|Government & Constitution|
WE'RE NOT A "KINGDOM" - MAKE IT OFFICIAL
Nearly 250 years ago, in the then British colony of North America, a group of far-sighted citizens made a momentous and revolutionary declaration: Because "All men are created equal" (read for this 'all humans ' of course) - it follows from this that that we have a duty of obedience & servitude to God alone - not to any human king or queen, emperor, duke, tsar, sultan or whatever they call themselves. The American Declaration of Independence was a breathtaking leap into the future, as the world then was in Europe, Asia and Africa. Since then most countries have taken this same step forward - but incredibly, not in our own country. We've got the world's oldest parliament - but all our laws still have to be signed by the "monarch" - the king or queen; who also gets to "ask" the party winning the election to form a government. Our armed forces have to swear their "allegiance" to this same person, and they are a part of our unwritten constitution in other ways.
How can we allow this setup to continue in the 21st century - for us all to have this obligation to a man or woman whose "right" to this position comes not from being elected, or from any talent or achievement - but just because it's been passed to them by their mother and father ? It's insane. What kind of message about equality of opportunity does this send to today's children, when they see this power, not earned by an election, but inherited - passed down through the generations from father to son, mother to daughter, kept in one special family like they have some magic powers - the "blue blood" nonsense.
Should the Queen be "Elizabeth the Last" ?
Passing stuff down to our children is fine for posessions - our house, our books, our car. But NOT political power even when it's mostly symbolic - that can't be inherited, it has to be earned. Nobody has any objection to the "Royals" carrying on with their same titles, or even living in the same palaces - I'm sure they are all good people and give us a link with our pre-democratic past history. But it's high time we ended their involvement with our constitution. And end all the 'oaths of allegiance', the bowing and scraping, the deference.
The Royals would be allowed to keep using all their titles - queens, kings, princes, dukes, duchesses, whatever. Nobody has anything against that. Mainstream is happy for their 'royal' line to continue into the future: Charles, Harry, William, Meghan, whoever; according to their succession 'rules'. The much-valued tourism attraction of royal ceremonies would still continue.
But in reality they'd be ordinary citizens, just like you or me - with a vote at elections just like everybody who's 18 or over. There's precedents for this in countries such as Greece and Roumania - their 'Royals' and aristocracy still carry on, taking the same titles - Queens, Kings, princesses, dukes, etc - but they have no part in the constitution, don't mediate between party leaders to form governments, and their citizens don't have to swear oaths of allegiance.
This is called EQUALITY. None of the establishment parties want this equality. We do.
Your Monarchy FAQs
Q Is it Mainstream policy for us to become a Republic?
A. NO. We should be called what we ARE - a parliamentary democracy - NOT a "republic" , a term which has bad connotations of tricolour flags, violent uprisings, Republican parties, and so on.
Q. Would MAINSTREAM abolish the Monarchy ?
A. NO WAY. Leave them alone - they would be able to carry on most of the same titles as now, with "coronations" for the latest Queen or King. All they would be required to give up would be the involvement they now have with our government - signing laws, meeting party leaders after general elections, being the object of oaths of allegiance or any servitude displays such as bowing or kneeling. "A Cat may look at a King!" as the saying goes.
Q. Would they carry on being crowned as "Queen of England" or "King of England" as now?
A. If they want to, yes. They would be able to keep using all of their titles, "King Charles", or "King Harry" , "Queen Eugenie", "Princess whatever", and so on.
Q. Would the Queen or King have any power if your policies were implemented?
A. NO. Only as head of the Church of England, the post they have held since the Reformation.
Q. Would the Royals have their expenses paid by the taxpayer, as now?
A. No. Important residences such as Buckingham Palace would be taken over by the National Trust; but all the "Royal" families would be able to carry on living in their existing homes.
Q. When would be a good and convenient time to make this change?
A. What better time than at the end of the present Queen's "reign" ? Queen Elizabeth II has already set the record for holding this office and will no doubt go down in history as a great queen and a wonderful person, who starting as a shy teenage girl, has seen this country in enormous changes from the end of the last war, to a very different place today.
Q. What would be the biggest effect of this change on ordinary people?
A. Our country's name - the present name of "United Kingdom" (since 1971) is already meaningless as we've been a kingdom in name only for many centuries. We'd use the correct name again, Great Britain .
