Labour and Scottish devolution: Securing consensus and managing opposition



Lynch P (1996) Labour and Scottish devolution: Securing consensus and managing opposition. Regional Studies, 30 (6), pp. 601-606.

First paragraph: The issue of devolution burst onto the UK political agenda in 1995 and its prominence has a great deal to do with party politics at the UK level rather than in Scotland. The new consensus between Conservative and Labour in policy areas such as the economy, defence, education and law and order, has left constitutional change as a clear dividing line between the two main parties which the Conservatives are keen to exploit. Labour's contemporary support for devolution is a consequence of pressures and motivations which are quite different to those of the 1970s. Labour became converted to devolution in 1974 following the electoral success of the Scottish National Party. Labour's current commitment to devolution remains influenced by the nationalists but has also been propelled by evolving opinions within the Scottish Labour Party, changing perceptions ofthe utility ofthe central state and a general acceptance within Scotland that constitutional change is politically and economically desirable. Similarly, whilst Labour only had to deal with the devolution issue in a general way in 1974, it has now participated in designing a more detailed package of devolution measures with its partners in the Constitutional Convention. This article will examine the pressures behind Labour's commitment to Scottish devolution, focus on the substance ofits plans for Scotland and look at some of the problems and challenges that Labour faces over devolution.

Regional Studies: Volume 30, Issue 6

Publication date31/10/1996
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Dr Peter Lynch
Dr Peter Lynch

Senior Lecturer, Politics