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Britain Unwrapped: Government and Constitution Explained [Paperback]

Hilaire Barnett
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Jun 2002
Britain Unwrapped provides a wide-ranging discussion of the contemporary system of government. It takes apart the constitutional framework, the current system and the workings of government, Parliament and the legal system. The relationship between Britain and the EU, the domestic legal systems and the law of the EU are also covered. Written in a period that has witnessed extensive and on-going constitutional reform, the text discusses the major areas of reform and looks in detail at such key issues as the Human Rights Act, reform of the House of Lords, devolution and voting reform. Britain Unwrapped is succinct, readable and a key book both for general readers and students wishing to understand how Britain is really run.

Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 Jun 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140291709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140291704
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Hilaire Barnett is Senior Lecturer in Law at Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London. She is the author of several books and study guides on Constitutional and Administrative Law and Feminist Jurisprudence.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The constitution of a state - which forms the backcloth of government and its powers - is a set of rules, written or unwritten, which identifies the principal institutions of the state, their powers and relationships with other state institutions and the relationship between government and citizen. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and engaging account 13 Feb 2003
Barnett has produced a sucint and well organised analysis of the constitutional structures that shape our lives in the UK. It is refreshing to encounter a work uninfluenced by the political considerations that marr so much of this type of text, an objectivity probably assisted by the author's legal background. As she herself acknowledges, the British Government's organisation is a complex minefield of ideas and concepts developed over the centuries in a very haphazard fashion, based primarily on the doctrine of immediate expediency to the national leadership. Whilst critical of some aspects of this arrangement (most notably the anomaly which allows the Lord Chancellor and Law Lords to be both legislators and Judges), she also recognises its maintainance of the most stable nation in world history. Intended as a work of reference, this book made me really consider issues I had not previously even known about. Barnett's impartiality is total, but I finished her book with strong and informed views of my own for the need for real constitutional reform, if we want to enjoy the next thousand years in as much stability as the last thousand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good book on British History 31 Mar 2011
This book must be read by any person on their path to pursue Law, History, Politics, Phylosophy degree. It provides invaluable information, and is written in an easy accessible style to British or non-British readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My Review! 23 Mar 2009
Bought this book for my 17 year old son who has just discovered politics and has no idea how the system of government works in the Uk or anywhere else for that matter! Then I realised that I was very weak on the subject as well. The last chapter is a review of how the British system developed from Roman times to the present day and is actually most useful and leads on to want to delve into the more achademic amd wordy parts of the book which is really aimed at University study level students I think. My only critisism is that I would have liked to see more graphic representations if only to break up the words!
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9 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, but....... 16 Oct 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have reached page 134 of 588 and have found two innacuracies in this book already. Now don't misunderstand me, I'm sure that Hilaire Barnet knows what she's writing about. After all she is a senior lecturer in law at a prestigious university. But the mistakes she's made are a matter of history. Firstly she writes about Margaret Thatcher's attempt to retain the leadership of the Conservative party in 1990 'Having failed to secure the requisite proportion of votes on the first round, and despite the warnings of numerous senior party figures, she obstinately refused to resign, only to suffer ignominous defeat' (page 67 of my copy), This statement is simply untrue. The Conservative party system for election of a leader at the time relied on the Parliamentary party to elect a leader. There were potentially three rounds of voting. When a challenge to the incumbent was made (to be successful it required the support of 10% of the parliamentary party) then any MP could cast his or her hat into the ring, as it were. To be successful at the first hurdle a candidate required 50% plus one of the votes of the parliamentary party (that is a simple majority). So the first round was a simple test of support for the incumbent. Thatcher (known as the milk snatcher since she abolished the practice of free milk in schools as Education secretary in Ted Heath's government- obviously the state saw no benefit from having a healthy future workforce) failed to win the support of the parliamentary party in the first round. This resulted in a second round in which new candidates could enter the race and previous candidates could withdraw (as I believe Anthony Mayer, Thatcher's original challenger did). A third round selected the top two candidates from the second round in a 'run off' election. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great starting point 19 April 2006
By A. R. Steele - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand the British system of government. The book is complete and the explanations are understandable.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Review 4 Aug 2004
By Alex - Published on
This book is pretty boring, I wouldn't recommend reading it for fun. It is intresting though, If you have an intrest in stuff like this.
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