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The political system of Great Britain

The single most important fact in understanding the nature of the British political
system is the fundamental continuity of that system. We have not had a revolution of
the kind experienced by so many other countries and Britain has not been invaded or
occupied for almost 1,000 years.
So the British have never had anything equivalent to the American Revolution
or the French Revolution, they have not been colonised in a millennium but rather
been the greatest colonisers in history, and in neither of the two world wars were
they invaded or occupied.
This explains why:
almost uniquely in the world, we have no written constitution
our political system is not neat or logical or always fully democratic
change has been very gradual and pragmatic and built on consensus
The Queen is Head of State in the United Kingdom. As a constitutional monarch,
Her Majesty does not 'rule' the country, but fulfils important ceremonial and formal roles
with respect to Government. She is also Fount of Justice, Head of the Armed Forces
and has important relationships with the established Churches of England and
Scotland. Monarchy is the oldest form of government in the United Kingdom.
In a monarchy, a king or queen is Head of State. The British monarchy is known
as a constitutional monarchy. This means that, while The Sovereign is Head of State,
the ability to make and pass legislation resides with an elected Parliament.
Although the British Sovereign no longer has a political or executive role, he or
she continues to play an important part in the life of the nation.
As Head of State, The Monarch undertakes constitutional and representational
duties which have developed over one thousand years of history. In addition to these
State duties, The Monarch has a less formal role as 'Head of Nation'. The Sovereign
acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; gives a sense of stability and
continuity; officially recognizes success and excellence; and supports the ideal of
voluntary service.
In all these roles The Sovereign is supported by members of their immediate family.
The British Sovereign can be seen as having two roles: Head of State, and 'Head of the
Nation'.
As Head of State, The Queen undertakes constitutional and representational
duties which have developed over one thousand years of history.
There are inward duties, with The Queen playing a part in State functions in
Britain. Parliament must be opened, Orders in Council have to be approved, Acts of
Parliament must be signed, and meetings with the Prime Minister must be held.
There are also outward duties of State, when The Queen represents Britain to
the rest of the world. For example, The Queen receives foreign ambassadors and
high commissioners, entertains visiting Heads of State, and makes State visits
overseas to other countries, in support of diplomatic and economic relations.
The British Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Chief of State of
the United Kingdom. Though she takes little direct part in government, the Crown
remains the fount in which ultimate executive power over Government lies. These
powers are known as Royal Prerogative and can be used for a vast amount of things,
such as the issue or withdrawal of passports, to the dismissal of the Prime Minister or
even the Declaration of War. The powers are delegated from the Monarch personally,
in the name of the Crown, and can be handed to various ministers, or other Officers of
the Crown, and can purposely bypass the consent of Parliament.
The head of Her Majesty's Government; the Prime Minister, also has weekly
meetings with the sovereign, where she may express her feelings, warn, or advise the
Prime Minister in the Government's work
According to the uncodified constitution of the United Kingdom, the monarch has the
following powers:

Domestic Powers
The power to dismiss and appoint a Prime Minister
The power to dismiss and appoint other ministers
The power to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament
The power to grant or refuse Royal Assent to bills (making them valid and law)
The power to commission officers in the Armed Forces
The power to command the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom
The power to appoint members to the Queen's Council
The power to issue and withdraw passports
The power to grant Prerogative of mercy (though Capital Punishment is abolished,
this power is still used to remedy errors in sentence calculation)
The power to grant honours
The power to create corporations via Royal Charter


Foreign Powers
The power to ratify and make treaties
The power to declare War and Peace
The power to deploy the Armed Forces overseas
The power to recognize states
The power to credit and receive diplomats