commission on fiscal imbalance 合集

265 commission on fiscal imbalance thirdly since the

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Unformatted text preview: al implications of devolution for the United Kingdom as a whole, as much as upon the devolved territories of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Given that such devolution has been in place for only two years, predictions about the wider implications for the United Kingdom must necessarily be tentative. In these circumstances, it is appropriate to note that the present author has been a longstanding proponent of devolved government, particularly – but not exclusively – for Scotland. As such, he has been a participant observer for more than a quarter of a century.2 2. CONTEXT A brief setting of context inevitably involves over-simplification and matters of interpretation which are themselves controversial. Nevertheless, this Section is vital to establishing the political and constitutional context of the technical financial arrangements. Firstly, there are matters of geography. In the initial symposium programme, this paper was titled “Grande-Bretagne” or “Great Britain”; the paper itself now carries the correct title of “United Kingdom” (“Royaume-Uni”). A publication by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (2000, inside cover) contains the following clarification: ‘The term “Britain” is used informally to mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. “Great Britain” comprises England, Wales and Scotland’. It is hardly surprising that there is confusion when Great Britain is smaller than Britain! More seriously, there is resentment and touchiness in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at the way ‘England’ is often used to describe the whole. Secondly, history is important and influences attitudes and governmental arrangements. Wales was conquered in 1277 and its incorporation into England was fully completed by the Laws in Wales Act 1535. Scotland’s history was different: the Union of the Crowns occurred in 1603, when James VI of Scotland assumed the English throne as James I. This was followed, more than a century later (and after a brief union under Oliver Cromwell), by the Acts of Union 1707, when the two Kingdoms came to be governed by a single Parliament in one Kingdom, with the same monarchy and succession, and equal trade and economic rights. Ireland was conquered in 1649 but not fully incorporated until, following a major rebellion in 1798, the Act of Union (Ireland) 1800 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Government of Ireland Act 1920, which provided for separate devolved Parliaments in Belfast and Dublin, was implemented only in the north. The south of Ireland seceded in 1922 as the Irish Free State (and changed its name to the Republic of Ireland in 1937), being formally recognized as an independent Republic by the United Kingdom in the Ireland Act 1949. Northern Ireland remained part of what had therefore become, in 1922, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There was devolved government in Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1972, when civil disord...
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