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Vol 21 No 11 Nov/Dec 2016

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The British Constitution


ISBN13: 9780199576982
Published: September 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £25.00
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9780199232321



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In the latter part of the nineteenth century Walter Bagehot wrote a classic account of the British constitution as it had developed during Queen Victoria's reign. He argued that the late Victorian constitution was not at all what people thought it was. Anthony King argues that the same is true at the beginning of this century.

Most people are aware that a series of major constitutional changes has taken place, but few recognize that their cumulative effect has been to change entirely the nature of Britain's constitutional structure. The old constitution has gone. The author insists that the new constitution is a mess, but one that we should probably try to make the best of. The British Constitution is neither a reference book nor a textbook. Like Bagehot's classic, it is written with wit and mordant humour - by someone who is a journalist and political commentator as well as a distinguished academic.

The author maintains that, although the new British constitution is a mess, there is no going back now. 'As always', he says, 'nostalgia is a good companion but a bad guide.' Highly charged issues that remain to be settled concern the relations between Scotland and England and the future of the House of Lords. A reformed House of Lords, the author fears, could wind up comprising 'a miscellaneous assemblage of party hacks, political careerists, clapped-out retired or defeated MPs, has-beens, never-were's and never-could-possibly-be's'.

The book is a Bagehot for the twenty-first century - the product of a lifetime's reflection on British politics and essential reading for anyone interested in how the British system has changed and how it is likely to change in future.

Anthony King, political commentator and distinguished academic, brings a lifetime of of insight into a re-examination of the British constitution.

  • A major new work by one of the UK's leading political analysts
  • Lucid and accessibly written
  • Provocative and insightful
  • Essential reading for anyone interested in the future of British political life
  • A Begehot for the 21st Century

Subjects:
Constitutional and Administrative Law
Contents:
1: What Is a 'Constitution'?
2: The Canonical Sextet
3: Britain's Traditional Constitution
4: The Impetus to Change
5: Britain's Near Abroad
6: The Judges Come Out
7: The Ghost of Local Government
8: John Bull's Other Lands
9: Mandarins as Managers
10: Democracy Rampant
11: References to the People
12: Their Lordships
13: Great British Icons
14: Britain's New Constitution
Notes
Bibliography
Index