By Alistair Cole
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Extra resources for Beyond Devolution and Decentralisation: Building Regional Capacity in Wales and Brittany
Moreover, the boundaries of the state were tightly drawn so not to interfere with the free operation of the market and civil society. Regional and institutional exceptions could be accepted without breaching the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. For the peripheries, regional nationalism could coexist alongside political Britishness. The UK and France are thus shaped by distinctive historical and institutional legacies. The two countries form part of a more general framework for comparing sub-central governments across Europe.
The elected Assembly has the power to block the initiatives of the mayor and has to give its approval for the budget. The explicit separation of leadership and representative functions is novel within the context of English local government. In its first year of operation, the budget of the GLA was more than double that of the National Assembly for Wales, though the functions are far more restrained. The mayor of London cannot impose local income taxes or introduce sales taxes. From this brief overview can be observed the coexistence of several alternative models of local and regional capacity building within the United Kingdom.
Though for most of its history there was little to distinguish Wales from England, state-approved institution building in Wales took root in the late nineteenth century. In Brittany, autonomous institutions arose during the post-war period in spite of initial state opposition. The strongest argument in favour of Wales-Brittany comparison is that both regions possess distinctive institutions and strong WALES AND BRITTANY: HISTORY, POLITICS, SOCIETY 41 political and/or cultural identities, features setting them apart from most regions within their respective nation-states.
Beyond Devolution and Decentralisation: Building Regional Capacity in Wales and Brittany by Alistair Cole