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The winning preamble for a written constitution in the UK

The winning introductory preamble for a written constitution from the competition hosted by the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee.

OurKingdom Ourkingdom
24 February 2015

Recently the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee ran an open public competition to find who can write the best Preamble – or introductory statement – for a modern Written Constitution for the UK. We are delighted to announce that Richard Elliot, a DPhil student at Jesus College, Oxford, was selected as winner in the public category.

His Preamble reads,

United, we stand in celebration of the diverse voices that make up the great chorus of our nation. Confident in our individuality, and steadfast in our shared values and common purpose, we—the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—have come together in the spirit of self-determination in order to establish the principles of our law and governance.

By this act, we create for ourselves a sovereign state, animated by many spirits, accountable to all. Conscious of the responsibility that we bear to future generations—and of their role in defending and regenerating this Constitution—we lay down maxims crafted to promote civic harmony, mutual tolerance, universal wellbeing, and social and political freedom.

We embody these ideas in democratic government, and enshrine them in a system of law. And we empower each citizen to reform this design, by democratic process and political debate. By popular mandate, we establish this Constitution:

To recognise every citizen as an equal partner in government—at a local, regional, and national level.

To affirm that each citizen is entitled to fair and equitable treatment under the law.

To establish the principle of equality of opportunity for all citizens.

To eradicate poverty and want throughout the nation.

To protect and cultivate community identities within the four great countries of the union: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

To preserve our common environment, and to hold it in trust for future generations.

To safeguard freedom of thought, conscience, and assembly; and to facilitate peaceable dissent.

And to protect these fundamental rights against the encroachment of tyranny and the abdication of reason.

Through this undertaking, we remind one another of the benefits and duties of citizenship enshrined in membership of the United Kingdom, challenging ourselves to enact these principles throughout society.

Let our example stand as an inspiration to the peoples of the world, and to their rulers and their governments.

Let our principles animate our dedication to peace and justice in international affairs.

And let our united resolve grow ever-stronger under the enlightened auspices of this Constitution.

 

To see an alternative Preamble, submitted my openDemocracy’s Anthony Barnett, click here.

This post is part of our Great Charter Convention series, hosted in collaboration with Politics in Spires, IPPR and the University of Southampton.

 

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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