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Great Charter Convention

This year is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Following the independence referendum in Scotland, calls for a constitutional convention are widespread and growing.

OurKingdom, together with Politics in Spires, IPPR and the Department of Politics at the University of Southampton, are hosting the Great Charter Convention – an open, public debate on where arbitrary power lies in the UK today and how we should contest and contain it. What would a new Magna Carta say, and what could a new constitutional settlement for Britain look like?

A constitutional convention A written constitution? Rethinking representation Building it: campaigns and movements
Rights and liberties today A new charter of the forest Power where? Nations, regions, cities History


Rebuilding democracy in Iceland: an interview with Birgitta Jonsdottir

In the first of a series of interviews by Phil England examining the situation in Iceland and the possible relevance of developments there to the UK, Phil talks to Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.

Towards a citizens' constitutional convention

What will it take to create a genuinely citizen-led constitutional convention for the UK? A meeting in Parliament on May 10, convened by Assemblies for Democracy, will aim to find out. 

Democracy matters, but how?

The launch of the Democracy Matters report on Citizens' Assemblies in Sheffield and Southampton gives us an opportunity to tease out the different understandings of why 'participation' matters. 

The EU referendum: why we need a Deliberation Day

The UK is going to vote on staying or leaving the EU. A special bank holiday – Deliberation Day – can help make the decision an informed one.

Returning native

Returning to Wales, David Marquand finds that devolution has created a political community interestingly open to new possibilities.

Devolution in Hampshire: A report on Assembly South

Is Assembly South a model for giving the public more voice in devolution?

Devolution versus democracy? A report on Assembly North

The people of south Yorkshire want devolution - but they also want the process to be much more democratic.

Snide & Prejudiced: a tale of constitutional shenanigans

The UK's constitution is being trashed for short-term party political advantage. We need an independent review.

Behold the 'Manchester Withington question'

'English Votes for English Laws' is supposed to answer the 'West Lothian question' – yet the government's English devolution policy is recreating the same question in a new form.

Mr Corbyn, Mrs Windsor (and Mr Charles Windsor)

What is the potential significance of Jeremy Corbyn refusing to bend his knee to the Queen?

Inclusive decision making systems are a must for any UK constitutional convention

Binary yes-no voting is a plague on democracies. We should and can do much better. Here's how.

‘English Votes’ is sheer political vandalism and fundamentally changes Britain

The break up of Britain has moved one step closer.

An Agreement of the Free People of England: or, the Ready and Easy Way to Party Like it's 1649

The people of England need to discover their sovereignty and make a constitution of their own. Here are some ideas.

Britain’s Ptolemaic constitution

English votes for English laws is another botched attempt to fiddle with a broken system.

Experimenting with citizens’ assemblies in the UK

Two experimental citizens' assemblies in Sheffield and Southampton, starting this month, show the way forward for debating constitutional change across the UK.

Referenda and a cross-party constitutional convention

The former UK foreign secretary delivered the inaugural Peter Hennessy lecture on the 8th of October 2015. Here it is in full.

No maps, no manuals: retrieving radical republicanism, restoring popular sovereignty

Republicanism brings into sharp focus an articulation of common freedoms strived for under extremely varying political conditions, in different times and places, with the shared commonality of facing unequal odds.

Executive ‘horse-trading’ united Scotland: the Scottish constitutional convention and its relevance today

The constitutional convention changed Scottish politics through hard earned consensus building. The Scottish experience could be a driving force in mending broken British democracy.

So, what was Magna Carta?

This year is the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. But what exactly was Magna Carta?

Time for a democracy commission?

Political inequality and disengagement are increasing. Is a Democracy Commission part of the solution?

Northern Powerhouse: switch on the power

To complete the Northern Powerhouse we need to invest in creativity.

The cause of the Runnymede eco-villagers is a righteous one

By criminalising squatting and begging the government is closing all the exits out of a low-wage and rentier economy: we must resist.

Devolution for Yorkshire?

Can we turn 'devolution' from above into 'self-determination' from below? What would this look like in Yorkshire?

Democracy needs informed debate: how do we get it?

Democracy requires informed debate. Gavin Barker sets out a proposal for how Assemblies for Democracy and other citizen groups can help to improve citizens' access to high quality information.

Equal rights for all: the limits of Magna Carta and the 1965 Race Relations Act

The commemoration of Magna Carta should not be a complacent celebration, but an opportunity to explore what more we need to do as a nation to secure equal rights for Black and minority ethnic people.

Magna Carta: a beggarly thing, a mess of pottage

If Magna Carta is the cornerstone of liberty, why did the Levellers, democratic radicals of the 17th century, reject it as 'containing many marks of intolerable bondage'?

Corbyn should support a convention parliament or he will fail

If Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour leadership he should try to reach agreement with all progressive groups for an electoral pact aimed at creating a constitutional convention in the new parliament, only this will build on the energy his candidacy has inspired.

The Labour leader candidates and the constitution

What to make of the Labour leader candidates answers on questions about the constitution.

Why wait until 2020? We need to act on our democratic crisis now!

Why wait until 2020? The Labour Leadership candidates should assemble as many as are willing and get a constitutional convention going now in time to legislate in 2020.

The Labour candidates on an English Labour Party, a constitutional convention and a written constitution

Labour leadership candidates responses on an English Labour Party and the Constitution.

Wales and the changing Union

Further devolution to Wales is necessary but must be considered as part of a shift to a federal UK. A constitutional convention is the way to make this happen.

Communitarian governance: a public education challenge

A key goal of public education should be to foster a better understanding of the principles of good governance across all kinds of organisation.

Why does the UK need a constitutional convention? An interview with Anthony Barnett

Phil England asks Anthony Barnett, founder of openDemocracy, about the UK's constitutional crisis and the relevance of Iceland's constitutional convention.

Fracturing democracy? State, fracking and local power in Lancashire

Fracking may have been rejected in Lancashire, but the battle reveals that power is being stripped from the people of Britain.

Who owns the wind?

As nature's greatest commons powers ever more of our economy, is it time to start asking who owns it?

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