Harrogate Agenda, 12/09/2000  


One consequence of Germany losing the Second World War was that the successor state to the Third Reich had imposed upon it a new constitution, in which British legal experts had a part to play.  It is thus highly significant that Article 20 of that constitution (the Basic Law) declares that all state authority comes from the people. Although not specifically stated, the effect of this was to recognise that the German people are sovereign. 

Despite the British effectively bequeathing this principle to a nation it had a hand in vanquishing, it does not apply to the people of the United Kingdom.  Instead, we have the doctrine of “Parliamentary sovereignty”. Parliament is the supreme legal authority in the UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty, says the Parliamentary website, is the most important part of the UK constitution.

We believe this should change, not least because, in the name of parliamentary sovereignty, our MPs have a licence to ignore the wishes of the people and to hand power to bodies such as the European Union. This has led to a situation where UK courts recognise the supremancy of EU law in preference to our own, and can strike down laws made by Parliament.

However, we do not believe that we should make a statement along the lines of the German constitution, declaring the source of power. What can be made can be unmade.  What can be granted can be rescinded.  Instead, we take our guidance from the United States constitution, which starts with the words: “We the people … ”. In so doing, it signifies that the fount of all political power stems from the people, but there is no declaration of sovereignty as such. Sovereignty is regarded as inalienable. Because of that, it cannot be taken away by any body, governmental or otherwise.

In our deliberations, we thought we should make the same assumption, that the people of the United Kingdom are sovereign, from whom all power stems. Sovereignty, however, has to be more than an abstract. It needs to be given effect. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to have a declaration of the “state of the art”, which would frame our first demand - that the sovereignty of the people be formally recognised by the Crown, by our Governments, and by our Courts, Parliaments and Assemblies.

As to the declaration, there are many forms of words, and variations which might be used. The essence is conveyed by this phrasing:

We, the Sovereign Citizens of the United Kingdom do hereby redeem and declare our Sovereignty. We assert our right, jointly and severally, to the ownership of the United Kingdom, and to the unfettered control thereof. As a sovereign people, owing no allegiance or duty to any other government or state beyond these shores, we are not bound by any statutes or laws other than those, which we ourselves approve.

The form taken by any formal recognition is not important. But, in a country where great store is laid by ceremony, it would be fitting to have a Royal Proclamation, affirmations by the Prime Minister and the First Ministers of the devolved governments, and formal declarations by both Westminster Houses of Parliament, and by the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies.

The essential effect of a declaration of sovereignty and its formal recognition is the recognition that power resides with us, the people, making government in all its manifestations subordinate to us. Government must be the servant of the people, not their master. It is there to do our bidding, in a manner of our choosing.






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