Archive for December, 2015

The Carmichael case shows that we need a stronger public understanding of the integral role that election courts perform in our democracy

The Carmichael case shows that we need a stronger public understanding of the integral role that election courts perform in our democracy

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat MP who served as the Secretary of State for Scotland in the 2010-2015 Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, has survived the court case which threatened to strip him of his Orkney and Shetlands parliamentary seat. Heather Green follows up on her previous article for Democratic Audit, arguing that it is disappointing that public comment on this case has tended to dwell on presumed partisan machinations, and to overlook the reasoned and peaceful means by which the court brought about a legal resolution to the political melodrama that triggered the case in the first place.

By 17th December 2015 0 Comments Read More →
The real ‘Northern Powerhouse’? A collaborative relationship between Scotland and the North East and Cumbria holds real potential

The real ‘Northern Powerhouse’? A collaborative relationship between Scotland and the North East and Cumbria holds real potential

Many progressive voices in the border regions of England were nervous about Scottish independence and continue to be so about new powers due to the potential for their region to lose out due to potential cross-border differences such as tax rates. However, Keith Shaw argues that increasing collaboration between Northumberland and Cumbria and the Scottish border counties could represent the real ‘Northern Powerhouse’. 

By 15th December 2015 0 Comments Read More →
The gendered dimensions of constitutional change: Women and the independence referendums in Scotland and Catalonia

The gendered dimensions of constitutional change: Women and the independence referendums in Scotland and Catalonia

Constitutional debates around independence claims present various gendered dimensions and implications for women and gender equality policy issues more broadly. In this article, Tània Verge and Alba Alonso challenge the idea that differences between women and men’s voting patterns can be simply reduced to risk aversion, and write that the public debates largely suffered in both countries from the absence of women’s voices and gender equality discussions. However, they highlight that while the women’s movement engaged actively with the campaign in Scotland, women’s groups in Catalonia generally remained distant from the territorial debate.

By 10th December 2015 0 Comments Read More →
The referendum raises questions about the suitability of using referendums as a ‘test bed’ for a lowered voting age

The referendum raises questions about the suitability of using referendums as a ‘test bed’ for a lowered voting age

Educating 16 and 17-year-olds about voting and citizenship takes time, says Andrew Mycock, and the Scottish referendum was a divisive introduction to politics for some of them. Nor is it mere coincidence that 18 is the voting age in 27 of the 28 EU member states.

By 7th December 2015 0 Comments Read More →
An enduring legacy? The independence referendum may not herald the beginning of a new era of political engagement

An enduring legacy? The independence referendum may not herald the beginning of a new era of political engagement

The independence referendum fundamentally changed Scottish politics, with an extraordinarily high turnout of 84.6% leading some to speculate that a new era of political engagement had begun. But as Heinz Brandenburg, Zac Greene, Neil McGarvey and Stephen Campbell show, that may not be the case – with those who were brought to the polls for the first time likely to find the idea of voting for an idea more appealing than that of voting for a politician. 

By 2nd December 2015 0 Comments Read More →