devolution

  • The Political Myth of Margaret Thatcher in Scotland

    The article describes and explains the phenomenon of the political myth of Margaret Thatcher – her anti–Scottish attitude and policies and its impact on the process of decomposition of the United Kingdom. The author indicates that the view of Margaret Thatcher’s dominance in Scotland is simplified, stripped of complexity, ignoring significant information conflicting with the thesis, but that also plays an important role in current politics, legitimizing secessionist demands and strengthening the identity of the Scottish community. In the contemporary Scottish debate with its unequivocal defence policy of Thatcher is outside of the discourse, proving its sanctity status. Thatcher could see this special Scottish dimension within the United Kingdom, but treated it rather as a delay in the reforms needed in the country. There are many counterarguments to the validity of the Thatcher myth. Firstly, many negative processes that took place in the 80s were not initiated by Thatcher, only accelerated. Secondly, the Tory decline in popularity in the north began before the leadership of Thatcher and has lasted long after her dismissal. The Conservative Party was permanently seen in Scotland as openly English. Thirdly, there is a lot of accuracy in the opinion that the real division is not between Scotland and England, only between southern England and the rest of the country. Widespread opinion that Thatcher was hostile to Scotland is to a large extent untruthful. She has never retreated radically from any of the Scottish privileges, such as the Barnett formula or the Scottish Development Agency. 

  • Political Dimension of Welsh Identity after Devolution: Fact or Fiction?

    The Welsh identity is undisputable in national (i.e. ethnic), social, cultural and even economic dimensions however it is doubtful in political sphere because vast majority of the Welsh still cannot decide if they are more Welsh or British. The ’double identity’ dilemma was visible especially during devolution referendums voting in 1979, 1997 and 2011 when non–political motives were often much more determinative then the factor of belonging to the Welsh community in political meaning. Thus, answering to the question about devolution referendum role in shaping political dimension of Welshness requires thoroughly analyse of the mentioned referendums results as an evident figures of public support for establishing legal and institutional guarantees of maintaining and developing all aspects of national identity. In the article has been contained description how the Welsh relations to the idea of self–determination (in frames of the wide internal autonomy) have changed by last 35 years. An author shows also barriers and factors fostering this process. 

  • The Changing British Political System

    The British political system is unusual in many aspects. First of all, Britain lacks a written constitution. The country’s political system has long appeared a model of stability in a changing world. It should be noted that European integration has had a considerable impact on the British political system. However, the election of Tony Blair government in 1997 was a starting point towards serious constitutional reforms. One of the most important was the devolution and The House of Lords reform. Apart from it Human Rights and Freedom of Information Act were introduced. In 2000 a directly elected mayor of London was elected. In 2010 a coalition government was established with David Cameron as the Prime Minister from the Conservative Party. The second were the Liberal Democrats. This coalition in itself was unusual in Britain’s post-war history. The set of changes in the British political system was an important part of the coalition agreement. The first stage was The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 which provided for a referendum on the voting system for UK Parliament and reduced the number of constituencies. The second was The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 which set the date of the next general election as 7th May 2015 and on the first Thursday in every fifth year there after. There are only two circumstances when early elections can be held. The Monarch no longer dissolves Parliament, but the Act does not affect her/his power to prorogue Parliament. In 2011 proposed reforms to the royal succession were also announced. They changed the rules of succession and the fi rst-born child of a monarch would be heir apparent regardless of gender. Apart from it there were plans to reform the House of Lords again. Its current serving members were to be replaced by a semi-elected house of as few as 300 members (240 elected and 60 appointed). The plans failed, because they did not gain acceptance. Constitutional changes since 1997 have been extensive, but there was no holistic view on the reform process. Nowadays the country faces the possible separation of Scotland, which could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom. It could be a revolutionary change of the British political system. However, there are close links between Scotland and the rest of the country and in all probability the status quo will prevail.

  • SCOTLAND AT THE CROSSROADS BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE UNITED KINGDOM

    Scottish Independence Referendum will take place on 18 September 2014. There would be only one question during referendum: “Should Scotland be an independent country? The reform of devolution established by Scotland Act 2012 is sometimes overlooked by observers as too little too late. The most principal issues of the referendum will be: economy, oil resources, currency, defense and European Union. Main doubt around referendum is whether Scotland would be better economically after Independence. Scotland’s position within the EU is likely to be shaped more by any agreements between the parties than by pre-existing principles of EU law.
    Doubts about Scottish membership in the EU have to be viewed in the context of the referendum on the UK’s membership in the European Union, that will take place if the Conservative Party wins the 2015. British political class have always behaved differently towards the European integration than continental elites The importance of the European dimension of the Scottish Independence Referendum was proved by Panelbase poll in May 2013.

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