Whatever its flaws, the British way of doing things has lessons for Spain

In an article in the Guardian prescribing on the Catalonian crisis, Gerry Adams strives to put himself on the right side of history and apply lessons from our own peace process. Thus far, the Spanish government is refusing to open a dialogue without the Catalans acquiescing to preconditions, including an acceptance that any talk of independence is illegal under Spanish law. In a conversation I had on Thursday evening with the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, he assured me that the … Read more

Tory momentum won’t sweep away call for IndyRef2

The results are in and the Local Government outcomes in Scotland, Wales and (much of) England are no great surprise. Beyond Hadrian’s Wall Labour lost their majority on Glasgow City Council after nearly 40 years dominance. Well over 100 Scottish council seats turned Conservative blue, the majority of which were previously rose-red. There are two competing Indyref2 narratives in Scotland at the moment. One that the Tory revival is somehow a defeat for the SNP and their call for a … Read 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] and Sinn Fein have made a similar case. However, all of this is apparently for nothing, because James Brokenshire has to be persuaded that the … Read more

Scotland must solve its own business case if ‘Yes’ is to win an #IndyRef2

I admit there were a few occasions when I thought I’d stuck my neck out a little too far after I’d solemnly declared the Scottish #IndyRef to be over in February. It wasn’t of course and, as I also predicted at the time, it has brought in a lot of new business to the SNP, and neatly decapitated Scottish Labour into the bargain. The paradox of the currency question is that it had two immediate but contrary effects when it crystalised back then. Most … Read more

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again (Peter Geoghegan)

The last book I completed reading in 2014 also turned out to be my favourite of the year. Peter Geoghegan’s The People’s Referendum has been published recently and tells the story of his journey through Scotland and further afield getting under the skin of the independence campaign in the run up to September’s referendum. In Geoghegan’s own words: … the independence referendum changed not just Scottish politics but the nation’s people, its sense of itself and its future. This is … Read more

Oil price drop would have forced an indy Scotland to borrow 6% of national output

So as we go paddling towards some form of resolution to our budget crisis, the FT has some, er, good news for thwarted Scottish Nationalists, on foot of a simulation of oil revenues by the Office for Budget Responsibility… Had Scotland voted Yes to independence, it would now be looking at oil revenues of £1.25bn instead of £6.9bn in 2016-17 — its first year as a new country — while facing a deficit of close to 6 per cent of national income, … Read more

Alex Salmond plans to return to Westminster

If the good people of East Sussex think I’m as big a danger to the Westminster Parliament as Guy Fawkes, then they’re right. Alex Salmond Scotland’s former First Minister, Alex Salmond is attempting to make a return to the Westminster Parliament in May 2015. Salmond who has always enjoyed the House of Commons, will likely play a key role mentoring and building what is expected to be a much larger SNP parliamentary party. He has said he will not be … Read more

Has Sturgeon thrown a spanner in the works over Corporation Tax?

There is increasing speculation that the Chancellor, George Osbourne is to announce that Corporation Tax powers will be devolved to Northern Ireland. All of the main parties here support the move, so you would think it would be relatively simple to do it. However, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Stugeon might have just thrown a spanner in the works for that plan as she told SKY News this morning .@NicolaSturgeon: if Northern Ireland gets power over Corporation Tax then these … Read more

SNP surge dominates Scottish Labour

As the race for the Scottish leadership gets underway two new polls indicate that the SNP could take 20 plus from Labour at next years Westminster election basically imploding Miliband’s 35% strategy. (This is to basically win off the back of disaffected Lib Dems). The latest polls put the SNP in a commanding lead over Labour IPSOS/MORI SNP on 52% Labour on just 23%, the Scottish Conservatives on 10% Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens both on 6%. YouGov SNP-43% Labour-27% … Read more

Spanish court blocks Catalan Independence Referendum #indyref

A few days ago the Catalan President, Artur Mas signed a decree for a independence vote to be held on November 9th 2014. Speaking about holding the vote Mas said; Our roots are deep, as is the strength of our feelings and our will to survive in the future. We want to decide, we want to decide our future for ourselves, and we now have the legal framework and are at the right moment to do it. Obviously given heart … Read more

After #IndyRef 4: Credulous Bayesians and the importance of maintaining diversity of thought

Earlier today I was asked to speak on the business of shared space and the political effects of social media in Northern Ireland at an event in Liverpool in the new year. Not long afterwards I came across this paper which was written in 2007 by Edward Glaeser and Cass Sunstein. In the wake of the largest and in many ways most successful social media campaign we’ve ever seen in Scotland I think it explains some of the unmet expectations involved: The information of … Read more

So, if there is a border poll, what might a Yes Ireland campaign look like?

