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The campaign for the Scottish Parliament election of 2016 has lacked the energy and enthusiasm of #indyref1 or the general election of 2015. The winner has been known from the start – and long before. Most commentators have focussed on who comes second and becomes the official opposition in Holyrood.

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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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While pollsters have the result of the UK's EU referendum as too close to call, the bookies have Remain comfortably ahead. Prof David Bell will be monitoring the odds through the remaining campaign with results updated here. Updated chart - 16 June 2016.

Update, April 26

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The electoral system for the Scottish Parliament means that candidates rejected by voters in the constituency section may still find themselves in Holyrood, courtesy of the regional lists. Malcolm Harvey suggests that those very parliamentarians may be called on to address this quirk in the system in the next session. 
 
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The scale of the changes negotiated by David Cameron may be relatively modest, says Michael Keating, but they have far-reaching results regardless of the outcome of the referendum. 
 
The outcome of the marathon European Council can be interpreted in a narrow or a broad way. 
 
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Labour in Wales may be facing a tough election in May 2016 but unlike its Scottish counterpart, says Prof Roger Scully, it is likely to benefit from a divided opposition. 
 
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  • 19th June 2018

    Following the collapse of the Rajoy government following a corruption scandal, how does the new political landscape affect the constitutional debate in Catalonia? Prof Antonia María Ruiz Jiménez of Universidad Pablo de Olavide suggests that this apparently dramatic change will make relatively little difference.

  • 13th June 2018

    While populist leaders and movements make headlines worldwide, an often more subtle majority nationalism remains an endemic condition of the modern world. This phenomenon is comparatively understudied. The Centre on Constitutional Change invites calls for abstracts for an international workshop on the topic of majority nationalism, to be held in February 2019.

  • 31st May 2018

    The recent report by the Growth Commission contains some interesting ideas, says Michael Keating, but also makes some problematic assumptions.

  • 30th May 2018

    The Scottish and Welsh Governments worked together closely during their negotiations with the UK Government over those aspects of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that related to devolution. Despite ultimately choosing different paths, say Hedydd Phylip and Greg Davies, this spirit of cooperation looks set to continue.

  • 28th May 2018

    The highly-anticipated publication of 'Scotland: A New Case for Optimism' outlines the new economic case for independence but, asks Coree Brown-Swan, it remains to be seen whether this will prompt a constructive debate by Unionists and Nationalists alike about some of Scotland's economic woes.

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