THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Friday, July 6, 2007

6. Constitutional Reforms

Two very important changes that the British Prime Minister proposes:
(1) a written constitution and (2) parliamentary approval for going to war, are going to have profound changes in the way Britain is to be governed in the 21st century.This together with the other sweeping changes in education, health, economy, relationship with EU, will make Britain once again Great and be a respected power house in world affairs. Read on.

PRIME Minister Gordon Brown's proposed sweeping changes to the way Britain is governed on Tuesday, including moves towards a written constitution and changing the way it decides on going to war.

Brown made a series of recommendations to rebuild trust in government, increase power to parliament and boost engagement in the democratic process. "It is my hope that by working together for change in a spirit that takes us beyond parties and beyond partisanship we can agree a new British constitutional settlement that entrusts more power to parliament and to the British people," he said, in his first statement to parliament as prime minister. Brown spoke of a "route map" to make those in power more accountable and to uphold and enhance the rights and responsibilities of the citizen.

Chief among the so-called "royal prerogatives" he wishes to renounce is the power to declare war without parliamentary consent. "For centuries they (the prime minister and executive) have exercised authority in the name of the monarchy without the people and their elected representatives being consulted," Brown told parliament.

Such authority had "no place in a modern democracy", he said, and by transferring the powers to parliament, it would make a "more open 21st century British democracy which better serves the British people". "The government will now consult on a resolution to guarantee that on the the grave issue of peace and war it is ultimately this House of Commons which will make the decision," he said. Brown also proposed greater transparency in the intelligence services, with the creation of a new National Security Council bringing together domestic and overseas security with development and community relations.

It would help "coordinate military, policing, intelligence and diplomatic action and also to win hearts and minds in this country and round the world ", he said.

But it was his proposal for a British bill of rights codifying people's existing entitlements and/or a written constitution for the first time in the country's history that is likely to generate the most debate. Unlike other countries, Britain's constitution is an uncodified body of law and largely consists of written legal precedents, international treaties, parliamentary conventions and royal prerogatives.

Brown, keen to promote individual responsibility and British identity, said the starting point should be the country's shared values - AFP.