Devolution in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the Parliament of the United Kingdom to the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Assembly and to their associated executive bodies the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and in England, the Greater London Authority and combined authorities. Devolution differs from federalism in that the devolved powers of the subnational authority reside in central government, thus the state remains, de jure, a unitary state. Legislation creating devolved parliaments or assemblies can be repealed or amended by central government in the same way as any statute; the issue of Irish home rule was the dominant political question of British politics at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Earlier in the 19th century, Irish politicians like Daniel O'Connell had demanded a repeal of the Act of Union 1800 and a return to two separate kingdoms and parliaments, united only in the personal union of the monarch of Great Britain and Ireland.
In contrast to this, demands for home rule called for autonomy for Ireland within the United Kingdom, with a subsidiary Irish parliament subject to the authority of the parliament at Westminster. This issue was first introduced by the Irish Parliamentary Party led by Isaac Butt, William Shaw and Charles Stewart Parnell. Over the course of four decades, four Irish Home Rule Bills were introduced into the British Parliament: the First Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1886 by Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. Following intense opposition in Ulster and the departure of Unionists from Gladstone's Liberal Party, the bill was defeated in the House of Commons; the Second Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1893 by Prime Minister Gladstone and passed the Commons but was rejected in the House of Lords. The Third Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1912 by Prime Minister H. H. Asquith based on an agreement with the Irish Parliamentary Party. After a prolonged parliamentary struggle was passed under the provisions of the Parliament Act 1911, under which the Commons overruled the veto by the Lords.
Again, this bill was fiercely opposed by Ulster Unionists who raised the Ulster Volunteers and signed the Ulster Covenant to oppose the bill, thereby raising the spectre of civil war. The act received royal assent shortly after the outbreak of World War I but implementation was suspended until after the war's conclusion. Attempts at implementation failed in 1916 and 1917 and the subsequent Irish War of Independence resulted in it never coming into force; the Fourth Home Rule Bill was introduced in 1920 by Prime Minister David Lloyd George and passed both houses of parliament. It divided Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, which each had their own parliament and judiciary but which shared some common institutions; the Act was implemented in Northern Ireland, where it served as the basis of government until its suspension in 1972 following the outbreak of the Troubles. The southern parliament convened only once and in 1922, under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State, a dominion within the British Empire, was declared sovereign in 1937.
Home Rule came into effect for Northern Ireland in 1921 under the Fourth Home Rule Act. The Parliament of Northern Ireland established under that act was prorogued on 30 March 1972 owing to the destabilisation of Northern Ireland upon the onset of the Troubles in late 1960s; this followed escalating violence by state and paramilitary organisations following the suppression of civil rights demands by Northern Ireland Catholics. The Northern Ireland Parliament was abolished by the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, which received royal assent on 19 July 1973. A Northern Ireland Assembly was elected on 28 June 1973 and following the Sunningdale Agreement, a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive was formed on 1 January 1974; this collapsed on 28 May 1974, due to the Ulster Workers' Council strike. The Troubles continued; the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention and second Northern Ireland Assembly were unsuccessful at restoring devolution. In the absence of devolution and power-sharing, the UK Government and Irish Government formally agreed to co-operate on security and political progress in the Anglo-Irish Agreement, signed on 15 November 1985.
More progress was made after the ceasefires by the Provisional IRA in 1994 and 1997. The 1998 Belfast Agreement, resulted in the creation of a new Northern Ireland Assembly, intended to bring together the two communities to govern Northern Ireland. Additionally, renewed devolution in Northern Ireland was conditional on co-operation between the newly established Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland through a new all-Ireland body, the North/South Ministerial Council. A British-Irish Council covering the whole British Isles and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference were established. From 15 October 2002, the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended due to a breakdown in the Northern Ireland peace process but, on 13 October 2006, the British and Irish governments announced the St Andrews Agreement, a'road map' to restore devolution to Northern Ireland. On 26 March 2007, Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley met Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams for the first time and together announced that a devolved government would be returning to Northern Ireland.
The Executive was restore
City of London
The City of London is a city and county that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders; the City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London, it is a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom; the City of London is referred to as the City and is colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 sq mi in area. Both of these terms are often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's trading and financial services industries, which continue a notable history of being based in the City; the name London is now ordinarily used for a far wider area than just the City.
