Scotland

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The recent GERS figures for Scotland’s fiscal balance in 2014-15 were entirely predictable. For the first two quarters of that financial year, oil prices averaged around $100 per barrel. Revenues from North Sea oil were flowing strongly. During the next two quarters, the oil price averaged around $50 per barrel and revenues stalled.
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Twenty five years ago, the historian Eric Hobsbawm announced the end of nations and nationalism. Like the Owl of Minerva, they appeared in view only as they flew into the twilight. In 2015, however, nationalism looks very much alive, with restive movements even in established states like the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain. This might seem at odds with the movement to European unity but in practice the two are linked.
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In his response to the Scotland Bill, Richard Parry examines the shift in Conservative party strategy from drawing a line into the sand on devolution to advocating the further transfer of tax and benefits powers. This, according to Richard, is an attempt to open up new areas for competition and situate the party as a bourgeois, pro-business alternative to Labour and Nationalists in Scotland and Wales.

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Some time in the next two years, Scots will face another referendum, on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union. This issue has become deeply entangled with the question of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. Last year’s referendum was about independence-in-Europe and since the 1980s the EU has provided a vital external support system for proposals for Scottish independence. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that a UK withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) should require the consent of all four home nations.
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  • 16th August 2018

    A week after the state of intergovernmental relations (IGR) in the UK was highlighted by the UK government’s law officers standing in opposition to their devolved counterparts in the UK Supreme Court, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee published a report on improving IGR after Brexit. Jack Sheldon discusses the methods by which England could gain distinct representation — something it currently lacks — in a new IGR system.

  • 10th August 2018

    Brexit is re-making the UK’s constitution under our noses. The territorial constitution is particularly fragile. Pursuing Brexit, Theresa May’s government has stumbled into deep questions about devolution.

  • 8th August 2018

    The UK in a Changing Europe has formed a new Brexit Policy Panel (BPP). The BPP is a cross-disciplinary group of over 100 leading social scientists created to provide ongoing analysis of where we have got to in the Brexit process, and to forecast where we are headed. Members of the UK in a Changing Europe Brexit Policy Panel complete a monthly survey addressing three key areas of uncertainty around Brexit: if —and when—the UK will leave the EU; how Brexit will affect British politics; and what our relationship with the EU is likely to look like in the future. The CCC participates on the Panel.

  • 2nd August 2018

    The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee issued its report ‘Devolution and Exiting the EU: reconciling differences and building strong relationships’. Discussing its contents, Professor Nicola McEwen suggests that the report includes some practical recommendations, some of which were informed by CCC research. It also shines a light on some of the more difficult challenges ahead.

  • 31st July 2018

    The politicisation of Brexit, combined with deteriorating relations between London and Dublin, has created a toxic atmosphere in Northern Ireland, says Mary Murphy, which will require imagination and possibly new institutions to resolve.

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