• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In what senses is devolution asymmetric? Is this sustainable and - if not - what should be done about it?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In what senses is devolution asymmetric? Is this sustainable and - if not - what should be done about it? Devolution involves the delegation or transfer of powers using statutes from a centralised source of power such as government towards subordinate regional bodies. This can easily be seen to have been implemented within the United Kingdom in the creation of the subordinate legislative or assembly powers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Devolution has several aims which largely involve the overarching wish to allow a degree of self-government to members who form part of a larger state with the intention of creating a broader harmony; devolution also aims to move away from the over-centralisation of power in one area. In assessing the position of the United Kingdom at present with regards to devolution it is certainly necessary to observe the individual reasons for which the UK Parliament felt it necessary to devolve power to these separate regions. Generally, the leading impetus which eventually brought about the devolution of power to Scotland within the Scotland Act 1998 was the gradual rise in nationalism which had been brewing in the country for many years. Under the eighteen years with the Conservatives in power the Scots seem to have been treated unsympathetically with regard to legislation; this can easily be witnessed by the trial of a conversion poll tax on Scottish people before bringing it to England. Events such as this would certainly have proven to be a large affront to Scottish national pride which would have aided the notion that they ought to be given their independence. ...read more.

Middle

Bradley and Ewing enhances this local government comparison in stating that the executive powers are afforded directly to the Assembly and are exercised by the committees. It could be viewed that this asymmetric nature is perfectly fair when one takes into account the "two countries' very different constitutional and governmental history."8 There is certainly, however, a justification for the imparity of powers between these regions. More powers in Scotland can be clearly traced back to the tide of nationalism which had to be stopped by affording greater powers. Similarly, the situation in Northern Ireland of civil politics and growing violence is incomparable with the pacifist situation in Wales where neither strong nationalism nor violence made extreme power devolution at all necessary. It must be said, in contrast, that there are some similarities and symmetrical features which exist between the separate instances of devolution however they appear largely administrative in nature. One of these features is that Wales, much like Scotland, is funded by a grant from Westminster with a discretionary expenditure priority system. In addition the system of safeguards on legislation which exists for all of the regions shows a certain fairness whereby none of the regions is ultimately above or equal to the UK Parliament. A further manner in which devolution of powers in the UK can be seen to be wholly asymmetrical is the failure to implement any plans for the devolution of powers to England when every other member state has, at least, some measures in place. Calls for a devolved English Parliament would certainly not lack justification when the 85% of the population of the UK who live in England are currently underrepresented with regard to a separate assembly. ...read more.

Conclusion

These figures do not overwhelm but they are conclusive; there is certainly a trend in which more people view the current situation of devolution to be an improvement and this satisfaction is a good indicator of sustainability. "Devolution was the outcome of democratic choice"12 and so there is no call for criticism of its validity of existence. Whilst there are issues which can be highlighted with the implementation of devolution it seems that the improvement and benefits which it creates should overshadow these practical or minor complaints. It is true that improvements can always be made yet that does not reasonably mean that the current position is not satisfactory for the moment, improvements would be preferable but are not, as yet, a necessity. 1 V Bogdanor, The New British Constitution (2009) 2 McCrudden, 'Northern Ireland and the British Constitution since the Belfast agreement' in JL Jowell and D Oliver, The Changing Constitution (6th edn., OUP, Oxford, 2007) 3 Bradley and Ewing, Constitutional and Administrative Law, (14th edn., 2008) 4 Scotland Act, 1998 5 BK Winetrobe, 'Scottish Devolution: Developing Practice in Multi-Layer Governance' in JL Jowell and D Oliver, The Changing Constitution (6th ed., OUP, Oxford, 2007) 6 B Hadfield, 'Devolution and the Changing Constitution: Evolution in Wales and the Unanswered English Question' in JL Jowell and D Oliver, The Changing Constitution (6th ed., OUP, Oxford, 2007) 7 Ibid. 8 Winetrobe, 'Devolution and the Changing Constitution' in JL Jowell and D Oliver, The Changing Constitution (6th ed., OUP, Oxford, 2007) 9 Royal Commission on the Constitution 1969 - 1973, Volume I, Report 10 V Bogdanor, The New British Constitution (2009) 11 'Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the English Reforms'. www.communities.gov.uk/regionswhitepaper 12 Ibid. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ryan Page ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree English Legal System section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree English Legal System essays

  1. Current Scots Law on Defence of Necessity.

    and the danger is great, 'it will not be open to a person to choose a criminal course of action purely in order to avoid a moderately less attractive consequence.15' The court in Moss recognised that in Scotland 'Danger invites rescue'.

  2. The question of whether contingency fees should be introduced into Australia is a valid ...

    While it can be said that some firms can afford to 'punt' on what appears to be a worthy case with a high probability of success4 this however poses problems on several different levels. Firstly it does not take into account those potential litigants who do not even consider pursuing

  1. An Historical Introduction to the Constitution of the United States

    When James Madison drafted his Bill of Rights12, he skillfully added additional protections of individual liberties, such as the liberty to have and practice one's religion13. It is thus possible, that nowadays a wide range of religious groups have, practice and spread their religious beliefs without any restriction all over America and further on.

  2. In the context of the UK's membership ofthe EU and the advent of devolved ...

    Accession to the Treaty of Rome has had an unprecedented impact on law and administration in the United Kingdom, and has raised issues concerning such fundamentals of the constitution as parliamentary sovereignty and ministerial responsibility. From the Treaty has evolved a common European law which has a dynamic or developing

  1. The use of executive discretion in the UK.

    The Executive in Nazi Germany needed to be stopped but the German Judiciary were, for whatever reason, not equal to the task. Post war European democracies, and most especially that in the former West Germany, have sought to ensure a repeat performance is avoided.

  2. Compare and contrast the prosecution of witches in Scotland and England.

    Some women (women were much more frequently accused than men) were therefore accused of practicing witchcraft solely upon a disagreement with that neighbour who places the blame for failures in health and crops upon a witch, which were more than likely to have been the result of other factors.

  1. Rickards vs Lothian

    Cussen J. dissented and was of opinion that "a jury might find in the circumstances that a reasonably careful man would have anticipated and provided .... against an overflow, whether caused by accident or .... by the negligence or wilful act of a stranger ....," and "that the absence of

  2. The method of trial used in England from approximately the tenth to the twelfth ...

    types of judicial oaths.16 At the beginning stage of the litigation, parties would give their oaths to validate their assertions of fact; "they also swore oaths before embarking upon proof by an ordeal, test or duel. In addition oaths themselves constituted a form of proof, and the performance of an

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work