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Scottish Devolution: A Slippery Path towards Consensus Democracy?
Kodate, Naonori
Anglo-Japanese Academy Workshop for Young Social Scientists, 4-6 and 9 September 2001, International Center for Comparative Law and Politics, Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo The aim of this paper is to show how constitutional change has come to realisation in Britain by focusing on Scottish devolution and also to point out that, in spite of many changes occurring in the British party system and structures, as well as regional government framework, the British political system will not alter until consensus on majoritarian decision-making is further eroded. This paper is divided into three parts: the first part will discuss the merits and demerits of consensus democracy. The second part will examine the progress of Scottish devolution historically and critically review conventional hypotheses about devolution. The last part will highlight one of these hypotheses that focuses on social cleavage and party system change in Britain in order to elucidate the constitutional constraint the British political system has on a much stronger impact on reforms. In this paper, Scottish devolution is focused on because it sheds light on a process of how the majoritarian system operates and has led to a constitutional change, primarily by the active roles played by the two major parties. Scottish devolution and yet unaccomplished electoral reforms for parliament in Westminster are in sharp contrast. Both arguments for fairer representation and more direct democracy started to come to political fore in the 1960s and only the latter has been seriously taken up by the Labour party, since post-war consensus1 between Conservative and Labour party about constitutional frameworks and economic management was broken down in the late 1970s and only when the party got back to power in 1997, devolution scheme was eventually implemented. It has taken almost twenty years to fulfill this goal. However, this still does not automatically result in consolidating the way towards consensus democracy. In conclusion, Britain still constitutes the majoritarian model even today, although there is some scope for change. AMS
Keyword(s): Constitutional change; British political system; Consensus democracy; Majoritarian model; Scotland; Politics
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Dublin
Publisher(s): International Center for Comparative Law and Politics, Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo
First Indexed: 2013-11-06 05:43:12 Last Updated: 2018-10-11 16:51:57