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A better understanding of the scottish form of devolution

This constitutional reform devolves the power to make domestic policy and laws for Scotland from the unitary UK Parliament to a Scottish Parliament. This devolution of legislative and executive powers to an elected assembly in Scotland is a response to hundreds of years of Scottish nationalist sentiment. It was not until 1707, though, that the Act of Union united the parliaments of England and Scotland.

Their decision was unpopular with the rest of the country, and initially the economy suffered as Scotland struggled to become competitive in the larger British market. In the long run, though, Scotland benefited economically from the Union and nationalist feelings declined. In the 19th century Scotland continued to progress economically. Towards the end of the century, however, there was once again significant momentum in the home-rule movement.

In 1913 a Home Rule Bill passed its second reading before being defeated at the final vote.

  • In 2012, another Scotland Act added — for example, setting a national speed limit — to the list of devolved powers;
  • The loss of trade partners that had been associated with secession from the UK no longer seemed to worry the potentially wealthy Scotland.

After World War II home rule received enormous support from the Scottish Liberals, based on a desire for greater control of Scottish economic resources. Scottish home rule had been an issue of concern to the young British Labour party. In 1932 The Scottish Daily Express ran a straw poll in 35,000 homes and found 113,000 people in favor of self government and only 5,000 opposed.

The SNP dedicated itself to the idea of radical constitutional change for Scotland in the form of independence, and encouraged the growth of Scottish nationalism. The threat of a strong nationalist independence movement in Scotland caused the British Conservative and Labour parties to accept home rule as a viable solution to the problem.

In 1968 the then Opposition Conservative Party led by Edward Heath responded to this rise in nationalist sentiment with the Declaration of Perth. The declaration favored devolution and recommended that in Scotland there be created a directly elected body with legislative power.

In 1970 support for nationalism and devolution increased dramatically in Scotland as a result of the discovery of oil in the North Sea. The a better understanding of the scottish form of devolution of trade partners that had been associated with secession from the UK no longer seemed to worry the potentially wealthy Scotland.

By February 1974, the SNP had the support of 21. Thatcher and her successor, John Major, sought to kill of the whole idea of devolving power to a parliament in Scotland.

The Conservatives paid a terrible price for this political mistake; in the 1997 General Election the Conservatives lost every single one of their seats in Scotland and in turn lost Government to the Labour party that had supported devolution. In the late 1970s Labour brought forward proposals to develop a Scottish Assembly.

What Happened Last Time Scotland Tried for Greater Independence?

By March of 1979, the public in Scotland had tired of the devolution issue while the parties divided over it. He argued that Scottish MPs should not be allowed to vote on English matters when the English would not be able to vote on Scottish matters in the new Parliament. Amidst all the debate, the referendum took place on March 1st, 1979.

Though the result was a disastrous blow for the nationalist movement, it was not especially surprising. In 1979 devolution carried the stigma of a failing government. It had been imposed on a doubtful party by a London leadership for purely electoral reasons.

It had been legislated for in a fog of internal dissent and confusion.

What are the powers of the Scottish Parliament?

It was campaigned for by divided parties at a time of economic chaos. In some ways it is surprising that so many Scots voted for it.

This campaign eventually failed due to lack of support and the SNP joined the devolution supporters, with the assumption that a devolved parliament would lead to the break up of the Union. The devolution of power from Westminster to Scotland and Wales were an important part of their proposal, though the issues were eventually split up.

The White Paper proposed the establishment of a Scottish Parliament with domestic law-making and tax-varying powers. Then, on September 11, 1997, the Government held a referendum on its proposal. The turnout at the Referendum was 60. The Scottish Parliament will consist of 129 members, 73 directly elected on a constituency basis, plus 56 additional members 7 from each of the current 8 A better understanding of the scottish form of devolution Parliament constituencies allocated to ensure the overall result more directly reflects the share of votes cast for each party.

Its executive will operate in a manner similar to the UK Government and will be headed by a First Minister. The Parliament will have the power to make the law of Scotland in devolved areas, but those matters more appropriately dealt with on a UK basis will remain at Westminster. Among those powers reserved to the Westminster Parliament are constitutional reform; foreign policy; defense and national security; fiscal, economic, and monetary policy; employment legislation; some health issues, including abortion; social security matters; and most aspects of transportation safety and regulation.

However, the present practice of requiring a minimum number of Scottish seats in the House of Commons will discontinue since the House will no longer be dealing with Scottish domestic issues.

The Secretary of State for Scotland and a Scottish Office will also continue, but with newly defined roles. The devolution of power from Westminster to Scotland is more of a reaction to growing voter support of nationalist sentiment than general concern with constitutional reform.

  • If the SNP--whose aim is the break-up of the political entity that is "Great Britain" and the creation of a separate Scottish state--wins control of the parliament, it is possible there will be a referendum for Scottish independence within the next ten years;
  • The MOU lays emphasis on the principles of good communication, consultation and co-operation;
  • Like the MoU itself, this agreement is a statement of intent, creating no legal obligations between the parties and binding in honour only;
  • In some ways it is surprising that so many Scots voted for it.

