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The UK Constitution
Transcript of The UK Constitution
What is Politics?
Expectations - The 3 Rs
1) Be Ready - Come to class equipped and have an open mind.
2) Be Responsible - Pay attention, participate make your best effort and ask for help when you need it. This also means being independent learners.
3) Be Respectful - Listen when others are talking, put your hand up to answer questions and encourage others' learning.
Do we agree these are fair?
What is politics?
How are you assessed?
Written examination: 1 hour 20 minutes which is divided into 2 sections and is out of 80 marks and worth 50% of your AS and 25% of your A2 mark.
Have to answer one stimulus based question from a choice of two. These questions will be subdivided into 5, 10 and 25 mark questions.
5-mark requires you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.
10-mark - requires you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding, as well as to analyse and evaluate political information, arguments and explanations.
25-mark - requires you to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, analyse and evaluate political information and construct and communicate coherent arguments (mini-essay)
You have to answer one extended question from a choice of two worth
, where you will be required to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding as well as your ability to analyse and evaluate political information and to construct and communicate coherent arguments.
Key Question 1: What is a constitution?
Key Terms Bingo
Key Question 2: How effective is the UK Constitution?
What are the sources of the UK constitution?
Know - Key sources of the UK constitution.
Understand - How these sources work together.
Skills - Note-taking, exam practice and debate.
Should the UK introduce a codified constitution?
What is a constitution?
Know - Some key definitions and what a constitution is.
Understand - The functions of a constitution.
Skills - Debate, defining key terms, comparison and evaluation.
What are the different types of constitution?
Know - The different forms of constitution.
Understand - The strengths and weaknesses of the different forms of constitution.
Skills - Debate and creative thinking
Make a case against the adoption of a codified constitution for the UK. (25 Marks)
Know - The structure and content of the course.
Understand - What the study of politics involves.
Skills - Debate
Building a Definition of Politics
Involves state and non-state actors/institutions. In the modern world it also involves supra-state actors.
Conflict of interest - What type of interest - Economic? Social? Cultural? Religious?
Conflict of ideas - Values, beliefs etc.
Struggle for power. But what is power? At what level does this struggle take place? In what spheres does it take place?
Keeping up to date with Current Affairs.
It is essential that you keep up to date with current affairs during the course - We will be debating key topical issues.
Peer and home discussion.
Always keep in mind the agenda of the author.
Describes key features of the study of politics.
Explains the debate surrounding the study of politics involves.
Critically evaluates what the study of politics involves.
How far have the parties' views on politics changed?
The Constitution - Nature of the constitution, debates about sovereignty, constitutional reform.
Parliament - Legislatures and executives, the role of Parliament and reform of Parliament.
The Prime Minister and Cabinet - Their role, powers and forms of Prime ministerial leadership.
Judges and Civil Liberties - Their role, power, influence and civil liberties and individual rights.
AO1: Knowledge and Understanding.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant institutions, processes, political concepts, theories and debates.
AO2: Analysis, Evaluation, Connections.
Analyse and evaluate political information, arguments and explanations, and identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between aspects of the political systems studied.
AO3: Essay Writing/Debate.
Construct and communicate coherent arguments making use of a range of appropriate political vocabulary.
Develop a critical awareness of the nature of politics and the relationship between political ideas, institutions and processes.
Acquire knowledge and understanding of the structures of authority and power within the political system of the United Kingdom, and how these may differ from those of other political systems.
Acquire knowledge and informed understanding of the rights and responsibilities of the individual and encourage an interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.
"Statutes shall promote equal access by women and men to elective offices and posts as well as to positions of professional and social responsibility."
From the French Constitution:
What is a constitution?
What should a constitution include?
Come up with at least 3 things.
Functions of the Constitution
External Relationships - EU, UN etc.
Institutions of the state - Parliament , courts.
Distribution of power
Rights and duties of citizens.
Law (how it is made and enforced).
Amendments - How to change it.
Which is the most important and why?
Compares and evaluates the different functions of constitutions.
Explains the role of a constitution by explaining its functions.
Describes what a constitution is.
Describes the different forms of constitution.
Creates a workable constitution.
This is the process of setting out a constitution in one coherent document. It has one source. The vast majority of countries have this form of constitution.
Uncodified Constitution (single-tier legal system)
This means that the constitution is not written down in one single document - instead it has many sources. In the UK no distinction is made between different laws. Countries such as Israel, Canada and New Zealand have uncodified systems.
