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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