Scotland

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Brexit may open a new constituency of support for Scottish independence but, says Nicola McEwen, the implications of the change for independence are about far more than political arithmetic.
 
In September 2014, Scots voted by a clear majority to remain within the United Kingdom. Less than two years on, might a vote for the UK to leave the European Union trigger a second independence referendum and the potential break-up of the UK? 
 
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If the internet polls are correct, England will vote narrowly to leave the EU but be held in by, principally, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Charlie Jeffery crunches the numbers to assess the territorial implications of the EU referendum vote. 
 
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The SNP machine has been quick to point out that the party has just won its (and any party’s) highest ever share of constituency votes.   The translation of constituency votes into seats highlights the disproportionality of that element of the system: 46.5% delivered 81% of seats.  This compares with the result from last year’s Scottish results in the UK general election when the SNP won 95% of seats with 50% of the vote.  But this was not a first-past-the-post election.  The SNP advanced in the constituencies but fell back on the lists.
 
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If you’re staying up to watch the results of the elections tonight, you’ll have their choice of friends and fellows of the Centre to keep you company through the night and into Friday. 
 
You can join us on: 
 
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After the high drama of #Indyref and the cliffhanger-that-wasn't of #GE2015, this year's Scottish Parliament election campaign may have seemed a little modest by comparison. However, says Prof Paul Cairney, it has had its talking points. 
 
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Politically, Scotland looks promising with regards to gender equality. One of Nicola Sturgeon’s first acts as First Minister was to announce a 50/50 gender equal cabinet, and to stay characteristically calm and dismissive in the face of criticism. This sent an important symbolic message about her style of politics, which added to the fact that the leaders of the three main parties are women, the co-convener of the Scottish Greens is a woman, and four of the party leaders are also openly gay or bisexual. The importance of this symbolically cannot be underestimated.
 
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We should, says James Mitchell, be glad that Scotland's political parties are debating how to use Holyrood's new powers but we should also hope that they begin to acknowledge the complexities - including the likelihood of unintended consequences - that those policies imply.
 
Scotland faces significant public policy challenges over the coming years. Scotland’s ageing population is not looming on the horizon but presents challenges – and opportunities – that are already with us and set to become more pressing.
 
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  • 22nd January 2019

    The UK is increasingly polarised by Brexit identities and they seem to have become stronger than party identities, a new academic report finds. Only one in 16 people did not have a Brexit identity, while more than one in five said they had no party identity. Sir John Curtice’s latest analysis of public opinion on a further referendum finds there has been no decisive shift in favour of another referendum. The report, Brexit and public opinion 2019, by The UK in a Changing Europe, provides an authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date guide to public opinion on each of the key issues around Brexit. CCC Fellow, Dr Coree Brown Swan contributed a chapter on "the SNP, Brexit and the politics of independence"

  • 22nd January 2019

    In the papers accompanying the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill published at the end of 2018, the UK Government says that it is “exploring opportunities to co-design the final proposals with the devolved administrations.” There are clear benefits in having strong co-operation and collaboration across the UK in the oversight of our environmental law and performance. Yet the challenge of finding a way forward in terms of working together is substantial since each part of the UK is in a different position at present. Given where things stand today, it may be better to accept that a good resolution is not possible immediately and to revisit the issue at a later stage - so long as there is a strong commitment to return and not allow interim arrangements to become fixed. Colin Reid, Professor of Environmental Law at the University of Dundee examines the issues.

  • 17th January 2019

    Richard Parry assesses a memorable day in UK parliamentary history as the Commons splits 432-202 on 15 January 2019 against the Government's recommended Brexit route. It was the most dramatic night at Westminster since the Labour government’s defeat on a confidence motion in 1979.

  • 17th January 2019

    What is the Irish government’s Brexit wish-list? The suggestion that Irish unity, as opposed to safeguarding political and economic stability, is the foremost concern of the Irish government is to misunderstand and misrepresent the motivations of this key Brexit stakeholder, writes Mary C. Murphy (University College Cork).

  • 17th January 2019

    Brexit is in trouble but not because of the Irish backstop, argues the CCC's Michael Keating.

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