British Columbia

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, General, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2009), Letters, Letters, Volume 17

Sir,

—Your editorial ‘Ireland’s fascist real McCoy’ (HI 17.5, Sept./Oct.2009) points to the emergence of extremism here in the 1940s. Whatmight seem to some a tad odd, however, is your emphasis upon the Irishtradition not of constitutional but of parliamentary democracy. Thusthere is no mention of either Bunreacht na hÉireann or of the earlierConstitution of Ireland. As a constitutional democracy the Irish statecontrasts with the British parliamentary system. Political powerbelongs to the people of Ireland, viz. popular sovereignty. In the UK,however, Westminster wins, hence parliamentary supremacy—LordHailsham’s ‘elective dictatorship’.—Yours etc.,
JOHN ANTONY BARNWELL
Dublin 9

Mr Barnwell is correct: the phrase ‘constitutional democracy’ wouldhave been more appropriate to my argument, although the particular formof democracy established in the European states that gainedindependence in the twentieth century varied—for example, Norway’s wasa constitutional monarchy.—Ed.

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