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Labour’S Modern Magna Carta Has To Seal The Deal With Voters

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/10906100/Labours-modern-Magna-Carta-has-to-seal-the-deal-with-voters.html

Labour’s modern Magna Carta has to seal the deal with voters As Labour Party tensions rise, Ed Miliband’s vision of a fairer society is about to become clearer

Ill fares the land. More than two centuries after Oliver Goldsmith’s lament over social division, Britain is splintering apart once more. The annual Social Attitudes Survey has charted a fearful country whose citizens are uneasy about immigration and estranged from a disliked ruling class. Having unleashed the politics of paranoia by offering too much scaremongering and too few solutions, leaders are peddling their own brands of national identity.

David Cameron, who famously failed to translate the words Magna Carta on a US talk show, has now decreed that all pupils should study the great charter as part of a scheme to implant “British values” and combat Islamic extremism. Should children apply themselves to this task, they will discover that, far from being ornaments of democracy, the 13th-century English barons who imposed the charter treated the peasantry in a manner likely to put a fragile student off his or her (fatless and unsalted) new-style Michael Gove school lunch.

Nick Clegg, meanwhile, struggles to impart the idea that Britons should be grateful Europeans, while Nigel Farage offers a one-way charabanc ride down memory lane. That leaves Ed Miliband, who will tomorrow set out his vision for a Labour society in a speech to launch the Condition of Britain report. Compiled by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and running to almost 300 pages, this tome is not so much a think-tank study as a Magna Carta for social democracy in the 21st century.

Glowingly endorsed by Mr Miliband’s policy reviewer, Jon Cruddas, as “an invaluable resource”, the report should provide the scaffolding and many of the bricks for the next manifesto. While Mr Miliband, who has already ruled out the suggestion of freezing child benefit, will not accept all of its 30 policy proposals, the plan offers the clearest snapshot so far of the future Labour would forge.

At its heart is a proposed reform of the welfare state which acknowledges that the legacy of Beveridge and Attlee has turned to dust, with voters claiming that migrants and those unwilling to work get too many benefits, while people who have lost their jobs after years of work receive scant help.

Politicians have responded by cutting welfare for the supposedly undeserving but have done too little, in the IPPR’s argument, to reward contributions. Indeed, it has suited both the Right and Left to maintain the status quo, with Tories seeing means-testing as a way to curb costs, while Labour has viewed the contributory principle as too exclusive.

Under the new, reciprocal deal being commended to Mr Miliband, the weak income protection offered to Britons who lose their jobs would be upgraded to be more in line with the rest of Europe, where a single person on a median wage could expect to receive, on average, 57 per cent of his or her previous wage in benefits. In Britain that has fallen to 14 per cent, leaving people with children and high housing costs as the beneficiaries. The share of working-age welfare spent on contributory benefits dropped from 28 per cent in 1979 to nine per cent in 2011.

Mr Miliband is thought to be keen to address that imbalance. Having hinted at channelling money towards the deserving rather than the needy in his “predators and producers” conference speech, he has already said he would offer a top-up in the Jobseeker’s Allowance for older people. If, however, he is to promise wholesale welfare reform, under which those who put the most in also get the most out, his party will be asking what happens to the losers.

The IPPR’s answer is that tackling poverty passively, through hand-outs such as tax credits, would be supplemented or replaced by more active methods. Better nurseries and care for the elderly would allow more women and carers to work, the presumption would be that most disabled people should be helped into jobs, and young people would be offered more apprenticeships and training. Instead of funnelling £95 of every £100 spent on housing into benefits, many more homes would be built.

Given the slow pace of any such transition, Labour will have to prove to sceptical elements within the party that it can maintain compassion while reducing the £90 billion benefits bill. In a recalibration of the rusting apparatus of the state, power and money would be devolved down, allowing services such as health and social care to be organised and funded at a local level.

There would be less emphasis on cash transfers to voters, who would be helped instead by stronger institutions. For example, parents would get fewer vouchers and credits to pay for having their children cared for, with money ploughed into better children’s centres. Mr Miliband will offer no wholesale endorsements when he speaks tomorrow, leaving his party time to chew over the detail. None the less, his lieutenants have rarely, if ever, sounded so enthusiastic about an off-the-peg programme for government.

