Unformatted text preview: crease. Second, there has long been asymmetrical
machinery of government, with the Secretary for Scotland (upgraded to Secretary of State in 1926) and the Scottish
Office dating from 1885. These increasingly undertook, especially after the Second World War, functions separately from
the ‘UK’ Ministers and Departments. Northern Ireland has been distinctive at least since 1921 (when it secured devolved
government under the Government of Ireland Act 1920); and Wales has tended to follow Scottish developments with a
long lag. These governmental arrangements have played as much a part in sustaining separate senses of identity, as
have the separate religious, legal and educational systems which Scotland maintained after 1707. Leruez (1983)
perceptively titled his book on Scotland: Une Nation Sans État.7 In practice, distinctive arrangements perceived to be
important in Scotland were hardly noticed in London. Those now deploring asymmetry in devolution should recognize
that symmetry never existed; full integration into the English administrative system was never attempted with Scotland,
though it was much further advanced for Wales.
Third, there is deep ambiguity about Scottish attitudes towards the Union. This was recognized by John Mackintosh,
Professor of Politics, Labour MP and a major figure in the failed 1970s’ devolution campaign; not least, the decline of the
British Empire, which had offered many opportunities, made the Union seem less relevant (Mackintosh, 1969). Since
that period, the semi-detached status of the United Kingdom within the EU has encouraged the periphery, especially
Scotland, to become pro-European, in part as a weapon against the then UK Conservative Government, though
probably also against UK centralism more generally. Speculatively, one would expect a higher pro-Euro vote in the
territories8 than in England should there be a referendum. Nevertheless, the conflicting pulls on individual Scots are
clear: whether to concentrate on running Scotland or to play in the bigger field that the United Kingdom constitutes.
8 266 Full information on powers and responsibilities is available from the respective websites: http://www.ni-assembly.gov.uk; http://www.scottish.parliament.uk; http://www.assembly.wales.gov.uk.
In 2000-01, local authorities accounted for 24.7% of Total Managed Expenditure (TME), the Treasury’s principal control aggregate (Treasury, 2001c).
King (1999) analyzed the structure, functions and financing of local authorities in Great Britain.
Local governments in England, Wales and Scotland may only raise a domestic property tax (council tax), and then only within parameters set by
central government. Non-domestic property taxes (Non-Domestic Rates), although still collected by local governments, are set centrally; and the
revenue is remitted to the central authorities, who redistribute them as part of the transfers but not on the basis of derivation.
For an interim assessment of the 1997-2001 Labour Government, see Seldon (2001).
There is a substantial political science literature on ‘stateless nations’...
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