The Changing Constitution

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  • The Changing Constitution
    • The Constitution Under Blair and Brown
      • Reforms
        • A Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly were created in 1999
        • A Northern Ireland Assembly was created in 1998
        • A Greater London Authority was set up in 2000
        • Referendums were held to approve the creation of each of the new government bodies
        • PR electoral systems were used for each of the created bodies
        • The Human Rights Act was passed in 1998
        • All but 92 hereditary peers lost their right to sit and vote in the House of Lords in 1999
        • The Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000
        • The 2005 Constitutional Reform Act provided for the creation of the Supreme Court in 2009
      • Criticisms of Labour's Constitutional Reforms
        • Enthusiasm for constitutional reform quickly started to fade
        • The reforms were piecemeal
        • The reforms reshaped existing constitutional arrangements but didn't address deeper problems
    • The Constitution Under Cameron and Clegg
      • Constitutional Implications of Coalition Government
        • Government formation
        • Collective responsibility and "agreements to differ"
          • Coalition partners were allowed to adopt different positions
            • AV referendum
            • University funding
            • Renewal of Trident nuclear weapons
        • Internal organisation of the executive
          • Alternative arrangements are put in place to reconcile the disputes
        • Powers of the prime minster
        • Obligations of the House of Lords
      • Constitutional Reform Under the Coalition
        • Fixed-term Parliaments
          • Five-year Parliaments
          • Made the coalition more stable and enduring
          • Prime minster lost the ability to decide the date of the next election
        • Reform of the Westminster electoral system
        • House of Lords reform
        • Devolution
        • Bill of Rights and the judiciary
    • A Codified Constitution?
      • Obstacles
        • There is no process through which a written constitution could be introduced
        • The major parties disagree about the nature and the contents of the constitution
      • What Would Constitution Affect?
        • The power of government
        • The relationship between judges and politicians
        • The relationship between the executive and Parliament
        • The relationship between central government and devolved and local bodies
        • Individual rights and freedoms
    • For or Against a Codified Constitution?
      • For
        • Clear rules
        • Limited government
          • A solution to elective dictatorship
        • Neutral interpretation
          • Policed by senior judges
            • Act neutral and impartial
        • Protecting rights
          • Individual liberty would be more protected
        • Education and citizenship
          • It highlights the central values and overall goals of the political system
          • Clearer sense of political identity
      • Against
        • Rigidity
          • It can easily become outdated
          • Fails to respond to an ever-changing political environment
        • Judicial tyranny
          • Judges are not the best people to police the constitution as they are unelected and socially unrepresentative
        • Legalistic
        • Political bias
          • They only enforce one set of values
        • Unnecessary
          • Not the most effective way of limiting government power

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