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I think the fear is that an English First Minister would be an over mighty subject who would sooner or later do to the UK Prime Minister what Russian President Yeltsin did to Soviet President Gorbachev.

One thing that puzzles me is that the West Lothian question never posed itself in Spain, despite the fact that the plan that the framers of the Constitution of 1978 had in mind was basically for the peripheral regions (Galicia, Basque Country, Catalonia, and maybe Navarra, Andalucia and the islands) to get regional assemblies and having the rest under the National Parliament. In actuality, it took less than 10 years for the entire country to get carved up into 17 regional governments (plus Ceuta and Melilla).

Why was it that all of "Greater Castille" didn't just constitute itself into a single autonomous unit (like the putative English parliament) and instead organised itself into 10 regions? Is it because the mechanism was explicitly bottom-up? Also, the existing Regional organisation from Franco's time greatly influenced (but differs in significant ways) from the current subdivisions.

Also note that, just like the Spanish Autonomy Statutes are organic laws of the National Parliament (second only to the Constitution in rank) so the UK's regional assemblies have been created by act of the Westminster Parliament.

After quoting the Spanish Constitution's devolution procedure twice (here and here) I asked the following question in a recent diary, but I didn't get a satisfactory reply:

Suppose for a minute that the devolution provisions of the Spanish constitution were applied to the UK:
Section 143
1. In the exercise of the right to self-government recognized in section 2 of the Constitution, bordering provinces with common historic, cultural and economic characteristics, insular territories and provinces with a historic regional status may accede to self-government and form Self-governing Communities (Comunidades Autónomas) in conformity with the provisions contained in this Part and in the respective Statutes.
2. The right to initiate the process towards self-government lies with all the Provincial Councils concerned or with the corresponding inter-island body and with two thirds of the municipalities whose population represents at least the majority of the electorate of each province or island. These requirements must be met within six months from the initial agreement reached to this aim by any of the local Corporations concerned.
3. If this initiative is not successful, it may be repeated only after five years have elapsed.
(Where it says "province" read "county")

What would be the result?

The existing regional assemblies (Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Greater London) would be grandfathered into the system.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 07:05:34 AM EST

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