I see that Mr Straw has returned from the Peasants' Revolt and proposes that the United Kingdom should have a written constitution.
I heartily agree inasmuch as the constitution of the United States is a most wonderful document, encapsulating the rights of citizens within the space of just seven articles.
I fear however Mr Straw envisages something of rather more words; and, in my limited experience of the new socialists, these might be words resulting in the dilution of the rights of citizens rather than the enhancement. The report on this matter I have seen suggests the New Labour constitutional declaration would include notions of "civic duties"and citizens' responsibilities.
I would challenge Mr Straw to state in which of the 27 amendments to the United States constitution, that great nation felt it necessary to articulate civic duties and responsibilities; for his comments indicate he believes it is replete with duties of various kinds. Certainly not the 14th amendment, which defined citizenship and ensured it was extended to all inhabitants of the sub-continent. Perhaps he would refer to the 18th amendment, which did indeed place restrictions on the liberties of citizens. Indeed it prevented the manufacture, import and export of alcoholic beverages, so I am led to believe, and lasted a mere 12 years before its repeal.
What is needed in Great Britain is a short document that encapsulates the rights contained in the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights. This may prove a difficult matter for Mr Straw, who bears the title of Justice Minister, as these are the self-same rights that he and his colleagues are intent on eroding.
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