A Welsh process and a Scottish event

Reviewing the devolution decade so far had been a common activity among political observers until the all-consuming MPs’ expenses row rose to the top of the agenda. A welcome side effect of the wider debate about politics sparked by the expenses row is that constitutional matters are no longer just the preserve of political anoraks and cloistered academics.

Parliament’s Justice Committee has published a report on the past decade of devolution across the UK. Scottish devolution occurred largely in one step in 1999, whereas Wales has the constant state of devolution flux brought about by the Legislative Competence Order system. It is somewhat symptomatic of the differing natures of Scottish and Welsh devolution – Scotland’s was an event not a process – that the legislative system in Scotland receives a little more than two pages of analysis, compared with five and half for Wales’s ongoing devolution process.

Unfortunately, yet again, the bulk of the Wales-specific recommendations concern detail about legislative processes, rather than outcomes. That seems to be the largest disadvantage to the current system.

Nick Morris is the IWA's Research Officer.

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