This book is the first to explain why changes in governance associated with devolution were so slow to develop, and why they may now be accelerating. Through a case study of Wales, and drawing on a vast amount of research in the papers of key individuals, and of the government and political parties, this team of leading Welsh historians have got behind the public statements to reveal what politicians thought and did at the time and why devolution - and Britain - are now at a turning point in constitutional history. The British model of government, famous around the world and transplanted to numerous countries, has been fundamentally changed by devolution. It has allowed the formation of a nationalist government in Scotland and a nationalist-Labour coalition in Wales. 'Englishness' has become an established form of identity, in part as a reaction; 'Britishness' is seemingly fragmenting, to such an extent that the Prime Minister (originally an historian of Labour/nationalist politics in Scotland) has become publicly concerned.
Whilst Scotland had its own institutions before devolution, the extension of this position through devolution in Scotland and its paler reflection in Wales has brought the unity of Britain seemingly to a crisis point.
Duncan Tanner is currently Director of the Welsh Institute for Social and Cultural Affairs and Professor of History, Bangor University.