Progressive eras, periods of reaction and constitutional change

Nicol, D. 2014. Progressive eras, periods of reaction and constitutional change. German Law Journal. 15 (3), pp. 437-459.

TitleProgressive eras, periods of reaction and constitutional change
AuthorsNicol, D.
Abstract

This article argues that “political herding” plays a crucial role in driving and shaping constitutional change. It links the prevalence of political herding to a psychological phenomenon, “social influence.” It goes on to argue that constitutional change is often driven by the desire for certain substantive policies, which in turn are determined by whether, in a particular epoch, the political community is herding in a progressive or reactionary direction. Contending that the general phenomenon whereby political communities go through recurrent swings to the left or to the right has been neglected by scholars, this essay aims to give this phenomenon the centrality it merits in relation to the evolution of the British constitution. Accordingly it considers the 1906 Liberal government, the 1945 Labour government and the lengthy succession of post-1979 neoliberal governments, analyzing how substantive progressive and reactionary programs led to constitutional change. Finally this article considers the legitimacy both of political herding itself, and of political herding’s impact on constitutional change.

JournalGerman Law Journal
Journal citation15 (3), pp. 437-459
ISSN2071-8322
Year2014
PublisherGerman Law Journal
Web address (URL)http://www.germanlawjournal.com/index.php?pageID=11&artID=1628
Publication dates
PublishedMay 2014

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