Q. Would the prefix "Royal" have to stop being used - as in "Royal Navy", etc?
A. No - that could all stay , Royal Air Force, HMS for warships, and so on. And charities (such as the RSPCA) with the "Royal" prefix would carry on with the same titles.
Q. If these reforms were to go ahead, wouldn't we need a new National Anthem ?
A. Yes and high time.
A FIXED WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
For the 21st century we need our mix of conventions and traditions updating with a proper written constitution. MAINSTREAM would, after a period of consulting with other parties, draw up a constitution and put it to the people in a referendum, for acceptance or rejection; The constitution would be a set of principles, to guide Parliament and lawmakers in the future. Among the suggested principles for the new constitution:
Our government system re-defined officially from Constitutional Monarchy to Parliamentary Democracy, with no place for the Monarchy in any constitutional role. A set of "Rights" - some of which would be universal (freedom of speech, freedom to walk safely in the streets,etc) and sme of which would be for our own citizens only (Rights to free school education, free medical care, certain welfare benefits and so on). Also a new Human Right to pass on our culture to future generations.
The acknowledgment that Rights can never come without Responsibilities, and that we all have a responsibility to behave towards our fellow-citizens, as we would wish them to behave towards us .
All laws based on the principle that people who infringe other people's human rights (eg by attacking them or stealing their property) - will be punished by having some of their own rights TAKEN AWAY for a period of time (eg by losing their liberty, and being locked up)
Freedom of the Press and Media being absolute with no form of state control; with the existing libel and slander laws, available where the press makes false allegations. Reporters who break privacy laws eg by hacking private phones or E-mails, would together with their editors and managers, face severe penalties.
Marriage would be defined in the constitution as a state which may only exist between one Man and one Woman.
The constitution would officially state that we are a Meritocracy. This means that all advancement (eg employement, college places etc) must be based ONLY on the applicant's merit and skills, with no account being taken of their sex, colour, religion and so on. This enshrines the principle that the way to economic advancement is by self-improvement, by merit alone, not by right and certainly never through any quota system. Our citizens who make the effort to work harder, who save rather than spend on non-necessities, who learn new skills, study and get qualifications, must be entitled to a bigger share of the cake than those who can't be bothered to do this. The welfare benefits system must be there for all citizens but it should be a minimum safety-net to ensure none of our citizens starve; not an alternative way of life to working for a living.
REFORM THE COMMONS
Mainstream would bring the Commons into the 21st century; normal working hours (8 - 5) instead of crucial debates taking place in the middle of the night. There would be creche facilities for female MPs with babies, including a nursing room for nursing mothers, so there would be no excuse for publicity stunts such as taking infants into the debating chamber; this is supposed to be a workplace after all. (Although in the last few months a lot of the MPs have been behaving more like spoilt children than adults).
The United States constitution requires that all presidents must have been born in the US. Why not the same requirement here? It makes sense. Let's make a rule that only MPs born in the UK are eligible to be Prime Minister. And to stand as an MP in the Commons, it should be a requirement to have been a UK citizen for at least 18 years.
Quotas for Parliament - do you agree?
REFORM THE UPPER HOUSE
The House of Lords used to be all hereditary "Lords" - our betters, peers of the realm. Then Labour changed this to create appointed peers, who now form the majority. The result is that the Lords has now become a sort of second-rate Commons - most of the members are party hacks, put there to reflect the establishment parties in the Commons . We've now got the worst of both worlds. At least with the hereditary Lords and Ladies, they were not professional politicians and had an independent outlook; often they were more in touch with the public, than the elected commons. The new lot are the party hacks - many of them, failed MPs who got defeated at elections. They are just as out-of-touch with the average voter, as their party comrades in the House of Commons. They take their orders from their respective party leaders in the Commons.
MAINSTREAM wants all remaining 'hereditary' peers OUT NOW. They need to pick up their laptops and briefcases, and all file out of the building, and never go back. It's unbelievable in the 21st century, we still allow lawmakers to inherit the role from their parents.
