The House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee this week published evidence submitted by H&P's director Dr Andrew Blick. The Committee's aim in calling for evidence was to scrutinise direct foreign policy relationships between the UK and autocracies and the ways in which autocracies interact with the rules-based international system. Andrew Blick's submission starts from the principle that a historical understanding of how autocracies have moved towards democracy in the past is an important factor in negotiating current relationships - and that a key example is the development of UK democracy itself.
There was never a precise and agreed model of the form UK democracy should take. Those who helped bring it about were not necessarily even fully committed to democracy as we understand it. Efforts to promote reform within autocratic states should avoid being excessively prescriptive, and build on existing elements as far as is possible.
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