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Discuss - Devolution Is Merely a Step in a Constitutional Process That Will Ultimately Lead to an Independent Scottish Nation

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Josh Connell

HNC social Sciences

Politics

1st year

"Devolution is merely a step in a constitutional process that will ultimately lead to an Independent Scottish nation". To what extent do you agree?

Submission date- Wednesday 26th January 2011

Word count -1148

In Scotland there is currently an Additional Members system, which in till recently had tax varying powers, this allowed it to raise or lower income tax by 3p in the pound. These tax varying powers will be able to be used again in 2013-14.(scotland, 2010) In Scotland there are key players and points that must be taken into account when discussing Scotland's devolved political system. There are 3 major arguments. The argument for the continuance of a devolved government, which is mainly used by Labour and liberal democrats even though they are unionists, and is in fact more, recently shared by the Scottish conservatives as well. There is the argument against devolution and anti- independence which is mainly used by unionists like the UK conservatives who believe this will ultimately lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom, although as will be discussed later the current UK conservatives are beginning to be more sympathetic to the issue. The final point of view that will be discussed is of pro- independents and that of the current Scottish minority party, the SNP's and their difficulty implementing this.

During the conservative years. Post 1979. Support grew for a campaign on a devolved Scotland led mainly by the labour party and other unionists. But not the SNP who actually withdrew their support, through fear of it taking away from their ultimate goal of Independence. In 1997 when labour won the general election the then secretary of state Donald Dwer held a referendum on a devolved Scotland with certain Tax-varying powers, this in turn led to the Scotland act which elected and created a Scottish parliament that had control over most domestic issues.(2007-06-11.) The west Lothian question has been an issue in the devolution process. This is because of the devolved powers given that members of the Scottish Government can vote on issues in Westminster, but ministers there cannot vote on Scottish issues. Although Labour had not always been in support of devolution and in fact had hidden the findings of the 'McCone report' which stated that with the discovery of North sea oil it would of given Scotland one of the strongest economy's at that time in 1974.(2010-01-27.) This document was hidden by the then conservative government and by the Labour government which succeeded them, perhaps through fear of the SNP gaining too much support at that time. But later Labour was keen to support devolution to gain extra support in Scotland, without committing to Independence. The Tories have also found them self stuck between a rock and a hard place due to the fact that they have traditionally been anti-devolution, but since the set up of AMS system they have found they have more seats now than if Scotland were still governed by Westminster. Another factor to be taken into account in the discussion is the Barnett formula. The formula dictates that for every £1 the Government distributes, 85p goes to England, 10p to Scotland and 5p to Wales. It is said that Scotland gets a good deal

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