The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was formed by the Acts of Union with Scotland (1707) and Ireland (1801). This was amended in 1921 with the partition of Ireland. Wales formally became part of the UK in 1536 when Henry VIII passed the Laws in Wales Acts which effectively incorporated Wales.
All of which seems pretty clear cut – apart from the fact that the Treaty of Rhuddlan in 1284 and the union of the Scottish and English crowns in the person of James VI of Scotland I of England also had their part to play as did other events, treaties and relationships down the centuries.
There is no such thing as a written constitution, or so I learned when I did O level politics many moons ago. This week’s store cupboard therefore has to do loosely with the puzzle of the British constitution:
- If Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington knew what a republic was, the British constitution is much more like a republic than an empire. They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men. If this definition is just, the British constitution is nothing more or less than a republic, in which the king is first magistrate. This office being hereditary, and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government’s being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend. These thoughts come from an American president.
- …taxation and representation should be co-extensive. Do not women pay taxes? As you might guess this quote comes from a time when women were seeking the vote. This philosopher and political thinker was a key mover and shaker of the period.
- …she owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle. This writer was influenced by the history of the region in which he wrote – and darkling thrushes.
- [The British constitution] presumes more boldly than any other the good sense and the good faith of those who work it. One of Victoria’s Liberal prime ministers.
- Necessity hath no law. A warts an’ all kind of politician.
- I have already joined myself in marriage to a husband, namely the kingdom of England. I’m not giving a clue for this one!
- A store of traditions and presidents. KBO.
- I am not a reluctant peer but a persistent commoner – this famous 20th century politician died in 2014.
- To no man will we sell, or deny, or delay right or justice – on its first outing it lasted 10 weeks.
- We are not interested in the possibility of defeat; they do not exist. She may or may not have been amused at the time!