chapter  12
40 Pages


The creation of devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has added a new tier of government to the UK’s multi-level polity. The devolution settlement implemented by the Blair government gave new institutional expression to the distinctive character of the four component parts of the multinational UK state. But devolution has been asymmetric: each nation is governed in a different way. Devolution has also radically changed the traditional constitution, requiring new procedures to manage relations between the nations of the UK and reform of central government. The new arrangements bedded down without major incident, but the process of devolution is clearly far from its final destination. The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence resulted in a decision to stay within the Union but only after promises had been made of greater devolved powers for the Scottish government. The continuing success of the Scottish National Party (SNP) raises the

strong possibility of another referendum in the relatively near future. Although the demand for full independence has far less support among the Welsh, their own devolved institutions have been augmented at regular intervals and new powers for the Scottish government will strengthen the case for further devolution to Wales.