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The debates that began at St Mary's Church, Putney on 28 October 1647 pioneered the liberal, democratic settlement in England: a written constitution, universal suffrage, freedom of conscience and equality before the law. Four centuries later, the 2016 Brexit referendum raised fundamental questions concerning the constitution of the United Kingdom.
Following the Supreme Court ruling that the government, under a centuries-old Royal Prerogative, does not have the power to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU, MPs have claimed that we are entering a full-blown constitutional crisis. The parallels between 1647 and 2017 are striking.
Government has been toppled, a new leadership has emerged, and the two main parties are in a state of internecine warfare. Parliamentarians do not understand how to reconcile their duty to act for the common good and the result of the referendum. The people are divided and the four nations comprising the United Kingdom are at odds.
This volume brings together some of the greatest public intellectuals of their generation to debate the constitutional crisis at the heart of today's politics.
Bitesize essays from experts including A.C. Grayling, Vernon Bogdanor, Timothy Garton Ash, and David Runicman provide provocative new perspectives on the most important political debate of the twenty-first century.
Praise for Constitution in Crisis
— Paul Craig, Professor of English law, University of Oxford
Publication date: 26 September 2017
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One of the driving principles behind the contemporary populist vision of democracy is to no longer respect legal boundaries and constitutional constraints to the so-called ‘will of the people’.
Through analysis of the contemporary Italian political situation, this policy brief addresses a number of critical constitutional strains caused by populism, including:
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From post-conflict Iraqi federalism to the decentralist teachings of the World Bank in the developing world, comparative federalism has found increasingly vibrant applications in practice, particularly in the writing of federal constitutions for post-conflict societies. In its applied form, New Institutionalism prescribes instant constitutional solutions which fail to account for the more problematic uncodified factors.
There is a general trend among recent populist movements to implement measures that interfere with the independence and proper functioning of the judiciary. These movements seek to frame the courts in opposition to the popular will, yet the truth is more complicated than the populists would have us believe.