1. We feel that any true democracy should include an opportunity to protest against the status quo. Around 25% of this country doesnÕt vote in general elections, 65% donŐt vote in local and european elections. We would be more inclined to vote for Ônone of the above« than to spoil my paper or not to use my vote at all. We feel that a true democracy would have an option available that says that I do not feel represented by any of the options above. This way we can also asses how many people really trust our political system and those who run it.
2. "Proportional representation "- This seems to be the next step to breaking the party politics and tactical voting which dominates politics today. It would also stop the big parties rushing policies through by ÔwhippingŐ party members into line.
3. "A written constitution a second elected chamber and a Bill of rights. " We think that a constitution is vital for human rights. How is it that England can force former commonwealth countries (Hong Kong, Antigua..) to have a bill of rights and still not have one itself? The basic reason for this is that the government wants to retain ultimate sovreigntry over its subjects and fears an enforceable bill of rights. Democracy cannot exist without a safeguard and a set of common principles that restricts the powers of the state in order to preserve liberty and self autonomy.
4. "Accountability" - Our demand here is for greater accountability of our public servants. We recommend that misconduct by civil servants and members of the government should be regulated by the courts, as the general public are. The handling of the Scott report is testimony to the fact that justice is not being done. How high status representatives of democracy can get away with such crimes without accepting responsibility is beyond our comprehension. People at the home office should be just as accountable to the law as anyone else, and should take responsibility for the misconduct of their employees as well as the good conduct of their employees.
5. "Transparency of information"- The state has the right at present to hold information on you that you cannot see. You have the right at the moment to request some of your medical records and the like, but there is much of your file which is withheld. this seems to us a travesty. In a democracy we should have the right to see any information about ourselves which is available to anyone else. We see no counter argument to this point at all and would like to see easy access to information about ourselves implemented into a bill of rights for individuals within British democracy.
6. "Controlled legalisation of drugs" - By suggesting the legalisation of drugs we are by no means advocating the use or misuse of drugs, we feel that we must make that absolutely clear before explaining the reason that we believe in the legalisation of drugs. The primary reason for this assertion is an ideological one, and is iterated and reiterated by liberal theologians down the ages. John Stuart Mill and his ÔHarm-To-OthersŐ principle which he outlined in "On liberty" states that a person should have the freedom to do as he/she chooses so long as it doesnŐt harm others. Even if it is self destructive or is seen as immoral by the majority of society that person has a right to a minimal sphere of self autonomy. The sphere of self autonomy ends when it harms others directly. This is not to imply that social pressure is bad but merely to say that coercion is not a legitimate way to control behaviour. We do not advocate easy access to drugs, but would say that there should be discreet licensed areas that could distribute drugs. We would also advocate the restriction of drugs to children or those of diminished responsibility. We would also add that those drugs of an addictive nature should only be distributed after the signing of a declaration of self responsibility, and an admittance that the person in question knows the dangers of the particular drug in question. The problems we see in Hackney relating to drugs arenŐt the drugs themselves but what people are willing to do to get the drugs. The prices and unavailability of drugs does not stop drug addicts but instead drives them in a different direction ie a heroin addict who cannot get heroin ends up taking home made methadone, which is alot more dangerous. If drugs were legalised we would see a reduction in organised crime, and the police could concentrate their efforts more efficiently - overdoses and side effects would be decreased and so would the dangers of chemical drugs such as ecstasy and LSD. We would also sanction heavy taxation of luxury goods, as there is with tobacco and alcohol, which could send more money into the treasury. In this way then, we are recommending a controlled drugs market instead of one that is run by organised crime and gangs.
