Monthly Archives: March 2012

Some recent dreams.

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I do not remember them in much detail now. I have been much distracted with my studies. Apoloogies dear readers in being so dilatory in setting forth my reveries.

I have bedreamt me of London Towne and Gay Paris. I have dreamt of being led down tunnels such as the catacombs in Paris and somehow it did not strike me as either scary or sinister.

I dreamt a couple of weeks ago of an Occidentalised Arab. He was about 30 years of age, tall, spare with thinning hair on his bonce and a slight beard. He was soft spoken and his English was very good. He was pale and ill. He was showing me around some place. This is because I recently found out that an artist whom I know who fits the above description is gay and the poor chap is suffering from HIV. I was upset to find out that this affable Jordanian has been struck by the gay plague.

I have cracked cruel jokes such as him not needing to worry about a pension. At least he is losing weight!

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Tales of termination.

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This is a topic that both repulses and fascinates me. When I say it fascinates me I do not wish to imply that I am in anyway attracted to the distasteful process. This is a distasteful topic but its ethical and political dimensions are scintillating. I use to have a hardline pro-Life stance arising from my Catholic upbringing. It was one the one hangover of those days that surived my losing god. Reflection and life experience has led me to revise the view formulated in the naivete of my boyhood. I now reluctantly espouse a moderate pro-Choice attitude. One of the things that has led me to eschew my erstwhile position is knowing women who have had terminations. They are no monsters. 50% of British women have had one or more terminations. In most First World countries it is about the same. We practically all know several women who have done this even if we are not aware that they have done this. Here are some plaintive tales. Even the most shrill pro-Choice activist does not think this procedure is pleasant.
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CASSANDRA

Cassandra had just left public school that summer. She had had a boyfriend for about 3 years. Just before her A levels she felt she was on a conveyor belt to marriage. There was nothing wrong with her boyfriend but she felt she was over-committed. Therefore she decided to end the relationship. Her parents lived abroad and they let her use their flat in Manchester while she did a secretarial course. She had many friends from her schooldays around. She had a fantastic social life and met many boys of her owe age. As a result of a brief liaison she became pregnant. She was 18 and so was the boy. She was scared and he felt too young for such responsibility. She did not tell her parents. They were liberal at times but would have exploded at the news. She went to the doctor and took advice. She quickly decide to terminate the pregnancy. She explained that she could not have looked after the child. She wanted to go to university and with a baby in tow that would not have been easy.

She went on to marry, have two children and a pretty good career. She has no regrets.
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Camilla

Camilla was 30 years old. She had been married for a couple of years. She and her husband had a baby daughter and a two bedroom flat. He was an engineer and she was an administrator. They were reasonably well off. She became pregnant again. They had a taste for the good life: consumer goods, holidays and jewellery. A second child would make this more difficult. Camilla persuaded herself that she had no choice and terminated the pregnancy. It was of course very dishonest of her to pretend that she had no choice – she DID have a choice.

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NORA

Nora was 23 years old and had been married for a couple of years. She already had a daughter. Her workshop job was modestly paid as was that of her industrial chemist husband. They were buying a flat. She lived in a country where access to contraception was very difficult. Her marriage was already strained. She became pregnant a second time and she decided to end the pregnancy. It turned out to be twins who were terminated. Some time later she had a second child. A couple of years after that she was pregnant again. There were shortages of all sorts of goods in the country. She chose to have another termination.

She is very religious but does not seem to see any contradiction between this and her own actions.
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LAURA

Laura was 20 years old and an undergraduate. She was outspoken and a good humoured liberal. She made the most of the sexual revolution. She was involved in student politics. She was promiscuous and was unemotional about it. She became pregnant by a man who was rather older than herself. She found it very easy to decide to have a termination. She told her friends and laughed it off.
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SANGEETHA

She was a British Indian undergraduate. She had a sister a couple of years younger and her parents had divorced. Age 60 her father had a new girlfriend and a baby son with her. Sangeetha had the typical leftwing views of the time. She was tempermental and drank a lot. She was intelligent and aimed to be a barrister. Aged 22 she had a liaison with a solicitor a few years older than her. Despite being on the pill she became pregnant. Her parents had conservative Asian values. For her father to have a child out of wedlock was one thing but they would have reacted angrily to Sangeetha having a baby like that. She had no difficulty in deciding to have a termination. She soon told people about it quite freely. She is now a barrister and childless.

