Scrutinising Holyrood and Westminster

To what extent was there split voting in the Scottish Parliament election – and did it matter?

To what extent was there split voting in the Scottish Parliament election – and did it matter?

The Scottish Parliament election saw the SNP emerge victorious, with the Scottish Conservatives overtaking Labour to finish in second. The voting system in use is designed to ensure that a majority is very difficult to achieve, which worked against the SNP in terms of their final share of MSPs. Here, Sean Swan asks whether voters ‘split’ their votes, and whether this had a tangible affect on the outcome of the election. 

The big accountability lie: in Scottish Parliament elections you have to pretend that you’ll succeed

The big accountability lie: in Scottish Parliament elections you have to pretend that you’ll succeed

Scotland goes to the polls on Thursday, with the SNP looking set to retain their majority and their status as the sole party of government. Here, Paul Cairney assesses what exactly you can and can’t lay at the door of the Scottish Government, and what is to the credit or fault of the UK government, or indeed Europe. 

Despite all the talk of prioritising poverty in Scotland, most regeneration investment is still going into wealthier areas

Despite all the talk of prioritising poverty in Scotland, most regeneration investment is still going into wealthier areas

In Scotland, all the main political parties are in theory committed to alleviation on poverty, with this year’s Holyrood election likely to see Labour and the SNP competing with one another over their respective sets of anti-poverty credentials. But, as Derek Rankine argues, regeneration investment continues to ignore the poorest areas in favour of those which arguably need the money less. 

By 3rd February 2016 0 Comments Read More →
The time is right for an audit of Scottish democracy

The time is right for an audit of Scottish democracy

Last year, we launched Democratic Audit – Scotland to provide meaningful, in depth, scrutiny of Scotland’s democratic record. The aim of the site is to provide a democratic audit, to examine the effectiveness of its political system, a democratic dashboard, to help members of the public make an informed choice when they participate in Scottish elections, and regular blog posts, to report on current developments in areas such as elections and representation, political parties, accountability, and human rights.

By 22nd January 2016 0 Comments Read More →
How effectively does the Scottish Parliament scrutinise the Scottish government?

How effectively does the Scottish Parliament scrutinise the Scottish government?

Scotland’s Parliament was set up with the partial intention of creating for Scotland a superior system of Government than was enjoyed at the UK level. But how effectively does is scrutinise its executive? In advance of the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, which the SNP are expected to dominate, Peter Lynch looks at some of the problems associated with the size of the Parliament, and the way its committee system interacts with the rest of the legislature, and the Scottish government.

By 12th October 2015 0 Comments Read More →
Westminster will benefit from greater Scottish influence more than it expects

Westminster will benefit from greater Scottish influence more than it expects

The SNP swept the board at the 2015 General Election, with the party winning all but two parliamentary seats (al biet in an unrepresentative First Past the Post election). One of their number Stephen Gethins argues that Westminster has much to learn from the way Holyrood has worked in recent years, and that his party intend to be a positive influence on Westminster rather than the destructive one its critics argue it will play. 

By 14th August 2015 0 Comments Read More →
The Government’s new EVEL timeline still isn’t sufficient to facilitate the necessary debate and deliberation

The Government’s new EVEL timeline still isn’t sufficient to facilitate the necessary debate and deliberation

In the immediate aftermath of Scotland’s vote to remain in the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister David Cameron proposed removing the rights of Scottish MPs to vote on ‘English only’ issues – a process which would be contemporaneous with the granting of new powers for Scotland. Katie Boyle argues that there are at least three main issues with the Government’s recent announcement of the way the change will be introduced, including what counts as a “devolved matter”, the financial overlap between devolved and non-devolved issues, and the break-neck speed of the process through which it was be introduced. 

The UK government’s determination to shrink the state may make it more difficult to fulfil their objective of saving the union

The UK government’s determination to shrink the state may make it more difficult to fulfil their objective of saving the union

On Friday 5 June, the Constitution Unit and the Welsh Governance Centre jointly sponsored a conference of politicians and academics on ‘Devolution and the Future of The Union’ at the British Academy. It followed up a series of separate reports by them and by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and the Institute for Government, urging an end to the UK’s government’s piecemeal approach to devolution. But the Scotland Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons on Tuesday made it clear that the political parties are not rushing to heed the academic advice. Brian Walker reflects on the differences between the two agendas.