Home rule is government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens.It is thus the power of a constituent part (administrative division) of a state to exercise such of the state's powers of governance within its own administrative area that have been decentralized to it by the central government.
In the British Isles, it traditionally referred to self-government, devolution or independence of its constituent nations—initially Ireland, and later Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In the United States and other countries organised as federations of states, the term usually refers to the process and mechanisms of self-government as exercised by municipalities, counties, or other units of local government at the level below that of a federal state (e.g., US state, in which context see special legislation). It can also refer to the system under which Greenland and the Faroe Islands are associated with Denmark.
Home rule is not, however, equivalent to federalism. Whereas states in a federal system of government (e.g., Canada, Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Ethiopia and the United States) have a guaranteed constitutional existence, a devolved home rule system of government is created by ordinary legislation and can be reformed, or even abolished, by repeal or amendment of that ordinary legislation.
A legislature may, for example, create home rule for an administrative division, such as a province, a county, or a department, so that a local county council, county commission, parish council, or Board of supervisors may have jurisdiction over its unincorporated areas, including important issues like zoning. Without this, the division is simply an extension of the higher government. The legislature can also establish or eliminate municipal corporations, which have home rule within town or city limits through the city council. The higher government could also abolish counties/townships, redefine their boundaries, or dissolve their home-rule governments, according to the relevant laws.
The Faroe Islands is a self-governing country in the Danish Realm. Home rule was granted by the Parliament of Denmark in 1948, with further autonomy granted in 2005.Denmark's monarch is the Faroese head of state. The Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union, even though Denmark is.
Greenland is a self-governing country in the Danish Realm. Following a referendum in Greenland where the majority favored a higher degree of autonomy, home rule was granted by the Parliament of Denmark in 1979.After another referendum, further autonomy was granted in 2009. Denmark's monarch is Greenland's head of state. Greenland is not part of the European Union, even though Denmark is.
The issue of Irish home rule was the dominant political question of British and Irish politics at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
From the late nineteenth century, Irish leaders of the Home Rule League, the predecessor of the Irish Parliamentary Party, under Isaac Butt, William Shaw, and Charles Stewart Parnell demanded a form of home rule, with the creation of an Irish parliament within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This demand led to the eventual introduction of four Home Rule Bills, of which two were passed, the Government of Ireland Act 1914 won by John Redmond and most notably the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which created the home rule parliaments of Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland – the latter state did not in reality function and was replaced by the Irish Free State).
The home rule demands of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century differed from earlier demands for Repeal by Daniel O'Connell in the first half of the nineteenth century. Whereas home rule meant a constitutional movement towards a national All-Ireland parliament in part under Westminster, repeal meant the repeal of the 1801 Act of Union (if need be, by physical force) and the creation of an entirely independent Irish state, separated from the United Kingdom, with only a shared monarch joining them.
Liberal leader Joseph Chamberlain led the battle against Home Rule in Parliament. He broke with the Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone who insisted on Home Rule, and in 1886 formed a new party, the Liberal Unionist Party. It helped defeat Home Rule and eventually merged with the Conservative party. Chamberlain used anti-Catholicism to built a base for the new party among "Orange" Nonconformist Protestant elements in Britain and Ireland.Liberal Unionist John Bright coined the party's catchy slogan, "Home rule means Rome rule."
Several nationalist leaders banded together in 1916 under the leadership of Annie Besant to voice a demand for self-government, and to obtain the status of a Dominion within the British Empire as enjoyed by Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Newfoundland at the time.
While enjoying considerable popularity for some years, its growth and activity were stalled by the rise of Mohandas Gandhi and his satyagraha art of revolution: non-violent, but mass-based civil disobedience, aimed at complete independence.
English home rule has been discussed in relation to proposals for constitutional changes regarding England following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
In a similar fashion to Ireland, supporters of home rule in Scotland have historically desired greater levels of devolved governance within the United Kingdom. Although the term 'home rule' has been largely superseded by "devolution," the home rule movement can be seen as the forerunner to the creation of the current devolved Scottish Parliament.
