By Robert Hazell CBE (eds.)
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Extra info for Constitutional Futures Revisited: Britain’s Constitution to 2020
Labour is the only party that is unionist by electoral interest as well as ideology, but has yet to ﬁnd a way of balancing the multiple considerations that creates. By contrast, the challenge facing nationalist parties is much less. As those parties only operate in Scotland or Wales and cannot hope to win more than a few seats at Westminster, UK elections are second-order elections for them in which their ambitions are necessarily limited. This greatly simpliﬁes issues of electoral strategy. They can send a single message, of seeking the best deal for Scotland or Wales, without having to worry about what effect this might have on voters in England.
Differentiating between the predictable and the uncertain, Shell’s scenario planners thought demand was predictable, having risen 6 per cent each year since the Second World War. However, the planners wondered whether it would make sense from the point of view of the oil-producing governments to continue to supply the increasing quantities of oil required. This was deemed sufﬁciently uncertain to make it worth developing a new scenario, dubbed the ‘energy crisis scenario’ (van der Heijden 2005: 5).
Unionism is a strong political ideology and Britishness strong in national identity. There is a majoritarian two-party system with strong single-party government. Public policy is uniform throughout the UK, implemented by a uniﬁed civil service. Local government is weak and implements policies determined by central government. The opposing pole illustrates the dispersal of power. Post devolution there are strong alternative centres of power in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Unionism is weaker as an ideology, and people in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England have a stronger sense of their Scottish, Welsh, Irish or English identity, and a weaker sense of Britishness.
Constitutional Futures Revisited: Britain’s Constitution to 2020 by Robert Hazell CBE (eds.)