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Has Devolution Delivered?

Edited by Catherine Bromley, John Curtice, David McCrone, Alison Park

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One of the key aims of devolution in Scotland was to change the way people felt about their country and the way they were governed. This book draws on a unique range of Scottish Election Studies and Scottish Social Attitudes surveys to explore the early success - or otherwise - of devolution in meeting this objective. It asks how the Scottish public has reacted to the initial experience of devolution, and the lessons this experience might have for the future of devolution.

The following questions are considered:

  • How have public attitudes towards the governance of Scotland within the Union evolved from pre-devolution to the end of the first term of the Scottish Parliament?
  • What has happened to support for the principal advocates for leaving the Union, the SNP?
  • Why are fewer people voting in devolved elections than in UK elections?
  • To what degree does the behaviour of those who vote reveal a sense of involvement in the work of the Parliament?
  • What are voters' attitudes to the additional member electoral system?
  • Who are regarded as fellow Scots by those who all themselves 'Scottish'?
  • What are Scots' attitudes towards the Pakistani and English minorities in Scotland?

Drawing on rich sources, this book presents a comprehensive and complete analysis of the Scottish public's evolving view of devolution.

Key Features:

  • Provides a short history of devolution including how the 1999 and 2003 elections were fought and their outcomes
  • Looks at public attitudes to 4 key objectives many hoped devolution would achieve: (i) a better-governed country; (ii) a public more involved in how the country is governed; (iii) an electorate with more influence; (iv) the development of open civic nationalism, not one based on narrow notions of ethnicity
  • Asks what we should expect of devolution over the next decade based on what we have learnt about public opinion in Scotland
  • Written by an established team of writers known for their work in Scottish survey analysis.


1. Introduction (The Editors)
Part 1: Constitutional Preferences
2. The Devolution Conundrum (Alison Park and David McCrone)
3. A Better Union? (Paula Surridge)
4. Putting the Nationalist genie back in the bottle? (Lindsay Paterson)
Part 2: Devolved Elections
5. Who Votes? (Catherine Bromley)
6. Holding Scotland's Politicians Accountable (John Curtice)
7. A Chance to Experiment? (Robert Ingram)
8. Proportional Power (John Curtice)
Part 3: National Identity
9. Being Scottish (Ross Bond and Michael Rosie)
10. Islamophobia and Anglophobia (Asifa Hussain and William Miller)
11. Conclusion (The Editors)
Technical Appendix (summary details of the surveys used in the book and other technical information of relevance to the analyses).

About the Author

Catherine Bromley is Senior Researcher, National Centre for Social Research, Scotland. Co-author of Public Attitudes Towards Taxation (Tha Fabian Society, 2000) and Revisiting Public Perceptions of Local Government (DETR, 2000).

John Curtice is a Professor of Politics and Director of the Social Statistics Laboratory at Strathclyde University, and Research Consultant to the Scottish Centre for Social Research. He is a regular commentator in the Scottish and British media. Publications include The Rise of New Labour, (with Heath, A. & Jowell, R.) (Oxford University Press, 2001) and New Scotland, New Politics? (with Paterson, L., Brown, A., Hinds, K., McCrone, D., Park, A., Sproston, K., & Surridge, P.) (Polygon, 2001).

David McCrone is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He co-founded the university’s Institute of Governance in 1999, and has written extensively on the sociology and politics of Scotland, and the comparative study of nationalism.

Alison Park is at the National Centre for Social Research, London. Co-author of The Rise of New Labour (Oxford University Press, 2001) and New Scotland, New Politics? (Polygon at Edinburgh, 2001).