Politics Unit 2

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A set of rules, processes and principles describing the political institutions of the state, the distribution of power among the institutions, the rights of citizens and the limits to the powers of state.

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Uncodified Constitution

A constitution that is not set down in a single, organised document.

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Parliamentary Sovereignty

A political principle where legal sovereignty resides in the national parliament and is not shared with any other body.

A central feature of the UK political system.

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A term that describes a system of government where the government itself is subject to constitutional rules.

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Elective Dictatorship

Once elected a government has dictatorial powers because it dominates parliament through it's majority in the House of Commons.

This can be used to describe the relationship in the UK between Parliament and government.

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Unitary Constitution

A political system where all legal sovereignty is located in one single place.

The UK Constitution is a unitsry constitution with all legal sovereignty resting with the UK Parliament.

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Federal Constitution

A Political system where legal sovereignty is divided between central and regional institutions.

USA is an example of a federal constitution- sovereignty is shared between Washington and 50 other states.

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Codified Constitution

A constitution that is organised and written down in one single document at one point in history.

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Legal Sovereignty

Refers to the idea of ultimate politcal power which cannot be overruled by any other body or law.

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Political Sovereignty

Refers to where actual practical power lies whoever makes the law.

  • It lies with the people at general elections.
  • It lies with the people during a referendum
  • It lies with the devolved governments
  • It lies with the government when there is a large majority in parliament.
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Pooled Sovereignty

A situation where the legal sovereignty of one state is shared with the sovereignty of a number of other states.


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Yes the UK should be codified

  • It would clarify the nature of the political system after the constituitional changes since 1997, such as devolution and the HOL reform.
  •  The process of judicial review would be clear.
  • It would provide clear protections over citizen's rights.
  • It would clarify the UK's relationship with the EU
  • It would be clear to citizens what is constitutional and what isn't.
  • It would bring the UK into line with most other modern democracies.
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No the UK should not be codified

  • The current constitution is flexible and can easily be adapted to changing circumstances unlike codified constitutions who has entrenched policies that cannot be easily changed.
  • It is not necessary as it has lasted this long.
  • The lack of constitional restrains allows for a strong and decisive government.
  • A codified constitution would give too much power to unelected judges.
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An arrangement where power not sovereignty is distributed to regional bodies.

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Quasi- Federalism

Devolution is an example of this, this means that devolution has the appearance of a distribution of sovereignty to regional bodies but it is not federalism.

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Reforms proposed by this coalition

  • Electoral Reform
  • Fixed term Parliaments
  • HOL Reform
  • A British Bill of Rights
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