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
When people think of a presidential republic (ie a republic where the president has real power and is not merely a ceremonial office), they customarily think of the USA republic. This is no doubt because it is the most familiar.
But the British republican constitution must be different in at least five major ways. This is not playing around at the edges. The differences are very significant and reflect British traditions.
A fundamental principle of republicanism is the Separation of Powers to prevent one office accumulating too much power - as is the case with the office of British Prime Minister.
The problem with the US constitution is that this principle is taken to an almost theatrical extreme
But the British Republic will differ from the American republic in a number of ways as follows:
- Campaign Funding. There must be limits set on funding of campaigns to avoid the razzamatazz of US elections and the huge sums spent, distorting the democratic process
- Cabinet. The cabinet, chosen by the elected President, must be elected MPs. In the US, this is forbidden as the congressmen cannot be in the cabinet
- Civil Service. In the US, the whole apparatus of government, the administration (broadly corresponding to the British civil service) is changed with each President. In Britain we must retain the existing system whereby the civil service is permanent and accommodates all complexions of politics.
This means we will retain the overnight change of government that can occur on general election night rather than the three month Pre-Inaugural period between US presedential elections in November and formal Inaugural elections in February - necessary while the elected president forms his or her government
- Changing the Constitution. Changing the constitution must be significantly more difficult than passing a statute (at present in Britain they are subject to the same process) but it must not be so difficult that it can almost never happen. If this is the case, as in the US, the constitution can never adapt to changing circumstances.
The US constitution has Article V which makes it extremely difficult to change the constitution, requiring almost all states and both legislatures to support the change. Why not change Article V? As part of the constitution it is subject to the same difficulties of change - a brilliant Catch 22.
- Iron Wall between Government and Finance. Global finance has government in its pocket through its financial power. This applies currently to all major nations. But the corruption of US politicians in more evident than here.
All who serve in government, either as elected politians or middle and high ranking civil must be banned for life from ever taking a job in finane or multinational. This is how we create an iron wall between government and the power of finance.
The point about the cabinet requires special emphasis. As I said, the separation of powers in the US is almost theatrical. Where did theatre come from? Our very own constitution, of course, where the separation of executive and parliament is made clear by all the arcane ceremony involved with the Queen going to Parliament to read the “Queen’s Speech” at the opening of Parliament.
This whole business comes from the time around 1690 when the Whigs in devising the new power of the monarch wanted to make it absolutely clear to everyone that that of the monarch was limited and that it certainly could not mess with parliament any more as it had before.
The so-called British cabinet system was evolved under the Prime Minister-ship of Walpole in the early eighteenth century. It is the one we are familiar with whereby the members of the cabinet are drawn almost exclusively from sitting members of parliament.
On the contrary the US cabinet cannot under the constitution include sitting members of either house of Congress. The results of this are profound and undesirable.
You have to think about this in terms of career paths for a politician. In Britain, a type career path will mean getting elected as an MP and once you have that foot on the ladder the sky is the limit.
You can be appointed a junior minister, then a cabinet minister and so on. Under the British Republic, there is no reason why we should not maintain this cabinet system, the only difference between the Republic and present system being that the Head of State is directly elected by the people and then forms his or her cabinet from the legislative bodies
There is still separation of powers between executive and legislature but individuals can naturally move between the two.
This is vital to retain because it means that an ordinary MP, having his or her eye on the chance of advancing their career in cabinet, thinks about the interests of the executive at the same time as that of the legislature
There is good constitutional separation but a continuity of career path for a budding politician
In the US, on the other hand, this continuity of career path does not exist. Having reached congress, a member has virtually reached the summit of their career path. They can serve on congressional committees – a vital function but not one that leads very far for the individual. On they can consol themselves by taking bribes - an all too frequent occurrence
f you put yourself in the position of a member of congress you can see why their main aim might become to harass the president and make life difficult for him or her. This is what you are seeing in extreme form at present with Republican members edging towards seditious or even treasonable activity to undermine President Obama.
When the President gets congress to back him or her, this often involves horse trading of a very undignified type. This is because the member of congress is not concerned about looking like a responsible national executive politician because unlike in the British system, that career path is not open to them.
This trading between the President and a member of congress frequently leads to what is called “pork barrel” politics where the member votes with the President in exchange for an initiative, in their own constituency - ususally involving a hefty price tag. And so to serve the national interest, local interests have to be bought off.
This, of course, can still happen with the British system and in one way you could say that kind of politics is democracy at work.
A wise constitution has to try to channel the efforts of honest and good men and women for the best. Not an easy thing to pull off. But the observations here about the makeup of cabinet address the real human problem of how a career can evolve to satisfy natural ambition
The current British system does not do this well because it is too easy for the Prime Minister to dominate parliament, Because the effective head of state, the prime minister, emerges directly from parliament, the party system rules all depriving the people a say in who shall be leader of the country.
The complete lack of a separation of powers delivers too much power into the hands the prime minister, making both MPs and voters feel powerless.
Leave a comment here.
We need your views. Join the debate!
© COPYRIGHT. All content of this website unless otherwise indicated is the copyright of Peter Kellow. You may freely quote and republish content on condition that you acknowledge the author the source and give the link to the website www.democraticrepublicanparty.co.uk