So, today it’s all been about constitutional and electoral reform. The New Party promise to deliver the things they promised to deliver 13 years ago with a majority of 160. The flagship idea is a referendum on the Alternative Vote, which is not proportionate, and which would favour the New Party themselves, and another on Lords reform, which they could have delivered a long time ago if it suited them. The Real Tories are proposing a nonsensical set of proposals which would lead to parliament endlessly debating any old shit that people sign up for on the Interweb, whilst the Lib Dems are proposing what they always propose.
But none of them propose what would be in my view the most far-reaching and radical constitutional reform, which is the disestablishment of the Church of England. There are many good reasons why this would be a good thing; not least for Catholics, who are institutionally excluded from power. Look at how Blair still felt he had to wait until he had left Downing Street before declaring himself a left-footer; or how we still feel so threatened by the Papist menace that the heir to the throne is prevented from marrying a Catholic by law. Fair enough that the Bishop of Rome shall have no jurisdiction in this realm of England; but why should any other religious group have any jurisdiction either?
I would like to see Britain becoming a secular society, with no special dispensation for people with religious views over agnostics or atheists. I would like to see an end to faith schools, whether they are funded by seemingly benign vicars or Saudi Wahibists. I do feel that a jury have a right to see the face of the accused in a trial. I do feel that Catholics, Sikhs, Jews (unconverted, unlike Disraeli), Hindus, or Muslims should have the right to become Prime Minister. And all of this is impossible so long as the Prime Minister gets to choose Anglican bishops (I know it’s nominally the monarch who chooses, but in our system the Prime Minister has all the powers of the monarch), or so long as the Bishops sit in the House of Lords. If political parties are serious about an elected Lords, then the Bishops will lose their seats anyway. If we are serious about ending discrimination, then the privileged position of the Cof E has to end as a first step towards secularisation.
Here in Wales, the Church of Wales has been disestablished since 1920, and this is the sexiest nation on Earth. So it must be a good thing…