On the Unwritten UK Constitution

First, I must confess that I have no knowledge about the UK Constitution, so these are just ruminations (again!).

“Parliament is supreme”. OK. Who made that decision? But you could go further. You could ask, “Who were the people who said that the people who said that ‘Parliament is supreme’ could make that decision?

So let us consider ‘magna carta’. Prior to magna carta, the King could decide whatever he wished to decide. But some of the Barons were unhappy about that, and so they had an argument with the King about it. There was some shouting, pushing and shoving, but an agreement was eventually thrashed out. Now, let us just imagine that the agreement was that the King would not issue edicts without them being agreed by a ‘council’, and thus was born the concept of ‘King In Council’.

Right, we now have the answer to our questions. We could say that ‘The Constitution’ was the agreement between the Barons and the King. There was a document, being what is known as ‘magna carta’, but that document merely described the agreement for a ‘King In Council’ “Parliament” to be formed, and that that ‘King in Council’ “Parliament” would make the decisions. Do you see what I ‘m driving at? The document was not the important thing. The important thing was the agreement of the ‘Very Important People’ at the time, and it was that agreement which was ‘The Constitution’. Nothing actually needed to be written down because it was a case of ‘my word is my bond’. Edicts agreed by ‘The King In Council’ were written down because they were ‘the laws’.

As time passed, and telescoping everything, more ‘agreements’ were made by the VIPs as to whom would be the people who could decide whom would be on the ‘councils’ which made the decisions. Thus, ‘The Constitution’ built up.

Centuries passed, and, eventually, due to the franchise being extended, ALL the people (adults over the age of 17) became the VIPs. (We should remember that it was only in the early part of the 1900s that the franchise was extended to women)

Now we get to the important part. At the present time, what is the UK’s ‘Constitution’? It is not that “Parliament is supreme”. It is that THE PEOPLE are supreme. Parliament is the body of elected representatives empowered by the constitution (the will of the people) to enact laws on their behalf.

And therein lies the importance of referendums. Parliament does not have the power to pass that ability to pass laws to another body. To do so would be unconstitutional. There have only been 11 referendums in the UK. The first one was:

  • 8 March 1973: Northern Ireland  – Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum on whether Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland (yes to remaining part of the UK)

Before that, I guess that there had never been a need to consult The People directly because Great Britain had been an entity for generations and generations. There was never any question of The People’s power being devolved. Note what that very first referendum was about. It asked The People of Northern Ireland if they would like to leave the UK and blend their constitutional powers with those of the South. Note also, and this is the important point, the UK Parliament did not have the power to make that decision. An interesting thought would be what would have happened had the referendum been over the whole UK with the question being, “Do you want Northern Ireland to be expelled from the UK?” I trust that readers will see why such a referendum would be impossible. Southern Ireland would have had to invade the North, and there would have been bloodshed on a massive scale, especially since an awful lot of the population of Northern Ireland were from Scotland a few generations ago, and ties to Scotland were still very strong.

The second referendum was:

  • 5 June 1975: UK – Membership of the European Community referendum on whether the UK should stay in the European Community (yes).

There are some very interesting queries about the need for that referendum. What was the constitutional problem? Were The People told that there were constitutional problems or that there were going to be constitutional problems? Were people aware, at the time, that the referendum would enable Parliament to devolve The People’s powers, to a greater or lesser extent, to the ‘European Community’? Did Harold Wilson know at the time that such devolution would be needed for the European Community to function?

What is also very odd is that there seems not to have been a need for a ‘constitutional amendment’ when we first joined the Common Market.

A list of the referendums is here:


When you read the list, you should note that, in every case, there is a constitutional ingredient.

Here is a weird thing. The attempt to forge an EU ‘Constitution’ failed when France, Holland and Ireland rejected it. So what did the Elite do? They changed it into the Lisbon Treaty, which Gordon Brown signed. Did Brown realise that he was making a constitutional change which he had no right to do? Did he realise that he was handing over the constitutional right of THE PEOPLE of the UK to decide who makes our laws, to unelected bureaucrats and people who are not UK citizens? Did he KNOW THAT, or should we forgive him ‘for he knew not what he was doing’?


So why did Cameron initiate this referendum? What was the constitutional ingredient involved? It would be easy to say that, just like Brown, ‘he did not know what he was doing’. That may be the case. But there is every reason to believe that the purpose of this referendum was to legitimise what Brown did, just as Wilson’s referendum legitimised what was to come at that time. Had the ‘Remain’ camp won, then the constitutional rights of the UK People would have been transferred to the People of Europe, as a mass.

I don’t know if BoJo, Gove and the magnificent Nigel Farage (whom God preserve) really understand what they have achieved. They have preserved ‘The Unwritten Constitution of the UK’.


Now we go into unknown Terry, Terry, Terry. Oopst! I mean unknown territory. (A little joke on my own. Playing golf with a guy named Terry, he hit his golf ball into a horrible place, and I said, “You are in unknown Terry, Terry, Terry”. Giggle, giggle)

The unknown territory is to correct the error of Gordon Brown. The Lisbon Treaty was unconstitutional as far as the UK was concerned. Brown had no authority to accept its terms because it changed The Constitution of the UK. Even Queen Elizabeth cannot do that.

