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Great Charter Convention

A constitutional convention?

Does the UK need a constitutional convention? Here we look at historical and recent convention experiences around the world – modern Runnymedes – and at related debates about conventions, drawing out lessons for the UK today as we seek to improve our democracy.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Time for a democracy commission?

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

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.

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.

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.

Changing the way politics works: an interview with Katrin Oddsdottir

Phil England talks to Katrin Oddsdottir, a member of Iceland's 2011 Constitutional Council, about the process of drafting a new constitution, the aims of the new constitution, and the chances of it finally coming into effect.

Iceland's unfinished revolution? An interview with Hordur Torfason

The award-winning human rights activist credited with starting Iceland's 'pots and pans revolution', discusses with Phil England the prospects for 'unfreezing' the draft new constitution.

The most disproportionate election in our history. 2020 must not be a repeat.

The electoral system is broken beyond all dispute. Here's why, and here's how to fix it.

The essence, not the ephemera: on the loss of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee

The government's closure of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee is a shabby decision. The case clarifies the need for a constitutional convention to support full and open public discussion of the UK's political system.

The government says no to democratic reform

One of the first things this government has done is to effectively disband the Committee for political and constitutional reform.

All for English devolution - but what about English democracy?

All three main UK parties are keen to pursue English devolution. But their proposals are elite-driven and do not take democracy seriously enough.

At Blackstone Edge: a People's Charter for 2015?

Following in the footsteps of the original Chartists at Blackstone Edge, Paul Salveson proposes a People's Charter for 2015. We need a movement of citizen conventions to debate proposals like this.

What is to be done: or, ensuring the British people get what they vote for (and that we don't get into this mess again)

As the media prepares to declare Miliband an illegitimate PM, we must be ready to defend what we've voted for.

Will a constitutional convention democratically refound the British state?

Some of the political parties are calling for a constitutional convention. But a convention can mean different things. How would we design a convention to democratically refound the British state?

Learning from Scotland

Can the English left finally wake up and smell the constitution?

Against ad hocery: we need a more democratic approach to UK devolution

We need a process for determining devolution that is more considered, democratic and which tackles devolution in the context of the wider failings of the UK state.

Democracy exists by the act of doing it: a meeting with Podemos in Manchester

A meeting with Podemos in Manchester provides an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of democracy and the need to challenge the undemocratic politics of 'DevoManc'.

Rule Britannia

Today’s parallel with feudal 1215 is the absolute dominance of a “collective monarchy”, combining the power not merely of the Westminster state but also of the corporate and financial institutions and their elites. 

Devolution in the North of England: time to bring the people into the debate?

The referendum in Scotland is creating impetus for a redistribution of power within England. But who will determine the shape of this - Westminster, local elites or local citizens?

What you can do for your democracy

Last week saw the launch of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee’s The UK Constitution – a pocket-sized, written constitution for the UK. Here's what you can do.

Wanted: A Magna Carta for the 21st Century

To protect and renew the rule of law we need to re-imagine our democracy. This Spring's Assemblies for Democracy have a vital role to play.

Assembling for democracy: part 2, the Chartists and us

Democracy arrived in the UK thanks to popular movements which pressured a reluctant Parliament into democratic change. Part 2 of this article picks up the story beginning with the Chartists.

Assembling for democracy: part 1, learning from the Blanketeers

As Assemblies for Democracy prepare to meet this Spring in London, Manchester and Glasgow, it is time to look again at the history of popular assembly in the struggle for democracy in Britain.

Citizens' assemblies as a republican political practice

Do citizens conventions and assemblies offer a way of giving republican political ideals a practical expression?

#DevoNorth and #DevoManc

A new campaign wants to put the 'DevoManc' proposal to a referendum of the people of Greater Manchester. It is one sign of a growing desire to put the people, rather than politicians, in control.

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