Should Britain have a written constitution? Watch

Poll: Should Britain have a written constitution?
Yes (15)
46.88%
No (17)
53.13%
Numberwang
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#1
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#1
David Cameron wants a Bill of Rights, and it seems to be an idea gaining some mainstream support.

This might seem a bit of an academic question, but if we're not careful, it might cause a revolution (led by Russell Brand, of course).

There's going to be a debate in Westminster to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

I'm a fan of it being unwritten and evolving. I find it surprising that Cameron wants a Bill of Rights when he's such a fan of Edmund Burke - the political writer who criticised the French Revolution and put the case for Britain's evolved unwritten constitution vs the written.
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AlphaDog0127
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#2
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#2
I dread to think of what things they might end up writing.
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ipoop
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#3
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#3
I think we should have America as the best example for not having one?
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Choo.choo
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#4
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#4
I will tell you what will be in that written constitution:
Illegal wars
Privatisation
Replacement of Trident nuclear weapons at a cost of £100 billion
Growth and investment in the economy concentrated in London and the south east
More children and people living in poverty
Britain's debt rising about the current £1.5 trillion mark
More foodbanks
11% pay rise for MP's while the rest of us don't even get a 1% pay rise
More big corporations dominating the British economy and dodging tax
£25 billion of cuts
More banking and financial crashes
HS2 railway line
A cut to Scotland's budget
Scrapping of the Barnett formula

This is all if Scotland does not vote Yes in September. Did I miss anything?
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Rakas21
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#5
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#5
Nay.

One look at the US and the SNP should tell us why a constitution is a bad thing.

It will be subtly political and hard to change. Plus to be honest, the status quo is fine.
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DErasmus
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Rakas21)
Nay.

One look at the US and the SNP should tell us why a constitution is a bad thing.

It will be subtly political and hard to change. Plus to be honest, the status quo is fine.
That's the point. Besides we don't have to make the stupid mistakes America did. I don't want the Tories writing it though, it needs to be something that protects humans rights not sells them to the highest bidder.
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Thoth's World
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#7
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#7
No it should stay unwritten. For the reason, an unwritten constitution is easy to change. Where as America for example struggle to change a written constitution,there are a lot more hindrances, therefore they still sell guns with your grocery.
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gladders
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#8
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#8
No. Our present system is just fine.

(Original post by Choo.choo)
I will tell you what will be in that written constitution:
Illegal wars
Hasn't stopped any country with a written constitution (because 'illegal war' is something that cannot be pinned down into a judicial question - it's fundamentally political)

Privatisation
A constitutional ban on privatisation? I'm not wild on privatisation myself, but such an excessively rigid notion is one thing I dislike about codified constitutions.

Replacement of Trident nuclear weapons at a cost of £100 billion
You don't need a codified constitution to do that, and it would be a bizarre thing to put in one.

Growth and investment in the economy concentrated in London and the south east
See above.

More children and people living in poverty
A codified constitution would not change the level of poverty.

Britain's debt rising about the current £1.5 trillion mark
See above.

More foodbanks
See above.

11% pay rise for MP's while the rest of us don't even get a 1% pay rise
See above. The pay increase is not as self-serving as you seem to think, either.

More big corporations dominating the British economy and dodging tax
No unique to Britain, nothing to do with its uncodified constitution, and not something a codified constitution can help.

£25 billion of cuts
See above

More banking and financial crashes
Yeah, because that didn't happen in codified-constitution America, did it?

HS2 railway line
What's this got to do with the constitution?

A cut to Scotland's budget
Specifics aside, you don't think cuts are valid in any situation? That's too inflexible an attitude.

Scrapping of the Barnett formula
It's my understanding that nobody, including Scotland, likes the Barnett Formula anyway...what they cannot agree on is what to replace it with. So to criticise proposals to replace sounds bizarre.

This is all if Scotland does not vote Yes in September. Did I miss anything?
Meanwhile, back on planet earth...
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DErasmus
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Troytheboy)
No it should stay unwritten. For the reason, an unwritten constitution is easy to change. Where as America for example struggle to change a written constitution,there are a lot more hindrances, therefore they still sell guns with your grocery.

