20 Apr 2016

Why the SNP are Scotland’s new predominant party

On Wednesday, ERS Scotland launched a major new report, One Party To Rule Them All: Does Scotland Have A Predominant-Party Problem? . That concept of a “predominant-party system” – popularised by the political scientist Giovanni Sartori - is a bit of a mouthful, but it’s an important one. It certainly doesn’t mean we’re turning into some kind of North Korea-style one-party state, as some of the […]
11 Mar 2016

We closed a lobbying loophole

We’re welcoming a victory today in our campaign to make lobbying in Scotland more transparent. Yesterday we received a letter from the Scottish Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe Fitzpatrick, stating that the Scottish Government will now amend the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill in line with our recommendations - ensuring the most important lobbying organisations will be covered by the Bill. We […]
4 Mar 2016

Four Reasons Conservatives Should Support Electoral Reform

The Scottish Conservative Party conference kicks off today, and one of the highlights will be the launch of a new pamphlet, “Light Blue Ideas”, edited by Professor Alan Convery. Alan is a lecturer in politics at Edinburgh University, and has brought together a stellar cast of policy experts and academics to propose ways in which the Scottish Conservatives might modernise themselves to contend for […]
15 Feb 2016

Call me maybe - why the Scottish Lobbying Bill gets it wrong on digital comms

This is a guest blog, originally published by the Scottish Alliance for Lobbying Transparency . The opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Electoral Reform Society. By Pete Mills, Unlock Democracy Is there a big difference between a Skype call and a phone call? Not really, you might think. One can use video, the other can’t; one uses your data, […]
12 Feb 2016

Charities have nothing to fear from the Scottish Lobbying Bill

This is a guest blog - the opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Electoral Reform Society. MSc student Megan Elliot, who is conducting research on lobbying disclosure and its impact on small organisations, responds to fears that changes in lobbying transparency could cause a 'democratic chill' for small groups. This is reposted from CommonSpace. […]
25 Jan 2016

5 Myths About the Scottish Lobbying Bill

This is a guest post by Pete Mills from Unlock Democracy In the first week back after Christmas, MSPs debated a Bill to introduce a lobbying register designed to let ordinary people know who is trying to influence our politicians. During the debate, we heard powerful calls from MSPs - including the influential Standards Committee - to expand the register so that it gives a clear picture of […]
7 Jan 2016

Scotland needs a stronger Lobbying Bill

Remember the phone-hacking scandal? It seems long ago, but we shouldn’t forget how much we learned about the ways big private interests try to influence policy. The Leveson Inquiry dug up all sorts of stories about News International’s lobbying of senior cabinet ministers involved in Murdoch’s BSkyB bid. In their book on lobbying, Tamasin Cave and Andrew Rowell describe the relationship between […]
24 Aug 2015

Are the SNP about to break the Holyrood voting system (again)?

This article was co-authored by ERS Scotland's Juliet Swann and Danny Zinkus Sutton from Unlock Democracy Pollsters are perhaps not to be relied upon after their predictions for the General Election earlier in the year. Yet, despite scepticism, the polls for Scotland turned out to be largely accurate. And, as we reflected on in the week before the election, the predictions weren’t terribly […]
24 Jun 2015

Ruth Davidson's Lessons from the Scottish Referendum

The following is republished with the kind permission of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. It is one part of Giving 16 and 17 Year Olds the Vote - The Tory Case , a publication from the Tory Reform Group. The Scottish Independence referendum on 18th September was unprecedented for many reasons. The decision, for the first time in British history, to give 16 and 17 year olds the vote was […]
Votes at 16
19 Jun 2015

Scotland leads the way on votes at 16

Yesterday, two very different things happened around the same issue in Scotland and England. At 4:22pm in Westminster, during a debate on the EU Referendum Bill, MPs voted 310-265 against giving 16 and 17 year olds a say in the referendum. 40 minutes later up in the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, MSPs voted unanimously in favour of the Bill which promises votes at 16 for all Scottish elections […]