Readership: Scholars and students of political science, British politics, constitutional law, and political
Iain McLean, Professor of Politics, Oxford University and Official Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford
Iain McLean is Professor of Politics at Oxford University, and a fellow of Nuffield College. He has previously worked at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Warwick, and held visiting appointments at Washington & Lee, Stanford, Yale and Australian National universities. He has written copiously about UK public policy; political history; and historical applications of rational choice theory. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and his previous OUP book State of the Union was awarded the W.J.M. McKenzie Book Prize
"Over the last two decades political scientists have broadened their interest to include the constitution, and the result has been a number of informative books on the subject Ian McLean's new contribution is one of the, if not the, best of the lot. It combines enlightening history, careful empirical analysis, and provocative prescriptions this wise and thoughtful book that deserves careful attention from students of both British politics and comparative constitutions." - The British Politics Group newsletter, APSA
"McLean's iconoclastic enterprise requires precision, and the book delivers. His intelligent application of rational choice theory provides useful insights into taken-for-granted history. Not everyone will agree
with his prescriptions, but everyone interested in Britain's constitution political scientists, historians or lawyers should buy this book. It is a splendid and original addition to the literature." - Nicholas Allen, Political Studies Review
"This path-breaking book rediscovers forgotten themes that unite Britain and America into a common constitutional tradition. McLean's account of the British Constitution will provoke a broad-ranging, and international, debate.
" - Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University
"Iain McLean is a fascinating guide to the British Constitution, fundamental aspects of which have been largely invisible within a narrowly anglocentric tradition of constitutional analysis and interpretation. Public lawyers, in particular, have much to learn from McLean.
" - Colin Kidd, Professor of Modern History, University of Glasgow
"The received doctrine, which goes back to the late 19th-century legal theorist A.V. Dicey, is that there is no limit to what the Queen in Parliament can do: make wars, abrogate individual rights, suspend habeas corpus, and so on. Iain McLean, the Oxford professor of politics, has written a new book, Whats Wrong with the British Constitution?, arguing that this is obsolete, if it was ever trueA viable constitution should contain rules for its own amendment, as the US constitution doesNo written document can prevent misconduct, but it can raise barriers to make such misconduct more difficult.
" - Samuel Brittan, Financial Times, April 2010
"...public lawyers willing to embrace other disciplines will enjoy this book, which is a radical political scientist's critique of the British Constitution...It is a radical spirit that he writes, and with equal sharpness and verve: a treat for those who are willing to be provoked as well as educated and informed" - Professor Robert Hazell, Public Law
Table of contents
List of tables
Part I Introduction
1: The English public lawyers' constitution
2: A social-science-based alternative - veto player theory
Part II The constitution from below
3: Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan: 1707 and 1800: a treaty (mostly) honoured and a treaty broken
4: Iain McLean and Jennifer Nou: Why should we be beggars with the ballot in our hand? The 1909 Budget and the House of Lords
5: Iain McLEan and Tom Lubbock: The curious incident of the guns in the night time - Curragh, Larne and the Constitution
Appendix to Chapter 5. How much did Bonar Law know about the Larne gun-running?
6: The contradictions of Professor Dicey
7: auses and consequences of the unionist coup d'état
Part III The erosion of Diceyan ideology
8: The impact of UK devolution
9: The impact of Europe
10: The impact of human rights
a) Appendix to Chapter 10. European Convention on Human Rights and Protocols adopted by the United Kingdom as of 2008.
Part IV Things to leave out of a written constitution
11: Unelected chambers
a) Appendix to Chapter 12. 'The constitutional position of the sovereign': Letters between king George V and prime minister H. H. Asquith, autumn 1913
13: Established churches
Part V Things to put in
14: We the people