Welcoming a “brilliant analysis” suggesting how “a post-crash leader deals with the realities of a post-crash world” is not, however, the same as putting some key recommendations into practice. Mr Miliband, who has so far indicated only that he is considering extending paternity leave, in line with the IPPR suggestion, will hold back most of his final decisions for his conference speech. Beside tomorrow’s study, two other major manifesto planks – Lord Adonis’s growth review and a report on local government by Sir Richard Leese – will feed into the party’s policy forum next month.

While some frontbenchers, such as Liz Kendall, the social care minister, have been driving the changes to be outlined tomorrow, efforts have been made to ensure that others get no nasty surprises. Even so, such a radical overhaul of the welfare state must be controversial. Although Ed Balls has been supportive of Mr Cruddas, those close to the shadow chancellor point out that “his constitutional role is to make sure everything’s funded”.

More specifically, Mr Balls is thought to be resistant to any fast-tracking of universal child care, believing Labour “has a pretty good child-care policy”. His promise to extend the free provision of 15 hours to 25 hours for working parents of three- and four-year-olds would already, as one insider points out, cost almost £1 billion. On welfare, however, the shadow chancellor is said to be “leading the charge on something for something”.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary, who has warned that Labour must not take its core vote for granted, is also said to view the report as a springboard for reform that she will bring forward. But grateful as Mr Miliband may be to shuck off the charge that he is the impresario of Begging Bowl Britain, one moment of epiphany will not erase Labour’s problems.

With a fragile poll lead and tensions mounting over his election strategy, Mr Miliband needs momentum. His speech, in which the contours of a Labour society finally emerge from the fog of uncertainty, is being trailed as the end of the beginning. Should he fail to chart the route to a post-Beveridge Britain fit for the century ahead, tomorrow may instead be remembered as the beginning of the end.

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Here's an idea.

Make the country a republic, run by the people for the people and have a real constitution.

There's no point changing the system for the same system.

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It seems that Labour is saying it is going to get rid of welfare as we have come to know it (throwing money at everything) and instead slash things like tax credits/housing benefits and instead invest the money into the things that these benefits are supposed to pay for (i.e. work/housing).

It would be a great idea if they actually meant it but for Labour it has been all too easy to bribe its core voters with filthy lucre rather than expecting value for money.

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Welcoming a “brilliant analysis” suggesting how “a post-crash leader deals with the realities of a post-crash world” is not, however, the same as putting some key recommendations into practice.

Indeed it's not the same.

Promises promises. If it's so brilliant then put the document to the vote.

There has to be something better than the LibLabCon's old charabanc going around in circles.

Edited by billybong

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It seems that Labour is saying it is going to get rid of welfare as we have come to know it (throwing money at everything) and instead slash things like tax credits/housing benefits and instead invest the money into the things that these benefits are supposed to pay for (i.e. work/housing).

It would be a great idea if they actually meant it but for Labour it has been all too easy to bribe its core voters with filthy lucre rather than expecting value for money.

Except, Labour's welfare for the poor has been dwarfed into insignificance by Osborne's welfare for the rich. Tensions aren't rising. Milliband is still comfortably favourite to win the GE with the Tory vote split.

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Here's an idea.

Make the country a republic, run by the people for the people and have a real constitution.

There's no point changing the system for the same system.

Yes, we can be just like the USA, or Ireland, or France, where the politicians represent the common people and there are no elites running the country in their own interests.

Edited by richc

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So the solution to a crisis created by the rich is to attack the welfare state. Sounds oddly similar to what the Tories are saying.

UKIP has dragged the entire debate to the right- it's amazing how much influence a party with zero MP's in parliament can have.

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I quite like the start of Piketty where he lays into the British system of letting the nobles to continue to have the veto over the commons.

Huh. Guess that's just something else he got wrong then, given that they havn't had a veto over the Commons since 1911.

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Personally I would have a series of regional/country assemblies controlling most of the stuff and then let them send representatives to the Upper House to oversee the National Executive. That way, it stops the process of centralisation that is built in.

Essentially, you are describing the US Senate. Initially, senators were selected by state assemblies, but after too many senatorships were sold off to the highest bidder, they changed the system to direct popular vote within each state so that the person with the most money to spend on advertising would win instead. This set-up hasn't done much to limit centralisation, though it has done wonders for pork barrel spending in small, rural states.

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If we were talking about ideal constitutions, I personally would have a lower chamber of representatives selected by lot (sortition) Athenian style, with volunteers putting their name into a hat essentially. With some requirements, like a certain age would be required.

