Public Attitudes

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This last week has seen the unedifying spectacle of not one, but two, social media stramashes focusing on the indyref participation of individual women. Clare Lally, a carers’ advocate who happens also to be an active member of the Labour party, and Joanne Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of novels, both advanced their beliefs that Scotland would be better off staying as part of the union and were subject to a sexist chorus of derision on social media.

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I have spoken about gender equality, care policy and its relevance to the referendum on Scottish independence in a series of recent events aimed at non-academic audiences: a lecture for international women’s day, a debate for the 5 Million Questions series at the University of Dundee and an appearance on Newsnight Scotland. In all of them I have made the points that are emerging from the early stages of our ‘Fairer, Caring Nations’ project:

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It is commonly asserted that what most Scots would like to happen after the referendum is for Scotland to have a more powerful parliament in Edinburgh, while remaining part of the United Kingdom.

This is, in truth, a considerable exaggeration. It would be more accurate to say that more devolution is the least unpopular of the various options that have been proposed. Even then it is far from clear that Scots accept all of the implications that giving Holyrood more power – and responsibility – would bring.

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  • 10th August 2018

    Brexit is re-making the UK’s constitution under our noses. The territorial constitution is particularly fragile. Pursuing Brexit, Theresa May’s government has stumbled into deep questions about devolution.

  • 8th August 2018

    The UK in a Changing Europe has formed a new Brexit Policy Panel (BPP). The BPP is a cross-disciplinary group of over 100 leading social scientists created to provide ongoing analysis of where we have got to in the Brexit process, and to forecast where we are headed. Members of the UK in a Changing Europe Brexit Policy Panel complete a monthly survey addressing three key areas of uncertainty around Brexit: if —and when—the UK will leave the EU; how Brexit will affect British politics; and what our relationship with the EU is likely to look like in the future. The CCC participates on the Panel.

  • 2nd August 2018

    The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee issued its report ‘Devolution and Exiting the EU: reconciling differences and building strong relationships’. Discussing its contents, Professor Nicola McEwen suggests that the report includes some practical recommendations, some of which were informed by CCC research. It also shines a light on some of the more difficult challenges ahead.

  • 31st July 2018

    The politicisation of Brexit, combined with deteriorating relations between London and Dublin, has created a toxic atmosphere in Northern Ireland, says Mary Murphy, which will require imagination and possibly new institutions to resolve.

  • 25th July 2018

    Given that there are many policy differences between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK, asks Jonathan Evershed, why has customs policy been singled out as a red line by Unionists?

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