British & Scottish Politics

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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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The engagement of young people with politics during the referendum has had some dramatic results from increased party membership to a reduction in the voting age. Alan Mackie and Jim Crowther of the Institute of Education at The University of Edinburgh, find out how it happened and consider whether it will last.
 
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There is considerably more to building coalitions than simple arithmetic, explains Bettina Petersohn. Prospective prime ministers may have an eye on strategy as much as stability and they would do well to consider the impact of post-election deal making in the devolved assemblies.
 
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  • 20th July 2018

    Richard Parry reviews a fast-evolving situation as the march of time and need to reconcile rhetoric and practicality constrain policy-makers

  • 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. .

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