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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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Latest blogs

  • 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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