Administrative devolution was granted to Scotland, with the creation of the Scottish Office, in 1885. In the mid-20th century, the home rule movement became significant, campaigning for a Scottish assembly. Between 1947 and 1950, the Scottish Covenant, a petition requesting a Scottish legislature within the UK, received over two million signatures. It was not until 1979 that devolution entered the political sphere – the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum was held. Despite a vote of 51.6% in favour of devolution, the Scotland Act 1978 was not put into effect due to a requirement that the 'Yes' vote receive the support of 40% of the electorate, which was not met on 63.8% turnout. In 1999, due to the success of a second referendum, the Scottish Parliament was created.
In the United States, some states constitutionally or legislatively grant home rule to cities, counties, and municipalities within their borders. These are called "home rule states." Local governments in home rule states are free to pass laws and ordinances as they see fit to further their operations, within the bounds of the state and federal constitutions. In other states, local governments have only the authority expressly granted to them by state legislatures, typically in accordance with the legal principle known as Dillon's Rule. A city charter, awarded by the state, defines the limits to a municipality’s powers.
The US Constitution gives jurisdiction over the capital city (District of Columbia or Washington, D.C.) to the United States Congress in "all cases whatsoever". This arrangement is due to the fact that the District is neither a state, nor part of a state. At certain times, and presently since 1973, Congress has provided for D.C. government to be carried out primarily by locally elected officials. However, congressional oversight of this local government still exists, and locally elected officials' powers could theoretically be revoked at any time.
The United States federal government provides limited self-rule to some federally recognised Native American tribes over their lands on reservations. Tribal lands are recognised as "dependent domestic nations" and operate a parallel system of governance and law independent of the state(s) which the reservation lies within, sometimes including separate police forces. For instance, some tribes are permitted to operate gambling establishments and produce narcotics which may be illegal in the surrounding state or states. Reservations are not states and have no direct representation in Congress, and the citizens vote as citizens of the state by which they are surrounded. Furthermore, unlike the sovereignty of state legislatures, tribal sovereignty and land ownership are not guaranteed by the Constitution and is granted only by an act of Congress, which can be repealed or altered at any time.
Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a general government with regional governments in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the Constitution of the United States, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It is thus a form of government in which powers are divided between two levels of government of equal status.
The Legislatures of the United Kingdom are derived from a number of different sources. The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body for the United Kingdom and the British overseas territories with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each having their own devolved legislatures. Each of the three major jurisdictions of the United Kingdom has its own laws and legal system.
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved, unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is frequently referred to by the metonym Holyrood.
Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area and thus granting them a higher level of autonomy.
The West Lothian question, also known as the English question, is a political issue in the United Kingdom. It concerns the question of whether MPs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, sitting in the House of Commons should be able to vote on matters that affect only England, while MPs from England are unable to vote on matters that have been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Parliament. The term West Lothian question was coined by Enoch Powell MP in 1977 after Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP for the Scottish constituency of West Lothian, raised the matter repeatedly in House of Commons debates on devolution.
Scottish independence is the political movement for Scotland to become a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom.
The Scotland Act 1998(c. 46) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legislated for the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers and the Scottish Government. It is one of the most significant constitutional pieces of legislation to be passed by the UK Parliament since the European Communities Act 1972 and is the most significant piece of legislation to affect Scotland since the Acts of Union in 1707 which ratified the Treaty of Union and led to the disbandment of the Parliament of Scotland.
The Politics of England forms the major part of the wider politics of the United Kingdom, with England being more populous than all the other countries of the United Kingdom put together. As England is also by far the largest in terms of area and GDP, its relationship to the UK is somewhat different from that of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The English capital London is also the capital of the UK, and English is the dominant language of the UK. Dicey and Morris (p26) list the separate states in the British Islands. "England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark.... is a separate country in the sense of the conflict of laws, though not one of them is a State known to public international law." But this may be varied by statute.
