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Devolution bites

Devolution allows social policy experiments. But, as the English higher education white paper shows, it also has unintended effects

By Iain McLean   March 2003

Devolution is (sort of) working in a (sort of) social democratic country, pace prophets of doom since Nye Bevan. But it could and should work better if we thought more clearly about how devolution and social democracy can live together. The failure of the London government to anticipate the effects of January’s higher education white paper outside England is a clear sign of this. A recent Lords report has also pointed out that the secretaryship of state for Scotland is an unfair anomaly.

Let’s start with Bevan. He detested the idea of devolution to Wales. In the 1970s his follower…

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