What is the major strength of the British political system?

This week, I had the following e-mail from a student in Russia:

“Hello! I have read your short guide to the British political system, and I wanted to ask what you think about this statement: “The capacity of the UK’s constitution to evolve is its major strength”. Do you agree with this, as I am a foreign student and want to find out more on this topic. Thank you very much!”

I replied:

“This a major subject that can hardly be dealt with in a brief e-mail.

Formally the UK does not have a constitution. It simply has lots of constitutional laws that can be amended by Parliament at any time by a simple majority vote.

This is probably a major strength but not necessarily the major strength of the British democratic system. In fact, you could argue that the absence of written constitution would be a major weakness if it was not for the fact that the British system has so many other strengths including the rule of law, an independent judiciary, a free media, a strong civil society, and a sense of tolerance.

In fact, the British did not choose not to have a written constitution. It is just an accident of our unique history.”

You can check out my “Short Guide To The British Political System” here and contrast it with my “Short Guide To The Russian Political System” here. I know which I prefer.


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