Reform of what constitution?

Reform something that doesn’t exist? I mean that we need to update our unwritten constitution. We need to do government differently. We can no longer rely on the assumption that those in power always behave like decent chaps and obey the unwritten rules.

How can you reform something as vague as that?

I suggested one big reform in a previous post about the power of the king and the issues I raised are still valid. Whatever we do, we need a written constitution with a robust mechanism for enforcing it. We also need safeguards to prevent any government merely amending the constitution when its terms become inconvenient.

Why is it so urgent now?

  • As soon as the ‘partygate’ scandal broke, we could all see that the PM and others had broken the law.
  • His excuses did not convince anyone. The changes in his story proved he was either lying or had been lying before.
  • Yet we have had to wait 18 months to have an official report telling us what we knew.
  • The police investigation began only when those in power said it was OK.
  • Even at the end, parliament could have chosen to reject the committee’s findings.

What could prevent such a fiasco in future?

  • There should be proceduresWe need a standard procedure applying to all political parties for choosing a leader.
  • There must be time-limits where the party in question is in government.
  • An independent body should oversee appointments to the House of Lords.
  • A reform of the ho which ensure investigations begin whenever there is evidence of wrongdoing.
  • It should not be possible for a PM or anyone else to overrule independent investigations.
  • Someone independent should have the authority to initiate such proceedings.

 What else would I reform?

  1. All political parties should adopt a uniform system for choosing a leader.
  2. The process should be time-limited where the party is in government.
  3. An outgoing PM should hand over power (and his salary and other privileges) to a temporary replacement unless he or she remains active in government.
  4. An independent body should oversee appointments to the House of Lords.
  5. The honours system is seriously overdue, whatever we do about the House of Lords.

Remember the last time reform was denied?

When King Charles I refused to heed the Grand Remonstrance by parliament, it led to a civil war. That is the background to my novel Blood and Secrets.  Parliamentarians wanted a constitutional monarchy. Eventually, Charles II was restored to his throne on the understanding that he would establish a new relationship with parliament and the country. Since then parliament has had to reform itself on many occasions. Why not again?

A battle scene from the English Civil War. The cover of Blood and Secrets. Could reform have prevented the war?

A battle scene from the English Civil War. The cover of Blood and Secrets. Could reform have prevented the war?