Codified or Uncodified?
Some people have key words and some people have definitions. You have to find the person in the room who goes with you.
An entrenched constitution recognises the constitution and its process of modification as different from, and superior to, other laws. In order to amend such constitutions a supermajority in the legislature or a referendum supported by citizens is often required. The USA has an entrenched constitution.
An unentrenched constitution does not recognise the constitution as different or supreme and thus constitutions can be modified as easily as statutory laws. The UK is an example of such a constitution. Therefore, the UK constitution is always evolving.
Entrenched or Unentrenched?
TASK: Explaining the Sources of the UK Constitution
Make notes on the different sources in the UK constitution. Make sure you make note of key examples.
Describes sources of the UK constitution.
Explains sources of the UK constitution using examples.
Explains sources of the UK constitution using examples and evaluates their significance.
Sources of the UK Constitution
These are unwritten rules which have moral force. They are not written in law. E.g.
That the House of Lords will not block any legislation that appear in the governing party's manifesto (Salisbury Convention).
That the Prime Minister should come from the House of Commons.
That the monarch passes royal assent on ALL legislation passed by parliament.
Historical Principles or Authoritative Works
Principles which are not bound by law but have been established over a long period of time. E.g. Sovereignty of Parliament and Parliamentary government.
These principle are often found in major constitutional works by key theorists such as Bagehot and Dicey.
Law that is created in the European parliament. EU law is supreme over national law in all member states. The treaties that established the European Union, EU legislation and judgements of the European Court of Justice all form part of the UK constitution. If conflict occurs between UK and EU law, EU law will take precedence.
Rituals of parliamentary government. E.g. Queens speech, rules of debate etc.
This refers to the law made by judges in particular cases. Decisions by judges in senior courts set precedents that are followed in future cases in lower courts; in this case the judges themselves can change the law, and some of these rulings have constitutional significance.
Such a law is not the product of the legislative process, but a reflection of the accumulated wisdom of the past which binds judged into acceptance of these legal precedents. Most of the original laws concerning civil rights began in this way, such as freedom of speech and freedom of movement
A law passed by parliament. E.g. devolution to Scotland and Wales.
he Big Question
What makes a successful debater?
Think on Your Feet
Respond to points made - jot them down to help you remember.
Concede some points - choose your battles wisely.
Make your most important points first before moving on to the more difficult points.
Predict the other side's argument.
- 3 minutes for each side. At least 3 of you must speak during this part. Make sure your main points are stated first and then move on to less important points. Ask some questions of the other side. You may try to preempt what you anticipate the other group will say.
Right of Reply
- An opportunity to reply to the opening statement - You must answer any questions asked and pose supplementary ones to the other side. You can concede points but use it to your advantage - Is the point they are making not the most important?
- An opportunity to ask two further questions which you want answered - Choose them carefully!!
- One person from each group sums up the the argument they have made.
THE PATHWAY TO DEBATING SUCCESS
1. This house believes the UK should adopt a codified constitution.
2. This house believes the UK constitution should be changed to introduce a separation of powers.
Groups of 4/5.
Prepare your argument carefully - You need to make an opening statement 3 minutes long to support your case.
Prepare responses to potential questions you think may be asked of you by the other side.
Think of some probing questions you want to ask the other side - REMEMBER YOU NEED TO CONVINCE - think about the language and the evidence you use.
Know - Key arguments for and against a codified constitution for the UK
Understand - How to engage in a political debate.
Skills - Debate and Presentation
Describes reasons for and against a codified constitution for the UK.
Explains reasons for and against a codified constitution with reference to its principles, sources and features.
Evaluates the current UK constitution with reference to its principles, sources, features and against others such as the USA.
Those watching, take notes on:
1, What does de grail stand for?
2, What is common law?
3, Name the 3 branches of government.
4. What is a constitutional principle?
Judicial Review is the process through which judges interpret, re-interpret or clarify constitutional rules. Judicial reviews take place in response to appeals by citizens. The outcomes means the constitution can be clarified, adapted or revised.
WWW - Give the groups 3 things you liked about their presentation/argument.
EBI - One thing the group could improve.
THE DEBATING AWARDS
1) Vote for the best debater. Why were they successful?
2) Vote for the best group worker. What made them effective?
3) Vote for the best argument. Why was it so convincing?
In what ways and to what extent has the UK lost sovereignty to the European Union?
