Is it time Britain had a written constitution?

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Lady Comstock
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Yes, I know we have an unwritten one, but isn't it time we had a written one to enshrine the "British values" politicians keep harping on about? And empower the courts to strike down unconstitutional legislation? I was reading about how the US courts struck down legislation banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, and it made me think that written constitutions are perhaps a good barrier against Parliament and the Executive exercising a tyranny of the majority?
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Mimir
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Ours is indeed written. But vast and evolved. It would be almost impossible to compile a constitution, especially now with the influence of the EU.

We have one of the most complex yet interesting constitutions in the world, making for quite a fair justice system.

Sure a constitution might make things a little more simple "oh look it up in the constitution" but we'd lose our interpretive strengths and justice for the Common Man would be compromised. Plus, we can change out constitution quickly - there are some Laws that are difficult to touch. But if we need to change something Parliament just makes another Statute. Look up what the USA have to go through to amend or add to their constitution!!
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Kittiara
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I quite like the idea of a written constitution, rather than the flexible constitution we have at the moment. The problem is, who would decide on what to include or exclude? I don't exactly trust our current crop of politicians to write a constitution that would benefit the wider population rather than, say, corporate interests. It is for that same reason that I do not, at this moment in time, favour our withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. It's a shame, really, but so long as politicians are labeling people with disabilities as "the stock" (to name just one example), I am skeptical about what they'd come up with.
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Simes
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Unwritten constitutions are easily amended without lots of unpleasantness.

And what amendment number would we be up to by now?
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Lady Comstock
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(Original post by Mimir)
Ours is indeed written. But vast and evolved. It would be almost impossible to compile a constitution, especially now with the influence of the EU.

We have one of the most complex yet interesting constitutions in the world, making for quite a fair justice system.

Sure a constitution might make things a little more simple "oh look it up in the constitution" but we'd lose our interpretive strengths and justice for the Common Man would be compromised. Plus, we can change out constitution quickly - there are some Laws that are difficult to touch. But if we need to change something Parliament just makes another Statute. Look up what the USA have to go through to amend or add to their constitution!!
Kinda makes it pointless if Parliament can just overrule rights in say, the Magna Carta, with one Act of Parliament.

Same-sex marriage would probably be banned in all US states if state legislatures could overrule the Constitution and rulings on it.
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Swanbow
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Man, that would be a constitutional mine field. It would takes Parliament years to manage it. And I don't think our current MPs would be up to the job, the Lords would do better.
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Simes
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The Merkins must have the most well known written constitution and theirs appears to be a shambles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...s_Constitution

This is the complete list of the thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution which have been adopted by the United States Congress and sent to the states for ratification since the Constitution was put into operation on March 4, 1789. Twenty-seven of these, having been ratified by the requisite number of states, are part of the Constitution. The first ten amendments were adopted and ratified simultaneously and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Six amendments adopted by Congress and sent to the states have not been ratified by the required number of states. Four of these amendments are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, and one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it.
Well, that sounds nice and clear. I'm sure everyone knows where they stand.

Approximately 11,539 proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in Congress since 1789.
Polishing a turd?

They can't even agree whether the 2nd Amendment means an armed militia for times of unrest or the right for rednecks to drive round with automatic weapons in the pickup.
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Misovlogos
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
Kinda makes it pointless if Parliament can just overrule rights in say, the Magna Carta, with one Act of Parliament.

Same-sex marriage would probably be banned in all US states if state legislatures could overrule the Constitution and rulings on it.
In the sense in which it is possible that David Cameron would stage a coup d'etat in the event of a Labour-SNP coalition come May. That sense of pointless is, of course, entirely fatuous. It certainly is not pointless in the sense that our unwritten constitution profoundly effects our political system, and, ergo, has a point. There is no debating that it does something. That it is short of inviolable does not erase that influence.
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Misovlogos
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(Original post by Simes)
The Merkins must have the most well known written constitution and theirs appears to be a shambles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...s_Constitution

Well, that sounds nice and clear. I'm sure everyone knows where they stand.

Polishing a turd?

They can't even agree whether the 2nd Amendment means an armed militia for times of unrest or the right for rednecks to drive round with automatic weapons in the pickup.
Just as the UK fails to respect putatively basic civil and social rights, and indeed, debates indefinitely as to their definition. Fortunately, however, political philosophy does not generally turn on singular examples, but on rather more substantive systems of evaluation, empirical assessment and contextual judgement. Two millennia of debates as to the proper constitution of a politea might presume to expect slightly more than 'but in singular instance X, Y happened'.
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Izzyeviel
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What are 'British values'??
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Misovlogos
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(Original post by Izzyeviel)
What are 'British values'??
Causal racism, austerity and cultural stagnation.
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Izzyeviel
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(Original post by Misovlogos)
Causal racism, austerity and cultural stagnation.
Can't really argue with that.

Edit: But you did forget complaining about the French.
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Gnomes&Knights
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It's time they should or else Parties in power can can end up doing whatever they want. It would be good if there was a set of rules that the government should follow.
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Aj12
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
Kinda makes it pointless if Parliament can just overrule rights in say, the Magna Carta, with one Act of Parliament.

Same-sex marriage would probably be banned in all US states if state legislatures could overrule the Constitution and rulings on it.
I think the US is a poor example. Their constitution is clearly outdated, but is held up as some sort of divine document, beyond criticism.

I'm just not too sure what having a constitution would actuslly achieve for thr uk.

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Aj12
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(Original post by Raymat)
It's time they should or else Parties in power can can end up doing whatever they want. It would be good if there was a set of rules that the government should follow.
You mean other than the courts, the opposition, the house of Lords, elections and other social norms. All of which hold a government to account and stop it running amok.

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gladders
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Nah, our present, uncodified constitution is actually excellent. Codified constitutions merely ossify in amber the values and presumptions of the age in which they are written. It becomes very difficult to amend later, meaning that you get great spurts of sudden, drastic, ill-considered change, instead of gradual tinkering and adjustments.

Sweeping change can still happen under our system but it tends to be quite carefully considered nonetheless. Any concerns about important parts of the constitution being swept away by a mere majority can be dismissed by looking at the Lords striking down the 42-days provision, or the Commons having no truck with Clegg's half-baked 'reform' of the Lords.
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HigherMinion
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The constitution are a set of ideas that are held by a majority. That is why they can be enforced: we are all on the same page, including our ruling class. The problem with having a written constitution is that we also have mass immigration, from countries that do not respect the same ideals as ours. This written constitution will be a jellyfish document, warping in to whatever it's subjects become.

Immigration must be fixed before a constitution can be written (albeit we already have one that no one uses). Bertolt Brecht said it best in this poem:

After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers' Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
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Mimir
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(Original post by Aj12)
I think the US is a poor example. Their constitution is clearly outdated, but is held up as some sort of divine document, beyond criticism.

I'm just not too sure what having a constitution would actuslly achieve for thr uk.

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A better example is always Germany's constitution.
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Mimir
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(Original post by Raymat)
It's time they should or else Parties in power can can end up doing whatever they want. It would be good if there was a set of rules that the government should follow.
That's why we have reviews, committees, the House of Lords, Judicial System, and indeed the public. Prevents parties "doing whatever they want."

There are parliamentary codes of conduct in addition to various parliamentary privileges.
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Gnomes&Knights
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(Original post by Mimir)
That's why we have reviews, committees, the House of Lords, Judicial System, and indeed the public. Prevents parties "doing whatever they want."

There are parliamentary codes of conduct in addition to various parliamentary privileges.
What's the harm in having a constitution?
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