Saturday, July 31, 2021

Key Issues for Democratic Socialists

The Labour Party - "Labour is the only party who will deliver peace abroad  and justice at home." 75 years ago, Clement Attlee's Labour Party came to  power and rebuilt Britain for
 From last year.
One of the duties of those of us who see ourselves as being Democratic Socialists is to spell out how we see our beliefs being advanced within the political structure we now find ourselves to be placed in. Yet in the territories which are represented in our own parliament we have some initial complexities to face. One problem is that many local people advocate independence for Scotland and Wales; whilst there are many in the Catholic community in Northern Ireland who favour the establishment of a united Ireland.

    Without pursuing a policy of persistent referendums for such areas, it seems to me to be realistic to accept the current constitutional arrangements for the immediate future. For now, the key matter that needs to be resolved is overcoming the block on trade which has been placed between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland following our departure from the European Union.

     There are also two other key democratic problems we need to confront. First of all, what should we do about the House of Lords ? There seems to me to be a case within our
complex political structure for having a second revising Chamber, but not one appointed as now  by what are passing Common's hierarchies. Major interest groups in society (including  trade unions and welfare groups) could periodically appoint what are now Peers. Their purpose being to analyse Commons legislative proposals to see if improved ideas can then be reconsidered by the Lower Chamber who have got the final say. 

   There is also the question of the nature of the overall electoral system. Should we for instance introduce proportional representation ? Here much seems to me to depend on its format. If we had separate PR systems for England, Scotland, Wales and even Northern Ireland; these would all give considerable power to the centralised political party machines to decide the batting order for the candidates who were finally elected.

    Instead I favour PR in smaller areas of no more than ten seats or so. The boundaries to be determined by their local interconnections. With parties deciding the batting order of their candidates locally. Plus each candidate having local links - such as living in the area or having spent a fixed period of their teenage/adult life there.

     Facilities for voting should also be expanded and not just be restricted to those with technical proof of who they are. The system should facilitate such checks and not require specialist material from the voter.  

   We need arrangements which take power away from internal centralised controllers,
plus a democratic structure to determine overall Labour Party policy. Key issues should include (1) tackling climate change, (2)  lifelong learning, (3) proper and reasonably paid jobs for all, (4} decent and non-exploitive housing, (5) overseas aid and (6) international aid and assistance. Whilst, of course, tackling covid at home and abroad.


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