The Constitution

The Facts

Democratic innovations came early to Britain. That fact has helped to sustain a belief that British democracy is superior to others. It has created widespread complacency about our democracy and a lack of seriousness about democratic rights.

The truth is that the piecemeal development of democracy in Britain has resulted in a deeply flawed democracy.

Below we highlight some of the consequences.

Windsor coat of arms
Royal & government motto: God and my right

No constitution

The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution to define the powers of the government or the rights of citizens. Parliament is supreme. There is no law it cannot make and no law that it cannot repeal. There is no limit to its power.

In Britain "rights" are given by parliament. Such "rights", which are not rights at all, may be taken away by parliament as easily as they were given.

No right to communicate

In the United Kingdom owning a television is against the law unless you have a licence, in contravention of international humans rights guarantees of freedom of communication.

Click for more about how the BBC flouts human rights to extort £2.4B from the people of Britain.

Supreme Court Members Were Legislators

Until 2009 Britain did not have an independent supreme court of law. Instead a number of lawyers were nominated by the government to seats in the "upper" chamber of the legislature as legislators-for-life. They were chosen by the Lord Chancellor, a member of the Prime Minister's Cabinet, Speaker of the House of Lords, and head of the judiciary. In the words of a writer in the New York Times "His multifarious character might have been invented by Gilbert and Sullivan."

There were 12 active "Law Lords" from amongst whom a number were drawn to form the Judicial Committee to consider each case referred for judgement. But retired "Law Lords" were permitted to continue to sit as judges until aged 75. These senior judges were provided little if any support for their weighty duties.

"Judges’ lodgings are run like upper middle class gentlemen’s residences used to be run between the wars. They maintain certain practices not common among society as a whole and I suspect not common among colleagues in their own homes."
Justice Brenda Hale, November 2003

"Judges’ lodgings . . . require women to retire after formal dinners to leave the men to talk. At one such dinner where (Justice Brenda Hale) was accompanied by a young woman barrister . . . she protested and refused to leave."
Financial Times, 6 November 2003

No rights for republicans

In the United Kingdom republicans are not permitted to take a seat in the legislature, nor become police officers, judges or senior barristers. Both elected Members of Parliament and police officers are required to swear an oath of loyalty to the monarch.

Between the general election in 1997 and 2002 Irish republican MPs were refused permission even to use the facilities of the legislative building that are available to other MPs. They could not take the oath. In 2002 these MPs were allowed to use parliamentary facilites but still could not take part in debates or vote in parliament.

pointer The ban on republicans

Right to choose representatives taken away

In the 1999 European elections British voters were, for the first time, denied the right to decide who should represent them. Instead of voting for an individual candidate they were asked to vote for a party list of candidates. Each party decided who from its list should take the seats it had won.

National anthem is monarchist anthem

The national anthem of the United Kingdom is known as "God Save the Queen." Among the sentiments that British people are asked to endorse when they respectfully stand for their nation are that "God save our gracious Queen" and that she may be permitted "Long to reign over us." Since democrats must wish that there be no "Queen" to rule them, those who have any love for their country must sit while the anthem is played.

right pointer Read the national anthem

Protestant Christians only

Only a Protestant Christian may be head of state. The law prevents the king or queen of Britain marrying a Catholic.

Lords still rule

The second chamber of the British Parliament is composed of "Lords" or "peers." None has been elected. Some have inherited their seats from a parent. Twenty-six are bishops of the Church of England.

Click to read our reports on the reform of the House of Lords.

Privileged place for state religion

There is no separation of Church and State in the UK.

The followers of one religious group, the Church of England, have a privileged status. Only 43 percent of the population belong to that Church.

The Church of England, or Anglican Church, is the state church. Its bishops have seats in the "upper" house of the legislature. Only Anglicans may be the head of state. Bishops of the Church are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, the head of the government.

British schools are required by law to organise a daily act of religious worship that must be mainly Christian. All tax payers are forced to give financial support to the promotion of Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs, through state financial aid to religious schools.

right pointer Take the pledge of allegiance

Return to Top