7. "Scrapping of the criminal justice bill" - So much of this bill is unjust. The trespass laws for example are discriminating directly against certain sections of society, it does this by criminalising trespass which makes it a punishable offence. It states that you are not allowed to enter onto anothers property, even if they are making unlawful activity, which seems to us a direct attack on animal rights protesters. It is also illegal to hold parties with repetitive beats on your own property if there are more than 100 people. This seems to be a direct attack on the rave scene and young people. The new sixty word caution which takes away the right to silence seems a terrible u-turn in English justice. We have previously prided ourselves in a system which says that you are innocent until proven guilty, now though you are effectively guilty until proven innocent.
8. "Curbing the stop and search law" - At present it is seen that Ôreasonable suspicionŐ is required before a police man may stop and search someone, however what reasonable suspicion is, isnŐt clear. The law states that ethnicity, style of hair or dress is not an adequate reason for suspicion and yet one cannot help but think that these prejudices are part of how the police decide who to stop. We are not suggesting any massive change of law here. What we are suggesting is that when you are stopped and searched and vindicated of any crime, that you should receive evidence there and then that you have been searched and cleared, if you are searched five times within the period of one month and not found infringing any law, then you should be given clearance from any searches for the same period, unless supplied with a specific warrent. The police donŐt incur any penalty for arbatarily stopping people, and we must find a way of making them more selective in their judgments.
9. "Keeping the right to a jury" - The home office want to take away the right to a jury. They say that the present system takes too long, in other words they want to make the justice system an assembly line by reducing the rights of the accused. This assertion would be an indictment of rights, and would brand anyone in the dock a criminal without a fair trial, a travesty of justice.
10. "Higher income tax for the rich"- The rich are exploiting us everyday of our lives, the luxury that they enjoy is due to the labour of the poor, and so we feel that they should provide a minimal safety net for those that have little choice but to be born into a system of money and exploitation. This safety net should provide adequate food, water, housing and education. The myth of a lack of resources is not a sufficient excuse for not providing a welfare state, as there is definitely enough to go around. Statistics supplied by J. Revell in ÔSocial TrendsŐ showed that 5% of the population owned 40% of the personal wealth, and even more of the land. This is why we believe in higher taxation for the rich in order to subsidise the poor.
11. "Nationalisation with efficiency"- It is too late now to reverse the trend of privatisation which has already taken place, however it is not too late to stop further privatisation . The privatisation of our national industries was daylight robbery. How was it possible to take something which was built by taxes of everyone, and sell it to the few who could afford it? It also seems totally out of order to privitise things such as water and electricity, which is a necessity and vital for health, in this way we are putting our own health in the hands of free enterprise. It may have been true that the nationalised industries needed stream lining, but we neednŐt take it out of the public sphere in order to make it more efficient.
12. "No production of Nuclear arms"- Though this may seem a redundant issue in the face of the breakdown of the Soviet Union, we still rate the disarmament of nuclear arms as very important. The threat of an obscure madman holding America to ransom is in a way a real consideration, however, we have enough nuclear capability to cover the world with radiation and destroy all major cities, it is for this reason that we feel that the need to keep on investing in more weaponry is an absurd exercise. We accept that total disarmament is too big a step to advocate but the development of more nuclear arms is a decadent waste of money. "The money required to provide adequate food, water, education, health and housing for everyone in the world has been estimated at $17 billion a year. It is a huge sum of money...about as much as the world spends on arms every two weeks."- New Internationalist.
The problems of how you get rid of the bombs safely is a large consideration and should not be taken lightly, and this is part of the reason why we think that nuclear production should cease. How can we keep producing something which we donŐt know how to control? It seems to us that to continue producing nuclear arms is a destructive policy with little use, even with the threat of a nuclear war.
13."The break up of nuclear power in favour of other types of energy." - Nuclear power counts for a considerable part of our energy sources, and with the ever diminishing supplies of coal, oil and gas, it seems that nuclear power is set to become a major source of our energy supply. However we find this trend disturbing. The centralised location of leukemia around nuclear power plants is only one of the points of concern. We also have to consider how much radiation is leaking into our food cycle and the possibilities of another Chernobyl.
