Monday, 22 July 2013

The Commonwealth of Britain Bill revised

The Commonwealth of Britain Bill was a bill first introduced in 1991 by Tony Benn, then a Labour Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. It proposed abolishing the British monarchy, with the United Kingdom becoming a "democratic, federal and secular commonwealth", in effect, a republic with a written constitution. It was read in Parliament a number of times until his retirement in 2001, but never achieved a second reading. Under the bill:

  • The constitutional status of the Crown would be ended; 
  • The Church of England would be disestablished; 
  • The head of state would be the President, elected by a joint sitting of both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament; 
  • Many functions of the Royal Prerogative would not be transferred to the President, but instead to Parliament; 
  • The Privy Council would be abolished, and replaced by a Council of State; The House of Lords would be replaced by an elected House of the People, with equal representation of men and women; The House of Commons would similarly have equal representation of men and women; 
  • England, Scotland and Wales would have their own National Parliaments; County Court judges and magistrates would be elected; and British jurisdiction over Northern Ireland would be ended.

We at Autonomous England differ from Benn in believing that true Republicanism and the self-determination of the British nations can only be fully realised within a union of independent Republics based on the decentralised model of the Commune.  There is no need for a British president, symbolic or otherwise, when the people of each nation, region, city or town control their own government and work in a system of co-operation.  There is nothing to be gained from petitioning for a head-of-state selected from the privileged few.  Victory can come only come from the complete overthrow of the existing system and a Commonwealth of friendship and self-determination.

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