Perpetual rewriting….

In 1982, I published The Constitution in Flux, covering different aspects of constitutional change.  One senior lawyer in reviewing the book did offer the view that it was prescient.  I have not written a second edition as such, in part because of the problem of devising a title as good as the original.  Readers have on occasion offered suggestions!  Perhaps best not to repeat what Professor Phil Cowley recommended.

As regular readers will know from an earlier post, I am now working on the manuscript for Governing Britain: Parliament, ministers and our ambiguous constitution, to be published next year by Manchester University Press.  As explained in the earlier post, it is not designed as an update of the 1982 volume, but rather a series of essays addressing different aspects of our ambiguous constitution.  It will overlap with some of the topics covered then, but the focus of several of the chapters will be even more relevant than I anticipated to current events, not least the twin pillars of the constitution (parliamentary sovereignty, rule of law), the relationship of the courts, Parliament, and the executive, and Parliament, the EU and Brexit.  The only problem is that it is a case of almost literary Trotskyism – perpetual rewriting.  One event, such as the Miller/Cherry case, impacts on more than one chapter.  The challenge will be to identify a time at which it is possible to stop and actually submit the manuscript.

One encouraging point, though, is that when I tweeted I was having to revise the manuscript, the number of ‘likes’ was such as to suggest there is a notable market for the book.  Well, I hope that is the correct interpretation.  The Constitution in Flux remained in print for many years…

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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