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Brice Dickson

Here attention is initially focused on the different national identities within the UK. Details are given of the current realities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland concerning the devolution of powers and the possible impact of Brexit on the devolution process. The fragility of the status of Northern Ireland is dwelt upon, given that there is statutory provision for a border poll if the British government thinks that there might be majority support for Northern Ireland joining the Republic in a united Ireland. The pros and cons of creating a federal UK as a way of reducing the chances of Scotland and Northern Irelands breaking away from the Union are canvassed and of nationalism more generally gaining ground. The chapter concludes with a plea not for the establishment of a United States of Britain but for the federalisation of the existing Kingdom so that the demands of devolutionists can be met while at the same time the bonds that unite the peoples of the nation can be tightened.

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Brice Dickson

This chapter briefly summarises the experiences of the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland in operating their written Constitutions. It highlights the difficulties involved in amending these documents and the contentiousness of their wording. IN some instances they are interpreted in accordance with the supposed intentions of their original drafters and so do not contain adequate sets of modern and clear rules. Relevant case law is cited and the role played by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 is emphasised. Until recently Ireland’s Constitution also struggled to keep up-to-date with society but in the last few years great strides have been made in that sphere. The chapter draws the conclusion that written Constitutions can be more problematic than they are worth.

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Brice Dickson

This chapter reviews some of the many attempts that have been made in recent times to devise a written Constitution for the UK. It begins by looking at proposals made in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Charter 88 and the Institute for Public Policy Research before examining in more detail the suggestions made in three ‘illustrative blueprints’ produced by King’s College London for the House of Commons’ Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform in 2014. These are a Constitutional Code, a Constitutional Consolidation Act and a Written Constitution. The constitutional significance of the Brexit referendum in 2016 is then considered and there is discussion of whether the government had to obey the will of the people and whether Brexit could in law be triggered by the government or only by Parliament. The chapter concludes with an account of the steps being taken to enhance dialogue between the central government and the devolved governments in a post-Brexit era. The difficulties engendered by the withdrawal legislation as far as the devolved administrations are concerned are also addressed and views about the need for a written Constitution at this time are aired.

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Brice Dickson

This chapter explains the way in which rights have traditionally been protected by law in the UK. It highlights the role of judges in making such laws but points out that unlike their counter-parts in the USA judges in the UK have not given themselves the power to declare Acts of Parliament to be invalid. The two central pillars of the UK’s Constitution are set out – the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and the principle of the rule of law – and a hypothetical scenario is presented to speculate on whether the latter could trump the former on a future occasion. While no court has yet held an Act of Parliament to be invalid it is possible that in future a court will issue a declaration of inva-lidity with suspensory effect or that a court will declare new common law that operates only prospectively and not at all retrospectively. The usefulness of creating a category of con-stitutional rights is raised and attention is the given to why there needs to be a new Bill of Rights for the UK to better guarantee a wider set of rights than are at present protected.

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Abstract only
Brice Dickson

The final chapter picks up on the call in Chapter 5 for a via media, that is, not for the status quo or for a new comprehensive written Constitution for the UK, but for a discrete Act of Parliament – a Constitutional Reform Act – which will address pressing needs by formally re-constituting the UK as a federation of four parts, protecting a wider range of human rights and with better remedies for breaches of those rights, devising a fairer mechanism for distributing funds from the central government to the three devolved areas, and setting out what the goals of the new federation should be. The Brexit process is an opportunity to re-define the features which the new UK wishes to project in the world – a commitment to peace, democracy, security, human rights, equality and fairness. Maintaining a focus on that more limited reform agenda stands a better chance of strengthening the union between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than a simple written Constitution will do, however comprehensive it claims to be.

in Writing the United Kingdom Constitution
Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Brice Dickson

This book is about what steps should be taken to ensure that the United Kingdom does not fragment. It examines the state of play concerning the devolution of powers in the UK and considers the impact which the Brexit process could have on devolution in the future. It contributes to the debate about what a post-Brexit UK should look like and whether now, at long last, the nation needs a comprehensive written Constitution. After looking at the present situation concerning the protection of human rights in the UK, and by drawing lessons from the experiences of four other common law countries in operating written Constitutions – the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland, it concludes that the UK should not seek to acquire a single written Constitution and that a much more useful advance would be to turn the nation into a federation. Far from endangering the Union, which is already fragile, a formalised federal structure could strengthen the bonds between the four constituent parts of the UK and encourage all of its people to strive towards upholding a value-based set of national goals articulated in legislation. The book argues that a Constitutional Reform Act should be enacted to create the federation, while retaining the country’s name as ‘the United Kingdom’. The same Act should make related reforms such as reconstructing the House of Lords, adopting a UK Bill of Rights and creating a fairer method for deciding how funds should be allocated by central government to the three devolved regions.

Tony Dundon, Miguel Martinez Lucio, Emma Hughes, Debra Howcroft, Arjan Keizer, and Roger Walden

The chapter reviews shifts to global capitalism, the rise of non-standard employment relationships and the prevalence of work precarity for many people, including flexibility, work in the gig economy and the rise of new technologies shaping the future of work

in Power, politics and influence at work

The book is about the changing nature of work and employment relations power. It is directed at those who are activists or supporters of goals for a better and more equitable working life, including students, policy makers, trade unionists and CSO/NGO activists. The book engages with competing debates and perspectives about labour agency, examining inter alia the power of the nation state, issues of bogus self-employment and the gig economy, and the inequalities from market reform and globalisation. The book supports a range of modes of student learning, including courses for trade union and community groups. Its contents cover the employment contract, the power of the state, technology and work, globalisation, employee voice and union mobilisation, worker voices beyond the workplace, the future of work and the goals towards a ‘decent’ work agenda.

Tony Dundon, Miguel Martinez Lucio, Emma Hughes, Debra Howcroft, Arjan Keizer, and Roger Walden

Chapter 3 unpicks the regulatory context of worker voice and influence. It analyses how the general nature and role of the state has changed and continues to evolve; the influence of policy positions and legal intervention on employment relations; and institutional responses to gender inequality and labour migration. It contends that the world of work and employment has been decollectivised by bogus self-employment and individualised employment rights.

in Power, politics and influence at work
Tony Dundon, Miguel Martinez Lucio, Emma Hughes, Debra Howcroft, Arjan Keizer, and Roger Walden

Chapter 4 debates the decline in worker voice. It reviews different forms of voice: ‘institutional’ (e.g. works councils); ‘union participation’; ‘collective bargaining’; ‘non-union voice’; and ‘external actors’ (e.g. civil society groups and associations). It argues that while employee voices are increasingly fragmented and fractured, there are shades of light and hope in terms of new forms of creative labour mobilising and social engagement.

in Power, politics and influence at work