David Blunkett MP

David Blunkett MP

Constitutions are, by their very nature, usually drawn up by lawyers, with lawyers in mind. Understandably, as rights without a means of redress are meaningless.

Even with administrative tribunals, any complexity (and any challenge to a written constitution) would by necessity entail taking on a lawyer.

That is why I have been sceptical about the importance of codifying into a written constitution those aspects of the unwritten and pluralistic constitution which had, until recently, served us reasonably well.

However, as with constitutions across the world, it was the powerful, those in the know, and the vested interests that determined what was, or was not, counted as part of the “constitution”.

I would be interested, therefore, in asking the question, “If government has as its prime responsibility the protection and security of the individual, how do we secure that basic right for those without power and influence?”

This would obviously refer to both the right to security in the home and on the street, but enforcement is obviously a key question in terms of obtaining such a right! Security in respect of the nation is not only a highly charged political and subjective judgement, but as a set of mutual rights which politics and not constitutional redress can secure.

As they say in undergraduate essays, “Discuss”!


David Blunkett is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, having represented Sheffield Brightside from 1987 to 2010. Blind since birth, and coming from a poor family in one of Sheffield’s most deprived districts, he rose to become Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair’s Cabinet following Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election. He was promoted to become Home Secretary following the 2001 general election, a position he held until 2004.