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Archive for the 'AP Britain' Category

3 winners and 4 losers from the stunning UK election

Monday, July 10th, 2017

The “winners and losers” political narrative is rather frustrating. Just the same, this Vox piece does seem to sum it up tidily. Spoiler, Teresa May won, but lost.

Britain has no written constitution. Meet the man who drafted one.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

At the request of Parliament’s Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, King’s College London scholar Robert Blackburn spent four years drafting blueprints for a full-fledged constitution. The results were published last year in a parliamentary report titled “A New Magna Carta?”

Washington Post: Should Britain have a written constitution? In what ways could it be useful in settling the questions at the core of the U.K.’s existential dilemmas — devolved vs. centralized power, in Europe or out, four nations or one, etc.

Robert Blackburn: Britain should now move towards adopting a written constitution, which would have great benefits in providing a renewed sense of national identity, and settling the state of the Union across the four nations of the U.K. and the terms and limits of its partnership in Europe.

Within the country at large, a documentary constitution would enable ordinary people to know and see what are the principles, rules and institutions by which they are governed, to replace the present sprawling mass of common law rules in law reports, convoluted Acts of Parliament that are unreadable to most people, and unwritten conventions some of which are unclear even to politicians working at Westminster.

An initiative on enacting a written constitution would provide the opportunity for resolution of a number of constitutional problems, ones where despite cross-party agreement that something must be done, no outcome has been forthcoming, such as settling the rationale and democratic form for the parliamentary Second Chamber (House of Lords).

Read more of this Washington Post interview with Robert Blackburn


Devolution in England: Reaching a dead end

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

In May, Liverpool, Greater Manchester and four other combined authorities (see map) will elect a metro mayor for the first time. They are the poster children of the “devolution revolution” launched by the then chancellor, George Osborne, in 2015. The hope was that more joined-up decision-making at local level would boost regional economies and raise productivity. But many rural areas did not even submit a devolution proposal. Elsewhere local councillors rejected the notion. There are fears that, beyond the six deals concluded, it will be hard to do more. Lord Porter, head of the Local Government Association, said last month that he believes “devolution is dead.”

Some counties are restructuring anyway. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire each plan to abolish their county, district and city councils and form a “unitary” one. Cornwall, Wiltshire and Shropshire have already done so. But district councils often align with parliamentary constituencies and, as district councillors act as ground troops in general elections, many MPs do not want unitaries.

The biggest problem is persuading the people in places like King’s Lynn to support change. “If you asked all my friends in the town,” says one lifelong resident out shopping with his wife, “I doubt any of them have even heard of devolution.”

Read more from the Economist 

Brexit, Briefly

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Brexit: Five challenges for the UK when leaving the EU

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The campaign to leave the European Union has won the referendum. It means the UK is now committed to withdrawing from the group of 28 countries, a process that has come to be known as Brexit. What does this mean for the UK and EU?

BBC Parliament Year-End Review

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

BBC Parliament TV looked back at some major events in the British Parliament since September 2015 in their program “Westminster in Review” hosted by Keith Mcdougall.?Topics included:

  • the debate on the United Kingdom’s future membership in the European Union (EU)
  • combating ISIS* in Syria
  • the election of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
  • the use of a robot in Parliament and debate on the hedgehog being a national symbol.

Video compilation of the Parliament’s last quarter of 2015

Election 2015 – Why The Conservatives Won

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

24 things that Jeremy Corbyn believes

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn is the new leader of the Labour party. What are his beliefs?

1. The deficit should be tackled – but not through spending cuts and not to an “arbitrary” deadline. Instead Corbyn would fund its reduction via higher taxes for the rich and a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion while tackling “corporate welfare” and tax breaks for companies.

2. Britain’s railways should be renationalised. He is also opposed to the HS2 rail scheme, saying it would turn northern cities into “dormitories for London businesses”

Read on from the BBC

Labour promises to renationalise English railways

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

The Labour conference has formally committed itself to the renationalisation of the English rail network as it pledged to oppose another round of “unneeded, unwanted and ill-thought-through privatisation”.

In a significant boost for the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has suffered a series of setbacks over the EU and Trident, Labour’s national executive committee agreed a statement that paves the way for the rolling renationalisation of the rail network.

Government may privatise Channel 4

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

The government has inadvertently provided further evidence that it is looking at privatising Channel 4, after an official was photographed entering Downing Street with a document setting out options for a sell-off.

After months of ministerial obfuscation on whether the sale of the state-owned, commercially funded broadcaster was being considered, the document reveals that proposals have already been drawn up in a bid to raise an estimated £1bn for Treasury coffers.