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STAICEY

Staicey was from an observant Jewish family. Her parents stressed that she must marry Jewish. She spent a year in the US aged 18. Then she spent a year in Italy waitressing and pikcing up the language. She developed a relationship with a lifeguard at the resort where she was working. She became pregnant aged 20. She had little trouble in deciding to have a termination. Her parents would have reacted badly. They were on at her to start university. She later told them. They were shocked but did not condemn her.

Years later she lived in the US. She acquired a new boyfriend. Again she became pregnant unintentionally and decided to bring the pregnancy to an end. She is now menopausal and single. She has no regrets. She did not rule out having children but she is now content to live child free.

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CAMINI

She was a 22 year old student in India. She was from a Christian family with the usual Indian morals. Her boyfriend was from a Muslim family but was not at all religious. Both were left wing free spirits with no time for old fashioned constraints. This was a first relationship for both of them. In moments of weakness they surrendered to their lust and lost their virginity together. They copulated again and again without contraception. She became pregnant. The female doctor who told Camini scolded her. Camini could not face telling her family. Further, they did not feel able to bring up a child as penniles students. She chose to have a termination and her boyfriend supported her. The relationship survived this. They married. She became pregnant again and had a miscarriaged. Later she became pregnant again and had a daughter. Three pregnancies with three different outcomes.

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FELICITY

Felicity is an actress in London. She had minor success and bit parts in semi-popular films. She married for a while to a writer. He was harum scarum. She had a son with him and this was one of the writer’s three children by three different women. They soon divorced.

Felicity had a liaison with a Greek chap. Aged 42 she became pregnant. Her son was then 14. The Greek saw abortion as contraception and did not think of any other method. He hurried his girlfriend down to the clinic. The deed was done. Felicity seemed to have give little thought to it. She does not seem to rue it. She lives comfortably in a large house and is now well past child bearing age.

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One observation is that few of these women regret what they did. What would the use be? It would not reverse their decision. No point in beating themselves up about it.

Some public English law questions.

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Explain the powers of the Crown in theory and practice.
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The powers of the Crown are prerogatives that date back to the Middle Ages. The Crown is the living symbol of the state embodied in the monarch. Over the centuries the monarch gradually stopped making govermental decisions and these were ceded to politicians and officials such as judges and civil servants. Principally the Prime Minister exercises the royal prerogatives in behalf of the sovereign. The monarch signs into law statutes and executive orders. In theory the government can only advise the monarch. The monarch always acts on the advice of the government.

Walter Bagehot identified certain rights of the monarch: to advise, to warn and to be encouraged.

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To what extent is it correct to speak of Parliamentary government, Cabinet government and Prime Ministerial government?
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The United Kingdom boasted for centuries that it was a parliamentary government. That is to say that Parliament was the nation’s conversation with itself and that all were represented there – even when most people did not have the vote. Parliament was the supreme law making body in the realm. It could make and unmake any law. The executive was drawn from Parliament with only a very few exceptions. The executive was answerable to Parliament although Parliament did not have the power to block executive actions or to appoint or dismiss ministers.

The theory of Parliamentaty government was somehwat overblown as we have seen it could and can hold the executive to account but not actually control it. The executive could go ahead and do as it wished even is Parliament was unhappy about this. Parliament could vote no confidence in a government and bring down the government thus forcing a general election. That is a constitutional convention. Parliament can later pass an act to undo an executive action.

Cabinet government means the fact that 20-24 Cabinet Ministers meet. The primus inter pares is the Prime Minister whose office exists only by convention and not by statute. Cabinet government stresses that the Cabinet (which is the executive for the whole of the UK) gives orders for what is to be done. The Cabinet cannot legislate – parliament, devolved legislatures and local councils do that. Cabinet government also underlines the principle of collective responsibility. Cabinet ministers must publicly advocate government policy even if they privately disagree with it. Cabinet government also means the belief that Cabinet ministers should debate policies among themselves and try to reach a consensus. This has not been the case since Margaret Thatcher. She would simply announce a government policy and expect the rest of the Cabinet to accept this. Tony Blair did not have many long, formal Cabinet meetings. He simply decided what policy was – sometimes in concert with individual ministers particularly Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Prime Ministerial government is a system whereby the Prime Minister functions as the chief executive and he or she decides government policies with minimal if any consultation with the Cabinet or Parliament. Prime Ministerial government is often voiced as a criticism in that it concentrates an excessive degree of political power in the hands of an individual.

