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A bit of background for those of us not versed in the vagaries and set phrases of the last 30 years of British politics...

Wikipedia: The West Lothian question

The West Lothian question was a question posed by Tam Dalyell, MP for the Scottish constituency of West Lothian during a debate over Scottish devolution in the 1970s. The name was coined in 1977 by Enoch Powell.

The question is twofold:

  • How can it be right that MPs elected to Westminster from Scottish constituencies have no ability to affect the issues of their constituents which have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and
  • If power over Scottish affairs is devolved to a Scottish Parliament, how can it be right that MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the Parliament of the United Kingdom will have the power to vote on issues affecting England (including those that don't affect Scotland), but English MPs will not have the power to vote on Scottish issues?
With the passing of the Scotland Act in 1998, and the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, this anomaly[1] has come into existence.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 07:02:27 AM EST
It would seem that these decisions are made without reference to a standard model of federal structure, which presumably wouldn't display anomalies of that form.

Does anyone know of a good study of principles of federalism -- something with a good dose of prescriptive advice?

I'd also like to learn more about plausible but untested proposals, such as (in some domains of law) allowing a subsidiary legislature to reverse laws passed by a level above it, but only by a vote of equal majority. (That is, if an upper level passed a law by, e.g., 57%, a lower level could reject the law only through a vote of 57% or greater.)

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 02:15:40 AM EST
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