The British Constitution
A country’s constitution serves as the foundation of its existence, operation and dealings; both among people and sectors of the nation as well as domestic and foreign relations. The significance and effectiveness of a charter are attributed not on the statute’s traditional solidity and constancy. This is because foremost the supposed changes which happened, it is the realization of the constitution’s growing implications which manifest the ultimate transformation and evolution of its system.
In light of the existing and considered established measures of the land, it is empirical for the nation and its people to make the best out of it. Despite whatever is perceived to be flaws of a nation’s constitution, there is no good in returning to the past. What must be done to any current constitution instead is to directly address its underlying issues, prevent its negative premises to occur and for the country and its people to grasp its impacts. Constitution is presented in several forms and ways.
In doing so, varying interpretations of such kind of recognized document are provided like in literary works. It is in this condition that the public is offered with a manner how to evaluate and realize the relevance of a constitution. Hence, a literary piece will prove to be valuable at analyzing the essence and grabbing the effects of a constitution. Such illustration of a clear principle was best exemplified by Anthony King’s (2007) “The British Constitution. ” By arguing, the author made the public realize the concrete facts concerning the constitution of the United Kingdom.
Beyond the details given by the author, however, the worth of the book lies on its thesis which fundamentally justifies its dispute. That is, the British constitution was never continuous since its establishment but it rather allowed opportunities to evolve which collectively affected the nation and its people. “The British Constitution,” an Overview Refuting people’s idea about their existing constitution is the main position of King in the book “The British Constitution. ” The author debated that the country’s constitution was not to be regarded exactly as it was during the sovereignty of Queen Victoria.
By far, the book is a revelation that the majority of British nationals appear to be knowledgeable of the successive modifications which transpired in their constitution (King, 2007). However, the book revealed that hardly any realized that the mounting implication of the existing constitution is exactly the complete modification of the quality of the system of British charter. The disclosure also served as the book’s assertion that the Victorian statue no longer exists and that the present constitution is generally regarded as a chaotic document.
It is in this situation that the King’s book serves its very goal and essence. This is under a principle that what need to be considered are not the changes to the past constitution or its muddled current version. What is essential is just to exploit and make the existing constitution works to the advantage of the people and the country in general (King, 2007). By itself, the book is not a reference literary material or particularly a textbook. Unlikely for a serious-natured journalist, political critic and notable member of the academe, the author’s sense of humour paved the way for the book’s distinction.
The book was a well-defined work because of its contention that it will do no good if UK and its people opt to return and still refer to the earlier constitution. In short, reminiscing on the past and its supposed solidity will not be a good guide in an effort to steer the country towards the changes being brought about by the present-day and even the future (King, 2007). In realizing the issues concerning the contemporary United Kingdom, the book directly battled with such problems.
In particular, the book provided the readers with sharp and critical evaluation of the escalating conflicts. Through the book, King exposed the disagreements existing between England, Wales and Scotland. Such idea was based on the ground of the decentralization and damaging analysis of the new House of Lords. King specifically expressed alarm over the positions at the Parliament’s second house which he claimed to be dangerously occupied by a diversified group of swindlers, failed leaders and political wannabes (King, 2007).
Such condition sums up the entirety of the book. In today’s modern United Kingdom, the book is one whole statement of the need for the public to recognize the collective impacts of the existing statue. While the said effects were brought about by the supposed current constitution, in reality it is still plagued by the earlier period of influence. Ultimately, the book functions as the creation of the past, present and future’s manifestation and consideration of the British charter.
This makes it a crucial material which will meet one’s awareness and concern about the nature and prospect of the political setting in United Kingdom. People’s Conformity with the Constitution King’s “The British Constitution” explored on the changes which took effect in UK’s charter for the three decades. As the author depicted, it is notable that Britain is regarded as a nation which unfortunately did not possess the needed capital-C constitution. By this the author implied that majority of free-thinking democratic systems have their respective constitution in black and white.
In contrast, the existing charter of the United Kingdom was unwritten. Unlike the usual charter of other countries such as the United States, that of the Britain is composed of big and relevant qualities and features which were not placed in paper making it different compared with other countries’ capital-C statues (King, 2007, p. 5). The author, however, clarified that the British charter is not totally the contrast of a capital-C or written constitution. Such condition only signified that what UK has is a charter with a small-c constitution.
