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Should the Constitution of the UK remain uncodified?

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Introduction

´╗┐Should the constitution of the UK remain uncodified? [40] In the UK, we currently have an uncodified constitution. This means that it is not written down in full, and is implemented in a few ways: statute law, common law, conventions, works of constitutional authority and the European law and treaties. This differs from the USA, where they have a codified constitution, which contains all the laws that govern the states. One reason it is argued the current constitution should remain is that by being unwritten it is flexible. It can adapt to changes in society, and in the fast moving, currently volatile political climate, this is vital. The constitution can be changed very easily ? it only takes a policy to be passed by Parliament. An example of when this has been beneficial is when Brown introduced a convention in 2007 that stated that the UK would never declare war without the decision first being passed through Parliament. This was as a result of the second Iraq war, and just recently, this convention has come into play. When Cameron was deciding whether or not to send airstrikes into Iran, it was passed through Parliament first (For: 524, Against: 43). ...read more.

Middle

However, a codified constitution would protect the rights of the country?s citizens. It would allow the general public to be shielded from the government, as it prevents an elective dictatorship. This is where the government has such a large majority in Parliament they are free to do whatever they want, and are only restrained by the need to win the next general election. With a codified constitution, this is prevented, as it would govern the government, limiting their actions. However, with a limited government, no big changes would be able to be made ? in the current system, large changes can be made in a matter of days. With a codified constitution restricting the government that could become years. This links back to the uncodified constitution being flexible ? one of the UK?s advantages is its governments have the power to turn the country around without fear of being prosecuted for it. Problems arise if the UK was to have a codified constitution. Firstly, who would write it? There is no one who has a good enough knowledge of the UK?s political system to construct a constitution that doesn?t have a political prejudice. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another argument in keeping the constitution uncodified is quite simple: it works, so why should it be change? The UK has managed to prosper for centuries without a codified constitution, and there?s no reason it shouldn?t continue to survive in this political world for another century. We have no reason to change it, and there are other ways of governing the government that would be easier and more effective than a codified constitution. Checks and balances could be strengthened, and Parliament could be given more support in regulating what the government does, for instance. I believe that a codified constitution is unnecessary. It cannot be justified ? it would cause too much unrest for too little gain, and puts power in the unelected, increasing the democratic deficit. It is also one of the key, defining points of the UK. A codified constitution would not have as much character as the current one, and would be dry and full of legalese. It would also restrict the UK?s ability to react to global changes, and would keep us stuck in the past. In my eyes, the drawbacks of having a codified constitution outweigh the benefits. ...read more.

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