A Freedom Charter for Great Britain?
If we held a constitutional assembly, all the progressive forces in British society could finally agree on a common vision for the future and, having thrashed out this vision, unite around it.
This is the conclusion Penny Grieve, Liam Moore and I reached in our discussion. Liam Moore has agreed to take the matter forward and begin to organise a constitutional assembly.
Organise a Constitutional Assembly in Kliptown on Friday 26th of June exactly 65 years ago is just what the South Africans did when they agreed on the contents of the Freedom Charter.
The South Africans have been political path finders. They also instituted the famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In Great Britain we could produce something magnificent, a beautiful vision worth fighting for.
Just to give you a taste of what our future constitution could look like have a look at this British version of the Freedom Charter. Then think what you would add to it.
A Freedom Charter for Great Britain
We, the People of Great Britain, declare for all our country and the world to know: that Great Britain belongs to all who live in it, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people; that our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on inheritance and privilege; that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities as equal citizens not as subjects; that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex, sexuality, gender preference, belief or any other aspect of their identity; And therefore, we, the people of Great Britain, together adopt this Freedom Charter. And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.
The People Shall Govern!
- Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws;
- All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country;
- The rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of colour, race, sex, sexuality, gender preference, belief or any other aspect of their identity;
- All bodies of minority rule, advisory boards, councils and authorities shall be replaced by democratic organs of self-government.
All National Groups Shall Have Equal Rights!
- There shall be equal status in the bodies of state, in the courts and in the schools for people of all national groups, creeds and races;
- All people shall have equal right to use their own languages, and to develop their own folk culture and customs;
- All national groups shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride;
- The preaching and practice of national, discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime;
The People Shall Share In The Country’s Wealth!
- The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all Great Britons, shall be restored to the people;
- The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole;
- All other industry and trade shall be controlled amd regulated where necessary to assist the well-being of the people;
- All people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.
The Land Shall Be Shared Among Those Who Work It!
- Restrictions of land ownership on the basis of inheritance shall be ended, and all the land redivided amongst those who want to work it, to banish famine and land hunger and reduce global warming;
- The state shall help the people providing them with implements, seeds, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers;
- Freedom of movement shall be guaranteed to all who work on the land;
- All shall have the right to occupy land wherever they choose;
- People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and private prisons shall be abolished and replaced by rehabilitation centres.
All Shall Be Equal Before The Law!
- No one shall be imprisoned, deported or restricted without a fair trial;
- No one shall be condemned by the order of any Government official;
- The courts shall be representative of all the people;
- Imprisonment shall be only for serious crimes against the people, and shall aim at re-education, not vengeance;
- The police force and army shall be open to all on an equal basis and shall be the helpers and protectors of the people;
- All laws which discriminate shall be repealed.
All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights!
- The law shall guarantee to all their right to speak, to organise, to meet together, to publish, to preach, to worship and to educate their children;
- The privacy of the house from police raids shall be protected by law;
- All shall be free to travel without restriction from countryside to town, from province to province, and from Great Britain abroad;
- Laws, permits and all other laws restricting these freedoms shall be abolished.
- Britain shall rejoin the EU and be a force for progress within the EU.
There Shall Be Work And Security!
- All who work shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers;
- The state shall recognise the right and duty of all to work, and to draw full unemployment benefits;
- Men and women of all kinds shall receive equal pay for equal work;
- There shall be a four day working week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave, and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers;
- Factory workers, office workers, farm workers and civil servants shall have the same rights as all others who work;
- Any form of illegal labour exploitation, together with contract labour and the so called Gig economy labour shall be abolished.
The environment will be protected!
- We will start a green revolution and reduce net CO2 emissions in the UK to zero before 2050.
- We recognise that global warming is everyone’s problem and we will actively support all efforts to stop global warming in every international forum.
- We will promote lifestyle changes in accordance with the needs of our whole planet not just humanity, including the needs of the other animals that inhabit it.
- We will protect the rights of animals to a full and happy life and conserve our flora and fauna to the fullest extent.
The Doors Of Learning And Of Culture Shall Be Opened!
- The government shall discover, develop and encourage national talent for the enhancement of our cultural life;
- All the cultural treasures of mankind shall be open to all, by free exchange of books, ideas and contact with other lands through travel and the internet;
- The aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour the human family, liberty and peace;
- Education shall be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children;
- Higher education and technical training shall be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit;
- Adult illiteracy shall be ended by a mass state education plan;
- Teachers shall have all the rights of other citizens;
- The private schools and all forms of privilege in education shall be abolished.
There Shall Be Houses, Security And Comfort!
- All people shall have the right to live where they choose, to be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security;
- Unused housing space to be made available to the people;
- Rent and prices shall be lowered, food plentiful and no one shall go hungry;
- A preventive health scheme shall be run by the state;
- Free medical care and hospitalisation shall be provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children;
- Poor housing shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres;
- The aged, the orphans, the disabled and the sick shall be well cared for by the state;
- Rest, leisure and recreation shall be the right of all;
- Gated communities locations and speculative foreign investment in housing shall be abolished, and laws which break up families shall be repealed.
There Shall Be Peace And Friendship!
- Great Britain shall be a fully independent state, allied to Europe, which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations;
- Great Britain shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation-not war;
- Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all;
- The people of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Cornwall shall be free to decide for themselves their own future;
- The right of all the peoples of Europe and the whole world to independence and self-government shall be recognized and shall be the basis of close co-operation.