That still leaves too many members in the 'Lords' - if they all came in to 'work', there wouldn't be enough seats. We'd get rid of some of these to get the numbers down, to equal the number of seats in the Lords. Future appointments would not be for serving a party, but on grounds only of achievement in some sphere such as science, sport, and so on. The Anglican bishops could stay, but there would be bishops allowed from other religions, and leaders from the Jewish, Moslem etc, faiths. However the revamped upper chamber should still be called the 'Lords' .
TAKE 'SECOND VOTE' AWAY FROM STUDENTS
back to 'One Person, One Vote', please
The Electoral Commission recently changed registration rules to let university students register in both their home and college addresses; the idea being that in a general election, they could choose between these two locations where they felt they 'belonged to' the most - and then vote only once, in this place. However in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 elections, thousands of students voted in BOTH home and college constituencies, after being advised by their union and on social media that this was legal and what they should do. Many university towns (eg Canterbury) are very marginal constituencies, so where an election outcome is narrow (as in both 2015 and 2017) - these cheating students could literally have changed the election outcome. Corbyn could now be leader of the largest party in the commons, instead of leader of the opposition. We'll never know - the Electoral Commission did no investigations into this double-vote fraud, and ordered all ballot box records to be destroyed after the election.
It's disgusting that this is allowed to happen in a so-called democracy. It's taking us back to the bad old pre-1960s days, when Cambridge and Oxford undergraduates had an extra vote in their uni towns; because they were "our betters and our leaders of the future". When Labour's Harold Wilson won in 1964, the very first action he took, quite rightly, was to abolish the Oxbridge students' double-vote privilege. As with all Britain's many bizarre and absurd laws, we are (as you probably guessed) the ONLY democratic country in the world, which lets its students vote twice - while all the rest of the adult population get to vote only once. You couldn't make it up.
MAINSTREAM wants this outdated University student privilege abolished immediately. Students should be treated no differently from non-students who work away from home for long periods - they make a choice when they start their course, which location they will spend the most time in; and register in this place only. Then they just apply for a postal vote, so they won't need to travel a long way to vote. Simples.
"SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE" REFORM
By centuries-old tradition in Parliament, the House of Commons speaker is chosen by vote from among the MPs; and from then on, he or she acts as an impartial referee, above party loyalities; whatever the party is they actually represent. No problems with any of that.
But when the next election comes, in their own constituency they have to stand as "the Speaker", instead of for their actual party. This means their own constituents aren't given the opportunity to vote for one of the main national parties, just for "the Speaker" as some kind of non-party figure. This rule is outdated and absurd. We would change this procedure to bring common-sense . There's a few alternative ways to fix this problem. We could insist they resign from being an MP and stay in the House as a 651st member who doesn't need to be re-elected; then hold a by-election in his or her constituency. Or the simplest way is probably to make them stand for Parliament at elections in the normal way - representing their correct party, with other parties standing against them. There should be no contradiction in them standing for election for one particular party, and then if they are re-elected, from then on doing their job of a neutral, impartial arbiter. We can trust them to do that - surely.
END PAID PARLIAMENTARY "LOBBYING"
Parliamentary "Lobbying" - where private companies give large amounts of money to MPs, to represent their interests in Parliament - has no earthly justification; it is anti-democratic, and opens MPs up to temptation and corruption. Mainstream would BAN this outdated practice totally. Period.
This needs applying to the House of Lords as well, as shown in a recent event where 'Lord' Hain used his parliamentary privilege to breach a court injunction, naming Philip Green. Hain conveniently forgot to mention he has a financial interest in the law firm, Gordon Dadds, involved in this case. ('Has a financial interest', to you and me means 'he gets lots of money from them'.). Since no members of the Lords were elected - they are either the hereditary hangers-on variety, or appointed party hacks like Hain - they have even less justification for being paid lobbyists than Commons MPs; they are in effect abusing their status as members of parliament, to get loads of extra income on the side.
FREEZE OPINION POLLS IN RUN-UP TO ELECTIONS
Allowing opinion polls in the final weeks before general elections (or referendums) has been proved to influence voting and so is anti-democratic. If party A is shown to be high in the polls, it makes their supporters not bother to go and vote, as they think a win for A is a foregone conclusion. Likewise supporters of other parties B, C etc may not bother voting, as believing their parties have no chance anyway, will think there is no point in voting. The only truly democratic vote is where nobody has any idea, which parties have, or don't have, the most public support. That way there is 'everything to play for' - and everybody will vote, voting numbers will increase. So Mainstream would like to see a ban on opinion polls in the final six weeks before any election or referendum.