The Scottish Assembly was a proposed legislature for Scotland that would have devolved a set list of powers from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Labour Government led the Scotland Act 1978 through Westminster which provided for the establishment of the Scottish Assembly.
The Northern Ireland Act 1998 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which established a devolved legislature for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Assembly, after decades of direct rule from Westminster.
The Scottish referendum of 1979 was a post-legislative referendum to decide whether there was a sufficient support for a Scottish Assembly proposed in the Scotland Act 1978 among the Scottish electorate. This was an act to create a devolved deliberative assembly for Scotland. An amendment to the Act stipulated that it would be repealed if less than 40% of the total electorate voted "Yes" in the referendum. The result was that 51.6% supported the proposal, but with a turnout of 64%, this represented only 32.9% of the registered electorate. The Act was subsequently repealed. A second referendum to create a devolved legislature in Scotland was held in 1997 under a newly elected Labour government, which led to the enactment of the Scotland Act 1998 and the creation of a devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999.
Unionism in Scotland is a political movement which favours the continuation of political union between Scotland and the other countries of the United Kingdom, and hence is opposed to Scottish independence. Scotland is one of four countries of the United Kingdom which has its own devolved government and Scottish Parliament, as well as representation in the UK Parliament. There are many strands of political Unionism in Scotland, some of which have ties to Unionism and Loyalism in Northern Ireland. The three main political parties in the UK—the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats—all support Scotland remaining part of the UK.
A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Always equivalent in a federation is the federal government, which may have distinct powers at various levels authorized or delegated to it by its federated states, though the adjective 'central' is sometimes also used to describe it.
The Scotland Act 1978 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to establish a Scottish Assembly as a devolved legislature for Scotland. At a referendum held in the following year, the Act failed to gain the necessary level of approval required by an amendment, and was never put into effect.
In the United Kingdom reserved matters and excepted matters are the areas of public policy where the UK Parliament has retained the exclusive power (jurisdiction) to make laws (legislate) in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Royal Commission on the Constitution, also referred to as the Kilbrandon Commission or Kilbrandon Report, was a long-running royal commission set up by Harold Wilson's Labour government to examine the structures of the constitution of the United Kingdom and the British Islands and the government of its constituent countries, and to consider whether any changes should be made to those structures. It was started under Lord Crowther on 15 April 1969, Lord Kilbrandon took over in 1972, and it finally reported on 31 October 1973.
The Danish Realm or the Realm of Denmark consists of Denmark proper and its two autonomous territories: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Together they are organized in the sovereign state the Kingdom of Denmark. The relationship between the three parts of the Kingdom is commonly known as The unity of the Realm.
The decision of the Parliament of Scotland to ratify the Treaty of Union in 1707 was not unanimous and, from that time, individuals and organisations have advocated the reinstatement of a Scottish Parliament. Some have argued for devolution – a Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom – while others have advocated complete independence. The people of Scotland first got the opportunity to vote in a referendum on proposals for devolution in 1979 and, although a majority of those voting voted 'Yes', the referendum legislation also required 40% of the electorate to vote 'Yes' for the plans to be enacted and this was not achieved. A second referendum opportunity in 1997, this time on a strong proposal, resulted in an overwhelming 'Yes' victory, leading to the Scotland Act 1998 being passed and the Scottish Parliament being established in 1999.
In the United Kingdom, devolution is the Parliament of the United Kingdom statutory granting of a greater level of self-government to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Assembly and to their associated executive bodies the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and in England, the Greater London Authority and combined authorities.
Federalism in the United Kingdom refers to the distribution of power between countries and regions of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom, despite being composed of four countries, three of which have their own cabinet, legislature and First Minister, has traditionally been a unitary state, governed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in Westminster. Instead of adopting a federal model, such as that of the United States, the United Kingdom continues to employ a system of devolution, in which political power is gradually decentralised. Devolution differs from federalism in that authority ultimately remains with the British Government, and as such the United Kingdom remains a de jure unitary state, where an Act of Parliament could theoretically remove these powers. Devolution has only been extended to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Greater London, and London remains the only region of England to have significantly devolved power.