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Great Britain: Constitution. Politics

  • Date Submitted: 11/27/2011 04:38 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.6 
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The Constitution. Unlike the constitutions of the US, France and many Commonwealth countries, the British constitution has never been assembled at any time into a single, consolidated document. Instead, it is made up of common law, statute law (статутное право, право, выраженное в законодательных актах), and convention.
Britain does have some important constitutional documents, including the Magna Carta (1215) which protects the community against the Crown (61 clauses deal with “free church”, feudal law, towns, trade, and merchants, the behaviour of royal officials, royal forests); the Bill of Rights (1689) which extended the powers of parliament, making it impossible for the sovereign to ignore the wishes of government; the Reform Act (1832), which reformed the system of parliamentary representation.
Common law has never been clearly defined - it is deduces from custom or legal precedents and interpreted in court cases by judges. Many conventions derive from the historical events through which the British system of Government has evolved.
The Public Attitude to Politics. Politicians in Britain do not have a good reputation. To describe someone as a “politician” means to criticize them, suggesting a lack of trustworthiness. It is not that people hate their politicians. They just regard them with high degree of suspicion. They do not expect them to be corrupt or to use their position to amass personal wealth, but they do expect them to be frequently dishonest. People are not really shocked when the government is caught lying. On the other hand, they would be very shocked indeed if it was discovered the government was doing something anything really illegal.
The lack of enthusiasm for politicians may be seen in the fact that surveys have shown a general ignorance of who they are. More than half of the adults in Britain do not know the name of their local member of Parliament, and quite a high proportion do not...


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