Is There Any Room for the Liberal Democrats?

19th April 2018 Comment Elections, parties & leaders

Back in 1999, the creation of the Scottish Parliament seemed like a heaven-sent opportunity for the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Given that the new body was to be elected using proportional representation (the result of successful bargaining with Labour in the Scottish Constitutional Convention), it was unlikely that any single party would ever win an overall […]


Back from the Brink? Prospects for Scottish Labour

8th March 2018 Comment Elections, parties & leaders

When Scottish Labour gathered for its spring conference in Perth twelve months ago, the party seemed to be heading for disaster. Its standing in polls of vote intentions for Scottish Parliament elections averaged just 16%, while its reading on vote intentions for a Westminster election were, at 14%, even slightly worse. The party was seemingly […]



How Much Does Scotland Care About Brexit?

31st January 2018 Comment National identity and cultural issues

Scotland voted very differently from the rest of Britain in the EU referendum: 62% of Scottish voters supported Remain compared with 48% across the UK as a whole. The result north of the border chimed with the avowedly pro-European stance adopted by the Scottish government throughout the referendum campaign, and suggested that the Scottish electorate […]


Time For Some Rethinking in Scotland’s Brexit Debate?

9th January 2018 Comment How Scotland should be governed

Brexit has added some new twists to the debate about Scotland’s constitutional status. The most obvious of these is that it led the Scottish Parliament in March 2017 to request the authority needed to hold another independence referendum, only for the First Minister to put the idea back on hold in June after losing 21 […]



The Three Characteristics of the Scottish Conservative Revival

1st October 2017 Comment Elections, parties & leaders

The revival of the Conservative party in Scotland during the last two years has been regarded by many as remarkable. This, perhaps, is hardly surprising. After all, in the nine UK and Scottish Parliamentary elections held between 1997 and 2015, the party had consistently flatlined at around 16-17%  – and indeed in 2011 and 2015 […]


Raising An Anniversary Glass?

21st September 2017 Comment Elections, parties & leaders How Scotland should be governed Perceptions of government & the Union The Scottish independence referendum

How should a poll be reported when it finds that around half agree with something while half do not? Does it mean the glass is half full or half empty? Does the answer, perhaps, simply depend on your political perspective? Last week marked the twentieth anniversary of the 1997 devolution referendum in which voters in […]