Cabinet government is about the most accurate of the three at the moment especially as there is a coalition government and discussions between the two governmental parties are crucial to the working of the government.
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What is the role of the minister in relation to his or her department?
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A minister is responsible for his or her department. The minister, under the Prime Minister, directs policy and must ensure that the policy is being carried out efficiently. The minister has formal minuted meetings with civil servants. The civil servants supply the minister with disinterested, professional advice about policy matters.

Ministers can claim credit for departmental successes. The flipside of this of course is that a minister carries the can for failure and impropriety. A significant failure within a department used to lead to the minister resigning even if it was not his or her personal fault. This happened most recently with Estelle Morris in 2002 over exam grade errors. However, since 1982 and a break in to Buckingham Palace, some ministers have refused to resign saying they are not responsible for the mistake. The doctrine that ministers must resign for major mistakes is now in decline.

The aim of the doctrine that ministers must takke responsibility for their civil servants it that it is the only way to ensure that ministers check up on their civil servants. Moreover, it is designed to prevent ministers from unfairly blaming their civil servants for failures.

The efficient secret of the British constitution.

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I have written of the English constitution when one could say this is inaccurate and I ought to have written of the British constitution. British and English are quite different things. However, as I am studying the law of England and Wales I wrote of the English constitution. I did not say the English and Welsh constitution since the convention is to speak of English law and never English and Welsh law.

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Critically assess the view, expressed by Walter Bagehot n the nineteenth century, that the ‘near fusion’ of the executive and legislature represents the ‘efficient secret’ of the constitution.

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When Bagehot wrote his English Constitution in the 1860s it was true to say that the executive and the legislature were nearly fused. The Prime Minister, the Cabinet and junior minister are all MPs or peers in the House of Lords. Therefore these members of the executive also sit, speak and vote in the legislature. That is as true today as it was when Bagehot penned his magnum opus. When Bagehot called the near fusion of these two organs of government ‘the efficient secret’ he did not mean that it was secret in the sense that it was known only to a very few persons but rather that this fact was a thing of especial genius making Britsh Government more effective, faster and stronger.

Bagehot’s books have long been taken to be works of authority. Yet the setup he described has been changed over the past 150 or so years.

The Prime Minister’s exercise of royal prerogative powers has been much reduced. Nomination to the House of Lords and other bodies such as to the judiciary has been much reduced. This is principally due to reforms initiated by Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister in 2007. It has been passed to a committee. He can no longer declare war without the agreement of Parliament. There is much more openness in government owing to the freedom of information act. Cabinet minutes can now he seen a few years after they are written. Therefore the candid advice offered in such meetings becomes part of the public domain.

The United Kingdom could have a system whereby cabinet ministers are outside the legislature such as in the United States or even the European Union where the European Commission does not comprise part of the European Parliament. In both cases members of the executive are required to go before the legislature and are called to account for their handling of their departments.

Walter Bagehot was arguing that the fact that the executive and legislature overlap makes government stonger and this is desirable. There are many criticisms to be levelled against such and arrangement. It goes against the principle of the separation of powers and thus is an anomaly in any mature democracy. Certain individuals are overmighty. The separation of powers is a doctrine that states that the three organs of government (the legislature, the judiciary and the executive) have different roles and ought to be kept apart from each other. Each organ of government must perform its functions in its own sphere. It would be wrong for one organ to interfere in the realm of another organ. This is partly for reasons of competence (in the sense of knowing his to discharge duties) but also because one organ must not become too strong lest it mutate into a tyranny.

There is potential for the abuse of power especially in the system as it was at the time that Bagehot described it. The Prime Minister could pack the House of Lords with compliant cronies and reward supporters with the plum jobs of office. In the 18th century this is what happened to some extent. The fact was that in the 18th century the Crown exercised much power itself and thus the Prime Minister did not always get his way. To a degree this was healthy in that it limited the capacity of the Prime Minister to do harm. By the mid 19th century the influence of the Crown had been much reduced and it was broadly accepted that the royal prerogative powers were to be carried out by the Prime Minister. At least in Bagehot’s time some sense of impartial duty limited the extent to which royal prerogative powers were abused for partisan political goals. Nevertheless this relied only on some sense of decency and the scope to abuse such prerogative was still vast. Into the present day there was been an extremely strong suspicion that peerages are in effect sold to donors to the major political parties especially the party that happens to be in office.

