The party defines itself by the five core policies. So that members and non-members clearly understand what the party stands for, these cannot be changed. At present they are principles the details of which will be decided according to the party constitution
All other policies will be decided according to the constitution
Below is a provisional list of headings for the Mani-festo each with a link to a page
That page contains provisional ideas for discussion.
Read this, as work in progress. Only DRP paid up members can comment and so if you want to have your say:
Constitutional Court Supreme Court
Functions of Government Public Services Board Monetary Policy Board
National planning strategies
Coordination of regions
ISSUES DISCUSSED IN THE NEWSLETTERS NOT LINKED TO THE MANIFESTO
British Republican History
ABSENSE OF VISION
FOR THE FUTURE
Any nation with self-respect needs to do more than just look at day-to-day needs.
It must look more than a month or a year ahead.
Crucially, and here comes the really difficult part for Britain, it must look beyond - way beyond - the next general election.
We understand that we live in a democracy. Democracy is our form of government that we gave to the world, it is not?
The problem here is that we are so immersed in our familiar democracy that we seldom confront what is obviously one of its great failings – it ties most decision making to the electoral cycle.
This focus takes the eyes of politicians away from the long-term. Strategic thinking is not part of the polity.
While other countries outstrip our performance we can only play games of catch-up – until the next election comes along when all priorities change again.
The debate over High Speed Two, the proposed completely new high speed rail line between London and Birmingham, shows up clearly our inability to think systematically about long term strategic planning.
I do not want to enter into the pro’s and con’s of HS2. I am concerned here with the nature of the decision making involved.
HS2 is the successor to HS1 which is the high speed link to Paris via the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar.
HS1 was the brainchild of Margaret Thatcher when she was in office and true to her economic ideology she insisted that no public money should be involved.
She and the political establishment of the day believed that even major strategic projects should be subject to market forces. The state should stay out of them.
Even the current largely Thatcherite consensus has dropped this piece of dogma and HS2 will be publicly funded - to the tune, so we are told, of £50 billion.
But the view still persists in many fields that the state has no place envisaging strategic projects. Indeed it is hard to think of any piece of major strategic planning currently on the table apart from HS2.
If the coalition government has any long term vision for the future of the country then it is keeping it firmly under wraps.
The HS2 issue is also instructive for the way that strategic planning, if ever broached, immediately becomes a political football.
The Labour Party whilst not opposing the project has poured cold water on it by saying they will support it only if it stays within budget. This statement is not designed to be helpful to anything but Labour’s chances of being elected.
Also HS2 stands alone as a project. It is not linked to a general national strategic plan. This is for the simply reason that there is none.
The project no doubt will benefit some and not others. Overall it may produce benefits for the country. But equally it could entrench a malign London centralism. Certainly in such a densely populated country the disruption caused by it is going to be truly awful.
The point is there is no accompanying overall plan to provide a context in which it can sit. We simply do not know what will be its effects in detail.
We have no real way to assess its benefits and determine its impact.
They are too many other factors not subject to planning. As a result HS2 takes on the aspect of a vanity project not a serious attempt at shaping the country for the better.
But the aim here is not just to criticise the politicians who are making the decision. The point it that they are working in a political system that makes sensible, solidly-based, well thought-out strategic planning virtually impossible.
At the heart of the problem is the lack of a republican framework.
Without a republican constitution, such as all our major competitors have, strategic planning rarely happens. And, if it occasionally does, it will be for isolated projects that are not integrated into any overall strategy.
There are three ways in which strategic planning becomes natural in a republic.
Firstly, under a presidential republic, there is a separation of power between the major offices of state. These for the purposes of strategic planning will be the President, the House of Commons and the new upper house, being a newly constituted Senate.
Under the enhanced democracy that a presidential constitution delivers all these three offices are elected separately by different methods and by constituencies formed in different ways. Thus they collectively represent the overall makeup of the country by representing it in different ways.
In order to get strategic planning in place all these three will have to be on board. Otherwise, it will not happen.
These means projects will be subject to the highest scrutiny and best reflection possible before they can be launched.
They cannot begin at whim of a serving prime minister.
The shear concentrated discussion and energy necessary to launch a plan under a republic means, in like fashion, that once launched it is very difficult to unpick.
A decision collectively made by the President and the separate Houses of Parliament thus acquires a long term authority and commitment.
Businesses and individuals can plan ahead in the certainty that the strategic plan will be carried through – even one stretching over twenty or thirty years.
Secondly, the federal structure of a republic means that the needs of the regions become exposed and articulated. More than this different regions can and should have different aspirations and these can be fed into a national strategic plan.
As thing are the voices of the regions in the Kingdom are often simply not heard or recognised.
Because of the clamer of the regions in a federal republic, a national plan becomes even more necessary to accommodate them. The Londoncentric view becomes impossible to sustain.
The single national strategic element currently envisaged, HS2, can be seen as inherently Londoncentric. It cannot be imagined how the regions might gain from infrastructure that does not connect them more quickly to London.
They idea that the regions might have their own strengths and aspiration does not enter into the Whitehall thinking.
Thirdly, a strategic plan often comes to be seen as the legacy of a particular president and so the way president shapes the nation becomes significant.
But the plan cannot be just a vanity project for the president had to take the whole apparatus of government with him or her.
Nevertheless that a particular president can become identified with one of the country’s major long term achievements is part of the way that the identity of the nation and pride in its vision for the future become central.
This is the way a president can becomes a true national leader and focus for the nation’s aspirations.
To understand how strategic planning works in a republic is to understand one of the prime benefits a republic brings
We can speak of a “republican flywheel” whereby once long term decisions are made they are followed through on.
A republican constitution will allow strategic decision-making to at last break free from the electoral cycle.
The nation will at last have a long term vision.
In doing so it can become more truly a nation.
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