The idea of a written constitution for the United Kingdom is undoubtedly attractive, except for the fact that it must be written by someone. And that person will tend to embed their own interests and susceptibilities, the susceptibilities being particularly dangerous. A person’s interests are narrowly focused and perish with themselves, while their susceptibilities reflect the interests of those around them, and will persist because they are broadly distributed and thus deep-seated. Though not immutable these feelings are very likely to be enduring in the population over time. Indeed, the authorial susceptibilities distorting the composition of a written constitution would embed within the document precisely those problems arising from democracy that such a constitution is intended to guard against. 

In favour of a formal constitution some may point to the American constitution, but it is a false guide, since it is so exceptional. Firstly, the authors were, perhaps by chance, both gifted and learned. It would be difficult to locate such people today, let alone reach agreement to their selection and appointment to the constitutional committee.

Secondly, and far more importantly the authors of the Constitution of the United States were not susceptible to democratic pressure; they wrote in isolation, anticipating but not reacting to the reality of democracy.

It would be all but impossible to replicate that independence at the present time. The United Kingdom might be best advised, therefore, simply to adopt the American constitutional model, which after all, as Maine has shown – in Popular Government (1885) – is the British model as it once was, but greatly improved, and spared the many flaws that British democracy has imposed on it since the late eighteenth century.