Politics B Assessment
The key developments which led to a Scottish Parliament and devolved powers can date back to over 300 years to 1707, where the Act Of Union was established, the Act Of Union is where Scotland and England unite to create the United Kingdom, although a major change and unity with England, Scotland still held on to things like religion and education, this was established within Scots Law, which was effectively devolved powers, but Scotland was still governed from London like all other parts of the UK. Another development which led to a Scottish parliament being established was the controversial 1979 referendum and also how the Conservative party treated the Scots throughout their time in office. The 1979 referendum was introduced by late Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan and did not pass without controversy, a year prior to the referendum an amendment was made by George Cunningham where 40% of the whole of Scotland’s total registered electorate had to say Yes in order for Scotland to be given devolved powers, an overall majority of 32.91% voted in favour but it fell short of the required 40%, this led to the resignation of Callaghan, he was replaced by Conservative Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s time in office, only incensed the Scots drive for a Parliament as she was seen as anti-Scottish and by introducing things like poll tax to Scotland first and the closing down of coal mines led to many thinking, why is a party that literally no-one voted for governing Scotland, this was known as the democratic deficit, the final development leading to a Scottish Parliament was the impact of Tony Blair’s naivety over a Scottish Parliament, according to (Bakan, 2002) “Blair played down devolution, comparing a Scottish parliament to an English Parish Council”, Blair has never been further from the truth as his so called election strategy backfired, he knew the working class votes were safe so he targeted Middle England and Scotland, and by promising a Scottish Parliament many voted for him and the Labour Party who are Unionist, Blair hasn’t done his Unionist Party any favours as the Scottish Parliament is a referendum away from creating political history and becoming independent.
After the creation of the Scottish Parliament, devolved powers were given to the Scottish Executive and the UK Parliament kept powers which affected the whole of the United Kingdom, the first difference in governments are that a proportional representation system is used in Scotland in elections, compared to a First Past The Post in UK elections. Proportional Representation is if a party wins an election, the total number of MSP’s not in the winning party would out muscle the amount of MSP’s in the winning party, this either creates a minority government or a coalition, however proportional representation was effectively dismissed in 2011 when the SNP party won a majority overall which enabled them to control Scotland themselves. Although some argue that the important powers still lie within Westminster according to (Bradbury, 2008) “ The most important dividends of devolution are to be found in the ones of social inclusion” he is emphasising that because the SNP are a left of centre party, the devolved powers that they have suit them as by introducing free health care, inequality is not an issue health wise bringing people together. The Scottish Government also has devolved powers on things like education, enabling the abolishing of student fees to be introduced by the SNP, other devolved powers include Housing, Environment and Police and Fire Services, which the SNP want to become one Fire and Police service in Scotland, however retained powers in Westminster include national security, drug policy and civil service some say that Westminster hold the greater powers, however the devolved powers held in Scotland seem to be significant, as with free health care and education, it is helping people who maybe could not afford to go to...
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