Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Blair to 'announce' the general election in April

The PM, according to the BBC, is to announce the date of the next general election early in April. Most political commentators state this will be on the 5th May2 2005. By convention, the PM is supposed to gain permission from the Sovereign in order to dissolve parliament. The Sovereign's power to dissolve parliament is only theoretical and is one of her 'reserve' powers.

I'm no fan of New Labour, but I cannot see them failing to secure a third successive term.

I've often wondered though, what the constitutional arrangement should be if there were ever a libertarian government in the UK. The British constitution is a mix of statutes, royal prerogative, common law, constitutional conventions and works of authority (from the likes of Bagehot and Dicey). Most libertarians would prefer a clear, concise constitution which specifically limited government and outlined the particular powers of that government. I'm inclined to agree with such a notion.

IMO, the British constitution should have less amounts of convention. Personally I think there should be a Prime Minsterial Powers Act, which would clearly lay down the PM's powers and duties. The current powers of the PM are merely conventions. There is no law which states that the PM must only appoint those from Parliament in his Cabinet, or that he can appoint Bishops in the Church of England, or that the PM himself must be an MP. Such an Act, I feel, would also cut down on 'presidential' tendencies (of which Blair and Thatcher were accused of). Besides, practically all other chief executives in the world have specifically defined powers. The powers of the US president are clearly defined in the Constitution.