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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  • 18th December 2018

    Aileen McHarg looks at last week’s decision by the Supreme Court in the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill reference which demonstrates both the strength and the weakness of Holyrood as a legislature.

  • 17th December 2018

    The Supreme Court's ruling on the Scottish Continuity Bill gave both sides something but acknowledged that the vast bulk of the Bill was within Holyrood's competence at the time it was passed however, suggests Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, the strong feeling that devolved interests are not taken seriously highlights underlying fractures within the Union.

  • 14th December 2018

    Disagreements about the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland are about more than practical considerations of where customs checks should be performed, says Michael Keating.

  • 14th December 2018

    Derek MacKay’s third budget of this parliamentary session was doomed to be overshadowed by events at Westminster.

  • 12th December 2018

    Although the N-VA has insisted it left the Belgian government to pursue ’principled opposition’ those principle are, says Coree Brown Swan, at the very least informed by a strategy that allows it to maintain policy influence from outside government while countering the electoral threat posed by a resurgent Vlaams Belang.

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