on 31 May 2014
Most interestingly this book highlights the myths the federalism and devolution is something new, and in fact centralisation of many things was in previous years left to the home nations. A very interesting read for anyone keen on Britain's constitutional future. It also looks at modern day proposals for why a UK federation should, and possibly must, exist.
on 12 May 2014
A truly insightful and enjoyable read for those questioning observers of Britain's developing constitutional future, neither wholly unionist or nationalist - which according to polls, appears the majority - and particularly, to paraphrase Gerry Hassan, 'skeptical Scotland'. Torrance seizes the debate on Scottish Independence as it rightly should be; an opportunity to constructively discuss broader problems at the heart of the UK's constitutional structure. Where the 'f' word of federalism has never really gained significant political traction in recent decades, neglected as an unattainable constitutional halfway-house and preserve of the Liberals, 'Rebooted Britain' suggests otherwise, most importantly providing some concrete radical policy-making and evidence to substantiate and justify any future federal UK structure. Federalism is supported as a tangible, workable and long-term solution to present discussions, rightly pointing out the failings of both devolution, for its reactionary character, and independence, for its practical incoherencies. Perhaps the book's pitfall would be a general 'glossing-over' of federalism's criticisms (consigned to a short chapter), but I believe the merits of his ideas (particularly re education, though somewhat disconnected from the federal argument, welfare and local government) speak for themselves on this front. Torrance's status as one of Scotland's foremost political commentators makes me think, at last, such an 'f' word might gain some currency in the political mainstream. I made very quick work of it as revision procrastination for my undergraduate finals!