News and opinion

Scottish Parliament

Does a majority of seats from pro-independence parties in the Scottish Parliament provide a mandate for a second independence referendum?

Most sides like to claim that they have the people on their side…that they have a mandate for action…Following the 2019 General Election in which the Conservatives won 56% of the seats (365/650), Boris Johnson claimed he had a mandate to get Brexit done. Also following that election, the SNP won 81% of the Scottish seats (48/59) and so Nicola Sturgeon claimed to have a mandate for the Scottish Parliament to be given the right to decide upon a second independence referendum.
Abstract satellite view Ireland

Long Read: Community, church and culture in boundary-making: the legacies of partition in the two parts of Ireland.

In a talk prepared for the BBC at Queen’s University Belfast, Jennifer Todd reflects on the legacies of partition one hundred years on.
National Welsh Assembly, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff

The constitutional prospects of the sixth Senedd

The sixth devolved election in Wales is novel in a variety of ways. It is the first Welsh election in which 16-17-year-olds will participate, yet one taking place amid a global pandemic and ongoing public health measures.
Global View

Party Manifesto Support for a Scottish Council on Global Affairs

Professor Juliet Kaarbo, Professor Peter Jackson and Professor Phillips O’Brien discuss the potential of a Scottish Council on Global Affairs:- what it is, what it would do and the level of cross-party support for the initiative.
Scottish Parliament

Breaking the Mould? Small parties in the 2021 Scottish parliament elections

Alistair Clark explores the relevance of small parties in the upcoming election, arguing that while small parties tend to have fluctuating fortunes, they have become a permanent presence in Scottish politics. For more on small parties, see Alistair's contribution to our recent ebook.
Supreme Court

The UNCRC and European Charter of Local Self-Government Bill References: Once (and twice) more unto the breach?

Dr Chris McCorkindale explores the political, legal and constitutional factors behind the UK Government's decision to refer two Acts of the Scottish Parliament to the Supreme Court.
Union flag, Scottish flag, European flag

Scottish independence: Lessons from the Brexit process?

Benjamin Martill writes: Scottish independence is back on the agenda, largely thanks to Brexit, which has provided the ‘material change in circumstances’ necessary for a further challenge to the status quo.
covid 19 mask

Designing and funding the devolved nations’ policy responses to COVID-19

Luck, huge sums of money and ad-hoc bypassing of the normal rules mean the devolved governments’ funding arrangements have largely coped with COVID – but problems are brewing find IFS, Strathclyde and Stirling researchers

A first glimpse of post-Brexit politics? England’s May 2021 elections

Jack Sheldon looks ahead to the mayoral and local elections in England which will be held on 6th May. He suggests that they could provide a first glimpse of the shape England’s post-Brexit politics might take, but that the election which seems likely have the most lasting impact on the course of English politics (and that of the wider UK) will be that in Scotland.