This is the final lecture, and it should take us full circle to the first lecture which began with this statement: ‘A key part of this course is to examine critically the idea that political practices in Scotland are distinctively Scottish’. I provide a brief summary below, but most of the information is in this podcast, which you can download (right click on mp3 or mp4a) or stream here:
Devolution represents a major change in Scottish politics, but it did not produce major change in all aspects of Scottish politics. Instead, some expectations came to fruition while others remain unfulfilled.
Similarly, further devolution or Scottish independence may produce a similar sense of major change in politics and society, but we should not assume that it would produce major change in policy and policymaking.
In that context, let’s revisit the key themes/ questions of the course, ask what has changed in Scottish politics, and use our answer to think about any likely changes in the future:
- What aspects of Scottish politics and policymaking are ‘territorial’ and ‘universal’?
- Did devolution produce major political reforms and new forms of democracy?
- What aspects of the ‘Scottish policy style’ and ‘Scottish approach to policymaking’ are clearly distinctive?
- Can you meaningfully describe ‘Scottish politics’ when so much policymaking is multi-level?
- Did devolution prompt major policy change and/ or policy divergence between the Scottish and UK governments?
It is in this context that we can produce an informed discussion of the likely effects of major constitutional change in the future. For example, would Scottish independence:
- Change the way we study Scottish policymaking?
- Produce further political reform and democratic practices?
- Change the Scottish policy style?
- Have an effect on the multi-level nature of policymaking?
- Produce further policy change and/ or divergence?
In many, if not most cases, I think the answer is ‘no’.