Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The British Constitution - Part Two

I have now finished Martin Loughin's very good little book from the 'A very short introduction' series, on The British Constitution.

In summary he concludes that our constitution and government are like an old building that has constantly been adapted, repaired and renovated over the centuries in different styles and that we are now left, IMO, in the unsatisfactory position of increasing having the judiciary interpreting what our constitution means and how it should work. He also believes that renovating it to make it fit for contemporary use requires architects possessed with real vision but he offers no ideas as to how this might happen or look.

 So let me summaries in my own way getting back to basics.

At the beginning of time man was sovereign in his own cave but gradually individuals became communities that grew into regions that eventually became countries like Britain that were ruled by a sovereign monarch with absolute power. However from 1215 on parliament gradually increased its powers leading the Earl of Shaftesbury to declare in 1689, "The Parliament of England is that supreme and absolute power, which gives life and motion to the English government".  Then the Act of Settlement of 1700 removed royal power over the judiciary and defined a vote of both houses as the sole method of removing a judge.

Then as the years advanced parliament’s powers grew and in 1771 Delolme, who wrote ‘The Constitution of England’, made a ‘grotesque’ expression which became proverbial "parliament can do everything but make a woman a man and a man a woman".

Coming right up to date it would appear, with the increasing attention being paid by parliament to trans-gender issues, that Delome’s observations may no longer be true and as we have seen over the whole Brexit debacle parliament is a law unto itself in which the opinion of the people hardly matter.

Therefore over the last 800 years we have moved from the absolute power of a monarch to the absolute power of our parliament and it is us the people that are being short changed. They only brief power we have is at General Elections but as we know that changes very little and, whichever party gets in, it’s a case of ‘same meat different gravy’!

In conclusion we need to reverse things and go back to our roots where sovereignty returns to the people. Currently there is no better plan that I've seen than our six demands and in particular the introduction of a codified constitution to set out the new relationship between the people and parliament. This relationship needs to be based on the basic principle that we the people are sovereign and encompassing many aspects of Direct Democracy albeit tailor made to suit our own unique history and traditions.


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