Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Constitution of Liberty

I posted the preamble of the Liberal Democrats constitution on As I read through it, it struck me as rather a woolly document, especially when compared with the old Liberal Party constitution (and my own recollection of it). It occurred to me that it could do with a rewrite, so here is my thoughts on what we should say about our key principles:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build an open society in which every citizen shall possess liberty, property and security, and none shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. Its first principle is freedom. It seeks to secure the rights and opportunities of the individual in all spheres.

We believe that each generation is the steward of the Earth and is responsible for protecting the balance of nature.

We believe that each state and nation is interdependent and that, irrespective of national boundaries, the cultures of humanity are worthy of respect without racial, religious or national prejudice. We believe that the free movement of ideas, of goods and of people should be guaranteed to the mutual benefit of all. We seek to build a world where all people share the same basic rights, and where they can live together in peace. To this end we support democratic international and supranational bodies and we are prepared to set aside national sovereignty where necessary in order to work with other countries, and in particular within the European Union, towards an equitable and peaceful international order and a durable system of common security.

We hold it to be true that the state exists to guarantee freedom. That freedom includes the right to speak, write, worship, associate and vote freely. We will protect the right of citizens to enjoy privacy in their own lives and homes. The authority of the state derives from the democratic sovereignty of its citizens. We reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and we oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality. Recognising that the quest for freedom and justice can never end, we promote human rights and open government as guarantees of freedom.

Believing that freedom can not be achieved without social justice, we resolve to wage war against poverty and spread wealth and power as fair rewards of skills and efforts. Each citizen possesses inalienable economic rights, which include an effective voice in deciding the conditions in which they live and work; the liberty to buy, sell and produce in circumstances which secure for the consumer real freedom of choice; guarantees against the abuse of monopoly, whether private or public; the opportunity to work at a fair wage; decent homes in a varied and attractive environment; good education and facilities for the full cultivation of the human personality.

We believe that sovereignty should be exercised as close to the level of the citizen as practical, and to that end we believe that effective local government, elected under a fair voting system and which is fully transparent in its decision taking is a vital pillar of a democratic society. We therefore acknowledge the right of citizens to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and commit ourselves to the promotion of a democratic federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.

It is the responsibility of each citizen and the duty of the state to protect and enlarge the conditions of Liberty. The Liberal Democrats consist of women and men working together for the achievement of these aims

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