This volume addresses the issues arising from the recent devolution referenda by exploring the historical development of the proposals, the importance of national and regional identities, the changing policies of the political parties and the approaches of business and other major groups towards devolution. It also looks at the impact on electoral reform coming from the proposal that proportional representation be used to elect the regional assemblies and how the new assemblies are to be financed. Finally the book discusses the implications of a devolved British state where different countries and regions achieve different levels of autonomy at different paces.

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be wrong for us to enter into a political campaign when we have members who, if not supporters, lean towards Labour’s policy.’ (The Scotsman, 21 March 1996). Significantly, the IoD remained aloof from the constitutional debate after 1996 and its qualified opposition to devolution brought no campaigning or publicity. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce did not adopt a formal position on devolution , but its survey of members generated some interesting findings about business opinion on constitutional change. The Chamber’s survey offered four choices to business: more government decentralization to Scotland (administrative devolution), devolution without taxation powers; devolution with tax powers; and independence. The Chamber received 650 responses from its members and the exercise provided some interesting results (see Table 1). The principal finding was that business found taxation powers too hard to swallow. While business was neutral or enthusiastic about more administrative devolution or the establishment of a Scottish Parliament on the 1978 scheme, support for change fell away when confronted with taxation powers and independence (The Journal, December firms viewed decentralization and non-tax devolution as

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Strategies of Autonomist Agents in Wales

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English Regionalism and New Labour

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institutions of British government develop as a result of the growing importance of regionalism within the European Union, the demands of national (and increasingly international) efficiency must not be allowed to overrule community sentiment to the extent that popular hostility provokes further change in order to dismantle unpopular government structures. What’s Wrong with Asymmetrical Government? Michael Keating Proposals for devolution in Scotland and Wales will create an asymmetrical constitution. This raises a number of issues in principle and practice and has been a focus of opposition. Yet asymmetrical features are common in devolved systems, as the experience of Canada and Spain shows, and the existing UK constitution also contains marked asymmetries. No symmetrical solution could satisfy the varied demands from the nations and regions of the UK. In any case asymmetry may be less of a problem in practice than it is in theory.

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Notes on Contributors