Analysing British politics
DOI link for Analysing British politics
Analysing British politics book
This chapter reviews the key features of the Westminster model as an ‘organising perspective’, before examining two alternative models – the ‘differentiated polity’ model and the ‘asymmetric power’ model – that seek to explain British politics in the new era of governance. The Westminster model was the dominant overarching theory or organising perspective of British politics for much of the twentieth century. The Westminster model is also a hierarchical one: the prime minister is the dominant figure in a cabinet which is bound by collective responsibility; civil servants present their elected political masters with options from which they determine policy; and central government dominates subnational institutions. The underlying problems affecting the Westminster model became increasingly apparent amidst the political and economic crises of the 1970s. The Dutch political scientist Arend Lijphart located liberal democracies on a spectrum with majoritarian democracy at one extreme and consensual democracy at the other.