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The art of the possiblePolitics and governance in modern British history, 18851997: Essays in memory of Duncan Tanner$
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Chris Williams and Andrew Edwards

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090714

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090714.001.0001

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Labour, the Union and the rebirth of Welsh devolution

Labour, the Union and the rebirth of Welsh devolution

(p.224) 11 Labour, the Union and the rebirth of Welsh devolution
The art of the possible

Mari Elin Wiliam

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers how devolution in Wales returned to the Labour Party’s agenda within two decades of a seemingly catastrophic public rejection in 1979, which itself had split the Labour Party in Wales. This rebirth did not take place only in a Welsh context: it has to be understood as part of the recalibration of the Labour Party’s approach to democracy and decentralisation across the United Kingdom, of which one primary driver was Labour’s need to answer the historically stronger Scottish calls for devolution. The key roles of John Smith and Tony Blair in facilitating (if not always endorsing) the revival of Welsh devolution are appraised, and the tensions between London and Wales (and within the Welsh Labour Party) are explored sensitively.

Keywords:   Labour Party, Devolution, Wales, Unionism, British politics

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