Region Archives: Scotland

Westminster parliament

Interview with Prof Rob Ford on the Ins and Outs of the UK’s #GE17

I spoke to Rob Ford, Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester, about the upcoming Westminster election this afternoon.  I asked him how the government could get around the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act: There are two likely options. The first and, given the statement of Jeremy Corbyn already, the more more…

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A centrist alternative to the UK Labour Party?

It’s worth reading this first… …being an equidistant centre party is good for winning votes and terrible at winning seats. That’s three questions anyone wanting to set up a new centre party has to answer, just as a preliminary: What does your proposed party stand for? How are you going to build an actual party, more…

New powers for Stormont? That’ll get’em going!

James Brokenshire has solemnly warned that if Stormont is to receive new powers as result of Brexit, power sharing must be restored. This blatantly original statement puts him in line for a Nobel Peace Prize or a slot on Pointless. It’s just the sort of threat that will have them rushing to the conference table more…

Battle for Britain and Scotland

Is London’s Anglo centric unionism fundamentally at odds with unionism in the devolved territories?

If you read nothing else this week, try this fascinating insight from Richard Wynne Jones, director of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University (where I’ll be speaking in few weeks), into what may turn out to be one of the key drivers in pushing the United Kingdom apart: English nationalism is a curious concoction, combining a rather unlikely sense more…

The political capital of asking for what you will not get…

Brexit has led to increasing demands for IndyRef2 and an NI border poll, and on principle, the British Government has not exactly been slow to rule them out.  Nicola Sturgeon is making the case that Brexit is changing the opinion of a large number of people in Scotland [A major change of circumstances? – Ed] more…

Gordon Brown storms in with a “third option” for Scotland and the UK. The ideal compromise, or too much, too late?

  Churn over Theresa May’s flat refusal to allow Indy ref 2 continues unabated. The reality of identity politics is proving a lot more complicated than the dream. The big move today is Gordon Brown’s “third option” of a federalising UK  of which more in a moment. But first a verdict on yesterday. May was more…

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Could Northern Ireland remain in or closer to the EU post-Brexit?

At Monday lunchtime in next week’s Belfast Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics, I will be hosting a session: Could Northern Ireland be an independent member of the EU, or have “special status”. I thought it was important to have a forum during the festival for people to discuss the EU. I’m not pushing any particular outcome, but more…

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Challenges ahead of a #ScotRef (or #IndyRef2) will cut both ways…

] Today’s Polling Matters podcast has a useful conversation between host Keiran Pedley and Ailsa Henderson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. It’s a real anti-hype piece in which she does a good job of honing in on some of the crunch areas of #ScotRef (the updated SNP version of #IndyRef2). In her more…

Gerry Adams ups the ante on Unity, just as it comes under fresh critical examination

 Gerry Adams knows  exactly  how to deploy  sweet reasonableness as a weapon and end up  with a perfect circle of  obstruction. He had had several “businesslike, friendly engagements” with DUP leader Arlene Foster since the talks began, and he had “no reason to doubt” she was innocent of accusations over the “cash for ash” Renewable more…

Theresa May’s fightback to support the Union through Brexit is only work in progress. The Irish are creating a benign vision of a United Ireland. Do the British want to match it?

The imminence of triggering Article 50 has at last woken up the British government to the reality of the threat to the Union. In a reported forthcoming tour of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to explain a negotiating  position that has seemed to ignore them,  propping up support for her “beloved Union” has become  Theresa more…

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“If I ruled out a referendum, I would be deciding that Scotland will follow the UK to a hard Brexit…”

The political gamble of Ms Sturgeon’s life, or so says Alex Massie in the Spectator. Well, maybe. She hasn’t actually called anything yet, just flagged her intention to do so within a set timeframe. However… Brexit, she confirmed, has changed everything. Before the EU referendum she had accepted there could be no grounds for a more…

Theresa May launches high stakes confrontation with Nicola Sturgeon

The pace of big politics is quickening in the run-up to  pulling the trigger of Art 50.  In advance of addressing the Scottish Conservatives today, Theresa May says “politics is not a game and the management of devolved public services in Scotland is too important to be neglected.” But it’s high risk, high stakes  poker more…

Tony Blair has made the case for a rethink on Brexit and Northern Ireland will need a new financial deal. Is anybody listening?

Hurtling at us like a comet but unnoticed by the local worthies is the prospect for repatriating powers direct from Brussels to Stormont, Holyrood and Cardiff Bay. Among them are powers over agriculture and energy, which in Ireland are linked or integrated north and south. How they’ll be divvied up is  hasn’t  even been examined. more…