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Devolution in the United Kingdom

400 руб.
Тип работы:
курсовая работа
Номер в архиве:1769
Introduction    3
1.    Tracing devolution in the United Kingdom    5
2.    British Devolution: Rationale and Specificities    6
3.    A Quasi-federal state    11
4.    A federal solution    13
5.    A Federal Future    21
Concluding    23
Bibliography    25


In essence, devolution is a way of enabling Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to have forms of self-government within the United Kingdom.  The UK Parliament has conferred various sorts of legislative powers on the elected Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly to do this.
Westminster, the ‘mother’ of many parliamentary systems around the world is no longer alone in her own state. In 1997, New Labour swept to power and referendums on devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland soon followed, with a majority of the electorate in these nations voting in favour of the creation of their own parliaments.  At the beginning of the twenty first century the constitutional landscape of the United Kingdom had been radically altered; a Provincial Assembly in Northern Ireland, a National Assembly in Wales and a National Parliament in Scotland joined Westminster as devolved legislative assemblies. However, almost fifteen years after the decentralisation of power to three of the four constituent units of the United Kingdom, devolution has yet to reach a stable equilibrium. Grievances and tensions not only remain, but appear to be growing and the imminent referendum on Scottish independence has brought debates about the constitutional future of the United Kingdom once again to the forefront of the political agenda.
The academic literature pertaining to constitutional reform in the United Kingdom is peppered with discussions concerning the ‘federal’ nature of the political system, with broad agreement that devolution has ensued in a sort of creeping federalism, introducing the ‘spirit of federalism’ into the British political system, whilst retaining some very centralist features (Bogdanor, 2001; O’Neill, 2000). The programme of ‘rolling devolution’ initiated in 1997 continues to roll, yet the final destination remains unknown. Devolution may, as purported by those initially opposed to devolution, lead to the break-up of the union, but a more plausible and positive alternative would be to build upon the broad process of federalisation which has already taken place and move towards a more stable settlement, perhaps officially embracing a federal arrangement. However, whilst there is some support for this position in the British political elite, The Liberal Democrats, Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and Labour life peer, George Foulkes are the most notable proponents of a British federal union, the majority opinion of both politicians and citizens alike is rather averse to a federalist future for Britain. This paper seeks to map the process of federalisation and devolution in the United Kingdom, analysing whether a federal solution may serve as an alternative to the current devolution arrangements, ultimately providing a final destination to the journey undertaken by New Labour’s piecemeal constitutional tinkering in 1997.
This paper is split into the following sections. Section two offers some historical background to the devolution process in Britain, followed by section three which examines the rationale for decentralisation, as well as a detailed analysis of the settlements in Scotland, Wales and England.  Section four details the arguments behind defining Britain as a ‘quasi-federal’ state. In section five, four principal areas of contention resultant from the devolution settlement are discussed, including an analysis of the proposed federal arrangements which may address these flaws. Section six discusses the possibility of a federal future for the UK. Section seven concludes.

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Devolution in the United Kingdom
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