WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION?

IAIN McLEAN
400pp ILLUS 2009 LIST PRICE: £59.00 S327

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Description
In this new study, McLean argues that the traditional story of the British constitution does not make sense. It purports to be both positive and normative: that is, to describe both how people actually behave and how they ought to behave. In fact, it fails to do either; it is not a correct description and it has no persuasive force. McLean proposes the consideration of 'veto plays' and 'credible threats' available to politicians since 1707. He suggests that the idea that the people are sovereign dates back to the seventeenth century (maybe the fourteenth in Scotland), but has gone underground in English constitutional writing. He goes on to show that devolution and the United Kingdom's relationship with the rest of Europe have taken it along a constitutionalist road since 1972, and perhaps since 1920. He concludes that no intellectually defensible case can be made for retaining an unelected house of Parliament, an unelected head of state, or an established church.