British & Scottish Politics

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Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was an improbable blockbuster. Dense with data and dotted with equations, it took the 2008-9 financial crisis, the subsequent austerity measures and growing concerns about rising inequality to propel this weighty work to the top of the bestsellers lists. However, it provides a useful backdrop to the general election and the parties’ approaches to wealth. 
 
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Whereas Scottish Parliamentary elections give a platform to Scotland-centred issues, Westminster General Elections in Scotland are usually very British affairs. Especially since devolution in 1999, UK elections have been dominated by the contest for Prime Minister and the party of British government. Not so this time, however much the Labour Party would like it to be.
 
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Another month, another set of Lord Ashcroft's constituency polls. These ones have somehow managed to raise the electoral temperature in Scotland still further. This time the news is even more severe for Labour, with the polls now indicating that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is set to win 56 of 59 Scottish seats. At present, the SNP has six whilst Labour has 41. If the result is anything close to what the polls are suggesting, Labour’s night will be nothing short of catastrophic.
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The pressure is on Ed Miliband to rule out any post-election deal with the SNP. With the Tories and Labour head-to-head and Lord Ashcroft's polling showing the nationalists claiming 50 of 59 seats north of the border, it's likely Nicola Sturgeon's party could be kingmaker on May 8th. This would almost certainly take the form of confidence-and-supply agreement, rather than an outright coalition, which Ed Balls has pretty much ruled out. But it's enough to put the frighteners on London.
 
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The engagement of young people with politics during the referendum has had some dramatic results from increased party membership to a reduction in the voting age. Alan Mackie and Jim Crowther of the Institute of Education at The University of Edinburgh, find out how it happened and consider whether it will last.
 
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There is considerably more to building coalitions than simple arithmetic, explains Bettina Petersohn. Prospective prime ministers may have an eye on strategy as much as stability and they would do well to consider the impact of post-election deal making in the devolved assemblies.
 
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Latest blogs

  • 18th May 2018

    Different political actors have responded to the decision by the Scottish Parliament to withhold its consent for the UK Government’s showpiece EU (Withdrawal) Bill in very different ways. Prof Nicola McEwen sifts the facts from the hyperbole and explains where we are and where we go from here.

  • 15th May 2018

    On 8 May the UK’s House of Lords passed an amendment to require the House of Commons to vote on remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA), the possibility of Britain adopting the so-called ‘Norway model’ is back on the agenda of British politics. Here the authors of Squaring the Circle on Brexit: Could the Norway Model Work?, John Erik Fossum and Hans Petter Graver, give some background to Norway’s relationship with the European Union and reveal the truth behind some common myths about the Norway model.

  • 4th May 2018

    The Sewel Convention has historically worked well, says Michael Keating, but Brexit will put it to the test.

  • 3rd May 2018

    Amendments to controversial Clause 11 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill were agreed in the House of Lords yesterday evening, following a deal between the UK and Welsh governments last week. Jack Sheldon and Mike Kenny explain the significance of this agreement for the UK as a whole and outline a number of unresolved issues it raises.

  • 2nd May 2018

    The hesitant progress of Brexit legislation through Westminster has provided parliament with an opportunity to show its teeth and, says Tobias Lock, it demonstrates that the legislature has bite as well as bark.

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