Transcripts of Something New videos, podcasts, speeches, etc

I think first of all, when you create a written constitution you wouldn't be creating any new law. You'd be clarifying and collecting. There are a number of things that are considered to be constitutional law and you'd just be bringing those together so that people understand them. Things like the Human Rights Act for instance has a whole bunch of stuff that would be considered constitutional. The way that Parliament is run, the monarchy operates, things like that. This is all the basic way in which the country works. So, you wouldn't be creating a bunch of new stuff necessarily.

That has been done, Iceland had a citizen's panel to create a new constitution which went really well - they produced something that everybody was really happy with, it then got derailed by the existing political powers who didn't particularly like it, so there's a lesson. But it can be done.

Another proposal has been to have initially an empty constitution and to define things as we go along, as being added. Basically you have an empty constitution and have everything being an amendment. If you see what I mean, you could start with a blank slate you say right, this part of the Human Rights Act is now being proposed as an amendment to the constitution. So you build it up over time. Which is a really interesting idea.

It's more around this idea of... The important thing about this idea of a constitution is that it may be harder to change but it should still change, it should still evolve. There is a lot of sort of fetishisation [sic] of the constitution, the US nominally, but that's a good thing, that's what it's for. These are the things that we do hold above everything else, and we disagree on a lot of things, obviously all people do, but there are certain fundamental things that we do agree on. That we live in a democracy, that we have the right to elect our representatives, those sorts of things are the basics.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech