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Customer Review

on 21 January 2008
This is an intensely interesting and informative book, which should be read with care by all of those who take an interest in the ancient constitution (a constitution with a small c) and particularly in those innovations that have been introduced since 1997: a period during which constitutional change has accelerated. The book is also of interest in another sense: it describes in some detail the structure of British government, its limitations and how that structure is actually sustained. The publication of this book is certainly timely and necessary, and will remain as a comprehensive and accurate record of constitutional developments that have occurred, by design or unintentionally, in past decades - principally since the 1970s. The presentation is thematic. Each chapter, of which there are fourteen, can be read as a self-contained essay, because cross-references between one chapter and another have been kept to a minimum. The book is punctuated with anecdote and humour and that fact alone enhances its interest and readability. The style is fluent and the book has an impelling narrative drive. Professor King concludes that the British constitution is in a 'mess', but does not employ that word in its pejorative sense. He recommends that we should leave `well alone`, because any comprehensive reformulation of the constitution - creating a Constitution with a capital C - might only serve to make matters worse, even if such a Constitution could be formulated and agreed, which appears in present circumstances to be most unlikely, despite the dedication of a small number of enthusiastic devotees of a new start. Stuart E Hopkins
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