London most denotes the sprawling London metropolis, or the 32 London boroughs, in addition to the City of London itself. This wider usage of London is documented as far back as 1888; the local authority for the City, namely the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It is unusual in having responsibilities and ownerships beyond its boundaries; the Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from the Mayor of London. The Lord Mayor, as of November 2018, is Peter Estlin; the City is a major business and financial centre. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, it continues to be a major meeting point for businesses. London came top in the Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index, published in 2008; the insurance industry is focused around Lloyd's building. A secondary financial district exists at Canary Wharf, 2.5 miles to the east.
The City work there. About three quarters of the jobs in the City of London are in the financial and associated business services sectors; the legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple—fall within the City of London boundary. Known as "Londinium", the Roman legions established a settlement on the current site of the City of London around 43 AD, its bridge over the River Thames turned the city into a road nexus and major port, serving as a major commercial centre in Roman Britain until its abandonment during the 5th century. Archaeologist Leslie Wallace notes that, because extensive archaeological excavation has not revealed any signs of a significant pre-Roman presence, "arguments for a purely Roman foundation of London are now common and uncontroversial."At its height, the Roman city had a population of 45,000–60,000 inhabitants.
Londinium was an ethnically diverse city, with inhabitants from across the Roman Empire, including natives of Britannia, continental Europe, the Middle East, North Africa. The Romans built the London Wall some time between 190 and 225 AD; the boundaries of the Roman city were similar to those of the City of London today, though the City extends further west than Londonium's Ludgate, the Thames was undredged and thus wider than it is today, with Londonium's shoreline north of the City's present shoreline. The Romans built a bridge across the river, as early as 50 AD, near to today's London Bridge. By the time the London Wall was constructed, the City's fortunes were in decline, it faced problems of plague and fire; the Roman Empire entered a long period of instability and decline, including the Carausian Revolt in Britain. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, the city was under attack from Picts and Saxon raiders; the decline continued, both for Londinium and the Empire, in 410 AD the Romans withdrew from Britain.
Many of the Roman public buildings in Londinium by this time had fallen into decay and disuse, after the formal withdrawal the city became uninhabited. The centre of trade and population moved away from the walled Londinium to Lundenwic, a settlement to the west in the modern day Strand/Aldwych/Covent Garden area. During the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, the London area came in turn under the Kingdoms of Essex and Wessex, though from the mid 8th century it was under the control or threat of the Vikings. Bede records that in 604 AD St Augustine consecrated Mellitus as the first bishop to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the East Saxons and their king, Sæberht. Sæberht's uncle and overlord, Æthelberht, king of Kent, built a church dedicated to St Paul in London, as the seat of the new bishop, it is assumed, although unproven, that this first Anglo-Saxon cathedral stood on the same site as the medieval and the present cathedrals. Alfred the Great, King of Wessex and arguably the first king of the "English", occupied and began the resettlement of the old Roman walled area, in 886, appointed his son-in-law Earl Æthelred of Mercia over it as part of their reconquest of the Viking occupied parts of Englan
An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, for regional and local government; this process is used in many other private and business organizations, from clubs to voluntary associations and corporations. The universal use of elections as a tool for selecting representatives in modern representative democracies is in contrast with the practice in the democratic archetype, ancient Athens, where the Elections were not used were considered an oligarchic institution and most political offices were filled using sortition known as allotment, by which officeholders were chosen by lot. Electoral reform describes the process of introducing fair electoral systems where they are not in place, or improving the fairness or effectiveness of existing systems.
Psephology is the study of other statistics relating to elections. To elect means "to choose or make a decision", so sometimes other forms of ballot such as referendums are referred to as elections in the United States. Elections were used as early in history as ancient Greece and ancient Rome, throughout the Medieval period to select rulers such as the Holy Roman Emperor and the pope. In Vedic period of India, the Raja of a gana was elected by the gana; the Raja belonged to the noble Kshatriya varna, was a son of the previous Raja. However, the gana members had the final say in his elections. During the Sangam Period people elected their representatives by casting their votes and the ballot boxes were tied by rope and sealed. After the election the votes were counted; the Pala King Gopala in early medieval Bengal was elected by a group of feudal chieftains. Such elections were quite common in contemporary societies of the region. In the Chola Empire, around 920 CE, in Uthiramerur, palm leaves were used for selecting the village committee members.