Opinion polls your FAQs
Q. How would the ban be enforced in today's digital world? Even if TV and the press don't publish the opinion polls, they will come out on social media anyway.
A. No the ban would be total - on publishing the polls, AND on polling (asking the questions). No-one's got a right to know how other people intend to vote. If people get phoned up or stopped in the street, and asked their voting intentions during the freeze period, they should say 'mind your own business' or give a wrong answer. There would be a hotline to report offenders who try to get your opinions. Our society needs to be less obsessed with trying to 'predict' election results, and just wait and see what happens on the night.
ELECTIONS ARE NOT JUST ABOUT VOTERS!
Theresa May's disastrous snap election in 2017 was intended to catch the other parties off balance and it was blatantly unfair; the tories were able to plan secretly in advance, but all the other parties had only 23 days to sort their finances, select their candidates and plan their campaigns . The fixed-term parliament act was supposed to stop prime ministers calling snap elections for their own party benefit.
But this minimum notice period of 23 days was NOT defined by the government, but by the so-called independent "Electoral Commission". After the MPs expenses scandals of 2009, the Electoral commission did a knee-jerk clampdown on the finances of ALL political parties. It was only the major parties who were fiddling the expenses - but the Electoral Commission used this excuse for a massive, draconian regime on all parties, big and small. There's over 100 democracies in the world - but our electoral rules are by far and away, the most complicated. The rules are so complex you need lawyers and accountants - big parties can afford these, minor parties can't.
The Electoral Commission in order to 'further democracy', also changed election timetables to get as many voters as possible on the electoral roll - putting the Voter 'at the heart' of democracy. But this has made life more difficult for the parties and candidates. Candidates only have 23 days to get their nominations in - voters have 50 days to register to vote. New voters can get on the register literally, two days before polling day even though they have had months to do this. How can candidates communicate with these voters when they are so late getting on the register?
Democracy is NOT ONLY just about cramming as many as possible on to the electoral roll, at the last minute, to maximise voting. Democracy is about the candidates also - a healthy democracy needs to make it easy (and cheap) for men and women to stand for Parliament and for new parties to be formed. That way we can move on, replace the establishment parties' stranglehold, and get real change.
MAINSTREAM would like a minimum 6 weeks from an election being called, to the close of nominations. And the deadline for new voters to register would be one month prior to the polling day - this is the minimum time needed realistically, to confirm a person's identity including address, date of birth etc.
THE POSTAGE-STAMP THAT HAS NO NAME
We're the only country in the world, not to put our country's name on our stamps. So what? Does this matter?
The reason supposedly, is because we invented postage stamps, we were the first, so we don't need to bother putting "Great Britain" or "UK" on our stamps. The rest of the world is just supposed to know. When letters with our stamps arrive in other countries, their posties say "it's OK lads ... stamps with no country on ? They're from Britain". Hello! It's the 21st century, the colonialist era ended long ago. Leaving our name off is arrogant and colonialist . Mainstream will make the Royal Mail put our country name on our stamps.
CAN WE EVER GET 'EQUALITY OF OUTCOME' ?
How do we define Equality ? For some people it means equality of opportunity - we all have an equal right to apply for a job, whatever - whether we get accepted is down to our merit. Others argue equality means equality of outcome - we select the successful applicants not on their merit, skills etc, but on their physical attributes such as sex, colour, etc, to make the group up to the same pattern as the general population (so: 50% male, 50% female; the percentage of minority groups, to exactly match the percentage in the whole population.
The problem is (with reference to job applications) - if you take the second method you're actually breaking employment anti-discrimination laws, which specifically forbid taking someone's sex or colour into consideration - only their CV should count. There are well-established tests to check if this law is being broken: you send in two pretend candidates of different colours, with exactly the same skills and ability levels on their CV. The black one (say) goes in first. If they get told there's no jobs left, then you send the white one in five minutes later, and if they get accepted then it does look like discrimination. You report it to the police. And vice versa - if the white one goes in and is told the job's taken - then the black one, exactly the same CV, goes in and gets taken on - this is a criminal offence under discrimination law, and has been since the 1970's.
