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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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  • 20th July 2018

    Richard Parry reviews a fast-evolving situation as the march of time and need to reconcile rhetoric and practicality constrain policy-makers

  • 13th July 2018

    The White Paper published this week talks about the UK Government making ‘sovereign decisions’ to adopt European rules but, as we know from the experience of Norway and Switzerland, this can be an illusory sovereignty when the costs of deviating from the rules is exclusion from the single market or European programmes. CCC Director Professor Michael Keating looks at whether the UK is ready for this kind of deal.

  • 12th July 2018

    Last week the government released its fisheries white paper. While most of the fisheries and Brexit debate centres on quotas and access to waters, there is also an important devolution dimension. Brexit already has profound consequences for the UK’s devolution settlement and fisheries policy is one example of this. So, in addition to communicating its overall vision for post-Brexit fisheries policy, the white paper was also an opportunity for the government to set out how it would see that policy working in the devolved UK.

  • 4th July 2018

    At the same time as Parliament prepares to ‘take back control’ from Brussels, the executive is in fact accruing to itself further control over the legislative process. CCC Fellow Professor Stephen Tierney addresses a number of trends – only some of which are a direct consequence of the unique circumstances of Brexit – which suggest a deeper realignment of institutional power within the constitution and a consequent diminution of Parliament’s legislative power.

  • 27th June 2018

    Faced with a choice between splitting her Cabinet into winners and losers, Theresa May has sought to keep the Brexit crap game going. She does this by avoiding betting on either a hard or soft Brexit. Professor Richard Rose of Strathclyde looks at the high stakes outcomes facing the Prime Minister. .

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