The paper “Westminster Model and the Government System in the UK” proves the contention that the UK's system of government does not conform to the Westminster Model at present. The Westminster model enjoyed its heyday in the early to mid-twentieth century…
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This development has seriously undermined the notion of a strong nation-state. Another challenge to the Westminster model is the New Public Management standard, and this has wrought basic changes to the relationship between civil servants and Ministers. Perhaps the greatest influence has been that of the European Union, which has seriously weakened the notion of Parliamentary Sovereignty (Lapsley, 2008, p. 10). This situation has been worsened by the devolution of responsibilities to elected assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Parliament in Scotland. These latter devolutionary changes have posed a serious challenge to the supremacy of the Westminster executive. In addition, these have shown the Westminster model as being inappropriate in a polity that enjoys greater decentralization (Lapsley, 2008, p. 10). The Westminster model is distinguished by unhindered executive superiority. This makes certain that parliamentary majority enjoys undisputed control over the central institutions of the government. Consequently, authority and political power are central to the state. In this system, governance is restricted to the elite who are seized with the public good. Such governance functions in a self – adjusting and balanced constitutional system (Diamond, 2010). The Glorious Revolution of 1688 destroyed an attempt to perpetuate a Catholic Monarchy. This was achieved by William of Orange and his wife Mary II, and it firmly established the supremacy of the Executive. Such dominance of the Executive has remained the hallmark of the political tradition of the UK. This excellent system is characterized by an unbiased civil service and shared ministerial accountability (Diamond, 2010). This perspective regarding the UK government is not unanimous and has been subjected to considerable doubt. It is believed by a significant number of authorities that the longstanding authority of the government has been gradually eroded. In fact, there has been a shift in power, both horizontally and vertically. Thus, the vertical shift has seen the transfer of power to the European Union and international institutions. Furthermore, the horizontal shift has witnessed the transfer of power to civil society and private corporations (Diamond, 2010). There has been an undeniable establishment of new territorial power centers. These are located outside the UK and have resulted from constitutional reform and decentralization. Due to these momentous developments, it is difficult to view the Westminster model as a true reflection of empirical reality. There has been a transformation from the government to governance, and this has drawn in a vast array of networks and individuals (Diamond, 2010). To a major extent, the government of the UK has retained considerable consistency in its structure and function. This has prevailed, despite the advent of collectivism and the monumental changes that its society has been subjected to. The government is decisive and accountable, with a scant change in the institutions of Westminster and Whitehall. It has been the established practice for politicians of the various political hues to consider themselves as responsible and influential arbiters of national interest (Diamond, 2010).
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