Author Archive

Andrew Mycock

Andrew Mycock is Reader in Politics at the University of Huddersfield.

‘English Votes for English Laws’ is supposed to answer the ‘West Lothian Question’. Yet the government’s English devolution policy is recreating the same question in a new form. Reform of the constitutional architecture of the UK state over the past two decades has adhered to a conservative orthodoxy based on an enduring belief in the British Political Tradition: the redistribution of power is negotiated between the state and sub-state national and regional elites rather than with the British people. As a result, the process of devolution has proven largely unplanned, piecemeal, and pragmatic, an open-ended process that lacks clarity in terms of its purpose, procedure, or extent. The introduction of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) conforms to this approach, as does …

English devolution has emerged as a prominent feature of the 2015 general election campaign for a number of reasons. One is the ongoing process of devolution that has been taking place across the UK, with the formation of the assemblies for Northern Ireland and Wales, and the Scottish parliament. Another is the aftershock of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Throughout this time, England has also solidified as a distinct national political community. Research indicates that over the past decade or so we have witnessed the progressive “Anglicisation” of the Westminster-based unionist parties. This means that Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats have all become more focused on England, in their political outlook. But up until now, these parties have sought to avoid the complications and risks of large-scale internal organisational reform in England. They have lacked the appropriate party structures, leadership or explicit policy agendas to properly engage with the complex set of “English Questions”, which have emerged in a post-devolution UK.