It was not until economic and political circumstances improved for the SNP that devolution became a concern of the UK Government. As Leicester explained in his 1996 article entitled Journey Without Maps: The reaction of Labour and the Conservatives to the rise in Scottish Nationalist support during that period can be seen now less as a principle attempt to decentralize the government of the United Kingdom than as an elaborate series of tactical responses to the complex and ever-changing political calculus of relations within and between two parties.

Though most scholars speculated that devolution would kill off the demand for Scottish independence, support for the SNP has only risen. And though the SNP supported the devolution campaign, they saw devolution as a stepping stone to federalism or independent statehood. If the SNP--whose aim is the break-up of the political entity that is "Great Britain" and the creation of a separate Scottish state--wins control of the parliament, it is possible there will be a referendum for Scottish independence within the next ten years.

Perhaps the key to Scottish independence lies in the European Union, a European multinational organization with executive, legislative, and judicial powers. As Archie Brown theorized in his article, Asymmetrical Devolution: The 1979 Referendum did not fail because it was a poor bill, but rather because the political climate and devolution package were not accommodating.

By 1979 the Scottish public was bored of the five-year struggle that had become the Scottish Home Rule campaign and which had culminated in the Referendum.

Why do I need to know?

Although the Labour Party had officially supported devolution, both Labour and Scottish National Party members were divided on the issue, and the conservative Tory Party, despite the Declaration of Perth, was staunchly opposed to any form of devolution. Labour was deeply divided between devolutionists and unionists, while the Scottish National Party was also split between those who favored devolution and those who proposed independence from the United Kingdom.

Also, the Labour leaders knew that Scottish independence would greatly diminish the number of Labour MPs since Scotland traditionally voted Labour. Labour had become committed to devolution in 1974 following the success of the Scottish Nationalist Party. These divisions "did not make the complex work at the official level any easier. Scots worried about distancing themselves from the United Kingdom and their economic stability.

With the European community not yet stable and the Maastricht Treaty creating a common European trade market years away, Scotland had no larger entity to support it aside from the United Kingdom. Partly due to the failure of the Referendum of 1979, the House of Commons was forced to go to General Elections early, which brought into power a new Tory Government led by Margaret Thatcher.

Thatcher was a staunch unionist and had passionately fought against the issue of Scottish devolution while in Opposition. Many scholars wonder "would the Thatcher administration really have been comfortable setting up the devolved Assembly she and her party had fought so bitterly under her leadership in Opposition?

For the Scottish Referendum no umbrella groups were given government recognition and hence no government grants.

Where can I find out more?

The 1974 Scotland Bill called for an independent Scottish assembly with a "first past the post" electoral system. It would be assigned a budget according to the so-called Barnett formula, yet limits on borrowing that would hamper its ability to raise funds were included.

With their staunch unionist campaigns, and the trail of the Poll Tax in Scotland harming industry, the Tory Government severely alienated the Scots. In 1989, the Scottish Constitutional Convention under the leadership of the Labour and Liberal Democratic parties first met to draft a Scottish Constitution.

Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The Convention reached agreement on key issues that went unresolved in 1979 and set a specific agreed position rather than a range of options. This created a united pro-devolution stance from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, even though the SNP had pulled out of the Constitutional Convention in favor of an independence referendum. Eventually, upon finding little support for their Scottish independence movement, the SNP returned to the campaign for Scottish devolution. In 1997, the Labour Party under the leadership of Tony Blair captured Government with the help of the total defeat of the Tories in Scotland and immediately began the campaign for Scottish Devolution.

This, however, was a new united Labour Government and devolution was a major platform issue. While in 1979 a first-past-the post system had been recommended, the passed 1997 Act proposed an additional member or proportional representation system, joined with an agreement to promote gender equality in the new assembly.

In terms of funding, the constitutional framers once again chose the system of block grants according to the Barnett formula, but this time no limits were placed on borrowing and the Assembly was given the power to alter the budget by 3 pence per Scot. The Scotland Act also improved on the former Scotland bill by creating "shared powers" with the Westminster Parliament and prompting a declaration of the Westminster Parliament to forever prevent the Scotland Act from repeal.

Also important to the passage of the Scotland Act was the larger political situation in which the United Kingdom found itself. Constitutional reform was and is an important issue in the United Kingdom, and "opinion polls show support [for such reform].

The progression of the European Union also influenced the success of the Referendum.

The EU served as the larger entity that perhaps Scotland could find economic relief under if necessary and possibly in the future join the Euro single currency according to the Maastricht criteria.

Perhaps the hidden truth lies in the fact that Referendum of 1997 was held on September 11, the 700th anniversary of the battle of Stirling Bridge in which the Scottish folk hero and martyr, Sir William Wallace, vanquished an English force.

The Scotland Act of 1998. The Royal Stationary Office, 1998. The State of the Union, Politics, Devolution.