1. In what areas has jurisdiction passed to the EU?
2. In what areas does the UK keep jurisdiction?
3. Explain what the Factortame case was.
4. Explain the significance of the Factortame case.
5. Explain what quasi-federalism means.
6. Do the transfers of jurisdiction represent a major erosion of UK sovereignty? Compare evidence from both sides.
TASK: European Union Questions
The transfer of sovereignty from the UK to the European Union has gone too far.
Using pp.177-178 (4th Ed)
Know - The impact of EU membership on the UK constitution.
Understand - The extent to which UK sovereignty has been eroded.
Skills - Comprehension, Explanation, Judgment, Evaluation.
Describes areas of jurisdiction transferred to the EU.
Explains the significance of the Factortame case.
Evaluates the extent to which UK sovereignty has been eroded.
Peer marking exercise.
What we are looking for:
Full sentence responses.
Evidence of judgement and analysis.
Highlight areas for improvement and annotate responses.
Know - How devolution works.
Understand - The different powers of the different devolved bodies.
Skills - Categorising, debate.
How successful has devolution been?
England needs devolution.
TASK: Devolution Solutions
1. Define devolution.
2. Explain the West Lothian Question and its consequences.
3. Explain why the context of devolution in Northern Ireland is so different from that in Scotland and Wales.
4. What are the potential consequences of the Scottish independence referendum?
5. Explain in detail how successful devolution has been for:
a) Keeping the United Kingdom together.
b) The movement for independence in Scotland.
c) Representative government.
Describes powers of different devolution systems.
Explains feature of devolution in different areas.
Evaluates the need for an English Parliament.
Use the sheet to complete a Venn Diagram on Powers
Scotland and N. Ireland
Wales and N. Ireland
Scotland and Wales
Britain should leave the European Convention on Human Rights and adopt a British Bill of Rights.
Know - What the Human Rights Act is.
Understand - The degree that it impacts British law.
Skills - Understanding, Judgement, Evaluation
What are the consequences of the Human Rights Act (1998)?
Outline which bodies are bound by the Human Rights Act.
Explain how the act interacts with the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty.
Explain significance of the Belmarsh Case.
Explain the significance of Abu Qatada case.
The implementation of the Human Rights Act has undermined the sovereignty of the UK. Discuss.
TASK: Human Rights or one step too far?
Evaluates the degree that the Human Rights Act has eroded British sovereignty.
Describes the rights protected by the Human Rights Act.
Explains the significance of key verdicts reached by the European Court of Human Rights.
Key Question 3: How successful have reforms to the UK constitution been?
Has House of Lords Reform gone far enough?
The House of Lords should be fully elected.
Know - key reforms made to the House of Lords since 1997.
Understand - The extent to which reforms made to the House of Lords since 1997 can be said to have been a success.
Skills - Identifying problems, evaluation and debate.
Describes reforms to the House of Lords since 1997.
Explains possible avenues for future reform to the House of Lords.
Judges whether House of Lords Reform has gone far enough.
TASK: Make out a case against an elected second chamber. (25 marks)
8 Marks available for knowledge and understanding:
Ability to identify and explain the arguments.
The range of arguments identified.
Ability to make links between the reform and its consequences.
9 Marks available for intellectual skills:
Ability to analyse and evaluate political information, arguments and explanations.
Identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences.
8 Marks available for communication and coherence:
Sophisticated ability to construct and communicate coherent arguments.
Making good use of appropriate vocabulary.
Use the sheets to help you construct an argument.
TASK: Stalling Reform
Read the sheet and answer the questions.
Reviewing the UK Constitution
TASK: Preparing for 40 Mark Questions on Constitutional Reform
Steps to success:
TASK: Promoting Progress
Description rather than.
Not enough evaluation of the consequences of reform.
No criteria for 'far enough' established.
Purple pens of progress
Read the comments and complete you Review Sheet at the front of your book.
With the purple pen:
Choose one paragraph to rewrite or complete with a conclusion etc in order to act upon targets set.
In pairs plan a 40 mark question.
What is the question asking?
What is your argument?
3 points on either side of the debate.
Explains features of codified and uncodified constitutions.
Should Scotland become an independent country?
Consequences of Independence Referendum
* 55% voted 'No' and 45% voted 'Yes' on an 85% turnout.
* The resulted demanded change to the current devolution arrangement.
* The Smith Commission was established to look at what could change. This reported in November 2014.
