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"Dancing with Dogma. Britain under Thatcherism" by Ian Gilmour

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  1. Introduction.
  2. English to the core and Unionist through and through.
  3. The right-wing Conservatives arguments against devolution.
  4. The West Lothian question.
  5. The second argument raised by the 'hard' faction of the party against devolution.
  6. Gilmour's rationale.
  7. Conclusion.

The document under study here is extracted from Dancing with Dogma. Britain under Thatcherism, a book by Ian Gilmour, a Scottish leading figure on the liberal, or "wet", left-wing of the Conservative party, essentially under the governments of Heath and Thatcher. The piece of writing concentrates on the debate over devolution -that is to say, the delegation of power from a superior organ to an inferior one, in our perspective, from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament- as it took place under Thatcherism. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the emergence of still greater pro-devolution movements in Scotland, with the 1988 Claim of Rights for Scotland and the creation of a Constitutional Convention, which gathered for the first time in March 1989, in response to Margaret Thatcher's lack of concern for devolution.

[...] This issue was first raised in the 1970s by the West Lothian Labour MP, Tam Dalyell, and had to do with the choice, endorsed by the government, of keeping Scottish MPs in Westminster, while establishing a Parliament in Scotland in charge of the devolved matters. This means that Scottish MPs would be able to vote in Westminster on matters which only concern the English population, whereas on the other hand, English MPs could not vote on the same issues for Scotland, since the Holyrood Parliament would be in charge of them. [...]

[...] Often accused of being ?left-leaning? and by Margaret Thatcher, Gilmour proves to be rational, moderate, and to be working for the benefit of Scotland, England and the Union. His proposals are witty, clever and balanced ?even if he seems to forget, as regards Europe, that the Scottish National Party saw the EU as a mere means to reject any separatist charge, while umpiring the ?Independence in Europe? motto. Under those perspectives, Gilmour reveals his pro-devolution outlook epitomizes, to some extent, a minority within his own party?, showing at the same time that the arguments of the right-wing faction of the Conservative party are erroneous and too chopped-off to be efficient. [...]

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