Arguments for uncodified constitution

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flexibility

The supporters of the current arrangements say that the flexibility of the constitution is a positive quality.  The constitution can, they say, adapt to a changing world without major upheavals.  It is said that Britain’s constitution is organic.  This means that it is rooted in society, not separate from society.  Thus, when society and its needs and values change, the constitution can do so automatically without undue delay or confusion.  Parliament can pass a new Act relatively quickly and new unwritten conventions can simply develop to take account of social and political change.

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Executive power

 Because constitutional safe guards in Britain are weak or absent, government can be more powerful.  Clearly this can be viewed positively or negatively.  Supporters of the current uncodified constitution argue that, on balance, it is better to have a government that can deal with problems or crises without too much inhabitation.  They point to the USA where government and congress are frequently prevented from acting decisively by the fear that the constitution will prevent them doing so.  The constant battle against crime in the USA, for instance, has been compromised by such constraints.  Conversely, the constitutional weakness of the congress in controlling the military powers of the president has also created much tension.  In the UK, the relationship between government and parliament is flexible; in countries with codified constitutions it tends to be fixed and can inhibit effective governance.

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Conservatism

The typical conservative attitude to the British constitution suggests that it has served Britain well for centuries.  There have been no violent revolutions and no major political unrest.  Change has occurred naturally and when it has been necessary rather than when reformers have campaigned for it.  Furthermore, they say, it would be an extremely difficult exercise and the meagre benefits would not be worth the problems incurred.

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