The Scottish Parliament Essay

3843 words - 15 pages

INDRODUCTION:The creation of a new Scottish Parliament has, undeniably, a serious impact on the people of Scotland - the strength of devolution lying in all three areas; administrative, financial and legislative - the only area of the devolved United Kingdom to hold such powers.The Scottish form of devolution was drafted upon the 1997 referendum which resulted in a 74.3% agreement on the creation of the Parliament and a 63.5% agreement that a Parliament should have tax varying powers, derived from a 59% turnout. This was granted on the basis that the Scottish Parliament would be responsible for legislation in all areas that were not specifically retained by the Westminster Parliament (see Table 1).It was the birth of the parliament at Holyrood that provoked such controversy in Britain and indeed, a world wide interest; on one hand, it appears to have brought about valid and successful changes affecting the public, but on the other it appears to be nothing more than inexperienced politicians in constant dispute and irking about their faults and weaknesses, with no real power to make changes of any real significance.The apparent hesitant fumbling of Henry McLeish prior to his resignation as First Minister have only contributed to the view that Holyrood is nothing more than a northern chamber filled with incompetent politicians with restricted powers put there merely to "shut Scotland up".However, the reality of the implementation of new policies at Holyrood have given the Parliament new acclaim to now be more relevant to the people of Scotland than its Westminster counterpart.By identifying the powers of each Parliament and the consequences of the voting systems adopted by each as well as the effects of the legislation passed by the new Parliament and the view of the general public I will examine the importance of the Scottish Parliament over, or under Westminster to the Scottish people.POWERS OF THE PARLIAMENTS/PUBLIC OPINIONFor decades there has been consensus in Britain over the existence of a "North/South Divide". Yet it is where the boundaries of this theoretical line lie which remain blurred. Traditionally "the north" has included the north of England as well as Scotland and furthermore is thought of more as a working class expanse than "the south", partly due to the large existence of long-established industries such as ship building and coal mining in the past. Nevertheless Scotland has remained a separate country within the UK and has, undoubtedly, many issues central only to itself. This includes small communities of people in rural areas with issues and concerns not relevant to the rest of Britain, such as the Highlands and Islands, but also to the small Gaelic community that exists mostly within the north of Scotland. All of this can undisputedly lead to divisions in politics between the north and the south , or between Scotland and the rest of the UK.Traditionally a Labour voting country, Scotland's public voted for Labour with an...

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