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Emma B BS: Is the Presidency obsolete in the USA? (60* d) RE: BS: Is the Presidency obsolete in the USA? 30 Jul 10

Chartism "possibly the first mass working class labour movement in the world."
was a movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the mid-19th century, between 1838 and 1850.

It takes its name from the People's Charter of 1838, which stipulated the six main aims of the movement - only one of these has not been obtained

1 A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for crime.
2 The secret ballot. - To protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
3 No property qualification for members of Parliament - thus enabling the constituencies to return the man of their choice, be he rich or poor.
4 Payment of members, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the Country.
5 Equal Constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of large ones…….well 'almost' obtained but folks keep moving

6 Annual parliaments, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since though a constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelve-month; and since MEMBERS, WHEN ELECTED FOR A YEAR ONLY, WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DEFY AND BETRAY THEIR CONSTITUENTS AS NOW.

- Wiki

While it was argued that a government needs more than a year to show how it has improved society it was also said that the Chartist desire to see Members of Parliament elected every year would have turned them from representatives into delegates
'This delegate principle was also practised by the Chartists themselves within their own organisations and meetings. At most of these the chairing of meetings was rotated amongst the membership as a basic principle. This also, however, promoted their ideal of participation, giving all who attended the chance to exercise power and know what it felt like'

The Chartist movement believed that people had no one else but themselves to blame for the actions of their politicians and that annual parliaments would allow the electorate to vote out unpopular or unsatisfactory candidates

At least one contemporary historian concludes had an annual election been implimneted as well

"The framing of legislation and its acceptance by the will of the people would have been unrecognisable and would probably have fulfilled the wishes of the Chartists in their quest to combat the 'politics of the excluded'.

'If Chartists were to bring their scrutiny further upon our modern system they would also feel compelled to criticise how our MPs have ended up as representatives rather than as the delegates they sought to institute.
They would criticise the presumption of MPs to think, speak and vote 'on behalf ' of the electorate as a species of arrogance, with the result that 21st-century Britain has succumbed to the rule of a professional governing class.
From this, the Chartists would argue, stem many contemporary ills.
The scandal over MPs expenses is a clear consequence of a failure to pay members properly, but more importantly a token of the surrender of the principles of accountability and the regular renewal of Parliament's covenant with those it was established to serve.
These two factors, so Chartists would argue, encourage and actively promote cynicism towards Parliament and politicians, resulting in an electorate increasingly estranged from the political process. In such an unhealthy political climate, interest and participation becomes the grudgingly unusual exception rather than the virtuous norm'
- David Nash . fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an officer of the Social History Society of Great Britain.


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