UK Constitutional Law Association

affiliated to the International Association of Constitutional Law

Strathclyde/LSE: Crowd-Sourcing the UK Constitution – or Indeed a Scottish One

Expert Panel at the University of Strathclyde

Wednesday 19 March, 6 – 8 pm

If Scotland does choose independence it will need to devise a new constitution. There is no British precedent.  The UK has no constitution written down in one document. Instead it has laws, conventions, practices, activities scattered all over the place that constitutional lawyers gather together and describe as the UK constitution. In a unique project, LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and Department of Law have come together to pioneer the crowdsourcing of a new UK constitution, in other words to ask members of the public to participate in, advise on and eventually to draft a new UK constitution. If Scotland chooses independence exactly the same questions will need to be asked before a Constitution for this newly independent country can be written.  Join Professor Conor Gearty, Human Rights Law Professor at LSE and have your say on what should be included in creating this important new document, whether it is British or Scottish. There will be an expert panel from Scotland who will be discussing their views and ideas on the ConstitutionUK project. What could be included in a constitution to better protect and represent the Scottish people, whether as an independent country or as part of the UK?  Come along to this discussion to voice your opinions and contribute to ConstitutionUK!

Chair and Moderator:    Professor Conor Gearty, LSE

Panellists:

Jean McFadden, former leader, Glasgow City Council

Professor Aileen McHarg, University of Strathclyde

Shelagh McKinlay, political blogger

Professor James Mitchell, University of Edinburgh

Venue: Room S209, Stenhouse Building, 173 Cathedral St, Glasgow

(http://www.strath.ac.uk/maps/stenhousebuilding/)

Registration: Attendance at this event is free and all are welcome.  However, numbers are limited, so please register in advance by visiting https://ecrowds.eventbrite.co.uk.

For further information about the ConstitutionUK project, see http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/constitutionuk/.

One comment on “Strathclyde/LSE: Crowd-Sourcing the UK Constitution – or Indeed a Scottish One

  1. John Lubran
    March 18, 2014

    There continues to be a commonly held belief, amongst ‘professional’ commentators, in constitutional law fictions. The academic fraternity are mired in these baseless conditioned reflexes. It seems that to obtain a PhD in constitutional law one must first leave common sense and Common Law outside of the false premise on which some academic arguments rely.

    There are some fundamental realties about constitutions and the first is that any constitution simply drawn up by politicians and powerful elites and ratified by a show of hands in their parliament is not a constitutional instrument; they are mere statutes. The only way to create a constitutional instrument is through a very clear, fully informed and overwhelming consensus of the population affected; it’s a very big job, it can’t be rushed, it will take a very long time. The one it proposes to overthrow has taken centuries to form. This is not Egypt.

    Let us first consider, with the utmost care and respect, the fact that Scotland already has its own constitution in the same way that England has its own too. Certainly written if not codified into a single handy document. Scotland is one of that special group of countries whose constitutional law is based on common law, the ‘little parliaments’ of juries and higher court precedents on the one hand and contractual constitutional instruments on the other, all under the sovereignty of a Constitutional Monarch as opposed to the legal fiction of the sovereignty of politicians, who by their very power hungry nature would love nothing more than to have their own statute legislation take supremacy over Law on these islands. As things stand, despite the fundamental myth to the contrary subscribed to by too many academics, politicians and lawyers, the fact is that throughout Britain, parliament cannot make laws. Politicians make statute legislation that must follow Law to have any legitimacy. This is not arcane, though it does appear to be hidden in plain sight. Politicians and their familiars have been trying to usurp the supremacy of Common Law and Constitution since the perversely unconstitutional 1911Parliament Act. Astonishingly there is nothing in Law that enables them to do this; it has been achieved by the cap doffing ignorant acquiescence of earlier populations. It simply won’t do today because there will be unchallengeable opposition to allowing mere politicians and other groupings of powerful elites to decide on any constitutional agreements without a full and inclusive consultation of a sort almost never undertaken by them even though they often erroneously describe their processes as such.

    Making ‘a new constitution’ requires a revolution either by consent or rebellion: indeed all of our fundamental Constitutional Instruments have emerged from rebellious revolutions such as 1215 Magna Carta and the 1688 Declaration of Rights consequential to the Glorious Revolution of the same year. These superior Constitutional Instruments are not the same as the inferior Constitutional Statutes that emerged from them. Despite much unqualified and utterly presumptuous assertion of politicians, their placemen and familiars that such Instruments can be amended or repealed by statutes it is self evident that because a Constitutional Instrument is not a parliament enacted statute it is beyond the powers of parliament to alter. It must follow that any act intended to usurp a Constitutional Instrument would be treason.

    Scotland is not a banana republic. High handedness by cartels of politicians, powerful elites and their apologists in academia who seeks to transfer sovereignty from our Constitution and Common Law to hastily drawn up statutes will only end in tears.

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This entry was posted on March 18, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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