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An electoral discourse approach to state decentralisation: state-wide parties' manifesto proposals on Scottish and Welsh devolution, 1945-2010

Chaney, Paul 2013. An electoral discourse approach to state decentralisation: state-wide parties' manifesto proposals on Scottish and Welsh devolution, 1945-2010. British Politics 8 (3) , pp. 333-356. 10.1057/bp.2012.26

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Abstract

This article examines the electoral discourse associated with state decentralisation. It offers an original perspective that complements existing studies by detailing the discourse-based dimension of policy agenda-setting associated with Scottish and Welsh devolution in UK state-wide parties’ general election manifestos 1945–2010. Innovative aspects include a combined quantitative (issue-salience) and qualitative (policy framing) methodological technique transferable to other (quasi-)federal jurisdictions. The present UK findings reveal policy on devolution to be part of a fluid and contested discursive process. Concerned to maintain the union-state, the principal parties present a ‘punctuated narrative’ as they shift policy positions on the exact nature of devolution for the two nations; only the Liberals/Liberal Democrats maintain a broadly consistent stance. With a trend of increasing salience that extends over seven decades, ‘identity’ and ‘autonomy’ are revealed as the most salient pro-devolution tropes. The ‘demise of the union-state’ and ‘promoting nationalism’ are foremost among oppositional frames. Following constitutional reform in 1999, analysis shows that the future trajectory (and end point) of devolution continues to be a vexed and salient electoral issue.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Uncontrolled Keywords: issue-salience; framing; manifesto; structural-narrative; devolution; United Kingdom; Wales; Scotland
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 1746-918X
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:18
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/58351

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