So, if it is true that this referendum, engineered to legitimise a constitutional change in the UK, in order to further the aspirations of the One World Government Elite, then it has failed.


So what will happen in the immediate future? An odd thing about this referendum is that it is not at all specific. All the other referendums on the list on the site above produced a definite result. This one does not. The approved question was: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” The result was “Leave the European Union”. But what exactly is ‘the European Union’? Does anyone know? There were massive debates about Brexit, but no one actually defined what we were voting to either Leave or Remain With. Note the word ‘with’, for someone described the ‘break-up’ as similar to being trapped in a bad marriage. ‘Leave’ the bullying wife/husband or ‘remain with’ her/him.

I personally see it as a vote to revert to the status quo before the ‘European Union’ existed. We voted to exit the ‘European Union’ and not the ‘Common Market’. We voted to reestablish our constitution, and not to fall for the trickery of the World Elite.


This referendum is different from previous ones, as I have described above. But it is still ‘constitutional’. MPs cannot override it. They must either put the decision into effect or resign. Nor can they call a General Election with the intent of overriding the result, since MPs do not have the power to change the constitution. A GE would be irrelevant. Only a referendum can change the constitution.

It does not surprise me that the politicians have gone very quiet, and it is almost certainly true that it must be the case. The constitutional vote means, without doubt, that the UK must ‘leave’ the European Union. Any MP who says, “‘I’ can use my position as an MP, by a vote in Parliament, to override the Constitution”, is not fit to be in office.

Everything has gone quiet because the ramifications of this vote are immense and complex, but only so because Gordon Brown signed the UK up to the Lisbon Treaty without authority. The Government can make Treaties without consulting Parliament. That has always been the case. But the fact that it is not necessary for Government to consult Parliament to agree treaties shows that such treaties cannot be other than beneficial. Think. A treaty is an informal agreement. It might be very short term and involve just one common attitude to some specific event. EG, England and Portugal might agree a treaty where England might agree not to impose a duty tax on Portuguese wine provided that Portugal agrees to deny pirates access to its ports. Treaties are not laws; they are temporary agreements. That is why the current Government of the UK does not need Parliament to approve Treaties.

Ha! Ha!

The Lisbon ‘Treaty’ was nothing of the sort. Despite its name, it was not a Treaty at all. It was an ‘arrangement’ between VIPs, and thus was ‘constitutional’. Only The People as a whole are the VIPs. Brown acted as though he was a King before Magna Carta. He was the only VIP.

So  the immediate thing to do is to go back to the status quo before Lisbon. The Government is obliged to abrogate Lisbon. Brown should never have signed that treaty in the first place because he did not have the power to do so on account of its Constitutional demands.

So we see the reason for Cameron’s resignation. He was right to do so. Why should he take all the shit from Gordon Brown’s mistake? I suppose that BoJo and Gove are thinking along the same lines. But, for them, it is more about how to push all the shit onto the Labour Party.


I must admit that I am enjoying this scenario immensely. It is like a game of chess.


6 Responses to “On the Unwritten UK Constitution”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Thank you for the history and examination of it Junican! I’d never been aware of any of that more than very vaguely (i.e. that a bunch of “nobles” had a tiff with the King and eventually worked out the agreement known as the “Magna Carta.”


  2. elenamitchell Says:

    Well said. Even I didn’t realise how serious it was.

    And much as I am enjoying the fall out, it is all rather disgraceful and undignified.

    • junican Says:

      Indeed the fallout is disgraceful. Before having the traumas, the politicians should have thought about how to implement the constitutional decision of The People, and not squabble among themselves.

  3. Rose Says:

    I don’t know if BoJo, Gove and the magnificent Nigel Farage (whom God preserve) really understand what they have achieved. They have preserved ‘The Unwritten Constitution of the UK’

    If even I knew that, I’m sure they did, it’s the reason I voted to leave, to protect my children and grandchildren.
    We have come a long way since the feudal system was first imposed on us by William the Conqueror and I didn’t want them turned back into voiceless serfs.

    Peter Mandelson gave it away some while ago “we are now entering the post-democratic age” I had wondered what he meant at the time.

    Perhaps living under state sanctioned “denormalisation” makes you more alert to such things.

    • junican Says:

      “Perhaps living under state sanctioned “denormalisation” makes you more alert to such things.”

      Indeed so, Rose. We smokers, or at least those of us who think, are (in a vague sort of sense!) in a position similar to the Jews in Nazi Germany. They too must have observed the gradually increasing persecution and wondered what is coming next. Many of them guessed what was coming and escaped, as did Einstein. He went to Switzerland.
      Would it not be odd if Corbyn turned out to be the UK’s Donald Trump! But don’t hold your breath. It seems that there is some sort of ‘cognitive dissonance’ whereby Labour is supposed to be the defender of the ordinary person, and yet it is in the forefront of those who would wish to persecute the common man who enjoys tobacco.
      I must admit that I do not understand.

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