On this morning’s Sunday Politics, the Bel Tel Political Editor, Liam Clarke said that a poll will appear in tomorrow’s newspaper stating that a majority of those surveyed would like to see a border poll. Clarke did not go into who would win such a poll if it is held, but I thought I would pen some thoughts I have been developing over the past few months. Last week I was in Scotland to live blog the referendum as the … Read more

Murphy: Does continued Partition or Irish unity offer better future

In the aftermath of the Scottish referendum, Sinn Fein have renewed their push for a border poll here. The party’s MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Muprhy writes for Slugger making the case for holding a poll and Irish unity. On the 18th of September the people of Scotland exercised their democratic voice on the future of the Scottish Nation.  Throughout the referendum the people of Scotland engaged in an informed and respectful debate and they have now made their … Read more

#Indyref – According to Ashcroft poll, Protestants saved the Union #updated

Interesting post independence referendum poll from Lord Ashcroft (results mirrored actual referendum result). calculated from Ashcroft’s data, makes clear, there does appear to have been a simplistic correlation between religious affiliation and referendum voting patterns. Essentially, the majority of Catholics, non-Christians, and those professing no religion all favoured independence. It was only the votes of Protestants which saved the United Kingdom. The vast majority of these affiliate to the Church of Scotland and may have been influenced by the fact … Read more

After #IndyRef: Should business get involved in the fraught business of politics…

Fascinating conversation between the FT’s Europe Business editor Sarah Gordon and Jonathan Guthrie, the paper’s City editor on whether business interventions in Scotland’s #IndyRef were positive or negative. They each take a refreshingly diametric view: business has an interest; business should not risk alienating customers and staff. Next up the Brexit… What do you think? Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is … Read more

The Nasty Face Of Nationalism

A PERSONAL VIEW by Derec Thompson Derec Thompson is a self-employed web designer originally from Belfast who now lives in Cambuslang just outside Glasgow. He was recently involved as a campaigner for a Yes outcome in the Scottish independence referendum and has consequently joined the Scottish National Party. Follow Derec on Twitter   I’ve just emerged from the first political campaign I’ve ever been involved in. The Scottish independence referendum campaign has possibly been the longest in living memory. As … Read more

#IndyRef: “A similar, but more demanding, act of political dexterity will be required from Labour now”

This is one of the sanest pieces of writing I’ve seen on #IndyRef (h/t Tom Griffin) from Associate Professor Ben Jackson. First this… It is extremely difficult, absent a deep economic or social crisis, to break up an existing democratic state. The fact that Scottish independence got so close to winning a majority tells us something about how toxic the political and economic environment has now become for the traditional ruling parties in Scotland – and probably in Britain as … Read more

#IndyRef agus Tuaisceart Éireann: Níl an cluiche ach ina thús.

Achoimre deas ar an áit ina aimsiú muid féin i ndiaidh an IndyRef, le Póilín Ní Chiaráin: Drochsheans go dteastaíonn ó Shinn Féin go sásófaí a n-iarratas ar a thuilleadh cumhachta do Stormont. Ar éigean a mheallfadh sé sin daoine atá ina choinne chun tacú le hÉirinn aontaithe. Tá Cameron agus an DUP ag suirí le chéile le tamall mar go mb’fhéidir go mbeadh sé ag brath orthu chun rialtas a chur le chéile an bhliain seo chugainn. Cé acu … Read more

After IndyRef #3: Why Northern Ireland may be the very last bit to exit the United Kingdom…

Alex Kane thinks it’s all over in Scotland for another generation. Well, maybe. The problem with that argument is that the political system may already be re-wiring itself in Scotland around the battle lines of the campaign and the result. Next time out the British Prime Minister may not be able to count Scottish Labour as a bulwark to keep the Scots and Picts from rebelling more completely next time. Britishness is in serious decline amongst those who came of … Read more