Constitutional Law for Dummies

Your Humble Servant, Catesby Esq, has been clearing out the attic (I’m building a Priest’s Hole on the offchance that British Airways launch a successful coup d’etat) and I came across some old exam papers. There’s a perpetual debate about whether exam standards have fallen or risen so I thought I’d reproduce the questions and you can form your own views.
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, MULTIPLE CHOICE PAPER
Consider the following extract from a piece of legislation, the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925:

1(1) If any person accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person, for himself or for any other person, or for any purpose, any gift, money or valuable consideration as an inducement or reward for procuring or assisting or endeavouring to procure the grant of a dignity or title of honour to any person, or otherwise in connection with such a grant, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

Question 1. Who would be caught by this provision?
(A) An insignificant school teacher from Essex whom nobody’s ever heard of
(B) A fund-raiser who likes to swan around the Middle East pretending to be Lawrence of Arabia
(C) A rent-seeking parasite sponging off the taxpayer in the guise of a “special adviser”
(D) A Cabinet Minister
(E) All of the above
Question 2. You are a Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Party matters and your salary is paid by your Party out of donations. You have signed forms nominating a financial supporter for a peerage. What line do you think the Crown Prosecution Service will find convincing enough not to prosecute you:
(A) We have to put this all behind us and move to a period of renewal.
(B) I’m not very clever and I always sign anything put in front of me.
(C) I’m not very tall and I’m easily intimidated by attractive intelligent women dangling bunches of grapes in front of me.
(D) I was ill in hospital at the time and everyone knows that I held a spurious non-job with no real authority.
(E) I’m willing to shop the Prime Minister before he drops me in it.

Question 3. You are a senior Cabinet Minister – I mean, really senior – and you’re in the throes of a party donation scandal. Who comes to mind as a useful scapegoat to take the heat off yourself?
(A) An insignificant school teacher from Essex whom nobody’s ever heard of
(B) A fund-raiser who likes to swan around the Middle East pretending to be Lawrence of Arabia (but who might remember something damaging about you)
(C) A rent-seeking parasite sponging off the taxpayer in the guise of a “special adviser” (but who certainly knows something damaging about you)
(D) Another Cabinet Minister (who almost certainly doesn’t know anything at all, but will be believed if he makes up something)
(E) Any of the above
Question 4. You are still – just about – a really very senior Cabinet Minister in the throes of a Party donations scandal. How big a pay rise do you think the Crown Prosecution Service need to reflect their new responsibilities under your latest crackdown on crime?
(A) 10%
(B) 20%
(C) 30%
(D) 100%
(E) 100% plus a peerage for any outside QC called in to advise on particularly sensitive prosecutions.
How difficult are these questions, really?
Catesby, Esq.



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