There's also the question of 'lifestyle choices'. The tories made all companies complete 'Gender audits' this year, you have to calculate the result of the audit using a given formula, but the maths is incorrect. If two employees both earn £15 an hour, one works 38 hours a week and the other works only 19 hours a week - so one person takes £285 a week home, the other person £570 a week. This 'audit' calls this a pay 'gap' of 50%. Of course it isn't - it's the rate per hour that counts, not the total pay.
Obviously the person who works twice the hours, takes home twice the money! Not rocket science. Most big employers give starters the choice if they want to work full or part time .The latter 'flexible working' is a boon to people with family commitments - like a lot of women, who want time off to take children to school, look after infants, etc. If they were only allowed to work full time, they'd have to decline the job and would have no job.
UK Prisons - getting equality could take 144 years
Let's look at another example : the Prison population; it's sometimes said this is unfairly distributed. There's 97,500 people in prison in the UK today. That's split into 93,600 men and 3,900 women. Not much equality here. How do we even these numbers ? There's several ways to do this.
The quickest way is releasing 90,000 male prisoners immediately. Then the numbers are equal and several prisons empty, so some spare buildings. The downside: thousands of murderers and rapists wandering round the streets.
Or you could stop sending men to jail until the numbers are equal. Gradually, as people's sentences end the male prison population would decline and eventually we would get equality: it's been estimated this will take 84 years.
The third way is change the so-called "Sentencing guidelines" for crimes , so that men get fined ; only women go to prison. This is called the "affirmative action" or "quotas" solution. It's estimated using this way, getting equality of the sexes would take 144 years! Can we wait that long?
Equality of Outcome your FAQs
Q. Why are women only 4% of prisoners? Is the law biased against males?
A. No, It's because men commit far more serious crimes than women. Nearly all criminals are male people. That's true not just here, but all over the world. Simples.
Q. Is that because it's impossible for some crimes to be committed by women?
A. That's true only for rape - unique in that it can be comitted only by males. No the reason is down to the different make-up of males and females. Men have stronger sex drives, lose their temper more easily, are more aggressive; (all wars in history have been started by men). Women are less confrontational, less agressive, drive more carefully, and so on. It's those "Lifestyle differences" again.
Q. Some people say there's too few women in politics. Could that be a lifestyle issue too?
A. We all have equal opportunity to stand for Parliament, as long as we're 18 or over and a UK citizen. (And have £500 to spare). But 'wannabee politicians' are mostly male, so the evidence seems to point to lifestyle.
Q. How d'you know that ? Have you compared the numbers of male vs. female candidates for the main parties?
A. NO - that doesn't give a true picture because the main parties apply rules which exclude one or other sex from applying in some seats (even though that's in breach of employment law). You have to look at minor party and independent candidates - these are the guys making their OWN decision about standing for parliament - not given the nod by party bigwigs. This gives a true picture of the male-female split among wannabees. In the 2015 Election, the total (Independent + Minor Parties) candidates (ignoring Northern Ireland) was 528 men, 133 women. An 80% - 20% split.
THE HIGHEST BAR
Should allegations alone disqualify a candidate?
The Brett Kavanaugh affair in the USA exposed a deep divide between those saying candidates for high office can be disqualified only on the grounds of serious, and proven, misconduct; and those who say that allegations alone are sufficient, especially if there are multiple allegations.
MAINSTREAM never comments on other countries' politicians - naturally, it's only US citizens who've got the right to comment on the Kavanaugh case implications. BUT these principles are now being discussed in relation to the UK. Several commentators saying that, for the highest legal positions (such as a high court judge or an MP), that yes, allegations alone against a candidate should rule him / her out of the running.
STOP! We need to nip this dangerous and disgraceful idea in the bud before it spreads any further. An allegation is just that - an allegation, no different from a rumour or gossip. It must never count against anybody, anywhere, in any context. This is true whether there is one allegation, or ten allegations - or a thousand of them. Qualification for any job depends on facts alone - and that means allegations which have in a court process, been PROVED true. All our principles of Justice depend on this.
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