The Westminster System ( The Traditional And Historic Sense Of The Term )

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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 observable in contemporary British politics. Let 's begin with the iconic centrepiece of the Westminster Model; the monarch. The idea of royalty invokes a certain sense of awe within most of us, the idea itself is romantic, dreamy and a little nostalgic. Yet in the Westminster Model the monarch does have a significant, albeit largely ceremonial, role. The sovereign is the legal/constitutional holder of executive power, the 'de jure ' source of executive authority. The monarch can be said to officialise and legitimise government action and parliamentary statute. This interpretation of monarchy does seem to be congruous with what we can actually observe in British politics. Most would agree that the Queen provides a certain grace and dignity to political affairs. As Walter Bagehot phrased it, the monarchy is the central component of the 'dignified ' subsection of government. One counter-argument to consider, is that the monarch has been so reduced to carrying out ceremonial functions, that... ... middle of paper ... ...t 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 theory.

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