The leaves, with candidate names written on them, were put inside a mud pot. To select the committee members, a young boy was asked to take out as many leaves as the number of positions available; this was known as the Kudavolai system. The modern "election", which consists of public elections of government officials, didn't emerge until the beginning of the 17th century when the idea of representative government took hold in North America and Europe. Questions of suffrage suffrage for minority groups, have dominated the history of elections. Males, the dominant cultural group in North America and Europe dominated the electorate and continue to do so in many countries. Early elections in countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States were dominated by landed or ruling class males. However, by 1920 all Western European and North American democracies had universal adult male suffrage and many countries began to consider women's suffrage. Despite mandated universal suffrage for adult males, political barriers were sometimes erected to prevent fair access to elections.
The question of who may vote is a central issue in elections. The electorate does not include the entire population. In Australia, Aboriginal people were not given the right to vote until 1962 and in 2010 the federal government removed the rights of prisoners serving for 3 years or more to vote. Suffrage is only for citizens of the country, though further limits may be imposed. However, in the European Union, one can vote in municipal elections if one lives in the municipality and is an EU citizen. In some countries, voting is required by law. In Western Australia, the penalty for a first time offender failing to vote is a $20.00 fine, which increases to $50.00 if the offender refused to vote prior. A representative democracy requires a procedure to govern nomination for political office. In many cases, nomination for office is mediated through preselection processes in organized political parties. Non-partisan systems tend to differ from partisan systems as concerns nominations. In a direct democracy, one type of non-partisan democracy, any eligible person can be nominated.
Although elections were used in ancient Athens, in Rome, in the selection of popes and Holy Roman emperors, the origins of elections in the contemporary world lie in the gradual emergence of representative government in Europe and North America beginning in the 17th century. In some systems no nominations take place at all, with voters free to choose any person at the time of voting—with some possible exceptions such as through a minimum age requirement—in the jurisdiction. In such cases, it is not required that the members of the electorate be familiar with all of the eligible persons, though such systems may involve indirect elections at larger geographic levels to ensure that some first-hand familiarity among potential electees can exist at these levels; as far as partisan systems, in some countries, only members of a particular party can be no
Orkney known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the isle of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles north of the coast of Caithness and comprises 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited; the largest island, Mainland, is referred to as "the Mainland", has an area of 523 square kilometres, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall. Orkney is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, a lieutenancy area, a historic county; the local council is Orkney Islands Council, one of only three Councils in Scotland with a majority of elected members who are independents. A form of the name dates to the pre-Roman era and the islands have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes and by the Picts. Orkney was colonized and annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse.
The Scottish Parliament annexed the earldom to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III's bride Margaret of Denmark. In addition to the Mainland, most of the islands are in two groups, the North and South Isles, all of which have an underlying geological base of Old Red Sandstone; the climate is mild and the soils are fertile, most of the land being farmed. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy; the significant wind and marine energy resources are of growing importance, the island generates more than its total yearly electricity demand using renewables. The local people are known as Orcadians and have a distinctive dialect of the Scots language and a rich inheritance of folklore. Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is an abundance of marine and avian wildlife. Pytheas of Massilia visited Britain – sometime between 322 and 285 BC – and described it as triangular in shape, with a northern tip called Orcas.
This may have referred to Dunnet Head. Writing in the 1st century AD, the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela called the islands Orcades, as did Tacitus in 98 AD, claiming that his father-in-law Agricola had "discovered and subjugated the Orcades hitherto unknown" Etymologists interpret the element orc- as a Pictish tribal name meaning "young pig" or "young boar". Speakers of Old Irish referred to the islands as Insi Orc "island of the pigs"; the archipelago is known as Ynysoedd Erch in modern Welsh and Arcaibh in modern Scottish Gaelic, the -aibh representing a fossilized prepositional case ending. Some earlier sources alternately hypothesize that Orkney comes from whale; the Anglo-Saxon monk Bede refers to the islands as Orcades insulae in his seminal work Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Norwegian settlers arriving from the late ninth century reinterpreted orc as the Old Norse orkn "seal" and added eyjar "islands" to the end so the name became Orkneyjar "Seal Islands"; the plural suffix -jar was removed in English leaving the modern name "Orkney".
