Reimagining British Politics: our Project in Brief
- ICUK is a movement and political process (not a Party) that aims to instill integrity into Parliamentary law-making through the election of Independent MPs who accept an ethical code.
- It calls on voters to form a self-organising group in each constituency that selects, mandates and supports its candidate Independent MP, thus creating a new way for citizens to participate actively in representative democracy.
- Freedom from Party whips confers greater democratic legitimacy on the voice of Independent MPs who represent constituents rather than whips.
- Thus ICUK aims, even with relatively few elected MPs, to use Westminster’s system to become the system, to change the system and engender trust in British politics.
- To this end Independent MP candidates and their support groups will prepare constituency manifestos guided by the values and principles of ICUK’s Declaration of Purpose, as outlined below under two complementary headings.
Systemic Political Reform
- Provide education for all in constitutional literacy, democratic practice and civics so that citizens can participate meaningfully in decision-making processes and make informed choices at election time.
- Campaign and legislate to replace the present 5-year First-Past-the-Post electoral system with a democracy that is more participative, and representation that is more proportional. Explore whether setting up Citizens’ Assemblies, involving the use of sortition (random selection) and neutral facilitators, would help achieve this purpose.
- Establish a just procedure for funding the nation’s political processes that prevents the use of personal and institutional wealth from influencing public opinion.
- In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, devolve decision-making power to the localities and regions where such decisions have most impact.
- Work with other MPs and legal advisers on input from citizen conventions to draft a Codified and Living Constitution. Initial proposals would replace Parliamentary Sovereignty with People Sovereignty; establish a principle of Constitutional Supremacy, with a Constitutional Court or Council. When finalized, the document would be presented for adoption through a fully informed national referendum and subsequent enactment into law by Act of Parliament.
A Political-Economy for People and Planet
- Replace the current free-market production and distribution of goods and services with a political-economy embracing Markets, Households, Commons and the State that is integrated, inclusive, regenerative and distributive by design.
- Replace GDP as a measure of national wealth with the UN’s Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI) or an appropriate alternative.
- Prevent further private commodification of Commons (public spaces, institutions and amenities, e.g. air, water, broadband, Wikipedia) for the benefit of the communities that share their stewardship and management. Call for constitutional recognition and protection of the rights and responsibilities of Commons users.
- In parallel with the promotion of Commons regimes, ensure households a meaningful livelihood and a safe, private space in which to have a home.
- Foster green alternatives: e.g. the Circular Economy and the devolution of renewable energy production.
Reform the monetary system & finance by
- Increasing public understanding of money as a “social good” and means of exchange and ensuring public oversight of its functioning.
- Discouraging the commodification of money for use as a speculative asset.
- Investigating if society would benefit from the adoption of local complementary currencies and crypto currencies, and enacting legal changes as appropriate.
Reform the tax system by
- Increasing public awareness of how the state obtains its revenue and of the punitive and unjust nature of taxing productive effort (Income Tax, VAT, etc).
- Introducing Annual Ground Rent (AGR) and User Fees on unearned income derived from private use of land, Commons amenities and natural resources.
- Preventing the use of asset off-shoring for tax avoidance purposes by multinational corporations and individuals.
- Ensuring balanced regional funding of social services and devolving their management to regional authorities.
Deliberation on Monetary and Tax reform
A national conversation to investigate the desirability (singly or in combination) of:
- Universal Basic Income (UBI) A regular cash payment delivered to all on a universal basis, without means test or work requirement.
- Universal Basic Services (UBS) An adequately-funded system of basic services to include Heath Care, Education, Democracy, Legal Services, Shelter, Food, Transport and Information.
- A Social or Citizen Dividend (as a return on the land location value that citizens help to create) funded from AGR and User Fees.
- Sovereign Money or People’s QE Debt-free creation of money for gradual release into the productive economy, subject to stringent democratic oversight.
- Require public institutions to publish their own Charters, and companies their Public-Benefit Purpose as a statement of their eco-responsibilities.
- Ensure that accelerating developments in technology are subject to democratic oversight and control, so that civic spaces remain crucibles for co-creating activism free from algorithm-derived manipulation.
Image credit: Unsplash User Elio Santos