Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Scotland Collection

The Scottish independence referendum was held on the 18th September 2014. With a voter turnout of 85%, 55% voted No to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ Yet, the result did not settle the matter once and for all. Instead, attention has moved quickly to the report of ‘Smith Commission’, formed to produce a plan to introduce ‘extensive new powers’ for the Scottish Government, and the outcome of the UK General election, which will determine which parties will have the greatest say in its implementation.

The special issue examines the key issues that arose during and after the referendum. It suggests that the Scottish experience, of designing and debating referendums, provides a model for a large number of comparable countries. What some describe as a parochial debate has taken on international importance. It also discusses a series of perhaps counterintuitive arguments: the links between the UK and Scottish Governments could become stronger as greater devolution produces more shared responsibilities; constitutional reform did not go hand in hand with reforms to strengthen the Scottish Parliament or other political reforms; Scotland is generally less left-wing than many of the debates suggested; and, devolution does not lead to inevitable differences in Scottish policy.

Paul Cairney

You can read all twelve articles in the collection for free here

Monday, 18 May 2015

Reflections on UKIP and the 2015 Election

The General Election produced a stunning Conservative victory, defying the polls. London stood out as the most prominent Labour bulwark, and many in the Westminster village remarked that minority voters played a key part in Miliband’s success in the capital. Trevor Phillips and Richard Webber, in their insightful analysis of London’s politics, point out that two-thirds of minority Londoners voted Labour while two-thirds of White British Londoners opted for UKIP or the Tories in the European elections, foreshadowing a Britain in which ethnicity eclipses class as the master cleavage. In the wake of his victory in May, Cameron stuck to his promise of a European referendum, hinting at a ‘deal’ from the EU which will convince British voters to remain in Europe. Andrew Geddes’ piece is sceptical that he will succeed, nicely dispelling the notion that far-reaching change is possible within the EU. Should Cameron fail to get a deal, the beneficiary will be Nigel Farage, who, despite recent ructions within UKIP, promises to play a large role in the Brexit campaign. Speaking of UKIP, Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin’s article predicted they would attain over 10 percent of the vote and they were correct – their essay explains why UKIP’s base is so resilient and why its appeal is unlikely to fade any time soon.

You can read the articles for free here:

Superdiversity and the Browing of Labour by Trevor Phillips and Richard Webber

The EU, Ukip and the Politics of Immigration in Britain by Andrew Geddes

Understanding Ukip: Identity, Social Change and the Left Behind by Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin

Eric Kaufmann