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Definition
Devolution is `the delegation of central
government powers to subordinate
units, these powers being exercised
with some degree of autonomy though
with ultimate power remaining with
central government.'
Vernon Bogdanor…read more

Slide 3

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In theory, the key difference between federalism and
devolution is that in a federal system the division of
power between the central government and the
regional governments is defined and protected by a
codified constitution whereas devolution is more
flexible with the division depending on the central
government's discretion.
For example, Northern Ireland's virtual autonomy within
the UK was ended when the British government restored
direct rule in 1972, abolishing the Northern Ireland
parliament (Stormont)…read more

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In practice
It is the most radical form of power
disposal as the centre grants decision
making autonomy and some legislative
powers to lower levels of government.
However it is not a federal state as these
powers could in theory be withdrawn by
the centre at any time as Enoch Powell
said "power devolved is power retained".…read more

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Spain following the fall of Franco in the 1970s
created a democracy with an asymmetric form of
devolution that recognised the existence of
strong regional identities such as Catalonia and
the Basque region but in a state with a long
tradition of strong central government.
A distinctive trend within Unitary states has been
the development of a level of regional
government between the local and central level.
France, Italy and Spain have all introduced
elected regional governments. Even New
Zealand has 12 elected regional councils.…read more

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The standard pattern is to have three levels of
government
Regional Provincial Local See Palgrave p238
The EU has encouraged the development of regional
identities within member states following the creation of
the European Regional Development Fund in1975 that
encourages regions to lobby for funds rather than central
government.
Some have even contemplated that the EU may become
a union of regions rather than nation states however
remote this is!
Although regional governments can pass laws it is in the
area of economic planning beyond the scope of local
government but below the national vision of the centre
that these bodies have come into there own.…read more

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Comments

Old Sir

This very 'pro' devolution presentation outlines the arguments in favour very effectively. Students might wish to examine any perceived negative effects of devolution in the UK and explore the possible impacts of possible independence for Scotland and Catalonia. As a starting point see Gabby's notes on arguments for and against, also in this section.

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