The United Kingdoms First Written Constitution

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Iolis, Jun 23, 2007.

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  1. Almost unnoticed in the media is a Government Bill

    The Constitutional Reform Bill

    It is proposed that the Speaker of the Commons form a Committee to draw up and present to Parliament a Written Constitution for the United Kingdom which is then to be presented to the people of this country by way of referendum.

    A constitution may be defined as the body of rules relation to the structure, functions and powers of the organs of state, their relationship to one another, and to the private citizens. The main characteristics of a constitution is that it is a higher form of law. It is the source of authority from which the organs of state derive their powers and within which they are bound. It cannot be changed without special procedure - normally by way of referendum.

    The United Kingdom does, of course have a constitution but it is derived from many different sources both legal and non legal. Thus, for example, the legal rules of the present British constitution are legislation, judicial precedent and EU law. Some of our non-legal constitutional practices take the form of conventions which relate to the different parts of the organs of state, and custom , ie rules of conduct upon social or commercial custom which are recognised by judicial decisions as having binding force.

    Arrse has a very wide membership of some very bright people. Would anyone like to suggest to the Speaker's Committee what should be included in the new British Constitution? Would any of our foreign members who have their own constitutions like to suggest to the Speakers Committee what they would like to have had the opportunity of including in theirs? How about our respected American friends on the International Forum? Do they think our constitution should follow the American model?

    I throw the floor open to arrsers
  2. I don't like the idea of a written constitution. Once it's written down it can be admended, twisted, interpeted and re interpeted. Powers granted by such a constitution can be abused and missused because the power has been granted. The US Courts banned a law passed by George Bush that allowed unwarranted wiretapping, believing he had the right to under the US Constitution. The Canadian constitution has no explicit right to privacy contained within its pages. Can you really trust this current bunch of slimies in Parliament to write a constitution that really grants us rights? Rights that could be taken away by an admendment?
  3. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    A very valid point. It is worth remembering that the EU Human Rights Act actually imposed more restrictions on us than had previously existed, rather than granting any freedoms per se.

    It is yet another case of over legislation in this country, and we are fast becoming (if we are not already) the most controlled democracy in existance.

    Land of the Free?????? pah
  4. We managed quite nicely for over 700 years after Magna Carta without a written constitution.
    Government is dominated by people with a background in law, the vast majority have an agenda that has more to do with what is good for them rather than what is good for the country and its people.
    I don't think any of these arrogant, self-serving fuckwits have the right to screw around with a constitution.
    You can rest assured all it will do is make politicians more powerful and the population less free.
    I would imagine it will be used to move us a little more toward being a republic too........
  5. Rather like changes to conditions of service, pension provisions et al., It will no doubt be cleverly worded so that it is the Establishment and not the individual who gains. We are already overregulated in every facet of our very careful as to what you sign for.
  6. Do you think that specific constitutional provisions which require approval by the British Public could be easily changed?

    At the moment, ordinary legislation may be enacted, repealed or amended by a simple majority whipped vote in Parliament whose powers are unlimited.

    Should our judiciary have the powers to strike down legislation enacted by Parliament which contains provisions which are inconsistent with provisions of the constitution as does the US Supreme Court?
  7. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    I believe that our Judiciary already have sufficient powers to hold legislation illegal, should they see fit. Blindkett found this out several times during his time as Home Secretary.
  8. I also have a very strong suspicion, as has already been expressed, that the main reason for this "Constitution" is to enshrine power for the representatives of the ruling class, i.e. the politicians. They already have far too much explicit or implicit power and even with a written constitution, there's no guarantee that a bunch of psycho fuckwits in gobment (the Septics are a prime example) won't successively render it ineffective.

    The UK could do far worse than orientate itself on the Swiss model - provided that this really is a serious attempt at producing a proper, democratic constitution.


  9. Sadly legislation may be altered bu a government minister without recourse to Parliament even Iolis.
    The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act gives minister that power.

    Too many times I have heard politicians telling us that we aren't bright enough to decide things for ourselves and we must trust them to do what is best for us wether we like it or not. You can rest assured that if Whitehall wants to introduce a "Constitution" it is not for the benefit of the public.
  10. Like said above, we have done alright up to now without one. This kind of Bill is the kind only to be introduced in order to strengthen the power of politicians, and more specifically, remove the potential hurdles that can and do stop them (the politicians) as and when they chance their arm.

    Not to repeat another poster, this would just serve to be tywisted and torn to shreds in every what way tio suit the agenda of those in power, and should be rejected by all right thinking people.

    IMO of course :)
  11. I would not disagree with you on that one. Certainly, Blunkett was given a severe drubbing by the judiciary. However, Parliament is legally unlimited and it is not unknown for the Government to legislate after a decision by the House of Lords that it did not particularly like. For example, in Burmah Oil Co v Lord Advocate [1965] AC 75, the House of Lords held that where private property was either taken or destroyed (except by battle damage) under the royal prerogative, the owner was entitled at common law to compensation from the Corwn. Parliament, however, revcersed the effect of the decision in the particular case by enacting the War Damage Act 1965 which retrospectively provided that no person should be entitled at common law to receive compensation in respect of damage to or destruction of property caused by lawful acts of the Crown during, or in contemplation of the outbreak of war in which the sovereign is engaged. This effectively destroyed Burmah Oil's right to compensation they had won in their battle for it all the way through the appellate system.

    Of course, the facts of the case are unimportant in comparison to the principle that it illustrates - why should an individual have to fight to vindicate a right he has only to have it destroyed at the whim of a whipped vote in Parliament?

    Of course you are right to suggest that Blunkett had his hands slapped and he was humiliated in public. However, had be had been so minded, he could have introduced legislation to nullify the judgement. Should he be entitled to have this power if that which he finds too inconvenient should be destroyed on a whim?
  12. I#ll come back to this at another time but I'll just throw in the fact that there is a Lords ruling that Constitutional law cannot be the subject of implied repeal.

  13. Wouldn't trust anyone in power at the moment to organiseanything other than an increase in their own pay and allowances.

    The judiciary should remember that they are here to defend the bill of rights, from which they gain their independance. And everyone should realise that if we are to write down a constitution then the politicians are the last ones to do any of the writing.
  14. And in some cases without even that vote, Iolis. The problem is, could we really trust the "great British Public" to get it right?

    "People of Britain, in the unending struggle against terrorism and domestic crime we ask you to vote to suspend your Constitutional right to not be phonetapped / arrested and questioned without legal representation / held without chrge or appeal. This is for the good of all you honest, trustworthy Sun readers out there - you have nothing to fear"

    Even reading recent threads on here, how hard would it really be to get a majority in favour? A Constitution and subsequent "democratic" amendments could simply become another tool in lending legitimacy to State control.

    Tht said, the first right would have to be the Right to bear arms in Whitehall. I don't agree with free access to guns but the fundamental right for the citizens to carry enough firepower to remove the Government if it became necessary would have to be there at Numero Uno :D
  15. Kitmarlowe:
    I think its the opposite my man. Its because Bush is going outside the constitution that there are legal steps being taken to reign him back in.
    If anything it'll be the U.S. Constitution that might save America from going further down the dark path it has taken.
    We in Britain have no protection. And what's more they have done a good job of convincing the average man that not only does he not need one, but that it would be counter to his own interest.
    And everyone falls for it time and time again. Then they wonder how is that British society is beginning to resemble 1984?