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Devolution: problems and prospects

McGarvey, Neil and Bradbury, J. (2003) Devolution: problems and prospects. Parliamentary Affairs, 56 (2). pp. 219-236.

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Abstract

The article assesses the consolidation of devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in turn. Despite the different conditions, the same questions are of general relevance. Firstly, had authoritative political leadership and successful approaches to public policy improving the image of devolution been established? Secondly, had the devolved institutions enhanced their political legitimacy, and what implications had this had for their future development? A final section considers developments in England. After 1997, only Greater London had received a quasi-elected regional assembly, while the rest of England had been developed on a purely administrative model. Consolidation in this case revolved around the case for regional devolution being considered. Overall, the year was notable for confirming the highly mixed experience in each territory relative to the specific aspirations of the main territorial actors. This served to underline the extent to which a post-devolution UK system of governance, whilst much less politically unstable than before, was a long way from settling down.