Presentation on theme: "Progress check Complete the questionnaire, indicating your level of confidence with each of the key concepts in multi-level governance. Use the (British)"— Presentation transcript:
Progress check Complete the questionnaire, indicating your level of confidence with each of the key concepts in multi-level governance. Use the (British) superhero ranking system to indicate your level of understanding. Pass your completed questionnaire to the front of the class. 1 = Danger Mouse Strictly kid’s stuff 2 = Union Jack Armed and dangerous 3 = Captain Britain Multi-versal, baby
Reviewing homework Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, identify and explain two problems arising from the West Lothian Question. (10 marks) Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, identify and explain two arguments in favour of the creation of an elected English Parliament. (10 marks)
Study the model answer to the homework question about the WLQ. How does it differ from the answer you wrote? Study the second question. How different is it from the first question? How different are the answers to the two questions? Reviewing homework
Using your own knowledge as well as the extract (box 12.2 on p.230), identify and explain two problems arising from the West Lothian Question. (10 marks) The West Lothian Question refers to the complexities of representative democracy in the UK under conditions of devolution. One problem arising from the question is the relative under-representation of English voters. Tam Dalyell, who coined the phrase, asked how it could be right that he, representing voters in West Lothian, could vote on English matters, but MPs from south of the border could not vote on Scottish matters. Since the referendum on Scottish Independence, this issue has been taken up by David Cameron in his call for ‘English votes for English laws’, which would exclude MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales from voting on legislation that applies only to England. Another problem arising from the West Lothian Question is party representation. Voters in the smaller countries of the UK have traditionally been more left-leaning than those in England. In the 2010 general election, the Conservative Party won a majority of seats in English constituencies, but performed poorly in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since England represents 433 of the 650 seats in the HOC, this means that policy formation and approval in key areas such as national security and taxation is likely to be dominated by the concerns of English voters, which may be very different from those in the regions.
Using your own knowledge as well as the extract, identify and explain two arguments in favour of the creation of an elected English Parliament. (10 marks) One argument in favour of an English Parliament is the relative under-representation of English voters in the current UK constitution. Tam Dalyell, who coined the phrase ‘West Lothian Question’, asked how it could be right that he, representing voters in West Lothian, could vote on English matters, but MPs from south of the border could not vote on Scottish matters. Since the referendum on Scottish Independence, this issue has been taken up by David Cameron in his call for ‘English votes for English laws’, which would exclude MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales from voting on legislation that applies only to England. Variations on this proposal call for English Bills to be subject to revision and amendment only by English MPs at the committee stage. Another argument in favour of an English Parliament is that it could help to address the ‘North-South divide’. London is both the seat of national government and the wealthiest city in the UK. The South East is the UK’s wealthiest region. Proponents of an English Parliament often argue that locating a representative assembly in a less prosperous part of the country—the Midlands or the North East—would give those regions a louder voice in policy making. However, opponents of the proposal stress that it would create an unnecessary additional and costly layer of government.
Questions Explain the term ‘asymmetric’ devolution in the extract (5) Using your own knowledge and the extract, explain how the creation of the non-English devolved assemblies has proven controversial. (10) ‘The UK is now essentially a federal, as opposed to a unitary, state.’ Discuss. (25)
New Labour’s devolution programme Labour’s huge parliamentary majority and the referendum ‘yes’ votes ensured a relatively smooth passage for the bills establishing devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales. They began their work after the first elections to the new bodies were held in May 1999. Devolution has been asymmetric. Rather than following a standard blueprint, each of the devolved institutions was given different powers and distinct features. The Scottish Parliament was granted primary legislative powers (the power to make laws) and tax-raising powers. The Welsh Assembly was weaker, having only executive powers—the power to implement laws made in Westminster or to issue secondary legislation within the existing legal framework. The creation of such devolved institutions has proven controversial, not least because both Scotland and Wales still send MPs to the Westminster Parliament. Source: M. Garnett & P. Lynch, UK Government and Politics (2005)
FederalUnitary There are two (or more) overlapping levels of government covering the same territory Primary legislative power is shared between central government and regions/localities The state constitution is codified and inflexible There is one central government which may or may not empower subsidiary governments in regions/localities Primary legislative power at all levels derives from central government The state constitution is uncodified and flexible Federal vs. Unitary states
‘The UK is now essentially a federal, as opposed to a unitary, state.’ Discuss. The UK remains a unitary state, both in theory and to a considerable degree in practice. However, it has clearly become more federal in nature over the past few years. In common with more federal systems, the UK’s non-English devolved assemblies have acquired increasing legislative power. Holyrood has had the power to pass primary legislation since the devolution settlement of 1999. This will be expanded by the Smith Commission proposals. The Welsh Assembly acquired the ability to pass primary legislation in select areas in 2012. In both cases, however, ultimate legislative authority rests with Westminster. The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means that Westminster retains the theoretical ability to rescind these powers through a simple majority vote. Although such a vote is politically highly unlikely, even the theoretical possibility is absent from fully federal systems. The non-English devolved assemblies have also acquired increasing financial independence from Westminster. Again, the Scottish Parliament has the greatest degree of autonomy. Holyrood has had the ability to vary its basic rate of income tax for some time and will soon acquire the ability to set it entirely independently of the Parliament at Westminster. Independent tax raising powers are a characteristic of more federal systems of government, including the system of special administrative regions in Italy. However, there are clear limits even to the degree of fiscal freedom enjoyed by Holyrood. Westminster continues to set corporation tax rates and the block grant through which the non-English regions are governed, remains embedded in the UK budget. Devolution has gone furthest in relation to executive power, though even here there are clear limits. The non-English regions of the UK control their own healthcare and schooling systems. In Scotland, this includes an entirely different schooling and examination system. On the other hand, Westminster retains total control over key executive functions such as foreign affairs and defence. In this case, it must be conceded that this balance between central and regional, provincial or state government is shared with explicitly federal systems such as the USA and Germany. In conclusion, the UK now has many of the hallmarks of federal government, such as multiple bodies empowered to pass primary legislation, significant fiscal decentralisation and considerable executive authority granted to regions. However, it remains legally and constitutionally a unitary state; it is likely to remain so in the absence of a written constitution.
Plenary Think back over the course to-date. What are the ‘big questions’ that underpin each of the three major topics: the core executive, Parliament and multi-level government. Make a list, including at least two big questions per topic.
Links between the EU and non-English devolved assemblies Westminster wants to preserve single UK position on all EU issues Westminster allows access to EU policy-making mechanisms on condition of confidentiality (2001) Non-English devolved bodies can only exercise influence on EU through Westminster Devolved bodies also represented on EU Committee of the Regions (74 recognised) Scotland and Wales have specific ministers/committees responsible for EU policy
Brown’s ‘five tests’ for UK adoption of the euro There must be ‘sufficient convergence’ between UK and European economies There must be ‘sufficient flexibility’ in how the euro operates The euro must be structured in a way that ‘encourages investment in Britain’ The euro must benefit the financial services sector in the City of London The euro must enhance UK growth and employment prospects
How well can you do the following? (1-5) I can … Define the concept of multi-level governance Explain how local government differs from central government Explain how central government can influence local government Define the concept of devolution and the key features of the UK devolution settlement Describe the key powers of the non-English devolved assemblies and how they differ (‘asymmetric devolution’) Explain some of the problems arising from the West Lothian Question Define the concept of supranationalism Describe the key institutions of the EU and their respective powers Define the term ‘democratic deficit’ and evaluate how it may be applied to the EU Evaluate the extent to which membership of the EU impinges on Parliamentary sovereignty in the UK