British Government and the Constitution

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A slight problem with attempting to discuss the British constitution is that Britain doesn’t have a constitution, not in any traditional sense. In fact, what Britain does have are aged customs, traditions, man-made religious beliefs and a kind of indoctrinated attempt at moral law. Britain is not, in a strict sense, a democracy. Britain is, in fact, a Monarchy with a democratically elected representative parliament. How then can we define a domestic constitution?

In 1215, an early attempt at keeping the populous in order found its way into national history in the form of the Magna Carta, which was soon discarded by the powers that were as unworkable, leaning heavily as it did on Godly conviction. Over a period of time, an early parliament constantly struggled with the crown on issues of supremacy until in 1688, a group of seven Whigs invited William of Orange and his English wife, Mary Stuart, to become joint rulers in place of James II. Whigs stood for reform, the supremacy of parliament over the Monarchy and for limiting of royal powers.

This early fascism was partly responsible for Equity and Common law to be blurred by the Judicature Acts of the nineteenth century. It was at this time that a very different miscellany of Tories were upholding Crown, Church and Constitution. At this stage we are left with a theory of government that balances on two principles, The Monarchy and parliamentary rule. John Locke, in his book On Civil Government 1689 described our constitution thus: The Monarch, Parliament and the Judicature, the Monarch and parliament acting in (supposed) harmony and the Judiciary independent, to enforce the laws of parliament, custom and tradition.

The introduction of the Whigs civil list deliberately kept the monarch short of money, and being accountable for the funding of the armed forces and the government by submitting estimates to parliament, this consequently meant that parliament controlled Royal policy. And so parliament endured and grew in power. The Protestant Monarch, William of Orange, securing with parliament the preserved legal ruling that only a protestant, in future, could be crowned and promote the views of government policy.

The two principles, as discussed by John Locke, have changed dramatically, we now see the constitution thus: The rule of Law and the supremacy of parliament. (But a lawyer and a political scientist may argue different points of view, no longer can lawyers pretend that the constitution is theirs, writing about it in narrow-minded isolation. ) Although there is no question that it is the achievement of lawyers, Judges and other practitioners of the discipline of law have also made a notable contribution to it, as have political philosophers, controversialists, party organizations, peers, rebels and a legion of those specially interested.

Indeed, a British government is not tied to a written charter, binding them to a specific approach. Perhaps this is why we see so much brazen, “… left-liberal, amoral, conformist ignorance in society today… ” Peter Hitchens, The Mail on Sunday 08-12-2002. He goes on to add, “… In 1983… only 12 per cent of people wanted to legalise the dangerous, mind bending poison, cannabis… 41 per cent support this suicidal policy [today]… in the Eighties, 70 per cent thought homosexuality was wrong.

Years of relentless propaganda have reduced that to 47 per cent… soon] all will agree with the government and all will wear the same fake-rebellious fashions and buy the same globalised goods. ” People’s disenchantment with governmental policy seems more and more commonplace in society, the aims of parliament appear a far cry from what the general public need or ask for. My opening paragraph described Britain as a Monarchy with a democratically elected government, but is this strictly accurate? We now see the power officialdom as the Executive (government), the Legislature (parliament) and the Judicature (the court system).

All considered the Separation of Powers, but in reality, all working juxtapose. Where is the Monarchy in this line-up? Relegated to tasks of customary procedure and proffering titles. In 1973, Britain joined Europe. Could this be seen as obtaining a constitution to rule by? Perhaps so, and also, perhaps, a good thing, could Federalism be a chance for true communism to reinstate its humane and moral veracity? The British system of government has for many years been one of the most centralised in Europe. Many more matters are decided at the National level than in, say, Germany or Belgium.

Both member states achieving an effective level of regional government. In fact, did not the amalgamation of the East and West (in Germany) see the distribution of wealth for the common good? The last four years in Britain have seen hesitant steps towards regional government, notably in Scotland and Wales, but treating regional authorities as representatives of Westminster rather than representatives of the people does not really change very much. A federal system would be much better. Regional authorities would be directly elected and exercise clearly defined powers.

Such a system would bring people nearer to the decisions that most affect their lives. The power of distant bureaucrats would be reduced. A federal Britain would provide new protection of the rights of the individual, and might even lead to a change in opinion towards a united federal Europe. Surely its time to look to the future, to stop needless legislation and the continued march of self-indulgence and work in favour of a constitution that would benefit England, Britain, Europe and indeed, humankind the World over.

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