The case for a constitutional convocation

indexI took part last week in the debate on the Queen’s Speech on the day when we focused on constitutional issues.  I was concerned not to address particular measures, but rather to stand back at look more broadly at what was being proposed.  Part of the problem has been that measures have been debated on their individual merits, but not considered in the context of the constitution qua constitution.  As I put it:

The gracious Speech makes the case for something that is not in it.  The same can be said of many Queen’s Speeches since 1997.  Successive Governments have introduced significant constitutional changes, but the changes have derived from no clear view of where we are going.

I used the opportunity to make the case for a constitutional convocation.  The terminology is deliberate.  The term ‘constitutional convention’ carries too much baggage, often denoting a body created to write a new constitution.  I don’t want a body to tell us where to go.  I want one that helps us make sense of where we are.

The speech can be read here.  It is relatively short.  Because of the number of speakers in the debate, there was an advisory speaking time of seven minutes.  I spoke for seven minutes.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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6 Responses to The case for a constitutional convocation

  1. Tony Sands says:

    Our constitutional relationships are already a mess on so many levels as a result of the ad hoc changes you have alluded to. I think an individual, who despite being a member of a political party, would take a scrupulously non-partisan and academic approach, should drive such a process and chair such a body. If someone doesn’t soon ask you, I think it’s time for you to request one of your breakfast meetings with the PM.

  2. Lord Norton,

    I wish that we would catch the convention interests here despite the risks of a bad result being higher here in the United States. I include a link you may find moderately interesting,

    http://house.louisiana.gov/cc73/

  3. maude elwes says:

    I feel that this article in the papers this morning sums up completely how governments and politics in general simply have lost their way and really don’t know where they are going. And what concerns me most, is, they refuse to look at the crazy lead they are taking, not only in the UK but world wide. We really are being led by the pied pipers of political correctness and fear to speak out on any matter. Why has this lack of ability to correct itself within our Parliament as a whole, been allowed to continue for so many years now.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/rachel-dolezal-what-the-rights-activists-story-says-about-being-white-in-modern-america-10318082.html

    How is this poor womans delusion any different from the transgender man or woman? Clearly she felt rejected by her family from childhood because of her race. And to pretend this hasn’t been festering for some time, with an ugly sister shoe on the other foot, is ludicrous. Merle Oberon as a starter for ten and a few of our pop stars had played this card for some years.

    Politics is the trend setter in all matters and the trait to madness is now showing its head. The polulation is in utter confusion.,

    • There is a case to be made that American society is becoming completely unraveled in a number of areas. Constitutional reform could allow healthy elements to heal the whole. But there are always real costs to sustained and publicly sanctioned folly….

      • maude elwes says:

        You are so right Frank. And seemingly the fear politicians have of facing the truth evades them, until the tragedy is of Greek proportions. Delusional is too good a word to use. Demented is more in tandem with their reality.

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