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The UK Constitution - Distribution of Power

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Andrew Wilson

on 19 September 2017

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Transcript of The UK Constitution - Distribution of Power

The balance of power is key...
1. Executive dominance - leads quickly to dictatorship if not combined with liberal democratic values (enforced term limits help)
The UK Constitution - Distribution of Power
7 Features Review
The Importance of Balance
Balance in the distribution of power...
The UK
The UK
1. Establishes political institutions
2. Distribution of power between institutions
3. Establishes rules/relationships between institutions
4. Establishes the limits of government power
5. Establishes the rights of citizens
6. Establishes who citizens are
7. How to change the constitution
This is the most important aspect to get right when writing a constitution...
Balance in constitutional theory is key

A lack of balance can have devastating consequences:
PRI in Mexico
Putin in Russia
Weimar Republic

What would you do...if you were designing the relationship between the executive, legislative and judiciary...what would you do?
- The executive is the organ that exercises authority in and holds responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.
- A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city.
- The judiciary (also known as the judicial system or court system) is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state.
2. Legislative dominance - lack of unity, no social cohesion, overly influenced by the passions of the people...if election cycles are too long then it can lead to dominance by political parties...too short it can be overly reactive
3. Judicial weakness - if the judiciary lacks the power to strike down laws, then constitutional values can be ignored. If interpretations are too easily challenged they are pointless...
4. If executive and legislative are too finely balanced in powers - nothing gets done if they disagree...or laws face complicated and challenging processes...
No such thing as a perfect world!!!
Devolution - no big fights yet!
The EU - still in it...
House of Lords/Commons
Houses of Parliament/Monarch
Government and Houses of Parliament
Apart from the EU and devolved bodies...the rest are decided by convention, easily changed rules and are not clearly defined...also open to interpretation...
So what is the balance of power in the UK?
Its complicated...by circumstance...history...context...election results...personality...
The question is really...is this the best constitutional arrangement for the country?
Full transcript