Our campaign is about giving the people of Wales and Britain the power to make our government more democratic, more effective and more efficient. We believe that this can only be done legitimately through a referendum process, however we believe the process of direct democracy on its own is not enough to deliver the changes we need. Reforming our political system is essential but initiatives for political reform will struggle to reach the 50,000 signatures required for subjects that will be specialised, and quite boring for many of us. Our solution is to have a Constitutional Commission whose function is to accelerate the evolution of the political system.
The Commission is able to create this acceleration because it has the power to send proposed reforms to the Welsh Assembly for adoption with fewer signatures than would be required to initiate an ordinary referendum.
If the Assembly refused to adopt the reforms that were assisted by the Commission they would automatically go to referendum. The Commission can reject proposed legislation, but if it does the groups proposing legislation can still use the full initiative process if they can get enough support.
Our Commission is not envisaged as a large powerful institution, rather we see the Commission as a small body whose main function is to assist groups campaigning for political reform. An example of an important but small body is the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. This committee of nine people only need to work part time but the decision they make, setting interest rates, is one of the most important economic decisions that have to be made.
The members of the Commission must be independent of the Assembly and political parties. Their influence and importance must also be limited. This can be done by restricting each Commissioner to a two year, non-renewable term of office. They will have no power to create legislation or amend proposals. The purpose of this is to ensure that the debate about the reforms we need is pushed out into society. The proposals will come from activists, but they will need wider support before they can approach the Commission. This means that they must campaign, educate and inform people about their proposals, and have them challenged and tested. Once they have obtained support, they and their supporters will have the opportunity to create real change, and this, combined with direct democracy, is the remedy for political apathy, because it gives people a real say in how politics works. The importance of this part of our system is not the Commissioners, it's the process we are creating and the way that the process engages and empowers the people of Wales.