Devolution: Bringing Power to the People
We support the democratic nationalist principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralised competent authority.
The problem is that this hasty revision of the Constitution has developed a number of unacceptable anomalies. Thus, although English MPs are without authority over devolved decisions affecting the people of Scotland, Wales and Ulster, MPs from those places may vote on legislation affecting the English.
More remarkable, perhaps, is that they cannot vote on issues affecting their own constituents, as this is determined within their devolved chambers.
Another problem is that a number of powers wielded by local parliaments has emanated from authority that was previously overseen by our traditional counties.
In effect this placed power into the hands of pompous and overpaid professional politicians who, for the most part, have done not a stroke in their lives to create wealth but who have absorbed it in the course of their careers.
Such a typically New Labour shambles is a recipe for friction and for future division amongst the British family of nations.
The BNP’s solution to this interlocking group of difficulties is as follows:
- Devolve all powers properly capable of exercise to local level and revived county council government, returning to the ancient and traditional pre-1974 boundaries. These powers are to include control over planning.
- Create an English parliament in Westminster. This, and the Scottish, Welsh and Stormont parliaments would oversee such functions of the present devolved administrations as cannot sensibly be accommodated by the county councils.
- Create a pan-British parliament to oversee those policy areas currently determined by Westminster, plus those powers repatriated from the EU. This body would have its formal base in Westminster, though we envisage it would sit in rotation in each of the national parliaments.
- The BNP would create a standing invitation for Eire to join the pan-British parliament as an equal partner.
The House of Lords
The role of the Lords as a revising chamber, stripped of its political cronies, requires further assessment.
At this stage, however, we can state that we see an opportunity to introduce not a simply elected duplicate of the Lower House, but a body which might provide weight to specialised experience in certain fields, such as expertise in charities, community groups, industry, commerce, agriculture, the armed forces and such like.
There exists, therefore, the opportunity to bring to bear on government the objectivity of non-party political experts and individuals chosen on the grounds of talent and service.
Further work is needed so as to exploit this opportunity for better governance.
Citizens’ Initiative Referenda
The BNP proposes the introduction of citizens’ initiative referenda as an important check and balance on the political class.
Individual citizens need only collect the requisite number of electors’ signatures on any given petition initiative — the wording of which they themselves will determine — in order to compel the local or national government to hold the relevant referendum.
If passed by between 50 and 66 percent of the voting public, such a referendum would create a comprehensive council/parliamentary debate on the topic in hand. If passed by over two thirds of those voting, however, the result would automatically become binding.
A New Bill of Rights
The 1688 Declaration of Rights, which in essence updated the 1215 Magna Carta, was given its parliamentary seal of approval in terms of the 1689 Bill of Rights.
Later described as the most important document of all times by American constitutionalists, the 1689 Bill of Rights provided the Americans with the basis behind their constitution a century later.
The 1688 Declaration, however, was a compact between monarch and people. Its articles are therefore arguably inviolable.
To allay any doubts, we shall set out in a new Bill of Rights those parts of Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights which are still relevant to the modern age.
We do not necessarily believe that a written document will prevent future governments from seeking to undermine or distort the new guarantees we shall provide.
But by setting out, in readily accessible print, a document of universally-known importance, a tripwire will be available with which to alert any future generation that a ruling class has again arisen with concepts above its station.
The Right to Bear Arms
The right to bear arms is encapsulated in the 1688 Declaration of Rights. Firearms do not kill people; criminals kill people — especially when the innocent people do not possess firearms with which to defend themselves.
The BNP would restore to legitimate and law-abiding sportsmen the right to possess and use those weapons curtailed by the 1968 Firearms Act and subsequently restricted by later legislation.
Protecting the Democratic Process
The democratic process in Britain has been subverted by a number of electoral rule changes which have impacted upon the rights of citizens to organise in democratic parties and freely express their opinions.
As a result, the BNP will introduce legislation which will:
- Guarantee the right of all law-abiding organisations and individuals to organise and campaign free from interference from the state, trades unions, employers’ organisations or commercial entities.
- Protect all political parties and groups from the use of violence or intimidation for political purposes. The violation of this law will carry a minimum two year prison term.
- Disband all state-sponsored efforts to exploit the ethnic minority vote by means of programmes such as Operation Black Vote.
- Restrict postal voting — currently subject to grave abuse — to the sick and elderly or those who are absent overseas.
- Outlaw third party organisations who do not contest elections from issuing material designed to denigrate individual candidates or parties, thereby allowing political rivals to circumvent the proper spending limits on election expenses.
- Outlaw the conducting or publication of opinion polls in the last three weeks of an election campaign to prevent manipulation of the democratic process.
- Ensure that political parties organise and function only with such funds as they are able to raise from their own members and supporters to ensure that the political process is not bought by vested interests. State funding, corporate donations and political dues from trades unions will be outlawed.
- Electors will be enabled to fire or ‘recall’ their MP in circumstances of serious criminality.
- Reintroduce treason legislation to prosecute those who undermine the British constitution.
Recomended reading from the Horwich Nationalists
Recomended reading from the Horwich Nationalists