This is because the book manifested that Britain really possessed a collection of “the most important rules and common understandings in any given country” which, in turn, control the influence and restrictions of the central state organizations as well as their affiliation with the citizens. However, the book noted that such significant measures and guidelines were indeed unwritten which resulted into their classification as small-c constitution and not capital-C constitution (King, 2007, pp. 3-5).
In particular, the book further explained that the existing British constitution is comprised of both unwritten big chunks of capital-C charter and written small-c constitution. This presented the public with the reality that what UK requires is not a written charter but a coded or codified statue which refers to the capital-C constitution. The underlying principle behind this premise presented by the book is simply the supposed relationship between the government and its people. That is, the link between the government and/or various institutions as well as its people needs to be established (King, 2007).
As an emphasis, the book made it clear that the differences in the qualities of the written small-c and unwritten capital-C constitutions pave the way for the changes that happened between the government and people for the last three decades. The author has inclined that a radical change of the present constitution may no longer be needed. However, the apparent defects in the existing British constitution, particularly as far as its present functions are concern; have likely caused the changes in the relationship between the state and its population (King, 2007).
A further analysis, however, revealed irrational conclusions made by the book. This is particularly illustrated when King studied the reduced influence or authority of states which he claimed is due to the globalization of the economies around the world. He corroborated such situation with the supposed mounting lack of enthusiasm among the voting public to recognize and be part of the system of political voting (King, 2007). The book’s sensitivity likewise appeared when King assessed the policy concerning the power of the parliamentary.
Such government sovereignty became the core of the constitution during scholar Walter Bagehot’s time in the nineteenth century. In contrast, King portrayed in the book that the British government under the profile of the Parliament’s lower house, the House of Commons, is merely a powerless or weak body aside from being far from independence (King 2007). The book’s fundamental theme is what its author referred to as Britain’s conventional charter which basically signified the strains and requirements for modification as well as what the significance of such changes.
As far as the book is concern, the basis of the conventional constitution is the separation between the government and its people. The author’s declaration, which manifested that the governors are apparently only ruling however the people still have their customary pronouncements, supported the said foundation (King, 2007). This was particularly depicted in the book when King mentioned about the outside bodies. He noted the recent inclusion of the governors in the government as well as practically in majority of positions and sectors. It is in this situation that the said outside bodies were regularly conferred with.
However, as their nature implies, the outside bodies continue to be exactly as external parts (King, 2007). It is in this condition that the book is to be commended because of its clear presentation of a significant subject matter. That is, the need for people’s agreement or conformity with their constitution depends on the premise that they are not merely consulted. What is really necessary is the effective involvement of the people in Britain’s decision-making because it is them who compose majority of the population and not the few ruling governors.
For this, King stressed: “Consultation was not to be confused with active participation in the making of policy” (King, 2007, p. 49). To further account for the principle of people’s conformity with their constitution, the book also presented another aspect where the system of British constitution also succeeded. This is where King discussed the definite and genuine distribution of goods to the people. This was efficiently carried out by the book’s presentation that the agreement of the people is achieved if services such as potable water, constructions as well as other basic good and services were provided to them.
Thereafter, the book cautioned that there will be risk once the country’s constitution failed to provide what it has stated (King, 2007). Old Paving the Way for New Subsequent to the important concept of people’s agreement to the constitution hence enhancing the relationship between the government and people, King for the rest of the book succeeded in presenting how the past constitutional connections have paved the way to something new. The author referred to the new phenomenon as versions which are based from realistic responses to new situations instead of intentional and conscious ones.
In explaining further, the book has taken into account several events such as the termination of the British Empire, the fall of the nation’s economy, the time when social deference has stopped, the last parts of the post-war agreements within the political setting, the escalation of a rebellious workforce society which started in the middle of 1960s and the power of the leftist in Britain’s Labour Party during the beginning of 1980s (King, 2007).
In presenting this condition of old giving way for something new, the book stated that the most relevant modifications were attributed to British’ choice to be involved in the then referred to as the European Common market in 1973. This particular decision was the corrective action made by Britain concerning its mistake of conceitedly being on its own when several countries including Italy, Germany and France created a trade coalition trough the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
The said trade blunder resulted into Britain’s economic disaster in mid-1960s and eventually disclosed the flaw and being reluctant on the country’s manufacturing industry (King, 2007). It is from the perspective of the author that there is no particular improvement in contemporary period which shows more ability to change the system of British constitution. That is, previous choices made by Britain have become the foundation of the existing constitution and that their massiveness made it unlikely for new alterations to set in.
