The British constitution, long considered entrenched by tradition and history, has, since , undergone a process unique in the democratic world: piecemeal. ‘The creation of a new British constitution and the demise of the old. The HRA is the ‘cornerstone’, says Bogdanor, of a new constitution (53). The New British Constitution by Vernon Bogdanor. Denis Baranger. Université Panthéon‐Assas, Paris II. Search for more papers by this author.

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It is still a closed system. I think there is a great danger in looking back and thinking of a golden age of politics. Now, if Parliament can do anything, there is no point having a constitution, because then the constitution could be summarised in just eight words: It is not an accident, I think, mew many of the worst offenders on expenses were in safe seats, where they had been chosen by small groups of party members and could not be challenged.

These 4 brirish in Australian Capital Territory: We have an example of that already. The third proposal that I mention is that there should be a much greater degree of direct democracy; not just referendums but initiatives.

But you may argue that was what the British Constitution was until In doing this, they were, for the first time ever, restricting the rights of Parliament. They actually have to win the argument, if you like.

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The new British Constitution / Vernon Bogdanor. – Version details – Trove

Tony Blair said that many times when he became Prime Minister, but he had been forced, as a result of political pressure, to promise that we would not enter the Eurozone without a referendum, and he decided not to call a referendum for the very good reason that not a single opinion poll on the Euro has ever shown a majority in favour of Britain joining, so it is very likely that a referendum would be lost.


It is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in British politics.

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The New British Constitution

So we have a top-down system derived from the past, and I think that top-down system is really incongruent, inconsistent if you like, and contradicts the social and political pressures of the age, which are for a much greater degree of popular power; people wanting to take power for themselves and to make decisions for themselves. Someone once said, and this was over years ago now, ‘The British system of government is based on tacit understandings,’ but then he said, ‘but the understandings, unfortunately, are not always understood.

I think it was John Major who once said, ‘If the answer is ‘More politicians,’ you’re asking the wrong question! It does not, in reality, exist. It is a familiar point that the membership of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or the National Trust is more than that of all the political parties put together! In this book Vernon Bogdanor charts the significance of what is coming to replace it. Public Private login e.

I think we are moving towards the second, which is what I would call a constitutional state, where it is not Parliament that decides what is constitutional, but the judges, which is as you have it in most other countries. But whether you think it is a good thing or a bad thing, it does limit the power of Government. It has dispersed power, but between different members of the political and judicial elite. Set up My libraries How do I set up “My libraries”?


It is a must-read for anyone concerned with the constitutional ferment in Britain. Open to the public ; YY So this is one reason why we never had all this brought together, because there is a sense in which England never really began as a society. Now those policies are outside his power with regard to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was in the Local Government Act. What I discuss in the last part of my book are ways to open up the system.

This book is the first to describe and analyse Britain’s new constitution, asking why it was that the old system, seemingly hallowed by time, came under challenge, and why it is being replaced.

You may say to this, if they can restrict the rights of Parliament in relation to the European Union, why not in relation to Human Rights? This website uses cookies to improve user experience. Published Oxford ; Portland, Ore. So these are all very major reforms, and I think they give us a totally new system, but we have not noticed it because things move in an evolutionary way, and because we do not have a Constitution, we do not actually bring our minds to bear as much as we might otherwise on constitutional change.

But it gives us a very limited power, because, after all, it is Governments who decide whether to promise a referendum and when to have one. It is based on unspoken conventions, and you may say even nods and winks as well – they are not clear.