According to the Historia Norwegiæ, Orkney was named. The Norse knew Mainland, Orkney as Megenland "Mainland" or as Hrossey "Horse Island"; the island is sometimes referred to as Pomona, a name that stems from a sixteenth-century mistranslation by George Buchanan, used locally. A charred hazelnut shell, recovered in 2007 during excavations in Tankerness on the Mainland has been dated to 6820–6660 BC indicating the presence of Mesolithic nomadic tribes; the earliest known permanent settlement is at Knap of Howar, a Neolithic farmstead on the island of Papa Westray, which dates from 3500 BC. The village of Skara Brae, Europe's best-preserved Neolithic settlement, is believed to have been inhabited from around 3100 BC. Other remains from that era include the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Maeshowe passage grave, the Ring of Brodgar and other standing stones. Many of the Neolithic settlements were abandoned around 2500 BC due to changes in the climate. During the Bronze Age fewer large stone structures were built although the great ceremonial circles continued in use as metalworking was introduced to Britain from Europe over a lengthy period.
There are few Orcadian sites dating from this era although there is the impressive Plumcake Mound near the Ring of Brodgar and various islands sites such as Tofts Ness on Sanday and the remains of two houses on Holm of Faray. Excavations at Quanterness on the Mainland have revealed an Atlantic roundhouse built about 700 BC and similar finds have been made at Bu on the Mainland and Pierowall Quarry on Westray; the most impressive Iron Age structures of Orkney are the ruins of round towers called "brochs" and their associated settlements such as the Broch of Burroughston and Broch of Gurness. The nature and origin of these buildings is a subject of ongoing debate. Other structures from this period include underground storehouses, aisled roundhouses, the latter in association with earlier broch sites. During the Roman invasion of Britain the "King of Orkney" was one of 11 British leaders, said to have submitted to the Emperor Claudius in AD 43 at Colchester. After the Agricolan fleet had come and gone anchoring at Shapinsay, direct Roman influence seems to have been limited to trade rather than conquest.
By the late Iron Age, Orkney was part of the Pictish kingdom, although the archaeological remains from this period are less
2005 United Kingdom general election
The 2005 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 5 May 2005, to elect 646 members to the House of Commons. The Labour Party led by Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, with Blair becoming the only Labour leader beside Harold Wilson to form three majority governments. However, its majority now stood at 66 seats compared to the 160-seat majority it had held; as of 2019, it remains the last general election victory for the Labour Party. The Labour campaign emphasised a strong economy. Despite this, Labour retained its leads over the Conservatives in opinion polls on economic competence and leadership, Conservative leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard struggled to capitalise on Blair's unpopularity, with the party trailing Labour in the polls throughout the 2001-5 Parliament; the Conservatives campaigned on policies, such as immigration limits, improving poorly-managed hospitals and reducing high crime rates, all under the slogan "Are you thinking what we're thinking?".
The Liberal Democrats, led by Charles Kennedy, were opposed to the Iraq War, given that there had been no second UN resolution, collected votes from disenchanted Labour voters. Tony Blair was returned as Prime Minister, with Labour having 355 MPs, but with a popular vote of 35.2%. In terms of votes, it was only narrowly ahead of the Conservatives, but still had a comfortable lead in terms of seats; the Conservatives returned 198 MPs, with 32 more seats than they had won at the previous general election, won the popular vote in England, while still ending up with 91 fewer MPs in England than Labour. The Liberal Democrats saw their popular vote increase by 3.7% and won the most seats of any third party since 1923, with 62 MPs. Anti-war activist and former Labour MP George Galloway was elected as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow under the Respect – The Unity Coalition banner. In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Party, the more moderate of the main unionist parties, which had dominated Northern Irish politics since the 1920s, was reduced from six MPs to one, with party leader David Trimble himself being unseated.
The more hardline Democratic Unionist Party became the largest Northern Irish party, with nine MPs elected. Following the election, Conservative leader Michael Howard resigned and was succeeded by future Prime Minister David Cameron. Blair resigned as both Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party in June 2007, was replaced by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown; the election results were broadcast live on the BBC, presented by Peter Snow, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Paxman and Andrew Marr. The governing Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, was looking to secure a third consecutive term in office and to retain a large majority; the Conservative Party was seeking to regain seats lost to both Labour and the Liberal Democrats since the 1992 general election, move from being the Official Opposition into government. The Liberal Democrats hoped to make gains from both main parties, but the Conservative Party, with a "decapitation" strategy targeting members of the Shadow Cabinet; the Lib Dems had wished to become the governing party, or to make enough gains to become the Official Opposition.
