Devolution and British Politics

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Michael O'Neill
Pearson/Longman, 2004 - History - 388 pages
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The British polity has undergone a fundamental transformation in the last decade, and in 1998 this culminated in the most radical reform of the British state since its inception in 1707. Since 1998 devolution for Scotland and Wales and power sharing in Northern Ireland have fundamentally changed the balance of power between government at the centre and the new territorial polities.

Taking this profound change as its theme, "Devolution in British Politics" is an up-to date, comprehensive and effective review of the origins and development of the devolution process. In highly readable chapters crucial aspects of devolution are considered, and the process of constitutional change and its political and institutional consequences are the principal focus of enquiry by the contributors.

With clarity and passion, "Devolution in British Politics" examines the forces at work, both historical and contemporary, that are changing the British polity. It accounts for the emergence of the cultural and political movements in the other nations that since the 1960s have demanded significant devolution of power from Whitehall and challenged the control by Westminster parties and political elites over territorial politics. "Devolution" traces the residual legacy of deep-seated cultural differences and persistent territorial interests that gave rise during the nineteenth century to political resistance to government from London, even to the idea of shared nationhood.


A team of specialist writers provides a detailed assessment of the causes and demands of the devolution campaign as well as:

  • a review of the significance of the newly devolved arrangements that have replaced the classic British unitary state;
  • an assessment of the impact of the constitutional changes;
  • consideration of devolution s importance for the present and future workings of British government and politics, both at the centre and in the new territorial polities;
  • a detailed discussion of the idea of political identity in Britain, and in a wider European and global context.

The Editor
Michael O Neill is Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Politics at Nottingham Trent University.

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About the author (2004)

MICHAEL O'NEILL is Professor and Director, Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management, College of Professional Studies, University of San Francisco.

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