Thursday, July 05, 2007

Constitutional reform

As Tony Benn writes in today's Guardian (see here), constitutional reform is "not dry and academic", but central to the way our government and people operate. When the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson described constitutional reform as boring, I was livid - what's boring about limiting the power of government so Prime Ministers can't act with little or no regard for the institutions that elected them as Thatcher and Blair have done in recent memory?

Constitutional reform lies at the heart of improving this country, because if its institutions remain as corrupt, inaccessible and unaccountable as they have been, then the British people will continue to become more cynical, selfish, ignorant and uncaring.

If we reform the very bedrock of our politics and society, then we can improve just about every other aspect of our country at the same time: just imagine, a country where parents are encouraged to raise their children responsibly, enabling the education system to focus on delivering raising standards that encourage future generations to question their governments instead of meekly accepting the erosion of civil liberties we've seen in the past few decades. Imagine a whole generation of people who have the ability to think responsibly beyond their own selfish mores - who cares if you have the latest mobile phone or not? Can you maintain your own home? Can you grow your own food? Do you contribute positively to the community around you? Do you understand that life isn't about endless consumption to satisfy some shareholder's need for yet more wealth, but in improving yourself and those around you?

All of this stems from reforming the most fundamental part of our political system, so no, Nick Robinson, it's not exactly a dull subject - however you try to dumb it down.

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