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The Coalition and the Constitution [Hardcover]

Vernon Bogdanor
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Mar 2011
'England', Benjamin Disraeli famously said, 'does not love coalitions'. But 2010 saw the first peace-time coalition in Britain since the 1930s. The coalition, moreover, may well not be an aberration. For there are signs that, with the rise in strength of third parties, hung parliaments are more likely to recur than in the past. Perhaps, therefore, the era of single-party majority government, to which we have become accustomed since 1945, is coming to an end. But is the British constitution equipped to deal with coalition? Are alterations in the procedures of parliament or government needed to cope with it? The inter-party agreement between the coalition partners proposes a wide ranging series of constitutional reforms, the most important of which are fixed-term parliaments and a referendum on the alternative vote electoral system, to be held in May 2011. The coalition is also proposing measures to reduce the size of the House of Commons, to directly elect the House of Lords and to strengthen localism. These reforms, if implemented, will permanently alter the way we are governed. This book analyses the significance of coalition government for Britain and of the momentous constitutional reforms which the coalition is proposing. In doing so it seeks to penetrate the cloud of polemic and partisanship to provide an objective analysis for the informed citizen.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Hart Publishing (25 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849461589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849461580
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Bogdanor's short and readable critique of proposals such as the alternative vote and fixed-term parliaments is to the high standard one has come to expect from him. Tim L. Oliver International Affairs Volume 88, No. 2 This is a book, which one hopes will be published in paperback so that many students of British politics can have it close at hand. It offers basic information about elections and coalitions to which one will want to turn to, time and again. T. P. Wolf British Politics Group Quarterly Summer 2011 ... this book offers many interesting insights into the workings of the British constitution, how far the negotiations to create the coalition conform to expected constitutional norms, and how far the government has altered or seeks to alter the constitution. Dr Julie Smith The Journal of Liberal History Issue 72, Autumn 2011 Professor Bogdanor is an expert in constitutional history so it is no surprise to find that one of the strengths of the book is the depth of its historical comparisons. Roger Smith JUSTICE Journal July 2011 [Vernon Bogdanor] is undoubtedly a considerable authority on constitutions generally and the British one in particular...this is probably the best short introduction in the bookshops to our current constitutional debates. Jonathan Sumption The Spectator June 2011 Vernon Bogdanor is the leading academic authority on the strange jumble of customs, laws and myths known as the British constitution. To that role he brings formidable learning, a relentless appetite for sniffing out self-serving humbug and a quiet, but insistent radicalism. He deploys all of these to startling effect in this short book. In form it is an analytical study of the coalition's impact on the constitution; in fact, it is the literary equivalent of a mortar shell fired at the Cameron-Clegg command centre. David Marquand The Guardian 14th May 2011 Picking his way delicately through this tangled web of constitutional traditions, unspoken arrangements, tacit agreements, political alliances, grudges and festering feuds is constitutional expert Professor Vernon Bogdanor. And there is no more skilled disentangle of a political cat's cradle than Bogdanor. His latest book sheds much-needed light, and a historical perspective, on the potential implications of the UK's first peace-time coalition since the 1930s. Alison Thomas Public Servant May 2011 This book tells students of British politics all that they need to know about the constitutional implications of the coalition government formed after the 2010 general election. Paul Whiteley Times Higher Education 5 May 2011 The history, the politics and the future of coalition government, and the implications of AV and the rest of the programme for constitutional reform, are analysed with clarity and insight by Vernon Bogdanor in his indispensable new book, The Coalition and the Constitution David Pannick The Times 5th May 2011 Bogdanor's excellent study focuses largely on the constitutional implications of the coalition government. Andrew Adonis New Statesman 25th April 2011 ...[Vernon Bogdanor's] political writings are admirably objective and scholarly, and a book he has just published, The Coalition and the Constitution, is no exception. Simon Heffer The Daily Telegraph 6th April 2011 The country faces a string of tinkering changes. The unintended consequences will be many. This shrewd, short book explains why. The Economist April 2nd 2011

About the Author

Vernon Bogdanor, CBE, was until 2009 a Fellow of Brasenose College, and Professor of Government at Oxford University. He is now a visiting Professor at King's College, London, Gresham Professor of Law, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely and thorough survey. 21 May 2011
Format:Hardcover
With the UK coalition government now one year old and proposing significant constitutional changes, I read this book to gain an expert's insight into how it compares with previous coalitions and how its proposals might alter the role of the House of Lords significantly.

Although fearing that the text would be rather dry, I found the content and style engaging and easy to follow. If you are seeking a good explanation of the context for the formation of the coalition, of its constitutional aims and their possible consequences, you should read this brief but thorough volume.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought for my son. 4 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought for my son who is studying an MA in Journalism. He chose the book but other than that hard to comment.
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