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Constitutional fiddling

Many of Gordon Brown's constitutional reform plans are sensible and overdue. But it is hard to see how the package will solve the problem of mass disengagement from politics. Moreover, the thorniest constitutional problems are just ignored

By Anthony King   September 2007

Tony Blair initiated an enormous amount of constitutional change—ranging from the 1998 Human Rights Act to the devolution of substantial powers to Scotland and Wales—but, famously, he was not much interested in constitutional matters. He inherited many of New Labour’s specific pledges from his predecessors, and he delegated most of the detailed work to his first lord chancellor, Derry Irvine. But Britain’s new prime minister, Gordon Brown, is very interested in constitutional matters, and clearly intends to make constitutional change a defining theme of his administration. Indeed, his first statement to the House of Commons, in early July, dealt entirely…

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