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These islands

Spain's model of "asymmetrical devolution" may not be very encouraging for those who want devolution to come to a rest.

By John Lloyd   June 1999

Spanish leap-frog

Let the leap-frogging begin. Following the Scots and Welsh elections, Britain joins the list of states with vigorous regional competition for status and resources. In the end, perhaps this is no bad thing; but present experience indicates that these competitions are difficult to manage, and can be bitter.

Spain is often approvingly cited by supporters of Britain’s famously “asymmetrical” devolution-Scotland gets a parliament, Wales and Northern Ireland get mere assemblies, and England gets nothing. Lopsidedness works in Spain, they say, why not here, too? No need for logical blueprints, let us wallow in the messiness of what history…

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