Due to the fact that the UK’s constitution is uncodified or unwritten, it has an opportunity to modernise itself to the ever changing society or any other new circumstances that may arise. An example of the flexibility of the UK’s constitution is the recent implementation of the Same Sex Marriages Act (2013). This was brought in due to the number of LGBT people that wanted to get married, but, because of the current laws that were in place, could not.
This shows one of the ways in which the constitution does modernise itself in terms of society. However, the flexibility that is expressed by the fact that it is unwritten may in fact be manipulated if the ability to change the constitution were to “fall into the wrong hands”. For example, if somebody completely left wing or completely right were to come into power, they could effectively manipulate the system and change the constitution to suit them and their supporters.
While this argument is an effective argument, it is doubtful that the government of today will allow a person, hypothetically with close-minded views such as these, to be put in any place of power. Overall, today’s government, in terms of flexibility does not stand a high risk of being manipulated, as there are appropriate measures in place to stop this from happening. A second strength of the UK constitution is the way in which it protects the citizens of the UK, and the rights of these individuals.
The UK has a duty to protect the rights of its citizens, as this is a fundamental human right; this is listed in the Human Rights Act (HRA) as “respect for privacy and family life. ” Due to the increasing use of technology, and the creation of new pieces of technology, each more advanced than the one prior, it is difficult for this to always be upheld. An example of this type of protection, or where protection has not been maintained is the Leveson inquiry.
On the 13th July 2011, David Cameron announced that he would, with the help of the courts, be launching a two-part investigation into the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal. The main victims of the phone-hacking were celebrities; the HRA applies to all citizens not just regular citizens. Because of the fact that these people are celebrities, doesn’t give journalists the right to invade their privacy. This is one of the main reasons as to why the government seems to, more often than not be infringing on peoples’ privacy.
Taking on board that this is an accurate statement; it is more often than not, organisations that have a link with the government, or certain politicians, rather than the actual government themselves. Therefore, it is clear that, to some extent the government does try to protect the privacy of the citizens of the UK as best it can, however people can sometimes get past this barrier and can therefore infringe on a person’s privacy. A final strength of the UK constitution is fact that it gives power to the Executive.
The UK constitution gives power to the executive as it gives them the responsibility to implement laws and policies that have been made by Parliament. The reason that the job is given to these people is because they are already in power and therefore will have knowledge on how to implement the laws and policies, for example the same law may be implemented in two different situations in two completely different ways. An example of this again is the Same Sex Marriages Act (2013).
The combination of all the different politicians in the Executive and the knowledge that they have works in the favour of the laws that are being implemented, as the Executive understands the best way to deal with each individual case. Linking back to same sex marriage law being implemented, the law allows same sex couples to get married, preserves the law from the previous marriage act of the Church of England stating only opposite sex couples could be married on these premises, and also gives certain religious individuals and organisations the ‘opt in’ clause rather than opt out.
On the other hand, the government, in recent years has been accused of becoming too powerful, due to the power and responsibility that they have regarding implementation of laws in the UK. Similar to the flexibility point that I mentioned earlier, the Executive have the opportunity to manipulate the system, what I mean by this is, they can take these laws and/or policies and alter the way that they will be implemented, and therefore changing the law, to a certain degree, in order to suit them.
However, accepting that this may be a logical argument, it is highly doubtful that the Executive would have the ability to constantly do this, due to various controls that the government will have put in place to prevent this from happening. In conclusion, the strengths of the UK constitution do outweigh the counterarguments stated above. Both sides of the argument do indeed have merit, but the likelihood of the UK’s government ever manipulating the laws so much just to suit their own opinions is a very out there and perhaps weak suggestion.