An open letter from Caroline Lucas MP to the three party leaders

An open letter from Caroline Lucas to the three party leaders.

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Dear Party Leaders,

Whatever the outcome of today’s referendum about the future governance of Scotland, there seems to be a strong consensus that nothing will ever quite be the same again. People in Scotland have been granted their right to be heard and have used the opportunity to imagine all kinds of positive futures.

Alongside the official Yes and No campaigns, we have seen the growth of genuine grassroots movements, giving everyone a voice. Across the nation, people previously disengaged from formal politics have been passionately debating what matters to them – all because they have a decision to make in which their individual vote really will influence the outcome.

For many of these people, voting had previously become merely an exercise in democracy rather than true democracy – casting a vote made little tangible difference to the outcome of elections, let alone their day to day lives.  The referendum has newly enfranchised them because every vote counts.  It’s also invited a whole new generation of young people to shape their own futures.

We have a unique opportunity, at this point in our history, to learn from what has happened during the referendum campaign. To recognise that behind the ever declining turn out in General Elections, especially amongst young people, the disillusionment and distrust, there is another story. One in which people are not disengaged from politics, simply from a political system that is not good at listening, that conspires to keep people relatively powerless and is designed to protect the interests of a small, self-interested and wealthy elite.

You did a brave and bold thing, ceding some of your power via a referendum.

You have also made promises, in the event of a No vote, to devolve more powers to Scotland – a welcome move that that has wider implications. The next steps must not be decided without full and proper consultation with everyone affected.

So I hope you will be braver still and demonstrate a genuine commitment to democracy by supporting calls for a People’s Constitutional Convention. A Convention to explore, discuss, debate and inspire. To tackle the democratic crisis that has left far too many people feeling unrepresented, neglected and alienated by Westminster.

A continuation of the conversation that has begun in Scotland – and England and Wales and Northern Ireland – about a fairer voting system, an elected House of Lords, job sharing for MPs, lowering the voting age, giving local communities and local authorities more power, including via local referenda and citizens initiatives, more regional government and total recall for elected politicians.

It’s an idea that’s already being championed the Electoral Reform Society, Open Democracy, Compass, Involve, Democratic Audit and the chairman of House of Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, amongst others.

Above all, it would demonstrate a genuine commitment to real democracy and embody the principle that power flows upwards from the people, not down from a centralised state. Scotland has shown that this is the way to build engagement in the decisions that affect all of our lives – by respecting, trusting and listening. This is also the way to give people hope again.

I hope you will join me in supporting a People’s Constitutional Convention as the way forward.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Lucas MP

Brighton Pavilion

Follow Caroline Lucas on Twitter

29 Responses to “An open letter from Caroline Lucas MP to the three party leaders”

  1. Ed Jones

    Great letter Caroline! I hope they listen to you!

  2. allan sayers

    brilliant Caroline

  3. Brian Wainwright

    Intelligent, sensible letter. That’s why they will ignore it. They’re happy in their neo-liberal bunker, for as long as the votes, maintained by our decrepit FPTP system, keep them there.

  4. Mike Stallard

    I wonder who is going to chair this meeting then?

  5. JoeDM

    ” People’s Constitutional Convention” is simply another way for career politicians of the LibLabCon establishment to blow off hot air. Will they discuss the real issues of immigration, EU, etc.? We know the answer to that !!!!!

  6. Founder

    Reference to is the way forward

  7. P.Leicester

    Eeyore eeyore eeyore

  8. swat

    We’ve already got a People’s Assembly and a Peoples Theatre and a Peoples Princess (Kate), so we don’t really need a Peoples Convention.

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    “nothing will ever quite be the same again”

    Same old political nonsense I see. It’s been a divisive and nasty experience, which has blighted the country and it’s economy. Trying to tie anything else to it is just likely to discredit it, more than anything else.

    Things like voting reform can and should stand on their own.

    (I also completely oppose, for instance, lowering the voting age – there are good arguments for keeping it at 18, afaik – and it’s a complete distraction from important changes)

  10. Guest

    Yes, your personalities know nobody hates the British and wants isolation and poverty as much as you! (Etc.)

  11. Benjie Moss

    How about you spend less time worrying about people at the other end of the country, and more time working for the people you’re paid to represent?

  12. Cole

    Real issues as defined by Ukip? A party opposed by the overwhelming majority of the British people. The issues polls say are important for normal folk are the economy, the NHS and, yes, immigration.

  13. Simon Anthony

    Yes indeed – sensibly sent before the result was called.

  14. Guest

    I highly commend this letter and hope it will be taken seriously. Devolution of power to a local level makes sense, both political power and electricity generation. The future – communities in which advanced renewable energy production, small-scale farming and localised 3D printing of goods, medical equipment and tools, is what I dream of. That will never come to light under a centralised, top-down, elite government of finance-industry anchored privately educated men in suits. Only a progressive, socially anchored and Green parliament can achieve this, I believe.

  15. david pearce

    how about reducing the fee for being a candidate allowing more people to stand, atm many outside the main parties that might be interested in standing are priced out. We have a democracy that prevents many from standing purely on cost

  16. Keith M

    This lady always speaks common sense – pity she’s not in government.

  17. Keith M

    She does.

  18. Keith M

    Some good ideas until I saw your views on prisons – usual right wing stuff.

  19. Keith M

    I think we can do without people’s princesses – socialism and monarchy doesn’t really mix.

  20. neiallswheel

    What reason would you give for continuing the 18 year old vote?
    Bare in mind that in our RIDICULOUS 4 year government term, at the time of an election,
    anyone who is 15, 16, or 17 CAN’T VOTE,
    and have to wait 4 YEARS
    So they will be 19,20 & 21 when they get their
    FIRST CHANCE TO VOTE this is stupid

    I would ask for many changes;
    >Introduce a cash Limit for political campaigns
    >Referendums for everything (every major decision
    Should be put out to the public)
    >shorter parliamentary terms
    >short terms for coalition governments
    >proportional representation( end the FPTP)
    >16 year olds get a vote
    >RECALL of MPs (petition led)

  21. Leon Wolfeson

    You’re acting as if Westminster elections were the only elections.

    And thanks for a complex agenda which is only as strong as it’s weakest part, and I would oppose because of your mobocratic “referendum” part there – both Atlee and Thatcher opposed them, and for good reason!

    Moreover, your system would lead to two mega-parties, even more than today, to avoid (perfectly natural) coalitions under PR.

  22. Leon Wolfeson

    Because of repeated scaremongering by people determined to smash the economy, yes.

  23. Guest

    Right, so no power for the poor. Local levels to ensure that it can’t be solved at central levels. People being forced into having to have their own gardens for basic food needs, getting power a few hours a day via a solar panel, access mostly only to what goods they can themselves produce…

  24. Leon Wolfeson

    The moment you insist on socialism, you’ve got a factional fight and you’ve divided the left. We need to stick to policy, not ideology.

  25. Bob Hutton

    The government of the day has been fore-ordained by God. Read Romans 13 v 1 in the New Testament

  26. Tim Benson

    Great letter, but getting Turkeys to vote for Christmas has always been a challenge!

  27. sarntcrip

    time to move away from narrow nationalism and deal with youth unemployment,foodbanks divisive austerity and protecting welfare and the nhs across the whole uk incase nobody notice scotland said no the uk it remains as was until devo legislation goes through if indeed it does

  28. Karl Montague

    Yeah, I noticed that too. Pretty vile attitude there.

  29. Jennifer Hornsby

    I assume you’re a gentleman. No need, however, to call the good woman a lady.

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