British & Scottish Politics

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Electricity network transmission charges are hardly the stuff of high political drama but, explains David Comerford, they are a reserved policy and, with thousands of jobs and the future of clean energy at stake, it's worthy of voters' attention. 
 
A Scottish political issue, for which the responsibility lies at Westminster, is electricity network transmission charges. The present arrangements mean that suppliers pay to access the grid, and consumers face fairly uniform prices (across geographical areas) for their electricity. 
 
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There is, it seems, nothing new under the sun. Brad MacKay considers the predictions of massive SNP gains and finds that they have echoes of an earlier Canadian experience.
 
Political debates, by their very nature, are insular. The referendum on September 18th on Scottish independence was frequently presented as being unprecedented, yet Québec had previously had two on secession from Canada in 1980 and 1995. The recent political history of Canada also provides some interesting lessons and parallels for what is an uncertain British election.
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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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