A Constitution vs Nothing Codified – Italy vs the UK

As kids are going

here’s a nice compare and contrast exercise

Risultati immagini per compare and contrast

for adults and parents!

Italy vs the UK


Italy has a constitution.

It was set up by a Constituent Assembly after the country voted to become a Republic in 1947
You can read it here

Click to access COST_INGLESE.pdf

The UK does not have a constitution.

It has a set of rules and conventions.

It is

It relies on the “gentlemanly” behaviour of all concerned to obey these rules and abide by these conventions

You  need  a degree in Law or Politics  to find your way around them.
Interpretation of these conventions can turn on a single word.

Take, for example, the Sewell Convention
In terms of the legislative process, the potential for a crisis centres upon the so-called “Sewel Convention” whereby the UK Parliament “will not normally legislate” for devolved matters without the consent of the devolved institutions”

Since Brexit was not a “normal” situation, the Sewell Convention was simply

Risultati immagini per tossed out the window

tossed out of the window as far as Scotland and Wales were concerned.

Remember: Northern Ireland had the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to protect its rights

People living in the UK have no single reliable source that codifies their rights  and sets out government procedures.


Risultati immagini per windrush


“settled status” ?

Stating the problem

Over the month of August, Italy and the UK  both had  institutional crises.

The Italian parliament was immediately recalled from its August recess.

MP’s turned up, debated and the government was overturned.

The issue was  handed over to the President to deal with


In the UK PM Johnson appeared before parliament for exactly 1 day before recess.

Mid-August over 100 MPs wrote to him

asking for Parliament to be recalled ahead of the scheduled 3rd September because of Brexit.

They accused him of dodging scrutiny and warned the country stood on “the brink of an economic crisis”.

And the reply?

Compare and Contrast

The Italian crisis proceeded according to what was set out in the Constitution.

The President set a time-limit of a week or so  for inter-party negotiations to form a new government.

Otherwise a general election would be held in November.

A new coalition government was formed within the deadline and has already taken office

Members of Italy’s anti-establishment Five Star movement (M5S) overwhelmingly backed a coalition with the centre-left Democratic party (PD) in an online vote, giving the final backing to a deal between traditional foes intended to pull Italy out of a political crisis.

In the UK rumours were rife that holiday-making parliamentarians were plotting to prevent a No Deal Brexit.

MPs were on Skype, smart phones, apps and e-mail from their villas and hotels in France, Italy, Montenegro, Croazia, Austria and places even further  afield.

Much ado about nothing!

PM Johnson sent 3 associates to Balmoral, where HM Elizabeth II was staying, to get her to sign a 5-week suspension order for Westminster, telling the public “it was normal practice”.

Closing down Parliament, or “prorogation” as they like to call it so we can’t understand what it means,  was followed by a raft of legal challenges and widespread demonstrations against the “silencing” of Parliament


I asked typical Italians

Risultati immagini per typical italian

What would have happened in Italy if . ….

the PM had gone to the President and asked him to sign an order 

closing down Parliament because the MPs didn’t agree with him?”

“That’s unthinkable” they said “It just couldn’t happen”

Our Constitution outlaws that type of behaviour



Click to access Gordon-Anthony-Devolution-Brexit-and-the-Sewel-Convention-1.pdf








2 thoughts on “A Constitution vs Nothing Codified – Italy vs the UK

  1. Thanks for this comparison between the UK and Italy. Great to see Italy as an example of good democratic process, it is often used as an example to be avoided.
    UK seems stuck with, conventions, royal prerogatives and other fluid and fudge friendly words in it’s system of democracy. Nobody is questioning how they have reached where they are. So the status quo continues. “It’s power dear boy, it’s maintenance and the keeping of it”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The UK is seemingly a feudal system with a veneer of democracy.
    The Brexit vote has revealed it for what it is
    A lot of us had already recognized and sized up the system – the Irish first, followed by the Scots and then by the Welsh! Cornwall’s coming along!
    Our day is coming!


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