February 12 Letters: Strength of Britain’s constitution is that it is unwritten

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From: William Snowden, Dobrudden Park, Baildon Moor, Baildon.

IN AN article full of value judgments, Diana Wallis (The Yorkshire Post, January 30) revealed that in discussions with law students she was surprised that many of them “dismissed the move towards a written constitution” because “their distrust in our political system is such that they cannot contemplate change”. “How sad is that?” she asks.

On the contrary, I found it rather reassuring to learn that they had responded cautiously to her clamorous calls for “change”.

Perhaps they astutely perceive, or instinctively understand, something that she does not: that the British constitution is unwritten because it is already enshrined in well-established customs and conventions, and the great bulk of English Law; and that therein lies its strength.

Diana Wallis unwittingly revealed the innate weakness of “a modern constitution” which she defined as “a short, simple document”; and thus, far simpler for unscrupulous politicians to amend than an inviolate, unwritten constitution.

I am often bemused by the way in which radical campaigners for “rights” invariably ignore the corollary of responsibilities. A most curious and, perhaps, telling omission.

The rights and responsibilities of every British citizen are clearly enunciated under the rule of law; the citizen may say or do anything other than that which the law states he must not say or do. There is nothing ambiguous about that.

Former MEP Diana Wallis’s clarion call for “a charter for devolved power and more self-government” would evoke beatific smiles from the bureaucrats of Brussels.

On the wall of the European Commission is a map of Europe which shows not the boundaries of the old, nation states, but the presumptuously delineated “regions” of the European Union: the physical geography of the “European project”.

Is the ultimate fate of Great Britain to be no more than a ragbag of offshore regions owing fealty to some amorphous, supranational, European superstate?

From: Jim Buckley, Aketon, Pontefract.

DIANA Wallis is right to draw attention to Magna Carta and its continuing relevance. Everyone needs to be reminded of the principles involved.

Our present political system is not working as it should. The first thing to do is republish Magna Carta. Daft as it may sound, what happened 800 years ago is of application today.