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Great Charter Convention

Rethinking representation

What changes should be made to our existing systems of representation, systems that many now feel simply don't work? Should we reform the electoral system, the House of Lords, the composition of parliament, change to a new parliament entirely?

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


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.

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?

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.

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.

Time for a democracy commission?

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

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.

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.

Priorities of the people: an interview with Iceland's Citizens Foundation

Phil England interviews Gunnar Grimsson and Robert Bjarnson of the Citizens Foundation, pioneers of an open-source software platform, Your Priorities, which allows citizens to develop ideas to improve their areas and take more control of public spending.

Six reasons why the UK parliament should have youth quotas

Young people are disadvantaged economically yet politically marginalised and demonised. Are youth quotas in parliament part of the answer?

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 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.

A free election, but not a fair one

The 2015 election result shows just how absurdly unfair our voting system is. To change it we need political pressure from a movement for democratic renewal outside of Parliament.  

The British syndrome: an abdication of responsibility

There are glaring absences at the heart of the UK elections contest. The new preface to his ‘Essay on Britain, now’ - by one of Britain’s leading political thinkers tells us why. Remarkably, it suggests ways in which to free ourselves from the trap we are in.

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. 

The Great Charter of Liberties

Looking at the distance between the Westminster parliamentary system and those to whom elected representatives are ultimately accountable, the Chartists had a point – in fact, at least six points.

Visions of a democratic reality

As Assemblies for Democracy meet this Spring, citizens are starting to ask what real democracy is. Democracy doesn't need heroes or heroines, but level-headed good practitioners.

Holding MPs to account: a Truro experiment

To hold our MPs to account we need to know what they promised to do before they were elected. We also need to have a clearer sense of what we expect them to do. How can we achieve these aims?

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?

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.

How to re-energise democracy

As we approach the general election, how can we make democracy real and vivid to citizens who do not feel part of the political process?

Female representation: progress and pitfalls

The next election will likely see a slight increase in female representation in parliament - but not nearly enough.

Citizens' assemblies as a republican political practice

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

May 2015: Who forms the UK government in the event of a hung parliament?

The polls predict a hung parliament after the May 2015 election. More than one potential government could be viable. How will negotiations proceed? Which actors will have a privileged role in the bargaining process?

The making of the Greater Manchester mayor - what next?

The creation of a new elected mayor for Greater Manchester takes further forward a decade of constructive innovation - but there are crucial issues of inclusion and public engagement which must be got right.

A mayor for all seasons?

The case for elected mayors has not been scrutinised sufficiently. The imposition of an elected mayor on Greater Manchester in particular risks undermining a delicate local political balance and is an act of elitism that might well backfire.

Grasping the nettle: how to clean up party funding

There are simple solutions to the UK's party funding mess.

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