British & Scottish Politics

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As territorial parties make clear that their involvement in post-election arrangements will come with a hefty price tag, Charlie Jeffery considers this new form of 'pork barrel politics' in the UK. 
 
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There has been much fevered speculation on the implications of a group of Scottish National Party MPs creating havoc in the Commons after this election.  In this piece, James Mitchell, suggests that a more informed and sober assessment suggests that a ‘large’ contingent of SNP MPs will create opportunities but also challenges for the SNP and that the greatest impact will be on the SNP than the House of Commons. 
 
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Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was an improbable blockbuster. Dense with data and dotted with equations, it took the 2008-9 financial crisis, the subsequent austerity measures and growing concerns about rising inequality to propel this weighty work to the top of the bestsellers lists. However, it provides a useful backdrop to the general election and the parties’ approaches to wealth. 
 
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Whereas Scottish Parliamentary elections give a platform to Scotland-centred issues, Westminster General Elections in Scotland are usually very British affairs. Especially since devolution in 1999, UK elections have been dominated by the contest for Prime Minister and the party of British government. Not so this time, however much the Labour Party would like it to be.
 
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Another month, another set of Lord Ashcroft's constituency polls. These ones have somehow managed to raise the electoral temperature in Scotland still further. This time the news is even more severe for Labour, with the polls now indicating that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is set to win 56 of 59 Scottish seats. At present, the SNP has six whilst Labour has 41. If the result is anything close to what the polls are suggesting, Labour’s night will be nothing short of catastrophic.
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The pressure is on Ed Miliband to rule out any post-election deal with the SNP. With the Tories and Labour head-to-head and Lord Ashcroft's polling showing the nationalists claiming 50 of 59 seats north of the border, it's likely Nicola Sturgeon's party could be kingmaker on May 8th. This would almost certainly take the form of confidence-and-supply agreement, rather than an outright coalition, which Ed Balls has pretty much ruled out. But it's enough to put the frighteners on London.
 
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