The best of Democratic Audit’s 2015 Devolution coverage

In the wake of the Scottish referendum, the debate around devolution in the UK, and in England more narrowly, has intensified. This post features some of Democratic Audit’s best 2015 analysis of national, regional and sub-regional devolution.

Credit: Thunderchild7, CC BY 2.0Devolution in the North of England: time to bring the people into the debate?

The referendum in Scotland has created impetus for a redistribution of power within England, with attempts to bring greater devolution to the North of England in particular. But Arianna Giovannini asks who will determine the shape of this – Westminster, local elites or local citizens?

Credit: Sean KippinSub-regional devolution and the effects of austerity are combining to draw councils further away from communities

The local government sector has come under sustained fiscal pressure following the election of a Conservative-led Government in 2010, and is set for more after the election of a majority Conservative government in 2015. Alison Gardner argues that this, and the introduction of sub-regional levels of governance such as the reforms being rolled out in Greater Manchester, are combining to threaten local government’s status even as a ‘network coordinator’, let alone anything more substantive. 

Jason Charlesworth, CC BY 2.0A road map for pluralistic and ‘asymmetric’ devolution in the UK

Devolution to a model set out by the centre is not devolution at all, writes Jonathan Carr-West. We need local authorities and groups of local authorities in cities and counties to come forward with detailed and realistic proposals on how they plan to grow their local economies and improve local services and what powers they need to achieve this.

Credit: Cowrin, CC BY NC 2.0The Government’s new EVEL timeline still isn’t sufficient to facilitate the necessary debate and deliberation

In the immediate aftermath of Scotland’s vote to remain in the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister David Cameron proposed removing the rights of Scottish MPs to vote on ‘English only’ issues – a process which would be contemporaneous with the granting of new powers for Scotland. Katie Boyle argues that there are at least three main issues with the Government’s recent announcement of the way the change will be introduced, including what counts as a “devolved matter”, the financial overlap between devolved and non-devolved issues, and the break-neck speed of the process through which it was be introduced. 

Credit: Anna & Michal, CC BY SA 2.0Overcoming the UK’s constitutional crisis may require the development of more flexible relationships between the constituent nations

The UK is in the midst of an ongoing constitutional crisis, with question marks hanging over Scotland’s membership of the union, as well as the UK’s membership of the European Union. Sean Swan looks at the parallels with a previous constitutional crisis, and makes the case for rethinking the relationships between the constituent nations of the UK along more flexible lines. 

This FILE INFO must not be removed from the JPEGThe current talks in Northern Ireland exemplify the mistrust that has attended devolution from the outset

Following an independent report assessing paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland last week, Rick Wilford reviews the current crisis and assesses prospects for institutional reform. He writes that while there are grounds to believe that progress is being made, the scope and scale of reform may fall prey to the temper of DUP-Sinn Féin relations which could yet deteriorate over the more salient issues of paramilitarism, welfare and the budget.

Michael Coghlan Group DiscussionDemocratic revival can come from devolved democracy

The British state is being dramatically restructured by the ongoing wave of devolution deals but the focus so far has been on devolving economic powers and the delivery of public services. The next step should be to devolve decisions about how local democracy is organised to the cities, regions and local authorities, to help reinvigorate participation and renew local politics, writes Mat Lawrence.

Jeff Djevdet Manchester markedProposals for English devolution are characterised by democratic, constitutional, financial and strategic deficits

The issue of devolution is squarely on the agenda. Yet despite appearing to have obtained the coveted policy position of a principle without political enemies, the devolution mission itself is not guided by any clear principles, writes Bob Hudson. Instead, actions have been tactical rather than strategic, while current proposals are characterised by democratic, constitutional, financial and strategic ‘deficits’.

Note: this post represents the views of the authors and not those of Democratic Audit UK or the LSE. Please read our comments policy before posting. Cover image credit: Stacey MacNaught, CC BY 2.0

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