Parliament and Scottish 'issues of conscience' in the 1970s : three case studies - licensing, divorce and homosexuality
Carnie, James K.
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The aim of the thesis is to examine the politics of Scottish law reform and to explore what constitutes the 'Scottish dimension' in certain areas of legislation which involve morality and conscience. Specific attention is focused upon three Scottish 'issues of conscience' of the 1970s - the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, the Divorce (Scotland) Act 1976 and the 'non-reform' in Scotland of the law pertaining to homosexual conduct. Each of these issues requires separate Scottish legislation and hence offer an interesting insight into the variations that can exist in policy and the policy process for Scotland as compared with England and Wales. Chapters 1 to 4 review sore conceptual ideas through which the case studies are to be examined. Chapter 1 considers the idea of a 'Scottish political system' and discusses Scotland's unusual historical and political development. Cultural variations which have arisen are then highlighted. Chapter 2 examines seme relevant approaches to policy analysis. It considers the debate between 'rationalist' and 'incrementalist' analyses of policy development, group theory and demand regulation, agenda control and non-decision-making, and values in policy formulation. In Chapter 3 there is a discussion of the philosophical debate on the legal enforcement of morals, a review of some empirical cases of moral issues, and an examination of Parliament's influence in various areas of policy. Chapter 4 explains the research methodology utilised. Chapters 5 to 10 consider the case studies. Chapter 5 investigates the role of the Departmental Committee on Scottish Licensing Law in policy development. It looks at the social context of drink control in Scotland and the Committee's approach to the problem of alcohol misuse. Policy development from the publication of the Report to the 1976 Act is traced in Chapter 6. Chapter 7 concerns itself with divorce and compares developments in England and Scotland in the 1950s and 1960s. The Scottish divorce reform attempts of the 1970s are discussed in Chapter 8 and some reasons as to why reform took longer in Scotland are postulated. Chapter 9 deals with the case of homosexual conduct. It is suggested that in Scotland throughout the 1970s the homosexuality issue constituted an example of a 'non-decision'. Chapter 10 brings the thesis full circle by relating in detail the conclusions of the case studies to points raised in the opening three chapters.