Tuesday, 25 June 2024

From The Liberty Wall – 4WR – A Charter For Freedom: Interview With Peter Challen Of The Independent Constitutionalists

THE FOLLOWING article appeared on the Facebook page of Fourth World Review4WR – towards the middle of last month https://www.facebook.com/groups/288486767860011/?ref=br_tf It features an interview with Rev Peter Challen, a representative of a reasonably new political group called the Independent Constitutionalists.

The Independent Constitutionalists have some remarkably similar ideas to the NLPs – although there are clear differences as well. National Liberals would be particularly interested in the ICs call for England to become a sovereign nation state, their regionalist agenda and a call for ‘a written constitution based on a living charter of principles called a People’s 21st Century Magna Carta.’

We hope our readers will find this interview of interest. As always we positively encourage debate! The National Liberal Party would really appreciate your comments – good bad or indiffent – on this 4WR interview with Peter Challen. To share your views, simply look out for this article on the National Liberals facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/?fref=nf and have your say in the comments section.


A Charter For Freedom: Interview With Peter Challen Of The Independent Constitutionalists

Rev. Peter Challen of the Independent Constitutionalists UK

SOME READERS may recall that Wayne John Sturgeon interviewed Rev Peter Challen in issue 153 (Winter 2011) of Fourth World Review – 4WR. This interview focused on Peter’s Christian background and his work with the Christian Council for Monetry Justice – CCMJ.

Here Rev Challen noted that the CCMJ’s mission “is to awaken people to the fact that for centuries western societies have been increasingly treating people, land, assets, money and intellectual property as commodities, in each case exploitatively; and to advance practical ways that these can be changed.”

This reflects our own view that not only are the banks are too large they are literally creating credit out of nothing – and then have the nerve to charge interest on any loan they make. This is usury and it is totally unjust and immoral.

The following is a follow up interview with Peter Challen – again conducted by 4WR joint editor Wayne John Sturgeon. Here we see that Rev Challen has become involved with a new political organisation, Trustees-All Independent Constitutionalists UK. They are ‘working to create a People’s Political-Economy of Trusteeship in the Harmony of Nature, and a New Confederation for the Islands of Britain’.

Interestingly they want to ‘use the system to become the system to change the system to recover trust’.

The Independent Constitutionalists have a very unique internal structure:

‘We are the first independent, bottom-up, non-power-based political party, independent of all existing political parties, and free of official membership, of constituency selection committees, and of central funding beholden to vested interest sponsors.

People offer our party support as individuals and do so as citizens in a Trustees-All Movement. We deem all current political, economic & social institutions unfit for purpose since unable to secure the trust of the people. Root and branch reform of these institutions, according to recognised yet rarely achieved principles of genuine democracy, is thus required’.

To find out more, check out their web-site http://www.constitutionalists.uk/ Readers of 4WR will find much of interest here, especially the Charter section.

If anyone has any further questions for Peter Challen – or needs clarification of any of the points raised in this interview – please use the comments section below.

FOURTH WORLD REVIEW: Please could you introduce yourself and how you came to form the Independent Constitutionalists?

PETER CHALLEN: Fifty-Six years an Anglican clergyman of critical loyalty, not willing to leave a sinking ship without some attempt to resume its mission of enabling the concept of the Kin[g]dom of God to permeate a rediscovered ‘People’s Political Economy of Trusteeship in Harmony with Nature’.

During those years of ministry in chaplaincy to economy the conviction grew that the separation of pastoral care and prophetic audit have led on the one hand to institutional dependency, and on the other, to judgements blind to our own complicity in ‘a culture of socially acceptable cheating.’ (1). Pastoral attention and prophetic perceptions are inseparable if we are to rebuild a human society that understands, restates and implements  our covenantal trusteeship of this sacred planet: a planet that the consumerist and competitive culture is now turning at an exponential rate into ‘a cult of killing’, (2) through the collateral damage in which we are all blindly complicit.

For many years I have met in sympathetic agreement and under the threat of personal despair with Ray Sheath, whose concern grows as the drive and drag of even the most socially responsible institutions divert rapidly from the deep changes in our sense of community and trusteeship; of which there is so much evidence. The need now mounting with exponential urgency, is founded in the failures of so much wasted energy poured into social investment, such as Charter 88 and the Scarman Trust.
Together we started to consider how a society driven by power-over could be transformed into one alive to power-with;  realising almost immediately in the face of cynicism that almost nothing is impossible if only you don’t mind who gets the credit and so openly share the enduring  wisdom.

4WR: What is the basic mission of the party?

PETER CHALLEN: In the last two years, by intense consultation struggling into collaboration, an inter-disciplinary group emerged slowly to form a movement called TRUSTEES ALL, signifying the very marked human responsibility within the natural replenishment of this unique planet.  Such a general, ecologically informed shifting of the mindset would help prepare people for the language, vision and pursuit of A PEOPLE’S POLITICAL ECONOMY OF TRUSTEESHIP IN HARMONY WITH NATURE, which by a non-partisan, non-violent and boldly inclusive way would ‘use the system to become the system, to change the system, to restore trust.’