In the devolved legislatures the same holds true. Members of the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scots Government and the Welsh Executive are all members of their respective legislatures.

It is in a way healthy that members of the executive are themselves elected public representatives as it confers democratic legitimacy on theM. They are answerable to their constituents and can be dismissed through the ballot box. On the other hand this means that members of the executive each have their electoral constituency to think about and may be tempted to make unfair and unsound decisions in order to enhance their chances of re-election. For example they may keep a military base in their constituency open because it provides jobs in the district and this will help them be re-elected even if this military base is not cost-effective or strategically sensible. They may go in for pork barrel politics in that they spend public money on construction projects in their constituency because this is popular in their constituency even though it is bad for the country as a whole.

Members of the executive may sit in the Lords and therefore not be elected by the general public. This does at least insulate them from the daily pressures of needing to be re-elected.

The organs of government are more widely separated now than in the past. This is generally good as it means the organs of government perform their allotted roles and do not stray into each other’s territory. The downside of the separation of powers is that it slows down decision making and the process becomes cumbersome. Decisions of the executive are subject to judicial review and may be thwarted by the courts. Further, in times of crisis such as a war instant and decisive action is needed and the separation of powers slows down decision-making by any organ of government.

Legislative functions have been delegated to the executive. Certain Secretaries of state are entitled to sign into law provisions without the conesent of Parliament. This legislation can of course later be repealed by Parliament. Nevertheless the legislative function has been handed over to the executive in certain areas of regulation with regard to health and education.

People often pay lip service to the independence of the judiciary but the legislature tries to encroach on this for demagogic reasons. A minumum life term for murder is set by statute thus binding the hands of judges. Admittedly, once a life sentence is awarded the bench then sets the tariff and life almost never means life. Moreover, Parliament agreed to terrorist prisoners and British soldiers being released very early from prison as part of the Belfast Agreement to end the Northern Ireland conflict. This may have been morally justifiable in that is brought peace but it certainly undermined the whole notion of judicial independence.

In conclusion the legislature and the executive as not as nearly fused as they once were. This partial decoupling of the two is to be welcomed as it enriches democracy. The near fusion of the two made for strong government but for bad law. Bagehot’s description of the state of affairs when he wrote was spot on in terms of its analysis but his enthusiastic attitude about the efficient secret is not to be shared.

Is Palestine like Czechoslovakia in 1938?

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We often hear from Zionists that Israel now is like Palestine in 1938. The only democracy in the region surrounded by insatiable aggressive totalitarian regimes hellbent on genocide.

I am neither a Zionist nor an anti-Zionist. I am somewhat sympathetic to Israel – more so than most. I do not want her defeated but I do want her to treat the Palestinians fairly. I will play devil’s advocate slightly. Israel is Czechoslovakia, eh? Two can play at that game.

Palestine is like Czechoslovakia in 1938. Palestine’s neighbour is larger in land and population yet she wants more living space. Israel is a militaristic state – bristling with bombs. She introduced nuclear weapons to the region and will not tell the truth about that. She refused to disarm. She has consistently chosen evil men as her Prime Ministers. Unrepentant terrorists such as Mencham Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were her premiers. Ariel Sharon the author of the Sabra and Chatila atrocities was also Prime Minister. Even and Israeli court martial convicted him of being indirectly responsible for the massacre. He served not one day in prison. Shamir was behind the murder of Count Bernadotte – a UN peace envoy. This was a crime so reprehensible that Shimon Peres apologised for it in 1995 and called it a terrorist murder.

Even today the Prime Minister is an anti-Arab, hyper-nationalistic, war-mongering demagogue: Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israel had illegal colonies on Palestinian land. In order to protect this minority of Israelis who live in Palestine illegally the Israeli military regularly invades Palestine. Many Israeli politicians openly dismiss the Palestinians as mere racial chaff. Rehavam Ze-evi called the Palestinians ”lice”. This man was made Tourism Minister. If a man that racist was to be the person Israel used to attract in tourists then how much more racist are the rest of them? Ze’evi was shot dead by Palestinians. Ze’evi was despicable but I disapprove of his killing.