In Northern Ireland the Democratic Unionist Party sought to make further gains from the Ulster Unionist Party in unionist politics, Sinn Féin hoped to overtake the Social Democratic and Labour Party in nationalist politics.. The pro-independence Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru stood candidates in every constituency in Scotland and Wales respectively. Many seats were contested by other parties, including several parties without incumbents in the House of Commons. Parties that were not represented at Westminster, but had seats in the devolved assemblies and/or the European Parliament, included the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the UK Independence Party, the Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Socialist Party; the Health Concern party stood again. A full list of parties which declared their intention to run can be found on the list of parties contesting the 2005 general election. All parties campaigned using such tools as party manifestos, party political broadcasts and touring the country in what are referred to as battle buses.
Local elections in parts of England and in Northern Ireland were held on the same day. The polls were open for fifteen hours, from 07:00 to 22:00 BST; the election came just over three weeks after the dissolution of Parliament on 11 April by Queen Elizabeth II, at the request of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Following the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April, it was announced that the calling of the election would be delayed until 5 April. Thanks to eight years of sustained economic growth Labour could point to a strong economy, with greater investment in public services such as education and health; this was overshadowed, however, by the issue of the controversial 2003 invasion of Iraq, which met widespread public criticism at the time, would dog Blair throughout the campaign. The Chancellor, G
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is referred to by the metonym Holyrood; the Parliament is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament, elected for four-year terms under the additional member system: 73 MSPs represent individual geographical constituencies elected by the plurality system, while a further 56 are returned from eight additional member regions, each electing seven MSPs. The most recent general election to the Parliament was held on 5 May 2016, with the Scottish National Party winning a plurality; the original Parliament of Scotland was the national legislature of the independent Kingdom of Scotland, existed from the early 13th century until the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. As a consequence, both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England ceased to exist, the Parliament of Great Britain, which sat at Westminster in London was formed.
Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the powers of the devolved legislature were specified by the Scotland Act 1998. The Act delineates the legislative competence of the Parliament – the areas in which it can make laws – by explicitly specifying powers that are "reserved" to the Parliament of the United Kingdom; the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in all areas that are not explicitly reserved to Westminster. The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish Parliament, can extend or reduce the areas in which it can make laws; the first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999. The competence of the Scottish Parliament has been amended numerous times since most notably by the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016, with some of the most significant changes being the expansion of the Parliament's powers over taxation and welfare. Before the Treaty of Union 1707 united the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England into a new state called "Great Britain", Scotland had an independent parliament known as the Parliament of Scotland.
Initial Scottish proposals in the negotiation over the Union suggested a devolved Parliament be retained in Scotland, but this was not accepted by the English negotiators. For the next three hundred years, Scotland was directly governed by the Parliament of Great Britain and the subsequent Parliament of the United Kingdom, both seated at Westminster, the lack of a Parliament of Scotland remained an important element in Scottish national identity. Suggestions for a'devolved' Parliament were made before 1914, but were shelved due to the outbreak of the First World War. A sharp rise in nationalism in Scotland during the late 1960s fuelled demands for some form of home rule or complete independence, in 1969 prompted the incumbent Labour government of Harold Wilson to set up the Kilbrandon Commission to consider the British constitution. One of the principal objectives of the commission was to examine ways of enabling more self-government for Scotland, within the unitary state of the United Kingdom.
