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The Impact of Political Institutions - Essay Example

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From 1707 until 1999, Scotland did not make decisions on its own, unlike the states in the USA. Scottish members of Parliament were accountable to the British…
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The Impact of Political Institutions

Download file to see previous pages... The Scottish Parliament is composed of 129 members of Parliament (MPs), directly elected by Scottish voters, who make laws regarding domestic issues such as crime and justice, education, health, agriculture, environment, transport, economic development and local government (Calman Commission, 2009, p.4). The Parliament at Westminster, with 59 Scottish MPs, makes laws regarding security, foreign affairs and social security (Calman Commission, 2009, p.4). The Scottish Executive is then in charge of enforcing these laws.
Whereas the Scottish Parliament benefits financially from the central government’s money, it has no real power over its taxes. Scotland receives 60% of its spending from the British tax income (Calman Commission, 2009, p.4). However, with regard to economic independence, Scotland is allowed to vary the basic income tax by up to 3 pence in the pound taxed (Calman Commission, 2009, p.4). Thus, though politically independent, Scottish Treasury has no economic independence from the rest of the UK.
This dependence is historical. Scotland has always had economic ties to the rest of the country, but has constitutionally been independent (Calman Commission, 2009, p.5 - 6). Due to the 1707 Act of Union, Scotland was allowed to retain its own judicial and educational system. However, economy and legislature, as well as the executive branches became subject to the Parliament at Westminster (Raco, 2003, p.80). The devolution of power is only a symmetrical copy of the historical structure of the UK before 1707.
The US has a federalist system, unlike the UK. The UK is still an overwhelmingly unitary nation - state, where the central government controls everything (Vile, 2007, p.3). The US has a federalist system with separation of power between the judiciary, legislative and executive branches (Vile, 2007, p.3). Unlike the British system of central government, the US ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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