4WR: Do you support the principle of Confederation? Please could you clarify how this differs from Federalism?

PETER CHALLEN: Confederation is a concept founded in mutuality and lying beyond both permanent hierarchy and the avoiding of vested interests still found in federation.  It is the horizontal form of influence-sharing capable of  reaching the best solutions to tasks and problems relating to the common good, while maintaining a pattern of governance and interim specifically functional positions of oversight for the given complex task founded in genuine democracy. The interaction of local sovereignty and shared accountability within a living written constitution provides confederation with an integral relationship to subsidiarity.

4WR: Can the principle of Subsidarity be consistent with that of national Sovereignty?

PETER CHALLEN: Provision for decisions to be taken at their lowest appropriate level is a vital element of responsible citizenship. Non-hierarchical subsidiarity encourages involvement by all in the common good of a transparently and inclusively just society.

4WR: What are your views on the EU and UN?

PETER CHALLEN: The essence of an evolving movement for citizen participation means that the understanding of these international relationships will mature and change out of a renewed sense of what is best for the British Isles under their new confederate status but within an ever more inter-related approach to common good of people and planet.
4WR: Do you uphold English Common Law or Natural Law against Positivist Law?

PETER CHALLEN: The phrase ’in harmony with nature’ indicates that in the light of quantum physics and quantum theology   this movement adds public energy to the necessity of ending the dualism of humans and nature.  Ecology and economy are reconnected in the process proposed under accountable political governance.

4WR: Can you explain your concept of Democafe?

PETER CHALLEN: Playing on both ‘democracy’ and ‘demonstration’ we seek to generate models for public discourse as widely as possible. Noting the contribution to the evolving of Independent Constitutionalists through the week by week presence for 18 years of the London Global Open Table as a focus, we are trying to expand the public examination of the paucity of inclusive justice and the means of restoring it by participative involvement by all citizens by increasing the significance of everyone’s democratic vote for independent candidates.  Such independents are then encouraged to accept their inter-dependance for the sake of common good.  In this endeavour we are gradually defining three common ‘B’s,
1. being Bound by the evolving of initial interim Manifesto and Charter,
2. sharing the Bond of democratic ways of working, and
3. all appearing in public under the Banner of the formal ‘Party-without-organisation’ which is registered with the Electoral Commission and ready to encourage advocates in this egalitarian thrust for sanity and democracy.

4WR: Could a Citizens Dividend be combined with a Land Value Tax?

PETER CHALLEN: Preferring ‘Charge’ to ‘Tax’, the Charter assumes that both these elements, within the systemic  change we work towards, will make their combined impact on the writing of the Constitution and in its constant audit by the new House of Commons by the Constitutional  Parliament replacing the House of Lords. This will increase the achievement of identity, dignity, mutual sensitivities and basic human rights for all.

4WR: What is the significance of the year 2015 in relation to the Magna Carta?

PETER CHALLEN: It was the 800 years Thames-side landmark that focussed our minds on action.  It brought to the surface so many insights, understandings and misconceptions as to feed the collaborative dialogue through which Independent Constitutionalists UK [ICUK] is evolving.  Fred Harrison’s erudite critique in recent books and papers  have been invaluable in helping us to learn from the past, but also to discern the new order of inequality, privilege, power-over  and therefore the innovative process that is now being described and steadily improved.  2015 is now slipping into our provenance but to be less in use as the initiative slowly gains its own authenticity.

4WR: What is your mission strategy in relation to constitutional reform? What would happen to the House of Lords and the Monarchy?

PETER CHALLEN: The manifesto outlines the process by which the writing of the living constitution will be a people’s contributory process as the House of Lords is replaced by a Constitutional Parliament with a permanent audit function in relation to the law-making House of Commons. The monarchy will then be considered in a democratic appraisal when the time is ripe.

4WR: Where can one find out more?

PETER CHALLEN: A] At the face to face level an open Strategy Forum meeting every second Wednesday in the month in central London to appraise the participatory contributions flowing in via various channels and to make interim decisions so that the process remains fluid but positive and overt.  B] The keepers of the vision in that Strategy Forum, and others whose confidence grows in communicating the nature of the initiative, will also expect to enter into explanatory dialogue at many points , costly tho’ this aspect of inclusive democracy is. D] In the voluntary nature of this Party without organisation, ‘cells’ will meet and contribute their studies to the cause. Anyone can start such a cell and report the findings.

4WR: What are your current and future projects?

PETER CHALLEN: E] in enhancing the sequence above, the immediate task is the improvement of the new website as a tool of accessible, accurate and participative means of developing, interpreting and making habitual in common use, the language of Confederation and Subsidiarity that we may inspire wide-ranging commitment to achieving major steps to change in the next general election.

Rev. Peter Challen
Sloan Fellow of the London Business School
Chaplain in the Economy
Canon Emeritus the Diocese of Southwark
Moderator of the London Global Open Table


1)  The Traumastised Society – How to Outlaw Cheating and Save our Civilisation Harrison 2012

2)  As Evil Does –Handbook on Humanity 1:  Anatomy of a Killing Cult Harrison 2015

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