Saturday 30 June 2007

Bring on the Constitution

The new Cabinet has met to discuss proposals for a new constitutional convention to include a Bill of Rights. Brown will make a statement in the House of Commons on Monday to announce the start of a process towards a constitutional convention

This is a welcome step and we should all look forward to constructively engaging in the debate around the new constitutional convention - something for which we have been arguing for some time.

We need to empower people so that they have enforceable social rights to healthcare, housing and welfare provision. This means restoring legal aid so that everyone has access to the courts. It means reversing the authoritarian drift under Blair. It means industrial democracy, and the same rights for British workers that are enjoyed by our European counterparts.

Ultimately this constitutional convention must mean a thorough-going democratisation of our society, leaving behind the tokenistic language of choice, and replacing it with rights.

As I wrote in Another World is Possible:

"We need a new constitutional settlement for the 21st century. This should focus on developing a dynamic and explicit democratic framework of positive civil, social and political rights. These would create the opportunities for people to take more control of their lives and determine the quality of the world they live in."