* The SNP then won 56 of 59 seats in the 2015 UK General Election.
* The Scotland Bill is now on its way through Parliament. It currently includes the following new powers:
Thresholds and rates of income tax on earnings in Scotland and keeping all the money raised in Scotland
Control over the first 10 percentage points of standard rate VAT revenue raised in Scotland [and 2.5% reduced rate]
◾New welfare powers worth £2.5bn.
Providing power to set the rules over a range of benefits which affect carers, disabled people and the elderly and giving control over programmes which help people find work.
* New powers have been promised for the Welsh Assembly over and above the Wales Act (2014).
* New calls for English votes for English laws and cities devolution in England.
Have reforms to Local Government been successful?
TASK: The problems of Police and Crime Commissioners
What were the proposed benefits of PCCS?
What are the negatives of the PCC election with regards to constitutional reform?
*Lib Dems say they will scrap them.
*Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 201 will remmove some from their role and give it to directly elected mayors in places like Sheffield and Manchester.
*First Youth PCC in Kent resigned only 3 days into the job over previous racist and homophobic tweets.
*The PCC in Rotherham refused to resign over a child abuse scandal for 3 months. Due to their being no mechanism to remove him, the government and people were powerless. Eventually he did resign.
Know - Key reforms to local government.
Understand - The extent of success
of reforms to local government.
Skills - Evaluation and debate.
TASK: London Government
Use pp. 185-186 to answer the following:
How is power separated between the London Assembly and the Mayor?
How does the electoral system prevent mayoral dominance?
Outline two significant policies introduced by the Mayors of London.
Which constitutional reform has been the most successful?
Police and Crime Commissioners
Cities and Local Government Devolution Act (2016)
What are the problems with local government?
What is cabinet government?
Evaluates the success of reforms to local government.
Explains recent developments in local government.
Describes reforms made to local government since 1997.
Is Theresa May right to reject an Australian style points system for EU migrants?
The UK should become a Republic.
What is a constitution?
What do they do?
Were we right to leave the EU?
TASK: Create a Constitution
In threes you have to create a constitution for the new country: Bristol Cathedraland
You need to consider:
What type of constitution it will have: codified or uncodifed? Entrenched or unentrenched?
How power will be distributed across the school.
How laws will be made.
What institutions there will be. E.g. Will there be a parliament?
What rights and duties people will be.
What relations it will have with international institutions. E.g. EU and UN.
The constitution you design must be effective. e.g. It cannot have a sensible way of making law.
It must be a democracy.
Andrew Fraser - Conservative Party Treasurer and donor (2.5 million)
Camilla Cavendish - Head of David Cameron's Policy Unit
On 4 August 2016, David Cameron's Resignation Honours List was released. All of these people were given peerages and became members of the House of Lords.
Charlotte Vere - Executive Director at 'Conservatives In'
Ed Llwellyn - Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister
Laura Wyld – Head of the Prime Minister’s Appointments
Why might this lead to criticism of the House of Lords?
What is a hereditary peer?
Why were they reduced to 92?
What has prevented the completion of reform of the House of Lords?
What powers have been given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Which devolved body has the most power?
Which devolved body has the following:
What are the likely reforms of this parliament?
Know - Latest Developments in Devolution
Understand - The degree of success had by devolution from different perspectives.
Debate, note-taking, evaluation
TASK: The EVEL Problem Resolved?
In Autumn 2015, devolution came close to being suspended.
The First Minister, Peter Robinson (DUP) resigned after the murder of Kevin McGuigan by the IRA.
The DUP argued that Sinn Fein were hiding the truth about the IRA - They had not decommissioned and were still active.
A deal was agreed in November 2015 to reinstate power-sharing, known as 'The Fresh Start Agreement.'
The Scotland Act (2016)
Became law on 23 March 2016.
Includes powers over income tax - can set any rate
Can set air passenger duty, abortion law and benefits.
Control of its electoral system.
The Wales Bill (2016)
New Income tax raising powers
New Developments in Devolution
Identifies potential problems with devolution.
Explains the latest developments in devolution.
Evaluates the extent to which devolution can be deemed a success.
Devolution of powers from the UK government to some of England's towns, cities and counties.
Introduction of directly-elected mayors to combined authorities.
Directly-elected mayors to replace Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in these areas.
Remove the limitations on the functions of local authorities (they have been limited to economic development, regeneration, and transport.)