14. "Preservation of the green belt"- We made a green belt of protected land that was to transcend the powers of transient governments and yet over the last 18 years we have seen the rape of the green belt. This is something that I strongly disagree with.
15. "Encouragement of new farming and distribution"- My concerns here are about the effects of chemicals on our environment and ourselves. One example of our capacity for self-destruction is in the effects of synthetic eastrogens in our food and water cycles. Synthetic eastrogen is in our water supply, our pesticides, our paint, in our plastics (including packaging). The effects of synthetic oestrogens can be illustrated by an in which some male fish were left caged in an outflow of a sewage plant which went straight into a river, within a week these fish were producing female hormones!These chemicals are affecting rates of infertility and breast cancer. This desecration cannot continue, if only for our own sake. We must eliminate pesticides and plastics from our food cycles, and we can do this by subsidising organic farming and changing the packaging we use.
16. "Join Europes social chapter, and enforce European human rights in British law, with a view to seriously consider the single currency".- Europe is the big issue on every ones mind. On one hand we donŐt see that we have much choice in not joining the common market as we need the European market more than Europe needs us, however a single currency is not the only way to form a common market. We think that it would be favourable to form a commonwealth of states by adopting common human rights and a social chapter. I know that we will not be able to reach the first deadline to join a single market, but we shouldnŐt count it out as a possibility in the distant future.
17. "Minimum wage"- We resent the accusation that a minimum wage would increase inflation and cripple the economy. We do feel that it could hurt small businesses a certain amount, but we are more resentful of the fact that but we are considered the sweat shop of Europe. We have sold out our work force and unions in order to bring foreign industry, but wouldnŐt we be better off encouraging home industry and tertiary services than prostituting our population to Japan, America and Germany.
18. "Open negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland".- How can John Major imply that he has furthered talks, when not all of the parties are represented? Denying the Sinn Fein media coverage does little to further the situation, on the contrary it helps produce a feeling of social alienation and consequentially increases frustration. There is no easy solution to the problems in Northern Ireland. The people in the six counties are split in their desires, the people of Ireland are not able to sustain Northern Ireland economically and the British government is unwilling to lose face by giving it up, and the forming of another state would only seem to cause a blood bath. It is not a question now of choosing sides, but of collectively finding a solution through compromise, after all, we assume that the general populous only want peace. It is only organised crime, and governments that are profiting from this present situation, itŐs time for change. Lets give peace a chance.
19: "Preservation of the libraries"- 50% of Hackneys libraries were closed last year and this is serving to create a less educated and book friendly populous. I believe that libraries are a centre of local activity, both for schools and politics, and to reduce the amount of libraries would reduce the quality of education and the amount of political participation, which is already scaringly low.
20: "Political philosophy and morality as a subject on the national curriculum".- I feel that political participation is vital for democracy, and that the amount of education given before the average person leaves school is not sufficient to participate in politics. The remedy for this would be to incorporate politics into the national curriculum.
21. "Bicycle lanes"- Bicycles have no right on the pavements, and are in constant danger on the roads, cycle lanes would be an effective way of preventing harm to cyclists and cutting the amount of cyclists who feel compelled to use the pavements, which is infuriating for pedestrians.
22. "No dual carriageway through Stoke Newington"- This plan would split the community in half which is the last thing that StokeNewington needs.
21. "No positive discrimination"- We find that the words positive and discrimination are a contradiction in terms, no discrimination is positive. The problem of prejudice needs to be addressed, but not by nationalism. Nationalism only serves to split society, whether it be colour, language or religious. No nationalism is justifiable, even in order to counter a nationalism by an oppressive majority. It is oneness that should serve to unify people. Identity is good, nationalism is bad.
Nationalism only serves to split society, whether it be colour, language or religious. No nationalism is justifiable, even in order to counter a nationalism by an oppressive majority. It is oneness that should serve to unify people. Identity is good, nationalism is bad.
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