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In pursuit of the unspeakable

Constitutional reform is usually regarded as worthy but dull. Anthony Barnett of Charter 88 argues that this indifference has been challenged. Reform has found a voice. The simultaneous publication of several important books on constitutional themes seems to support his case

By Anthony Barnett   December 1995

A new order is being born. When the UK’s constitution is codified, probably about the year 2010, people will date the start of the process to the months between the publication of the Nolan and the Scott reports. This new settlement needs a fresh discourse: free-ranging, sharp, non-sectarian. But how do you speak about the unspeakable?

In the past three months more books have been published on the state of our constitution than at any one season in living memory. A dam is breaking, a blockage is lifting, an historic impediment to democracy in the UK is at last giving…

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