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Category: Scotland

Ruth Davidson, the Queen of Scots who will be the Tory party’s saviour?

Written by Mark Stuart.

While the Prime Minister licks her wounds in England, another female Tory leader north of the Border has emerged as the new star of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Last Thursday, Ruth Davidson presided over a dozen spectacular gains for the Scottish Tories.

Remarkably, after years in the wilderness, Davidson engineered her Party’s best performance since 1983, including the spectacular toppling of former SNP leader, Alex Salmond in Gordon and the scalp of Angus Robertson, the Leader of the SNP’s Westminster MPs in Moray.

A Stooshie or a Stramash? Will the Scottish Conservatives stage a revival on 8 June?

Written by Mark Stuart.

First, a couple of translations for non Scots. A ‘stooshie’ is a minor commotion whereas a ‘stramash’ is an uproar or a tumult. The great unknown of the UK General Election fought North of the Border is will we see a minor change in seats (a ‘stooshie’), or will the Scottish Conservatives be able to create a ‘stramash’ by making major gains at the expense of the Scottish National Party (SNP)?

SNP victory in Scottish council elections starts to crack when you look closely

Written by John Curtice.

At first glance the SNP scored another remarkable success in the Scottish local elections on May 4. The party won 431 seats, 155 more than their nearest rivals, the Conservatives. Meanwhile, Labour, who once dominated local government in Scotland, were even further behind.

Equally, the official tally of the parties’ share of the first preference vote across Scotland as a whole, which has just been published, confirms that the party was well ahead of the rest of the pack. The SNP won 32.3% of the vote, while the Conservatives secured 25.2% and Labour 20.2%. Both the Liberal Democrats (6.8%) and the Greens (4.1%) were even further behind.

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).

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’?