Constitution

TedDemoc

TED Talks – Why democracy matters

The public is losing faith in democracy, says British MP Rory Stewart. Iraq and Afghanistan’s new democracies are deeply corrupt; meanwhile, 84 percent of people in Britain say politics is broken. In this important talk, Stewart sounds a call to action to rebuild democracy, starting with recognizing why democracy is important — not as a […]

22-10-2013 11-08-17

Rory Speaks on the Scottish Independence Referndum

Transcript I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and my colleagues for allowing me to contribute to the debate. I feel that it is very difficult for someone who represents an English constituency to speak about this subject. I want briefly to discuss three questions. First, should there be a referendum at all? Secondly, what are […]

22-10-2013 11-03-25

Rory Speaks in Debate on Lords Reform

Transcript It is unfortunate that the debate has turned into an attack on the Liberal Democrats. This is a huge opportunity for reform. There has been a lot of talk about the 21st century and democracy, and there is an important democratic opportunity in the Bill that I hope the Liberal Democrats will lead us […]

rory_NTSkidstrees

Fixing Democracy

Teacher: “What does your father do, little Billy?” “He plays the piano in an opium den”. Teacher calls home. Father: “I lied: but how can you tell an eight year old boy that his father is a politician?” In polls, more than eighty per cent of the public feel ‘politics is broken’. When strangers discover I’m […]

westminster-palace-01

on constitutional reform

Britain has faced over the last twenty years a blizzard of constitutional change.  In most countries it would count as a revolution. It is driven by a theory called ‘the separation of powers’. This is an old obsession of political theorists, derived from a French philosopher’s misunderstanding of the British system in 1748. It has […]

22-10-2013 10-47-53

on judicial sentencing

What is the point of a parliamentary debate? It isn’t about changing MPs’ minds or their votes. It wasn’t, even in the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1860s Trollope describes how MPs almost always voted on party lines. But they and he still felt that parliamentary debate mattered, because it set the terms of the public […]

HousesofParliament

constitutional reform

Good policies start from what is here, now; from what people are demanding; and from what we can do. Bad policies start from what ought to be present, what people ought to want, and what we ought to achieve. Thus a good decision, on how many sheep to keep on a fell, draws on an […]

House of Lords

Make the Lords Stand for Election? First, Let’s Sit and Think

First published in The New York Times, March 17 2007. When I visited Baghdad in 2003 and 2004, I found senior people in the Coalition Provisional Authority largely uninterested in events in the province where I was based. They focused on writing a draft constitution for Iraq. Paul Bremer III was excited about the document […]