Peter Owen, born Peter Offenstadt in Nuremberg, Bavaria to Anglo-German Jewish parents, was sent at the age of five to live with his grandmother in England. That was in 1933, and the young Peter had already seen enough of the rise of Nazism to be haunted by vivid and chilling memories of the time for the rest of his life.
The moment of Brexit (2016-20) singularly challenged the UK’s
unwritten constitution. Some blamed Theresa May and Boris Johnson
for implementing the referendum result. Others – including Austen
Morgan (pictured below left), a barrister and writer – criticize parliament and the supreme court more fairly.
Pretence: why the United Kingdom needs a written constitution takes up
The idea in the 2019 conservative manifesto, and shows how a Reforming government could begin to codify the rules by which the state runs, in place of
the Gilbert and Sullivan flummery which dignifies the reality of political power.
Discussing Europe, devolution, judicial review and human rights as contemporary political issues, thebook even begins the process of finding agreementby the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with the author’s own suggestions for a preamble to a new constitution.
“Austen Morgan argues powerfully that Britain, like almost every other democracy,should adopt a codified constitution, and sketches what such a constitutionmight actually look like. Brexit and threats of secession in Northern Ireland andin Scotland make his arguments especially persuasive. Pretence, based on wide knowledge and learning, is a book of great importance which should be read byevery concerned citizen”.
Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government, King’s College, London
“Austen Morgan has written an engaging, wide-ranging, thought-provoking and
refreshingly undogmatic book on the history, current state and possible future of
the UK constitution and system of government. Even those steeped in the subject
will find interesting facts, connections and opinions which they will not have
come across before. In these challenging times, anyone interested in the future of
this country or how we got where we are should read this book”
Lord Neuberger, President, Supreme Court, 2012-17
Pretence is published by Eyewear Publishing on 30 May 2023