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
5 years 4 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

  • 22nd January 2019

    The UK is increasingly polarised by Brexit identities and they seem to have become stronger than party identities, a new academic report finds. Only one in 16 people did not have a Brexit identity, while more than one in five said they had no party identity. Sir John Curtice’s latest analysis of public opinion on a further referendum finds there has been no decisive shift in favour of another referendum. The report, Brexit and public opinion 2019, by The UK in a Changing Europe, provides an authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date guide to public opinion on each of the key issues around Brexit. CCC Fellow, Dr Coree Brown Swan contributed a chapter on "the SNP, Brexit and the politics of independence"

  • 22nd January 2019

    In the papers accompanying the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill published at the end of 2018, the UK Government says that it is “exploring opportunities to co-design the final proposals with the devolved administrations.” There are clear benefits in having strong co-operation and collaboration across the UK in the oversight of our environmental law and performance. Yet the challenge of finding a way forward in terms of working together is substantial since each part of the UK is in a different position at present. Given where things stand today, it may be better to accept that a good resolution is not possible immediately and to revisit the issue at a later stage - so long as there is a strong commitment to return and not allow interim arrangements to become fixed. Colin Reid, Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Dundee examines the issues.

  • 17th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses a memorable day in UK parliamentary history as the Commons splits 432-202 on 15 January 2019 against the Government's recommended Brexit route. It was the most dramatic night at Westminster since the Labour government’s defeat on a confidence motion in 1979.

  • 17th January 2019

    What is the Irish government’s Brexit wish-list? The suggestion that Irish unity, as opposed to safeguarding political and economic stability, is the foremost concern of the Irish government is to misunderstand and misrepresent the motivations of this key Brexit stakeholder, writes Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork).

  • 17th January 2019

    Brexit is in trouble but not because of the Irish backstop, argues the CCC's Michael Keating.

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