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  1. 1. Devolution Definition: A process of constitutional reform whereby power, but NOT legal sovereignty, is distributed to national or regional institutions.
  2. 2. Background to Devolution • Movements for reform can be traced back to the 19th Century • The SNP came into existence on 1928, Plaid Cymru 1925 • Ireland was granted almost full independence in 1921 • Ireland, a different issue, following PARTITION was self-governing under the British Crown
  3. 3. IRELAND • Inter-community violence in the 1960s led to DIRECT RULE from London • In 1972, devolution was ABOLISHED • 1998 the GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT was signed, bringing with it a new system of devolved governance
  4. 4. Homework • Research the last century of Irish political history • To what extent would you agree with the statement that ‘ The reform of the British constitution remains unfinished business’. Discuss with particular reference to the situation in Ireland
  5. 5. Devolution in the 1990s • The 1980s saw financial prosperity that somewhat assuaged the desire for devolution • 1987 saw a huge financial crash, which, in turn led to the re emergence of cries for devolution • The reasons for this were three fold
  6. 6. Demand for devolution 1. Under Thatcher, the Scots and Welsh resented the fact that the Conservative MANDATE was weak in the two countries. As Conservative support weakened, so demands for self government grew 2. The Labour Party in Scotland and Wales felt threatened by nationalist voting. It feared it might lose support like the Conservatives. 3. Scotland was hugely resentful over the early introduction of the Poll Tax one year before England and Wales. This was the final nail in the conservative coffin 4. 1988 saw the Scottish Constitutional Convention come out firmly in favour of devolution. This was an example of multi-party political opinion
  7. 7. Demand for Devolution 5. 1993 saw the Welsh Language gain official recognition. 6. The end of the Cold War saw a global upsurge in national feelings. Spirit of self- determination spread to Wales and Scotland 7. John Smith, who took over the Labour Party leadership in 1992 was a convinced devolutionist 8. The Labour Party in the 1990s believed it would need the co operation of the Liberal Democrats to secure and retain power. Devolution was a key Lib Dem policy, so the Labour Party made a PRAGMATIC decision to adopt this also
  8. 8. How Devolution Came about: a model of how constitutional change is effected in Parliamentary Democracies • Labour adopted devolution as part of its manifesto, providing a MANDATE for change when they won power in 1997 • Labour had to win well in Scotland and particularly not allow any Conservative resurgence • Referendums were held, soon after the 1997 elections. Key to the relevance of these was – Turnout: this had to be high enough for it to be taken seriously – A vote of Yes had to be given. Scotland 74.3% voted yes, Wales 50.3%, which should not have been enough • Legislation had to be passed. As Labour had a huge majority this was no issue, although there was a stumbling block over the application of income tax in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament wanted tax varying powers, or what the Conservatives termed ‘Stealth Tax’ power to vary the income tax in Scotland of +/- 3% • The actual elections in Scotland and Wales. Question marks over turnout proved to be born out; Wales showed a 46% turnout, Scotland 58%. This suggested that too few people were interested in devolution.
  9. 9. Devolution Realised • In 1999, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly same into existence. • Scotland: Coalition government between Labour and Lib Dems with Donald Dewar as First Minister • Wales: Labour formed a minority executive under Alun Michael, later replaced by Rhodri Morgan in 2001. In the same year a coalition was formed between Labour and Lib Dems
  10. 10. Three Types of Devolution 1. Administrative Devolution: where limited powers are transferred. This means the devolved administration controls allocation of public funds, the nature of administration, the ways in which laws should be implemented and the passage of secondary legislation (those rules and regulations that can be imposed under powers granted by Parliament in Westminster)
  11. 11. 2. Financial Devolution: the ability for the devolved administration to raise its own taxes. Most funds available come from central government in the form of grants. This means there is very little financial independence Granting taxation powers conveys a great deal of autonomy.
  12. 12. 3. Legislative Devolution: the transfer of power to make PRIMARY legislation. This is the distinction between the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly
  13. 13. Homework • In groups, prepare a presentation on the following topics: • Devolution in Scotland (p184-7) • Devolution in Wales (p187-9) • Devolution in Northern Ireland (p190-3) • English Regional Devolution and an assessment of devolution (p193 onwards)
  14. 14. THERE WILL BE A PRIZE… • For the group who makes this the most interesting; think outside the box people! • You MUST make handouts (to be emailed to me so I can print out) • You COULD make it regional (bagpipes, anyone?) • You MAY make it interactive (think debate/Q&A)
  15. 15. Summary of Homework 1. Research and essay: for Monday 1st November 2. Presentation for Monday 22nd October
  16. 16. Glossary • Devolution: A process whereby power but not legal sovereignty is distributed • Nationalism: a political sentiment felt by people who feel they have common circumstances of birth, often linked to aspirations for a nation to gain POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE • Power Sharing: a method of forming a government in a divided society, such as Northern Ireland.