The Scottish Parliament

Essay by sileas452 November 2004

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The creation of a new Scottish Parliament has, undeniably, a serious impact on the people of Scotland - the strength of devolution lying in all three areas; administrative, financial and legislative - the only area of the devolved United Kingdom to hold such powers.

The Scottish form of devolution was drafted upon the 1997 referendum which resulted in a 74.3% agreement on the creation of the Parliament and a 63.5% agreement that a Parliament should have tax varying powers, derived from a 59% turnout. This was granted on the basis that the Scottish Parliament would be responsible for legislation in all areas that were not specifically retained by the Westminster Parliament (see Table 1).

It was the birth of the parliament at Holyrood that provoked such controversy in Britain and indeed, a world wide interest; on one hand, it appears to have brought about valid and successful changes affecting the public, but on the other it appears to be nothing more than inexperienced politicians in constant dispute and irking about their faults and weaknesses, with no real power to make changes of any real significance.

The apparent hesitant fumbling of Henry McLeish prior to his resignation as First Minister have only contributed to the view that Holyrood is nothing more than a northern chamber filled with incompetent politicians with restricted powers put there merely to "shut Scotland up".

However, the reality of the implementation of new policies at Holyrood have given the Parliament new acclaim to now be more relevant to the people of Scotland than its Westminster counterpart.

By identifying the powers of each Parliament and the consequences of the voting systems adopted by each as well as the effects of the legislation passed by the new Parliament and the view of the general public I will examine...