And I'd have an upper house of partly elected, partly appointed senators, for scrutiny and veto. The appointed ones would be drawn from ex-representatives and government officials, there for wisdom and experience.

On top of that, some constitutional alllowances made for referenda Switzerland style.

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Yes, we can be just like the USA, or Ireland, or France, where the politicians represent the common people and there are no elites running the country in their own interests.

Better than an unelected elite who's position is based or terrorism, in my opinion, exerting control and influence over every aspect if our lives.

At least then we can pick between two or three people instead of being stuck with an archaic system fit for a medieval country.

I don mind the queen though but when she goes...that should be it.if you ask me there us no place for one family who's only justification for their position is their predecessors greed and hunger for power to be our "monarch".

When you analyse why they are in their position and their rights relative to their subjects, we are not citizens, then their position is grotesque and a sign of what is wrong in the UK.

Good luck to them though...youd try and hold onto the position if you had it. With 70million people from various backgrounds now in the UK their position and that of all the landed gentry is untenable. The UK needs real change.

Who do i vote for to get change?

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere

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If we were talking about ideal constitutions, I personally would have a lower chamber of representatives selected by lot (sortition) Athenian style, with volunteers putting their name into a hat essentially. With some requirements, like a certain age would be required.

And I'd have an upper house of partly elected, partly appointed senators, for scrutiny and veto. The appointed ones would be drawn from ex-representatives and government officials, there for wisdom and experience.

On top of that, some constitutional alllowances made for referenda Switzerland style.

The Irish Senate was modelled noon your upper house concept. Some are direct appointments, some are elected by panels from the unions, university graduates, and local government.

In practice it has become a place where failed TD's (Irish MP's) go to wait for the next general election.

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Better than an unelected elite who's position is based or terrorism, in my opinion, exerting control and influence over every aspect if our lives.

At least then we can pick between two or three people instead of being stuck with an archaic system fit for a medieval country.

I don mind the queen though but when she goes...that should be it.if you ask me there us no place for one family who's only justification for their position is their predecessors greed and hunger for power to be our "monarch".

When you analyse why they are in their position and their rights relative to their subjects, we are not citizens, then their position is grotesque and a sign of what is wrong in the UK.

Good luck to them though...youd try and hold onto the position if you had it. With 70million people from various backgrounds now in the UK their position and that of all the landed gentry is untenable. The UK needs real change.

Who do i vote for to get change?

Honestly, I think it's much better to have the monarchy and the house of lords with very limited powers, and no pretense that they have any sort of democratic mandate, rather than a phony democracy that takes it's legitimacy for granted.

Every four years, a US presidential election costs more than the amount the Queen costs the taxpayer over the course of 200 years. If you think that makes sense, then all the best of luck, but it might not be such a popular choice.

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Why do you need MPs and Lord at all?

Just have an election. Party with the most votes gets to represent us internationally. Any party with more than 3% of the vote gets allowed to submit laws. Each 1/2 year, parties that are allowed to submit, submit 7 legal packages, up to 10 A4 pages long in 12 point Arial font. These are categorised:

1 x Taxation Split

1 x Defence

1 x Benefits

1 x Health

1 x Police, Border & Immigration

1 x Environment

1 x Other

You then have a referendum, with voters picking which one from each category they prefer.

No more sneaking laws through on the back of other laws, no more saying one thing at the election and doing the opposite... direct representation of the will of the people.

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The Irish Senate was modelled noon your upper house concept. Some are direct appointments, some are elected by panels from the unions, university graduates, and local government.

In practice it has become a place where failed TD's (Irish MP's) go to wait for the next general election.

Yeah, I'm aware of the Irish Senate.

The problem there - and ultimately here, IMO - is the party political machine. You need to do something about parties. Hence sortition in the lower house, and an upper house which would ideally be full either of people not up for re-election or people there for life.

The House of Lords is, accidentally perhaps, actually quite a good model IMO because when people are put there they are beyond the reach of the party machine in large part, yet you end up with a lot of elder statesmen who can make good contributions to revising laws.

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Here's an idea.

Make the country a republic, run by the people for the people and have a real constitution.

There's no point changing the system for the same system.

