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How Language Works in Politics – The Impact of Vague Legislation on Policy - Policy Press Scholarship Online
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How Language Works in Politics: The Impact of Vague Legislation on Policy

Matthew Williams


There were more colons used in legislation in 2015 than there were words enacted in 1900. Using analysis from machine readings of all legislation enacted between 1900 and 2015, this book discusses the social impact of increasingly elastic legislative language on the contemporary workings of the British constitution. The hot-button debates of our time — from immigration to European integration, to the creeping power of judges — have, at their core, battles over what policy instructions are authoritative. The book encourages readers to connect the dots of British statecraft, and to understand ho ... More

Keywords: legislation, legislative language, constitution, statecraft, policy delivery, immigration, homelessness, anti-discrimination, judges

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9781529200201
Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529200201.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Williams, author
Oxford University