Perhaps it’s just Friday and I’m tired but I’ve not managed to sustain my original flailing from when I discovered that there’s an open Parliamentary Consultation on a written Constitution for the UK. When I first found out that this had been open since June I wanted to know why even my friends that are interested in politics hadn’t even heard of it. Now I’m finding it somewhat difficult to care.
Perhaps it’s a quote from that page : “There is the simple argument that there are so many practical problems in preparing and enacting a written constitution, there is little point in even considering it. There is no real popular support or demand and, especially given the massive amount of time and destabilising effect such a reform would entail, it is a very low priority even for those who support the idea.”
Wading down a bunch of pages I eventually found a link to this hugely comprehensive document from Professor Robert Blackburn of Kings College London. This goes into the various options for a written Constitution in great detail and looks into the models used in many other countries as well as many people’s different opinions of Constitutions in general. I was particularly impressed by the section on “Public Opinion and Codifying the Constitution” and it’s discussion on “deliberative voting. If Constitutional questions were put to the general public in a referendum how can ensure that those voting are cognisant of both sides of the argument (esp. when ~50% of people polled at the time of the 2011 AV referendum said they didn’t understand the topic)?
I broadly feel in favour of a written Constitution and especially a Bill of Rights. I’ve heard of numerous American court cases judged against their Constitution and that has a number of things to admire. Sometimes it is simply better for a set of long-standing learned rules to have more power than those temporally in power (leaving aside issues of interpretation).
All that said I still find I can’t get worked up about this. It’s so unlikely to happen and there are so many other things that can be fixed much more easily that I’m unconvinced of spending any more effort in that direction.