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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


A Magna Carta for learning disabled people

800 years of Magna Carta but learning disabled people remain 'villeins', denied rights against arbitrary power. What would a Magna Carta for learning disabled people look like?

No place for the young: the towns where childhood is being criminalised

Across England, local councils are banning young people from public space.

A power sharing deal between Westminster and the home nations is needed.

The German model shows that another union is possible.

Digital rights and pornography – a child protection catch-22 or lazy policy solutions?

Internet filters all too easily threaten children's legitimate right to information in the well-intentioned effort to protect them from online pornography. A better policy response is more focus on relationship and sexual education.

Pornography and digital rights

Public debate needs to take proper account of the risks of internet filters, imposed by the state or private companies, in trying to restrict access to online pornography.

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.

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.

Human rights, why should I care? Thalidomide and other stories

Three real life cases from RightsInfo illuminate why human rights matter.

Magna Carta 800th anniversary: three contrasting videos

A message to England from America's Black Lives Matter, A talk under the oldest Yew in England, and might says it is right

Melvyn Bragg versus Anthony Barnett on the Magna Carta continued

A lively exchange over Magna Carta, Bragg's series of programmes on it, and Barnett's criticisms of those programmes.

800 years since the Magna Carta: Remembering the British struggle for ethnic minority rights

As we approach the 800th aniversary of Magna Carta, let us recall other important anniversaries which mark the struggle for black and minority ethnic rights in the UK.

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.

From King John to Baron Bragg: celebrating Magna Carta

As the Queen is prepared to annoint the humiliation of King John with a witticism there is a gathering anger against the way Britain is governed.

Abolition of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee is a loss to British democracy

The government's decision to abolish the Political and Constitutional Reform Commitee is a major blow, depriving British democracy of a major support for informed discussion of options for constitutional change.

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.

Human rights, why should I care? More real life stories

The state took three lives. A hospital discharged a suicidal young woman. The police unlawfully tapped a man’s phone. Three stories from RightsInfo:

The alternative Magna Carta festival

This Saturday, in London, will be a gathering to celebrate the genuine meaning of Magna Carta - come!

Radical regionalism and democratic politics in England

The election result underscores the need for a profound rethink by the left in England: this should focus on regionalism and radical democracy. 

The Convention on Modern Liberty

The Magna Carta 2015 conference in Cambridge this weekend will provide the last chance to buy the book on openDemocracy's 2009 "Convention on Modern Liberty".

Let there be a Runnymede Left

As 800th anniversary celebrations loom, it's time for the left to reclaim the Magna Carta.

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.  

Re-imagining England

Originally delivered as a public lecture at the University of Winchester on Thursday 9th October, 2014, John Denham reflects on the future of England and "Englishness."

Human rights, why should I care? Real life stories

Victims of the black cab rapist were not believed. A man who suffered a miscarriage of justice could not speak to journalists. Four children suffered abuse and neglect. Three stories from RightsInfo:

The future of human rights in the UK

A British Bill of Rights will not only allow the Conservative government to deport an individual to a country where they face a real risk of torture, harm or humiliation: the human rights system must be fought for.

New counter-extremism laws must not cut out spaces for dialogue

How do we address extremism in a way that does not impinge on civil liberties and exacerbate tensions in our communities?

'Devo Manc': 'Northern Powerhouse' or 'Northern Poorhouse'?

Centralisation has certainly failed, but the promise of devolution to Greater Manchester is being massively hyped.

Magna Carta and British socialism’s struggle for freedom in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain

The socialist and labour movements of Britain at the turn of the 20th century saw Magna Carta as an important symbol to invoke in their own struggles against the current system and its abuses.

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.

Three Men in a Studio

The Comic Tragedy of British Politics, 2: Can England join the Union?

The haunted election

The comic tragedy of British politics: 1  

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