BRITAIN
Officially: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Seat of government: London.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: Parliament comprises the House of Commons, elected in geographical constituencies, which chooses the government led by the prime minister, and the House of Lords, primarily appointed but with a sizable hereditary and theocratic component.
Governing party: Conservative Party.
Head of government: Theresa May, prime minister (since 2016).
Chief opposition parties: Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn; United Kingdom Indepedence Party, led by Paul Nuttall; Liberal Democrats, led by Tim Farron; Scottish National Party, led by Nicola Sturgeon.
Assessment: Still completing devolution of power to the inner elements of its once-sprawling empire, but yet to resolve the issue of Ulster. After its initial installation and then suspension, a locally-elected executive returned to power in Ulster, originally headed by unionist Ian Paisley. The pro-independence SNP placed first in 2007 elections for the Scottish parliament and formed a government headed by Alex Salmond (2007-14); it won an absolute majority in 2011. Labour served as the previous union government, under Tony Blair (1997-2007) and Gordon Brown (2007-10). A 2010 general election ended in a hung parliament, with the Conservatives holding a large plurality of seats, Labour second, both disproportionate as usual to popular-vote success; the Conservatives formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, with David Cameron as prime minister (2010-6). In 2014, Scotland held a referendum on independence; the vote was in favor of continued union, but only after the three main Westminster parties agreed to further devolution of power. A 2015 election gave the Conservatives a narrow majority on their own. Cameron subsequently called a 2016 referendum on continued membership in the European Union, which he supported; the referendum was a narrow victory for leaving the EU, and he resigned, replaced by May.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 8.15 (21), full democracy.
Updated: 2017 January 21.
 

O.T. FORD