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A bit disheveled

I recently entered a discussion about the British Constitution on a British blog called Samizdata. I observed that the British Constitution was not so much "unwritten" as a bit disheveled. A number of documents could be said to comprise the British Constitution, which was much admired by John Adams, no slouch in matters constitutional. These include –

The Charter of Liberties, the Westminster Council, Magna Carta, the Coronation Oath, the Provisions of Oxford and Westminster, the Statute of Marlborough, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act, the Declaration of Right, Bill of Rights, Toleration Act, Triennial Act, Act of Settlement, Act of Union, Statute of Anne, "Hogarth's Act", the Great Reform, Municipal Reform Act, Suffrage, and Common Law.

If you want a free country, the parts you would want to include are pretty obvious. I made the whimsical suggestion that if absolutely necessary a copy could be made of the US Constitution since Brits had written it and it had worked pretty well, but the idea was greeted with stony silence at Samizdata. Still it’s not a bad fallback position.

To this American observer the most fundamental challenge is not writing the Constitution but establishing a real executive. It appears that during the 20th century the Prime Minister and Parliament stripped the monarch of almost all powers, and usurped Britain’s executive. This means, of course, that there are no curbs on Parliament’s power, which is exactly how a bossy bunch of MPs likes it, and thoughtfully the bureaucrats in Brussels make it easy for them by drafting all the British legislation.

Not long ago I wrote two rather disheveled posts on The Servant King. They have just received a rewrite – The Servant King & Why He (or She) Matters Today. It has pertinence for this question, and you might be interested.

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