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The UK Constitution is no longer fit for purpose. Discuss

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Introduction

Úna Richards 27/03/2013 ‘The UK Constitution is no longer fit for purpose.’ Discuss. Constitutions organise, distribute and regulate the power of the state. They set out its structure, the major state institutions, and the principles governing their relations with each other and with the state’s citizens. Britain is unusual in that it has an ‘unwritten’ constitution: unlike the great majority of countries. Whether the British Constiution is able to fulfil each of its purposes is a matter that needs to be explored. Evidence shows us that the UK Constitution is still fit for purpose, as the state has suffered no major political unrest or violent revolutions, unlike many other countries, many of which have had to install a constitution as a result. One way in which the UK constitution is no longer fit for purpose is that it lacks restraint on the powers of government and Parliament due to parliamentary sovereignty; this may be dangerous, especially to individual and minority rights. This is a particularly good example of how the UK constitution is no longer fit for purpose, as one of a constitution’s key functions is to ...read more.

Middle

The UK?s Constitution has meant that the state?s government is clear and consistent, in contrast to the changing natures of other countries? governments. Futhermore, our Constitution is, arguably, still fit for purpose in the sense that, with it, we have maintained functional, efficient and generally credible governments. Another argument against the UK Constitution?s fitness for purpose is that it was ?written? centuries ago, and consequently was written to represent institutions that are now largely outdated, for example the monarchy and the House of Lords. Both are considered ?politcally irrelevant?, as they go against the UK?s system of democracy. The argument against the UK Constitution?s efficiency is strengthened as these bodies were, and still are, unable to represent the people, as the British people did not democratically elect them. However, as the UK Constitution is uncodified and not completely entrenched, the British government can be flexible when dealing with or implementing new legislature. As the world modernises, the flexibility of the UK Constitution allows our unwritten conventions and laws to slowly evolve with the world?s development. ...read more.

Conclusion

The power held by the executive threatens individual rights, the position of minorities and the influence of public opinion, as the UK Constitution does not provide sufficient controls on what the Prime Minister does, and there are no real ?checks and balances?, unlike the US Constitution. Despite the worryingly large amount of executive power, the PM has never visibly, negatively and drastically exploited his/her powers. Therefore, the UK Constitution is largely fit for purpose, as although the executive has a lot of power there have never been attempts at futher, tyranical or dictatorial control. Overall, although it can be argued that the constitution is no longer relevant and is outdated, it still holds major advantages. It has developed with the country to adapt to changing times, it has never been a major point of issue in the UK in that it has caused problems or prevented good things from happening. Although it may lack democracy in particular areas, it is still fit for purpose as there is no significant issue with it currently, and it is generally fuctional and effective. ...read more.

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