Hear, Hear. Lets have a real modern republic, not some medieval nonsense with an unelected head of state endorsed by an imaginary being. This country needs a real constitution by the people for the people like no other time in history. If we are ever going to get out of the clutches of the feudal system and its anointed by birth parasites that hold us all to ransom, we surely need to change the system from the roots, not paper over the crack with fake policies that the politicos have no intention of ever honoring and will have so many legal loop holes you can drive a gravy train through it.

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Honestly, I think it's much better to have the monarchy and the house of lords with very limited powers, and no pretense that they have any sort of democratic mandate, rather than a phony democracy that takes it's legitimacy for granted.

Every four years, a US presidential election costs more than the amount the Queen costs the taxpayer over the course of 200 years. If you think that makes sense, then all the best of luck, but it might not be such a popular choice.

Ok. Fair enough. Take all the land and wealth off the landed gentry first then.

Give the head of state a salary the same as the PMs and distribute the wealth amongst the "subjects".

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Honestly, I think it's much better to have the monarchy and the house of lords with very limited powers, and no pretense that they have any sort of democratic mandate, rather than a phony democracy that takes it's legitimacy for granted.

Every four years, a US presidential election costs more than the amount the Queen costs the taxpayer over the course of 200 years. If you think that makes sense, then all the best of luck, but it might not be such a popular choice.

Pretty much what professor walter block says...a monarchy is in it for the long run, so will want to at least take a degree of care over its 'herd', much like a slave owner will want to at least take a degree of care over his slaves. Unlike a democrat who never looks more than 5 or 10 years down the line and steals as much as they can in that short window, and will gladly, like Bush and bliar send their slaves overseas to die to facilitate stealing abroad.

The thing was the US was never supposed to be a 'political' democracy, merely a judicial one. One where elected officials merely interpret the constitution rather than add or subtract to/from it. The whole of Washington as it stands today should be burnt to the ground, ideally with the self serving filth that fill its institutions still inside.

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The House of Lords is, accidentally perhaps, actually quite a good model IMO because when people are put there they are beyond the reach of the party machine in large part, yet you end up with a lot of elder statesmen who can make good contributions to revising laws.

It benefits from being constrained. You can see those 'elder statesmen' through suitably rose-tinted glasses, and perhaps not quite notice when they disgrace themselves.

Give it power equal to the commons and it would soon degenerate a whole lot, as interest groups lost all subtlety in their struggles to gain influence.

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It benefits from being constrained. You can see those 'elder statesmen' through suitably rose-tinted glasses, and perhaps not quite notice when they disgrace themselves.

Give it power equal to the commons and it would soon degenerate a whole lot, as interest groups lost all subtlety in their struggles to gain influence.

Granted. Hence why for people with real power I think selection by lot, akin to jury duty, is the way forward. You might get less able individuals, but it'd break the re-election obsession and the power of the political parties.

That said. I think if you had a lower house selected in such a manner the need for a competent revising chamber would be even more important, as you wouldn't have a bunch of legally trained types producing the laws. So at some point there has to be a body of experienced people with some input into the process.

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I'm not sure if you've ever actually read the Magna Carta. A few years back someone linked me the full text. It is really quite enlightening.

'FIRST, We have granted to God, and by this our present Charter have confirmed, for Us and our Heirs for ever, that the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole Rights and Liberties inviolable. We have granted also, and given to all the Freemen of our Realm, for Us and our Heirs for ever, these Liberties under-written, to have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of Us and our Heirs for ever.

Cc. 2–6 repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1863 (c. 125) and Statute Law (Ireland) Revision Act 1872 (c. 98)

C. 7 repealed by Administration of Estates Act (1925) (c. 23), s. 56, Sch. 2 Pt. I, Administration of Estates Act (Northern Ireland) 1955 (c. 24), s. 46, Sch. 3 and Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1969 (c. 52), Sch. Pt. I

C. 8 repealed by Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1969 (c. 52), Sch. Pt. I

THE City of London shall have all the old Liberties and Customs [which it hath been used to have]. Moreover We will and grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their Liberties and free Customs.

C. 10 repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1948 (c. 62) Cc. 11, 12 repealed by Civil Procedure Acts Repeal Act 1879 (c. 59), Sch.

C. 13 repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1863 (c. 125) and Statute Law (Ireland) Revision Act 1872 (c. 98)'

It's actually very similar to the English Bill of rights, which says much the same thing.

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https://

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNZosqiJISs

Spooky how similar in looks the great comedian Tony Hancock was to the MacDevastator.

Edited by billybong

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