Israel has an outspoken contempt for the will if the United Nations expressed through dozens of resolutions. She routinely breaks international law. In 2010 she assassinated a Hamas leader in the United Arab Emirates. Hamas has carried out many attacks on Israel but the man killed was unarmed and was no threat to Israel at that time. He was not put on trial and killed. The UAE has not made war on Israel. This was a violation of the UAE’s territorial sovereignty. The passports of Irishmen, Britons, French people, Germans and others were cloned to help Mossad agents carry out this illegal killing. The Irish Republic and the UK are friendly towards Israel yet their passports were abused to commit this unlawful act. The true owners of these passports could have been wrongly accused of the killing.

In 2009 the Israeli Defence Forces launched very heavy attacks on Gaza. Hundreds of civilians were killed. The civilian death rate was something like 100 Palestinians to every Israeli. Fighting in a built up area would lead to civilian deatsh even if the most humane army in the world did it. Hamas is said to have used human shields. Even taking this into account the IDF still showed a blatant disregard for innocent life. This campaign from December 2008 to January 2009 resulted in the deaths of 3 Israeli civilians. Of course it is regretable that they were killed. How many Palestinian civilians were killed? The lowest estimate is 274. That is the LOWEST figure. The highest is somewhere about 750. Let us go with the lowest figure. Even then the is 90 to 1. NINETY TO ONE! Even a 2:1 ratio would be shocking. The Israeli Defence Force at best showed a blatant disregard for innocent life. Yet the Israeli Government calls the Palestinian fighters terrorists. Zionists accuse the Palestinians of aggression. Based on the evidence the hypocrisy is staggering. These claims by Tel Aviv are a sick inversion of the truth. Even a United Nations school was attacked by the Israeli Defence Force.

Palestine has suffered thousands of civilians killed by Israel over the past few decades and hundreds of thousands driven into exile. There has been wrongdoing by Palestinians but on nothing like the same scale.

Despite the massacres of Palestinian civilians the international community does next to nothing. Palestine is one of the only Arab states to have been fully democratic since 1994. She has allowed women to vote since then. She protects the rights of her Christian minority.

Israeli denounces Arab states as dictatorships but Israel wants it that way. An article in the Jerusalem Post said that the West was naive to welcome the Arab Spring as elections bring Islamists to office. If more Arab states such as Jordan were fully democratic then they would be far more hostile to Israel because that is how most Arabs feel. Yes, many Arab states are dictatorships as Israeli propagandists crow. But the Israeli Government wants it that way.

Palestine is abandoned to her fate. She is ravaged by her well armed neighbour. Many Israelis think they are the master race and use daft religious texts to argue this. The Western democracies do not rally to the aid of poor, brave, beleagured little democratic Palestine.

If Palestine is totally subsumed into Israel then expansionists in Israel talk of taking Sinai, South Lebanon, Jordan even Iraq where legend says Israelis lived millennia ago. Even now Israeli politicians openly call for an unprovoked attack on Iran. Iran has supplied Israel’s enemies with weapons in the past but there have been no recent attacks. For Israel’s air force to launch air strikes on Iran would be a massive escalation of the conflict. Surely the time has come to show solidarity with the downtrodden Palestinians.

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I wish to add a disclaimer. Israel is in no sense in the same league as the Third Reich in 1939. Israel is a democracy with a free press and some respect for human rights. Israel gives rights to its ethnic and religious minorities. Israel does not plan to kill all Palestinians. Therefore the similarities cannot be pressed too far between the two situations. Conversely Israel’s enemies such as Syria, Iran and Lebanon are not as bad as the Third Reich either. Whichever way one argues the ‘Czechoslovakia’ comparison to say that one side is akin to the Third Reich is specious.

Separation of powers (England and Wales).

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‘Our unwritten constitution rests upon a separation of powers. It also rests upon a mutual recognition of those powers. It is for Parliament to make new laws and to amend old laws, including the common law. It is for the courts to interpert and enforce the law. It is for the government to govern within the law. Each in their own sphere is supreme.’ Lord Donaldson of Lymington MR in M v Home Office and Another (1994). Discuss
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Lord Donaldson of Lymington gave this classic summary of the theory of the separation of powers at a time when the three branches of government (judicial, executive and legislative) were rather less separate than they are now. The separation of powers dates back the 17th century French philosopher Montisquieu. In absolutist France he was describing the system of governance as he would like to see it rather than the despotism that existed in France at the time.