'On sovereignty, yes of course if Britain were to leave the EU that might give you a feeling of sovereignty, but you’ve got to ask yourself is it real? Would you have the power to help businesses and make sure they weren’t discriminated against in Europe? No, you wouldn’t. Would you have the power to insist that European countries share with us their border information so we know what terrorists and criminals are doing in Europe? No you wouldn’t. Would you, if suddenly a ban was put on for some bogus health reasons on one of our industries, would you be able to insist that that ban was unpicked? No you wouldn’t. So you have an illusion of sovereignty but you don’t have power. You don’t have control. You can’t get things done.'
David Cameron 21.2.2016
Unitary or Federal?
Sovereignty is located at the centre of the state and not its component parts. The UK is an example of this.
Sovereignty is divided between the political centre of a state and its component parts. Examples of this are USA, Germany and Brazil.
*In the UK, this has changed somewhat since the process of devolution from the 1990s onwards.
How has the constitution been reformed between 1997 and 2015?
TASK: Constitutional Changes Timeline
TASK: Constitutional Reform 1997-2010 v 2010-2015:
1997-2010 Reforms. Take one section and research:
1. Human Rights Act (1998)
2. Freedom of Information Act (2000)
1. Jenkins Commission (1998)
1. Scottish Parliament Act (1998)
2. Government of Wales Act (1998)
3. Good Friday Agreement (1998)
4. Greater London Authority Act (1999)
1. Constitutional Reform Act (2005)
1. House of Lords Act (1999)
2. The Wright Reforms (2009)
CONTENT: Labour's Reforming Agenda
When Labour came to power in 1997, they did so on the back of a manifesto which promised significant constiutitional reform. This promised:
*Modernisation - institutions such as parliament, the exeutive and the civil service were using outdated and inefficient procedures.
*Democratisation - Participation would be encouraged by electoral reform and greater use of referendums.
*Decentralisation - Decision-making would be devolved to insititutions in Scotland and Wales and local government would be enhanced.
*Rights - The rights of citizens would be strengthened.
2010-2015 Reforms. Take a section and research:
1. The Protection of Freedoms Act (2012)
2. British Bill of Rights
1. The Wales Act (2014) and (2017)
2. The Scotland Act (2012) and (2016)
1. Fixed-Term Parliament Act (2011)
House of Lords Reform Act (2014)
2. Recall of MPS Act (2015)
3. English Votes for English Laws (2013)
Find out briefly:
1. What these did/proposed.
2. Were they successful.
TASK: Constitutional Reform Quandries
1. Which is the most significant constitutional reform and why?
2. In which area has there been most change:
3. Choose two areas and explain how reform could be taken further in the future.
Make a brief timeline of the different events.
Categorise them into:
Know - Constitutional Reforms since 1997.
Understand - The significance of the reforms to the UK constitution since 1997.
Research, peer-teaching and judging significance.
Identifies the hierarchy of different sources of the constitution.
Explains reforms to the UK Constitution since 1997.
Evaluates the significance of reforms to the UK Constitution since 1997.
STARTER: Hierarchy of Sources
Place the following sources of the constitution in the order which they take precedence.
TASK: Design English Devolution
In pairs you need to design a system of English Devolution:
You need to decide:
*The geographical level of devolution - use the maps below to make a decision.
*The powers that will be devolved.
*The type of government. Will there be an executive and legislature?
*What electoral system will be used?
What impact has devolution had on the UK?
Know - Consequences of devolution.
Understand - How far devolution has changed Britain..
Skills - Categorising evidence, evaluation and debate.
Infers the impact of devolution on national identity.
Explains the consequences of devolution.
Evaluates how far devolution has transformed the UK.
TASK: Policy Divergence
Look at the at the table on the different policy implemented by the different devolved bodies and answer the following:
1. Discuss - What might the benefits and drawbacks of policy divergence be?
2.Record - Is policy divergence a good thing?
TASK: How is Devolution Funded?
1. Make notes on the video.
2. Discussion Point - Why do you think the Barnett Formula has been criticised?
STARTER: Effects of Devolution
What can we tell from the these graphs about the impact of devolution on the UK?
TASK: Has devolution undermined the union?
Categorise the statements into:
a) argument for devolution undermining the union.
b) arguments against devolution undermining the union.
Categorise the statements into:
a) social arguments.
b) administrative arguments.
Discussion - Will Scotland become an independent country?