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Category archive for: Scotland

Sturgeon’s ‘blame Westminster’ routine hides dismal SNP record as party of government

Written by Adam Tomkins.

The Scottish National Party annual conference in Aberdeen just ended was the last big gathering of the party before elections for a new Scottish parliament next May. The SNP has been in power in Scotland since 2007 and the polls put them on course to win a third straight term next spring. This is extraordinary.

The SNP exists for only one reason: to seek the break-up of Britain and independence for Scotland. It won the right to put that issue to the Scottish people in an historic referendum in September 2014, but Scots voted against independence by 55.3% to 44.7%, so Scotland remains – with England, Wales and Northern Ireland – one of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom.

The SNP’s defeat in the referendum ought to have caused it traumatic shock. But the referendum losers have emerged victorious in the year since. The 45% who voted Yes to independence rallied to the SNP’s cause, whereas the 55% who voted No are otherwise divided between those on the left (who support Labour), those on the centre-right (who support the Conservatives) and those few who remain in the middle (who used to support the Liberal Democrats). Continue reading Sturgeon’s ‘blame Westminster’ routine hides dismal SNP record as party of government

Don’t hold your breath for the devolution revolution

By Alison Gardner

The Smith Commission’s recommendations towards ‘devo-max’ for Scotland have dragged the question of English devolution out of Whitehall’s cupboard of forgotten political options and thrust it blinking into the political spotlight.  English local authorities have seized this opportunity to lobby Parliament to move beyond the Westminster-centric debate of ‘English votes for English laws’ and decentralise key powers and funding streams to local authorities.

In 2011, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, promised a public service revolution built around the principles of “localism”.  However, local government academics, Jones and Stewart, found that the subsequent 2011 Localism Act contained multiple centralising powers, particularly in respect to finance.  By 2013 the English local government funding system was declared to be “broken” and in need of fundamental overhaul.   So what are the prospects for the current localist movement to reach beyond technical reforms to overturn the existing pattern of central-local relations?  Are there now favourable conditions for a ‘localism revolution’?

Continue reading Don’t hold your breath for the devolution revolution