James Mitchell

James Mitchell's picture
Job Title: 
Professor of Public Policy
University of Edinburgh
Email Address: 
James Mitchell holds the Chair in Public Policy at Edinburgh University having previously been Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University and of Public Policy at Sheffield University.  He is the author of a dozen books on government, politics and public policy and over 50 articles in academically refereed journals.  His most recent book, The Scottish Question (Oxford University Press, 2014) puts the current constitutional debate into a wider historical and broader social and economic context.  He co-directs Edinburgh University’s Academy of Government and the ESRC/Scottish Government-funded What Works Scotland network, the latter building on the work of the Christie Commission on the Delivery of Public Services of which he was a member.


Recent books:

The Scottish Question (Oxford University Press June 2014)


More Scottish Than British (Palgrave Macmillan February 2014) co-authored with C. Carman and R. Johns


After Independence (Luath Press 2013) Co-edited with Gerry Hassan


Project Job Role: 
Professor of Public Policy


View recent blog entries
Member for
4 years 10 months

Posts by this author:

James Mitchell looks forward to the SNP Conference which is likely to be remembered most for its timing: the postponement of the Prime Minister’s decision to invoke Article 50 formally starting the process of Brexit and the First Minister’s decision on the timing of Indyref2. The SNP meets once more... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
James Mitchell (@ProfJMitchell) discusses how Nicola Sturgeon’s decision on the timing of the independence referendum is likely to be the most important of her leadership. This post originally appeared on the Academy of Governent blog. One issue will dominate discussion at the SNP conference in Glas... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
James Mitchell discusses how the tables appear to have turned and Tories in London are looking to Scotland and Ruth Davidson for inspiration. This blog originally appeared on the Academy of Government website. For three decades, senior Tories in London were perplexed by political developments in Sco... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
The public could be excused for being unaware that the SNP is currently electing a new depute leader. James Mitchell looks at the candidates. This post originally appeared on the Academy of Government blog. The public could be excused for being unaware that the SNP is currently electing a new depute... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
In a piece originally published by the Local Govt Information Unit, Professor James Mitchell reflects on the implications of Brexit for local government.  Efforts during the EU referendum to put a figure on how much policy emanates from Brussels provoked wry smiles in local government. Measuring the... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
There has been much speculation on the implications of the EU referendum for the unity of the UK. A list of EU supporters have suggested that a vote for BREXIT will lead to the break-up of Britain. But what logic lies behind these claims and what is the evidence that a vote for Brexit will precipita... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
James Mitchell discusses how at first sight, the Tories look to be stronger after the 2016 election than the SNP after 2003. This post originally appeared on Academy of Government @ Edinburgh University The Scottish Conservatives are smiling and with good reason. The party’s share of the vote rose... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
The SNP machine has been quick to point out that the party has just won its (and any party’s) highest ever share of constituency votes.   The translation of constituency votes into seats highlights the disproportionality of that element of the system: 46.5% delivered 81% of seats.  This compares wit... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
We should, says James Mitchell, be glad that Scotland's political parties are debating how to use Holyrood's new powers but we should also hope that they begin to acknowledge the complexities - including the likelihood of unintended consequences - that those policies imply.   Scotland faces signific... Read more
Post type: Blog entry
James Mitchell looks at the approaching Holyrood election in May and how the SNP is expected to extend its lead despite the common view in 2011 that winning an overall majority was a freak, unrepeatable result. This blog originally appeared on the Academy of Government website.   Politics is an expe... Read more
Post type: Blog entry


Latest blogs

  • 13th July 2018

    The White Paper published this week talks about the UK Government making ‘sovereign decisions’ to adopt European rules but, as we know from the experience of Norway and Switzerland, this can be an illusory sovereignty when the costs of deviating from the rules is exclusion from the single market or European programmes. CCC Director Professor Michael Keating looks at whether the UK is ready for this kind of deal.

  • 12th July 2018

    Last week the government released its fisheries white paper. While most of the fisheries and Brexit debate centres on quotas and access to waters, there is also an important devolution dimension. Brexit already has profound consequences for the UK’s devolution settlement and fisheries policy is one example of this. So, in addition to communicating its overall vision for post-Brexit fisheries policy, the white paper was also an opportunity for the government to set out how it would see that policy working in the devolved UK.

  • 4th July 2018

    At the same time as Parliament prepares to ‘take back control’ from Brussels, the executive is in fact accruing to itself further control over the legislative process. CCC Fellow Professor Stephen Tierney addresses a number of trends – only some of which are a direct consequence of the unique circumstances of Brexit – which suggest a deeper realignment of institutional power within the constitution and a consequent diminution of Parliament’s legislative power.

  • 27th June 2018

    Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit. Professor Richard Rose of Strathclyde looks at the high stakes outcomes facing the Prime Minister. .

  • 25th June 2018

    CCC Director Professor Michael Keating considers the career of iconic Irish nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell whose mastery of Parliamentary tactics and ability to build a broad national alliance for radical change may have important lessons for the modern SNP.

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