Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Is There an "English Constitution"?
Created by John Eipper on 08/14/18 5:12 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:

Post

Is There an "English Constitution"? (David Pike, France, 08/14/18 5:12 am)

Our editor has asked British WAISers to chime in on the question of the "English Constitution."

First, a few weeks ago a WAISer referred to Britons as British "subjects." When I lived in Canada in the 1950s, Canadians were not too happy with what they read on their passports: "British subject, Canadian citizen." So that was changed. Then the British were not too happy either about being called "subjects." So that too was changed, and my British-UK passport (which differs from a passport simply called British) tells me that I am now a British citizen.

Now for the English Constitution. England and Wales were governed for centuries as a single unit, until 1707 and the Union with Scotland. From that time on, England was a geographical and poetic/rhetorical expression. England's "Constitution" was therefore no more than Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, with a few less important statutes thrown in. How it endured, and the British Constitution that followed it, is a marvel. It has no solid basis except in tradition. Certain things simply aren't done. You don't cross the floor in Commons, for example. The government and the opposition are separated by a distance a little wider than two extended sword lunges. So the Irish firebrand who crossed the floor to slap Prime Minister Heath in the face was out of step with tradition. It will be a loss if Parliament has to stoop to codifying the Constitution, beyond the existing framework of laws.

The British monarchy exists on a sublime understanding. As Bagehot pointed out, the system works not in the power that is invested in the monarch but in the power that is denied to everyone else. No one can take over the courts, because the courts have sworn allegiance to the Crown. No one can take over the Armed Forces, because these have sworn allegiance to the Crown. Removing the monarch changes nothing. Nobody in the UK ever has to repeat any of this. The system works because it's understood. So why codify it?

This brings up a question that I've long wanted to ask. In the English Civil War, Oxford and Trinity College Dublin stood with the King, while Cambridge stood with Parliament. So which side did Harvard support?

JE comments:  Seven of Harvard's first nine graduates, according to the source below, left to fight on the side of the Puritans (Parliament).  I wonder what became of them.

http://epicworldhistory.blogspot.com/2012/06/harvard-college.html

I never knew the "two sword lunges" arrangement of Parliament.  Isn't the sword also the reason the UK drives on the left--i.e., so that right-handed horsemen could charge at each other and slice away with their right hands?  If so, was the Continent more peace-loving, or was it populated by lefties?


SHARE:
Rate this post
Informational value 
Insight 
Fairness 
Reader Ratings (1)
47%
Informational value40%
Insight40%
Fairness60%

Visits: 133

Comments/Replies

Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

Trending Now



All Forums with Published Content (41975 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications

Economics

Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy

Education

Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series

History

Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust

Nations

Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire

Politics

Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US

Religion

Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)

Travel

Geography Maps Tourism Transportation

WAIS

1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who