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Importance Of The Westminster System

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It is essential to expand on this title, before I begin my response. The question is asking whether the Westminster System (in the traditional and historic sense of the term) is still an accurate descriptor of British politics - given the significant amount of political evolution that has occurred over the last two centuries. Perhaps the Westminster Model has become anachronistic in the internet age? Or, perhaps its core components can still be observed in contemporary British politics? Maybe an informed revision of the Westminster Model is what is needed? I will address all of these various possibilities in my essay, through a systematic analysis and comparison of the key features of the Westminster Model and their resemblance to the features…show more content…
In traditional constitutional theory the cabinet is the primary decision making body of the executive. Over the years various scholars have developed succinct ways of describing the role of the cabinet in British politics, Walter Bagehot construed it as the 'efficient secret ' of British government, and throughout the first half of the 20th century the Cabinet Model of British Government was typically used as a descriptor. However, this once established pillar of the Westminster Model has been eroded throughout the latter half of the 20th century and the 21st century. Political commentators observe that the role of the Cabinet has been usurped by the office of Prime Minister. You only have to examine the ritual patterns of the British media to realise that the Prime Minister is taken as the representative and primary force of the executive and of government in general. If you look at Tony Blair 's control over cabinet meetings, the hiring and firing of ministers, his interference in departmental affairs, his use of civil service appointments and patronage, it 's pretty clear that the Prime Minister is no longer the mere leader of the cabinet, but the executive superior to the cabinet. However, one could argue that because the power of the cabinet is dependent on the power of the prime minister, the Prime Ministerial Model of British politics could potentially…show more content…
What we now observe is a kind of Neo-Westminster Model, where the monarch has been consigned to a wholly liturgical role, the prime minister has just as much clout and power as a president, the cabinet operate at the discretion of the prime minister, and there are multiple tiers of governance - extending from European Parliament to local government. From a macroscopic viewpoint, the key features are still present (the monarchy, prime minister, cabinet and sovereign Parliament), but on a microscopic level each component has significantly changed. So, what use is the Westminster Model? It is useful as a theoretical base, which we can then adapt to fit our observations of contemporary British politics, to be useful a political theory should be dynamic, and its genesis into a Neo-Westminster Model allows the Westminster Model to retain its usefulness as a political
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