Power 2010 pledge

English Votes on English Laws and Power 2010

Another voting system to wrap your brains around: MC-FPTP

David Rickard proposes a Multi-Candidate First Past the Post system

The debate on the National Health Service is a proxy for a debate on nation-specific ideologies and policies

I've been particularly struck in the past few days by the extent to which the debate on the two main parties' commitment to the principles and funding of the NHS has been completely blind to its English dimension. I suppose this should not come as any surprise, as it's totally normal for Labour and the Tories to discuss England-specific matters as if they related to the whole of the UK. But this time, the blanket ignoring of the fact that the debate is relevant to England alone has been total, not only on the part of the politicians involved but also the media and bloggers. What is it about the National Health Service that makes us blind to its national specificities?

I suppose part of it is that the NHS is one of those national British institutions we like to think of as being present and valued to an equal degree in all parts of the UK, like the BBC, the Royal Family (for some, at least) and Parliament itself. But like Parliament and, to some extent, even the BBC, the national character of the NHS has been fundamentally changed by devolution. There are now four NHS's (one in each of the UK's constituent countries), with four government departments looking after them, four separate organisational structures, and separate funding arrangements. As with all legislation and social policy for England, the NHS in England is looked after by the UK government and the UK Department of Health. So although the government and Westminster politicians discuss policy for the NHS in the British terms relating to the level at which policy is made for it (at the UK level), the NHS in question is the English one, not a British one as such, which does not exist any more after devolution.

Real Change: Britain or England?

This is an amended and abridged version ofa post that was cross-posted in its original form on 30 July from my NationalConversation for England blog. Events move fast, and it was suggested thatI should modify the focus of the article (and shorten it, for the sake of Our Kingdom’s busy readers) to takeaccount of this week’s developments.

I recently signed up to 'Real Change'. Readers of OurKingdom will of course be familiarwith this movement and its aims, as some of OpenDemocracy’s leading lights wereinstrumental in setting it up; and there has been a lively and in-depth debate onthe pages of OurKingdom about thebest tactics for advancing the constitutional-reform agenda (the latestcontribution being from JeremyGilbert). To recapitulate, Real Change corresponds to number three of sevenpossible courses of action originally suggested by AnthonyBarnett. In essence, the movement aims to set in motion a nationwidedebate, at local level, about fundamental constitutional reform, culminatingultimately in a citizens’ convention to collate and deliberate on all theoptions, and to come up with proposals for a new written constitution.

The change of plan for Real Change that hasoccurred this week is that responsibility for running and funding theorganisation has been handed to the Rowntree Charitable and Reform Trusts, thelatter of which is also the inspiration behind the PowerInquiry. This is excellent news, and I feel sure that the backing of suchprestigious bodies will help enlist more citizens to participate in the RealChange process as well as stimulate vital media coverage and engagement.

In the light of Rowntree’s taking on of theReal Change baton, this post represents in turn something of a throwing down ofa gauntlet that I hope the Rowntree Trusts will also pick up. Many of the PowerInquiry’s recommendations about redistributing power and extending democracywithin the UK have been aired again in recent debates on constitutional reformin the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal. I do not intend to rehearse thesehere, other than to observe that the Power Inquiry paid virtually no heed toarguably the most important constitutional change that New Labour can claim toits credit (or discredit, depending on your point of view): asymmetric devolution.

Syndicate content