This isn't a shopping list lol. It will be able to be changed (minor changes) in Parliament or disposed (if the majority of the population decides to rewrite or something).
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Theflyingbarney
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#10
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#10
I don't see the need for a fully-written constitution, personally. The setup we have got works pretty fine as it is, and even trying to codify the existing regime would be very difficult since there are questions and conflicts that have never been properly answered. Doctrinally speaking our current constitution is a bit of a mess, but functionally it works perfectly fine, whereas I feel a written one would do the opposite.
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Thoth's World
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#11
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#11
(Original post by DErasmus)
This isn't a shopping list lol. It will be able to be changed (minor changes) in Parliament or disposed (if the majority of the population decides to rewrite or something).
It isn't as clear cut like that though, yes that's the fundamental
fundamental, it is more complicated. That's why guns are still sold in America despite the shootings of psychopaths and gang warfare
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DErasmus
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Troytheboy)
It isn't as clear cut like that though, yes that's the fundamental
fundamental, it is more complicated. That's why guns are still sold in America despite the shootings of psychopaths and gang warfare
The difference is America has a group to support the existence of guns, there isn't anywhere near as much support in the UK. It doesn't need to be as liberal as the US.
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Thoth's World
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#13
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#13
(Original post by DErasmus)
The difference is America has a group to support the existence of guns, there isn't anywhere near as much support in the UK. It doesn't need to be as liberal as the US.
But that's being subjective to guns, what about other issues? It is better to leave it unwritten
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DErasmus
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Troytheboy)
But that's being subjective to guns, what about other issues? It is better to leave it unwritten
What issues? The US constitution has had little problems with the exception of guns and has been a great source of law in America.
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MindTheGaps
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#15
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#15
I'm not sure what a new Bill of Rights has to do with a written constitution. We already have a Bill of Rights (1689).

That said, I wouldn't mind if some of our more basic liberties were enshrined in something that government couldn't just overrule every time it pleased. Nothing controversial, and no *******s positive rights like the ECHR, but things like free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association and so on.
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gladders
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#16
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#16
The main ideological disconnect is that those supporting a codified constitution believe that such a thing is an effective defender of public rights and liberties; it's the wrong way round. In fact, countries which are respectful of rights and liberties and the rule of law tend to have long-lasting constitutions.

Codified constitutions only come about a) following the failure of a previous state/constitution, requiring the complete rewrite of the new one, or b) following independence from another country, requiring a local state of affairs to be made explicit quickly.

Britain meets neither of these requirements: it's been independent for hundreds of years and even accounting for those who advocate constitutional change, nobody believes the present constitution has failed or is so bad that it would need to be entirely rewritten.
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DErasmus
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#17
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#17
(Original post by gladders)
The main ideological disconnect is that those supporting a codified constitution believe that such a thing is an effective defender of public rights and liberties; it's the wrong way round. In fact, countries which are respectful of rights and liberties and the rule of law tend to have long-lasting constitutions.

Codified constitutions only come about a) following the failure of a previous state/constitution, requiring the complete rewrite of the new one, or b) following independence from another country, requiring a local state of affairs to be made explicit quickly.

Britain meets neither of these requirements: it's been independent for hundreds of years and even accounting for those who advocate constitutional change, nobody believes the present constitution has failed or is so bad that it would need to be entirely rewritten.
The privacy violations in the last few years demonstrate the necessity of a constitution.
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gladders
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#18
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#18
(Original post by DErasmus)
The privacy violations in the last few years demonstrate the necessity of a constitution.
A codified constitution has not helped various other countries with codified constitutions to stop the very same thing, either. Look at the United States. France also has extensive internal espionage.

I don't deny there's a problem, but such ideas like this are big, flashy, exciting - but wholly useless. The best route is to improve the mechanisms by which Parliament can hold the Executive to account.
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JohnPaul_
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#19
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#19
No, we shouldn't. And we already have a bill of rights, which by the way enables us to have guns. Obviously this bill is not much use anymore but we already have one lest we forget.


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DErasmus
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#20
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#20
(Original post by gladders)
A codified constitution has not helped various other countries with codified constitutions to stop the very same thing, either. Look at the United States. France also has extensive internal espionage.

I don't deny there's a problem, but such ideas like this are big, flashy, exciting - but wholly useless. The best route is to improve the mechanisms by which Parliament can hold the Executive to account.
Actually the Human Rights Act functions as a constitution in some sense and is working very well in defending privacy rights.
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