Democratic Renewal Council – where are the people?
Gordon Brown has announced a National Democratic Renewal Council. According to this Guardian report it seemingly consists of a sub-committee of the cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister that will invite expert witnesses from outside.
Others have said that Westminster cannot change itself. I blogged about Etienne Chouard, a French activist who helped bring about the French "Non" against the European Constitution in 2005. His fifth rule of writing a constitution is:
up by the People itself, precisely to protect itself from the arbitrary
use of power, through a Constituent Assembly, independent, elected for
that purpose only and afterwards revoked.
If we are going to have a serious attempt at rebuilding trust in the democratic process in the UK, Westminster needs to realise that it is not going to come from within, least of all within a very select elite of ministers within Government.
A true National Democratic Renewal Council (and I vote for a different name) needs to come from the people. Citizen Jury, Citizen Summit, Independent Inquiry, perhaps. Anything but an internal government body.