Hence, it is difficult to argue with King’s outlook that the lawful and constitutional outcomes of the country’s concurrence with the Treaty of Rome were enormous enough to be changed (King, 2007). Since the book presented that the superiority of European Community decree over the measures of UK, King was justified in his claim that the battle between the two laws resulted into the law created by the continent having more bearing over Britain’s law. Relatively is the case with the British courts since implementation of Community law is more required which made UK as secondary.
With Community measures having more significance, British people took up their legal grievances and actions against the British government in Community courts (King, 2007). Noting such inevitable circumstances and outcomes, the book was correct when it said that Britain failed to foresee the imminent conditions. This is because the nation got involved in said Community without taking into consideration its possible consequence. In fact, it was Britain’s apparent desire to be a member of a union which eventually affected the nation’s constitution (King, 2007).
This idea was precisely supported by the book wherein King said that Britain then was more concern in entering the markets and did not think of the possible implications. It was unfortunate to note then that it was Britain’s sovereignty which was affected. This was affirmed by the author when he presented the condition of globalization. This is because when the practice took effect, the community of various countries evolved as the European Union or EU hence blocking the region as part of worldwide economy. In its worst effect, more significant impacts to the constitution happened.
Such European power over the government of Britain have greatly affected the nation’s policy aspects, such as in agriculture and environment, which were previously classified as internal but eventually became only a portion of the whole power of EU (King, 2007). The book was correctly critical in its discussion of the judiciary’s assertion of self-rule from the executive branch. King was also vivid when he presented the system of review of government decision done by the judiciary. He explained that such mechanisms lessened the authority of local governments.
These governments were regarded by the author as mere “pale shadow of its former self. ” This is because contrary to its previous influence, local governments became nobody and just turned out to be symbols of control by the primary government (King, 2007, p. 151). The book’s various manifestations of constitutional and policy changes were comprehensively provided, supported as well as rationally analyzed by the author. These include the modifications which happened during the free-market capitalism under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
In the following two decades, changes were also depicted by the privatization of the government’s basic services to the people and fall of locally-generated incomes (King, 2007). Such changes significantly paved the way for similar adjustments in the branches of Britain’s governments which, in turn, affirmed more the earlier premise of Britain having a small-c and decoded constitution. This was effectively established by the book as King wrote that Prime Ministers barely visit the House of Commons with exemption if they need to address specific questions (King, 2007).
This goes the same with the Parliament which is frequently in recess because of the emptiness of the chambers most of the time. This has resulted into laws or measures which were created and just provided by the government to its people otherwise the bills do not have opportunity to be formed and even put into law. The said modification even led to announcements of government laws and policies that are carried out through the mass media. The book noted that this is definitely in contrast to the established process when the parliament is appraised at the onset (King, 2007).
As opposed to such condition of the Parliament, Britain’s executive branch upheld its constitutional power and authority. This was proven by the influence of the Prime Minister which was more strengthened to the detriment of the cabinet system. This was supported by the book when it provided the readers with several situations that showed the increased power of the PM (King, 2007). Constitution as Gauge of Government’s Fitness The driving factor which lies underneath the changes made to the British constitution is precisely the idea of the need for the government to be suitable in its main function of governing the country and people.
Fortunately, this was clearly noted and shared to the public by the book. This is when it was able to effectively portray that the government adhered with its functions of ensuring that it is indeed fit and capable for all its roles. These purposes of the government, which were attributed from the changes made to the constitution, include its economic, political and economic principles and practices (King, 2007). Being involved in multi sectors, King reasonably centred on the supposed needed changes to the constitution thereby resulting into strengthened relationship between the government and its people.
Since the nation was subjected to several crises, the book noticed the need for the constitutional modifications which, in turn, assured the competency and ability of the government to both run the country and establish favourable relationship with people. Conclusion It is certain that a country needs to have an established constitution which serves as the binding principle and performance of its government and for the citizenry to follow. Such foundation may be manifested in different and even opposing manners.
However, it is the only way at placing the systems in place and in good form. While the British charter underwent changes, it is such conditions which eventually signalled its aspiration. Since the earlier times up to the present, UK’s constitution has proven its worth and significance. It is in this understanding that King’s book served its very purpose and essence of making the public realize the possibilities and implications of the British constitution. Reference King, A. (2007). The British Constitution. New York: Oxford University Press.