Kilbrandon published his report in 1973 recommending the establishment of a directly elected Scottish Assembly to legislate for the majority of domestic Scottish affairs. During this time, the discovery of oil in the North Sea and the following "It's Scotland's oil" campaign of the Scottish National Party resulted in rising support for Scottish independence, as well as the SNP; the party argued that the revenues from the oil were not benefitting Scotland as much as they should. The combined effect of these events led to Prime Minister Wilson committing his government to some form of devolved legislature in 1974. However, it was not until 1978 that final legislative proposals for a Scottish Assembly were passed by the United Kingdom Parliament. Under the terms of the Scotland Act 1978, an elected assembly would be set up in Edinburgh provided that a referendum be held on 1 March 1979, with at least 40% of the total electorate voting in favour of the proposal; the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum failed: although the vote was 51.6% in favour of a Scottish Assembly, with a turnout of 63.6%, the majority represented only 32.9% of the eligible voting population.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, demand for a Scottish Parliament grew, in part because the government of the United Kingdom was controlled by the Conservative Party, while Scotland itself elected few Conservative MPs. In the aftermath of the 1979 referendum defeat, the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly was initiated as a pressure group, leading to the 1989 Scottish Constitutional Convention with various organisations such as Scottish churches, political parties and representatives of industry taking part. Publishing its blueprint for devolution in 1995, the Convention provided much of the basis for the structure of the Parliament. Devolution continued to be part of the platform of the Labour Party which, in May 1997, took power under Tony Blair. In September 1997, the Scottish devolution referendum was put to the Scottish electorate and secured a majority in favour of the establishment of a new devolved Scottish Parliament, with tax-varying powers, in Edinburgh. An election was held on 6 May 1999, on 1 July of that year power was transferred from Westminster to the new Parliament.
Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles in partnership with local Ed
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952; the monarch and their immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As the monarchy is constitutional, the monarch is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours and appointing the Prime Minister; the monarch is commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. Though the ultimate executive authority over the government is still formally by and through the monarch's royal prerogative, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Parliament and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent; the British monarchy traces its origins from the petty kingdoms of early medieval Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England, which consolidated into the kingdoms of England and Scotland by the 10th century.
England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, after which Wales too came under control of Anglo-Normans. The process was completed in the 13th century when the Principality of Wales became a client state of the English kingdom. Meanwhile, Magna Carta began a process of reducing the English monarch's political powers. From 1603, the English and Scottish kingdoms were ruled by a single sovereign. From 1649 to 1660, the tradition of monarchy was broken by the republican Commonwealth of England, which followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; the Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Roman Catholics, or those who married them, from succession to the English throne. In 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged to create the Kingdom of Great Britain, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland joined to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the British monarch was the nominal head of the vast British Empire, which covered a quarter of the world's surface at its greatest extent in 1921. In the early 1920s the Balfour Declaration recognised the evolution of the Dominions of the Empire into separate, self-governing countries within a Commonwealth of Nations.
After the Second World War, the vast majority of British colonies and territories became independent bringing the Empire to an end. George VI and his successor, Elizabeth II, adopted the title Head of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the free association of its independent member states; the United Kingdom and fifteen other independent sovereign states that share the same person as their monarch are called Commonwealth realms. Although the monarch is shared, each country is sovereign and independent of the others, the monarch has a different and official national title and style for each realm. In the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom, the monarch is the head of state; the Queen's image is used to signify British sovereignty and government authority—her profile, for instance, appearing on currency, her portrait in government buildings. The sovereign is further both mentioned in and the subject of songs, loyal toasts, salutes. "God Save the Queen" is the British national anthem. Oaths of allegiance are made to her lawful successors.
The monarch takes little direct part in government. The decisions to exercise sovereign powers are delegated from the monarch, either by statute or by convention, to ministers or officers of the Crown, or other public bodies, exclusive of the monarch personally, thus the acts of state done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments if performed by the monarch, such as the Queen's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, depend upon decisions made elsewhere: Legislative power is exercised by the Queen-in-Parliament, by and with the advice and consent of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Executive power is exercised by Her Majesty's Government, which comprises ministers the prime minister and the Cabinet, technically a committee of the Privy Council, they have the direction of the Armed Forces of the Crown, the Civil Service and other Crown Servants such as the Diplomatic and Secret Services. Judicial power is vested in the various judiciaries of the United Kingdom, who by constitution and statute have judicial independence of the Government.
The Church of England, of which the monarch is the head, has its own legislative and executive structures. Powers independent of government are granted to other public bodies by statute or Statutory Instrument such as an Order in Council, Royal Commission or otherwise; the sovereign's role as a constitutional monarch is limited to non-partisan functions, such as granting honours. This role has been recognised since the 19th century; the constitutional writer Walter Bagehot identified the monarchy in 1867 as the "dignified part" rather than the "efficient part" of government. Whenever necessary, the monarch is responsible for appointing a new prime minister. In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the sovereign must appoint an individual who commands the support of the House of Commons the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in that House; the prime minister takes office by attending the monarch in private audience, after "kissing hands" that appointment is effective without any other f