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Political Culture in Contemporary BritainPeople and Politicians, Principles and Practice$
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William L. Miller, Annis May Timpson, and Michael Lessnoff

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198279846.001.0001

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The Practice of Principle

The Practice of Principle

(p.121) 5 The Practice of Principle
Political Culture in Contemporary Britain

William L. Miller

Annis May Timpson

Michael Lessnoff

Oxford University Press

The practice of rights is supremely important, particularly to those who seek or enjoy rights, but also to those who would grant or defend the rights of others. Practice tests commitment to principle. This chapter asks how far practice is consistent with principle. It tests the British public’s and politicians’ commitments to the practice of liberty and equality by reviewing the decisions they would make in a variety of situations, all of which have occurred, or could well occur in Britain. It will soon become apparent that even a decision about the simplest of scenarios may involve the exercise of more than one principle, and these principles may themselves be in conflict. For that reason if for no other, any single principle will fail to determine practical decisions completely. However, evidence suggests that principles are, none the less, strong influences upon decisions in specific practical scenarios.

Keywords:   principles, politicians, public, rights, decisions

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