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London update


Travel in the UK must be horrible. Any word from our friends who might still be at are planning on travelling to, or might have left early for, Worldcon?

Edited to add: Heh. Worldcon is still a few weeks away. I was confusing "travelling to another country for a big con" with Westercon in Calgary last weekend. Dur. :)

Comments

bovil
Jul. 8th, 2005 06:17 am (UTC)
Oh, come on, UK constitutional arrangements are simple. There isn't one.
bescincimevsim
Jul. 8th, 2005 06:54 am (UTC)
Erm, yes actually, there is...
http://www.dca.gov.uk/constitution.htm
bovil
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:06 am (UTC)
Naah, that's just a bunch of bureaucrats trying to make a hodge-podge of age-old traditions and documents look like a coherent whole. A constitution already is a self-contained and (ideally) coherent whole.
bescincimevsim
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:08 am (UTC)
Well, I'm going to play the "I've been to lawschool" card and say you're wrong...
bovil
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:23 am (UTC)
See, now that gets into nitpicking. Only in a legal dictionary will you see the definition of a constitution as purely fundamental law rather than as a comprehensive written instrument expressing fundamental law.

You're just jealous because we've got one nice big piece of sheepskin and you've only got a bunch of tattered fragments.
bescincimevsim
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:25 am (UTC)
Yes - jealous... that's the one...
I'd rather take our nice elegant system of negative rights over the cumbersome clanking arrangement of positive rights any day.
bovil
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
See now, you've got it all wrong, unless you're talking Louisiana. Their state constitution is based on the Napoleonic Code, where you're guilty until proven innocent and anything not permitted is forbidden.

The rest of us just pillaged English Common Law for all it's worth.
bescincimevsim
Jul. 9th, 2005 12:39 am (UTC)
OK - you clearly don't know all that much about law... so, I simple terms:
Positive Rights - the constitution mandates specifically what a citizen may or may not do (right to freedom of speech, assembly etc)
Negative Rights - the constitution identifies only those activities which are prohibited by law. In essence, with negative right - unless there's a law against it, you can do it.

So - you see, I haven’t got it all wrong... in fact, since I work in constitutional law, have 3 law degrees and teach at a university, I'm going to go out on a limb and put myself out there as an expert.
bovil
Jul. 9th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
Sorry, my realm of jargon is tech, in law I'm handicapped by only knowing English.

The US constitution mostly started as a negative rights framework, but the framers didn't trust each other to not infringe on some specific freedoms so they added in the bill of rights. Both heavily pillage English Common Law for their guiding principles. The first ammendment is specifically framed as a negative right; the governement is not permitted to make laws forbidding a range of activities. The rest are a mixed bag, some expressing specific rights and some restricting the governement's ability to infringe on rights by making laws; a few combine both aspects.

Since then it hasn't been quite so clean.

State constitutions are a mess. If you ever want a headache, try reading California's. A century ago well-meaning folks implemented some populist measures (the initative and recall processes) to root out government corruption, but since then they've evolved into tools that are no longer really populist and allow our representatives in government to abdicate their responsibility as representatives. Most of those initiatives go straight into the constitution, locking in what may have been a good band-aid as a really bad permanent solution.
esprix
Jul. 9th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC)
Is it wrong of me to be amused by this banter? :D
bovil
Jul. 9th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC)
Probably.

Legal amusement usually comes from a discussion of why some states made laws prohibiting fornication with a porcupine (when one is human; porcupines can fornicate amongst themselves willy-nilly).

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