Top People are mucking about with the British Constitution. They seek to pack the House of Lords with Tories and Liberals, and make it more difficult, via the proposed 55 percent rule, to remove an unpopular government.
“Oh, but we don’t have a Constitution!” is a standard response, implying there’s nothing for Top People, or anyone else, to muck about with.
Wrong. Britain has a written Constitution. It consists of bits of paper, some very old, hidden away in the Cabinet Office, the House of Commons library and the Palace archive.
The problem with these bits of paper – the British Constitution – is that the populous, those whose lives are governed by it, We the People,Â have never been asked if we agree with it. Which explains, in part, why Top People believe they can amend it without asking.
We were told repeatedly, during and after the election campaign, and again this morning on The Today Programme by Theresa May, the new Home Secretary, that we’re entering a period of ‘new politics.’ Indeed, Ms May sounded quite pleased with the idea and commended it to Mr Humphrys.
Fine. But might the ‘new politics’ include a commitment to ask the people, via referendum, for their agreement before changing the British Constitution?
I know, I know, it’s a radical idea. We live in a constitutional monarchy not a republic. The government belongs to Her Majesty not the People.
But might the generalised distrust of politicians, the low voter turnout, the refusal to give one party an overall majority in the House of Commons, flow from a justified sense of outrage that the political class, fresh from the expenses scandal, fresh from permitting the bankers to wreck the economy, should treat the population with such high-handed contempt?
Interestingly, it’s the right-wing of the Conservative Party making the running in the argument for constitutional probity: David Davis writing in today’s Daily Telegraph. Mr Davis may be a lot of things but he’s no wild-eyed Republican.