• Topic 3 : Devolution in Scotland and Wales

     Topic 3 : Devolution in Scotland and Wales

    With the UK came the concentration of political power = Westminster. There is a single British parliament, so the power leaves the periphery: Scotland loses its parliament.

    Is that a stable situation ? Are they satisfied to no longer have a political representation ?


    • 19th C. - Early 20th C. “Home Rule”. Some examples of dissatisfaction from Scotland. Some voices who requests some “Home Rules” rather they have a centralized power they should have some representatives in the UK. They are also appear in Wales.

      → We should have a degree of representation in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland,...

      Wales rediscover a little identity of their own after long years beeing England's.

      The sense of Union is strong. In the 20th C. we have social reforms (social, health care,...). Creation of a British identity (media: BBC).

    • Nationalist parties:

    • SNP (Scotish National Party), 1934. They are not anti-immigration but independentist. They are not agree with the centralized power and the poor representation of their country.

    • Plaid Cymru (Welsh National Party), 1925. They simply with to insure that Wales keep, preserves its culture (language,...).

      The dominant position is Union at the moment. The support for these parties is really low.

    • 1960s the sense of a Union is stronger, the War renforced it. But the economy starts to affect this feeling. We reconsider.

    • 1966 Gwynfor Evans is MP -> significant event. New wave of nationalism.

    • 1967 Winifred Ewing is MP -> First significant win for the SNP.

    • 1970s

    • 1974 election: very strong result for Plaid Cymru in Wales and SNP in Scotland. We have even strong representation of Nationalist Parties. The criticism is economic -> there is no way Scotland could be independant economically. But in 1969 oil is discovered in the North Sea, which is British territorial waters. Actually if Scotland would be independant it would be their sea -> “It's Scotland's Oil !”

    • 1974 -> 1979 the Independance become a strong possibily. “Home Rule” -> Devolution.

      We assure some transfer of power back to the periphery. Keep the UL but let some local power to the countries which want it (Scotland, Wales). We delegate, surbordinate.

    • Labour 1974-1979 is afraid of a real independance.

      Laws: 1) Based of the result of a commission: creation of an Assembly of Scotland.

      2) Creation of an Assembly in Wales.

      1979: 2 referendums: Do you agree with the Creation of an Assembly ?

      -> Wales: 20% is agree -> it failed.

      -> Scotland: 51,6% is agree -> it failed because what is needed is majority + at least 40% of the “inscrits”. So Devolution dies and disappear for a long time.

    • Conservative 1979-1997. They don't consider a changement. Rapid desindustrialisation in Scotland and Wales, industrial jobs disappear. The Conservative don't do a good job with Scotland and Wales.

      On the UK Parliament there is 72 MPs from Scotland: in 1983 they are 21 conservatives, and in 1987 they are only 10. Scotish voters are not for the Conservative party. But all these years they got Conservative party anyway. In Parliament there is 651 MPs, English vote for Conservative. It doesn't matter the impopularity in Scotland, England is bigger so have much more votes.

    • Labour in 1997 had accepted some form of decentralisation.

      Campaign: “if you vote for us we'll introduce devolution.” -> And so they did.

      Referendums: Scotlish Parliament: 74,3% YES (Holyrood)

      Welsh Assembly: 50,3% YES (Senned)

    • Devolved matters (school, transport, environnment,... and the Police in Scotland). That means that when the UK makes a law it doesn't affect Scotland and Wales. But the UK keep some power: Reserved matters (international affairs, declaring wars,...)

    • Tuition fees (= frais d'inscription à l'université).

      England: max £9000 / Scotland: free / Wales: grant to reimburse the tuition fees / Northern Ireland: has a price but put a limit on it.

    • Scotland has MP (Member of Parliament in the UK) and MSP (Member of the Scotish Parliament): it's a double political representation.

      The only people who doesn't have that double representation are the English. They are only represented by their MP in the UK Parliament. For exemple Tuition feed is decided by all MPs of UK Parliament even if it only affects England : it's the West Lothian Question.

    • 1995: “Devolution will kill independance” => Devolution is advantagious for Scotland and Wales (they have their own political institutions) but they remain part of the UK.

    • 2007: SNP first election victory => massive victory.

    • 2011: SNP second election victory !

    • 2014: Referendum for independance. They still campaign for it.


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