Parliament Under Pressure by Peter Riddell - review by Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone

I Would Prefer to Adopt the German Constitution

Parliament Under Pressure


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Given that the new Labour Government is forever going on about its bold reforming agenda for the British constitution, Peter Riddell’s guide to this whole package of issues is a concise and salutary expose of how timid the government’s proposals are. Riddell looks in depth at how the power has shifted from Parliament to Europe, the judiciary, quangos, the civil service, the media and the global economy. Surprisingly, he devotes less time to the growing power of the global economy, even though it is the greatest threat to democratic accountability in today’s world – witness the current secret negotiations in which the world’s most powerful countries are planning to impose a freedom-of-capital treaty on the world economy (hiding under the bland title ‘Multilateral Agreement on Investment’).

After recounting the current abuses and sleaze which have disfigured recent politics, Riddell concludes that all this can be put right by a written constitution, an elected House of Lords, more freedom for the judges in determining whether laws contravene the Convention of Human Rights, more money for MPs who

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