Devolution essay

Devolution essay - Devolution in the United Kingdom...

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Devolution in the United Kingdom- Scotland The subject of devolution has been described by many as one of the most constitutionally crucial issues affecting the United Kingdom. While demands for regional autonomy in other European countries (Kosovo as a most recent example) have grown in recent years, they have been more widespread and have erupted more suddenly in the United Kingdom. Demand for home rule in Scotland is not a new phenomenon; it can be dated to the latter part of the nineteenth century. Devolution as an idea came from Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone wanting to accommodate national diversity and parliamentary authority in an era of mass industry and emerging democracy (Meadows, 41). Every home rule proposal since his plan in 1886 for Ireland has essentially built on this basis (though it would prove to oust his government and split the Liberal Party over the issue). Political opposition delayed home rule all around for over a hundred years after this but it finally came about in a radically different political environment (Meadows, 43). Governments between 1886-1997 were, for the most part, unwilling to concede power to their constituent nations but in 1997 under New Labour, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland achieved it. In particular, Scotland, under the auspices of the SNP, made their case for independence and sovereignty from Britain and their struggle has changed the Union. The idea of Scottish devolution had little impact upon the Westminister agenda until the early years of the 20 th century. For decades, Liberals had been given priority to the Irish question. Moreover, they themselves were divided with some wanting Scottish self-government and others opposing the idea that Glasgow be governed by Edinburgh. Conservatives remained Unionists, so devolution was effectively off their agenda list
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(Forman, 79). Following another Liberal victory in 1906, a Grand Committee for Scotland was established at Westminister in 1907 and a policy for devolution became part of the Scottish Liberal platform in 1908. By 1912, Prime Minister Asquith introduced a Home Rule Bill for Ireland, which effectively set the course for eventual home rule for Scotland and Wales as well. Conservatives were still staunchly against this, but this policy only fed the growing Scottish nationalism; Labour MPs from time to time introduced Home Rule Bills for Scotland. More significantly, this wave of nationalism led to the formation of the National Party of Scotland in 1928, the first such national party formed in Scotland (Forman, 80). This party later merged with another to form a stronger Scottish National Party (SNP) in 1934. Between the two world wars there was little sympathy for the Scots’ plight of determinism as Conservative governments in the day were more concerned with keeping Britain’s economy afloat during war. It is not surprising that the small Scottish Nationalist movement began to fragment between “fundamentalists”, those wanting
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Devolution essay - Devolution in the United Kingdom...

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