The separation of powers is a core principle of the US constitution. Thew idea is that the three branches be separate from each other because they have different concerns and it would wrong for one branch to intrude upon the rights and duties of another. There is the belief that there must be checks and balances to prevent bad policies and even moral badness going too far. Decisions are to be reached after due consideration in the legislature and in the judiciary. Such decisions are subject to review and repeal. The decisions of the executive are also subject to examination and possibly reversal by the judiciary. Further, such decisions can be challenged in the judiciary as unconstitutional. A higher court can review the decisions of a lower court and overturn such decisions where necessary.

In England and Wales the legislature comprises the UK Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the London Assembly and the local authorities. The judiciary comprises all the courts and judges up to and including the Supreme Court – the European Court of Human Rights may have cases refered to it by courts in England and Wales so it is also part of the judiciary. The courts go up in tiers with judgments of a lower court being potentially subject to review and occasional revision by higher courts. The executive branch comprises of the Cabinet, head by the Prime Minister. The executive also comprises the First Minister for Wales and the executive of the Welsh Assembly. All junior ministers of the UK Government are also part of the executive. Being part of the executive allows one to make decisions about government policy and issue orders. Some legislative functions have been devolved to government ministers – allowing them to make law. Such decision-making is accountable to Parliament and the courts.

In 1994 when this statement was made the three branches somewhat overlapped. The Prime Minister had extensive royal prerogative powers. These powers dated back to medieval times when the monarch could simply command things to be done. By convention these powers have been exercised by the Prime Minister on behalf of the sovereign. These included the right to sign treaties, declare war, command the armed forces and issue pardons. The Prime Minister had very wide powers of patronage to appoint people to government posts in Cabinet, as an ambassador or to make someone a peer and therefore a member of the House of Lords. Therefore the executive controlled the membership of the upper chamber of the legislature. The judges were also appointed by him so he controlled membership of the judiciary. It should be noted that in both cases the Prime Minister did not have the legal power to remove a peer or judge.

The Lord Chancellor was the speaker of the House of Lords and thus in the legislature. He was also a Cabinet Minister (thus in the executive) and he was head of the judiciary. He was therefore in all three branches of government.

Lord Acton’s famous phrase is that, ”power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.” The branches must be kept separate in case a foolish government makes mistakes on too large a scale or indeed a malevolent government comes to power and is able to do evil without being stopped. If one’s actions cannot be stopped it is tempting to abuse power. Aristotle said if one had a cloak that made on invisible and one could commit any crime safe in the knowledge that one could never be caught most people would choose to use this power to do mischief.

The situation has been resolved by the Constitutional Reform Act in 2005 where the Lord Chancellor was made no longer in charge of the judiciary. The Prime Minister’s powers of patronage have been much reduced with the decision to declare war subject to approval by Parliament.

The executive no longer appoints judges – they are appointed by a judicial appointments commission. Executive decisions are subject to judicial review. Judicial review tests that the orders given are lawful and the process by which they are arrived at is lawful. Judicial reivew results in an action being found to be unlawful in about 20% of cases. The judiciary have had security of tenure for centuries. This is so they are not prone to political manipulation. An address from both House of Parliament can remove a judge for disgraceful behaviour.

The executive and legislature overlap inasmuch as ministers are almost always drawn from either house of Parliament. The legislature holds the executive to account – scrutinising their decisions. This takes place on the floor of either house but also in committees with specialist knowledge.

The judiciary and the legislature have an unusual relationship. As Walter Bagehot observed parliamentary sovereignty is supreme. His doctrines stated that,”no Parliament can bind its successors” and that, ”Parliament is omnipotent in all things except the power to destroy its own omnipotence.” The judiciary cannot strike down statutes as illegal.

The judiciary is loathe to interfere too much with the executive and especially the legislature. The judiciary is not elected whereas the legislature is. This democratic mandate confers legitimacy on the legislature. The executive is drawn from the legislature and so has a democratic mandate indirectly. If Parliament makes a bad or illogical law some judges have ruled that this is for Parliament to correct and not the courts. Courts are reluctant to usurp the law-making function of Parliament. Parliament must respect court rulings however politically inconvenient they are. By convention politicians do not criticise judicial decisions. David Blunkett as Home Secretary broke this and denounced judicial rulings that went against his anti-terrorism drive.

Lord Donaldson said that courts interpret the law but courts also make law. They sometimes fill in the gap in law. Lord Denning was adamant that judges can and do make law. Equity is after all court made law.

The three branches of government are now fairly separate. Each has its own area of competence. By competence we mean field of expertise and area where it has the right to act.

Lord Donaldson’s description