12 Jun 2015

What is the Scotland Bill?

The Scotland Bill was no surprise when it was announced in the Queens Speech. In the lead up to the Scottish independence referendum vote last September and following a particular cliff-edge poll , unionist parties became very worried that the pro-independence Yes campaign might just do it. Two days before the referendum, the leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties joined […]
29 Apr 2015

What’s happening in Scotland?

If the polls are to be believed, next Thursday Scotland will vote to send more SNP MPs to the House of Commons than ever before. Why is what used to be a stable voting pattern seeing such a massive change? Since devolution, or rather since 2003 when they got to grips with voting in the devolved election, Scottish voters have behaved differently when voting for Westminster than for Holyrood. […]
22 Jan 2015

Time for a Convention!

Today’s publication of draft legislation to devolve powers to Scotland makes the case for a UK-wide, citizen-led Constitutional Convention ever more pressing. All the parties vowed to devolve more powers to Scotland, and no one is suggesting this should be delayed. But ultimately, today’s announcement raises more questions than it answers. These new powers will have huge implications for the rest […]
27 Nov 2014

After Smith

Today's Smith Commission report will have a huge impact on the democratic landscape of the UK. It gives Scotland a whole range of new powers, as well as paving the way for a real improvement to Scottish democracy: votes at 16 for Holyrood elections. But it also raises fundamental questions about the future shape of the United Kingdom, and about where power should lie. We believe these questions […]
22 Sep 2014

The indyref aftermath

The ERS held its first Labour Party conference event this morning. The subject was “What next after the Scottish independence referendum?” At one level this should not be so contentious – Scotland has been promised significant devolution of new powers by all three of the big Westminster parties. A very rapid timetable has been established as part of ‘The Vow’, a promise for future powers […]
5 Aug 2014

Democracy in Malawi

This is a guest blog by Liam McArthur, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney. The views, opinions and positions expressed within are those of the author alone and do not represent those of the Electoral Reform Society. When former Malawian President, Joyce Banda, addressed the Scottish Parliament in March 2013, the visit appeared to symbolise a new spirit of hope and optimism for the future of this […]
3 Jul 2014

Women and indyref

This blog was first posted on Engender As the date of the referendum draws ever nearer, and the gender gap in the polls shows no sign of closing , there seem to be more events targeting women and their opinions. Which is great: women’s voices should be heard in the referendum debate. One such event held last week was organised by ACOSVO and the ESRC-funded ‘Future of UK and Scotland’ programme. […]
12 Jun 2014

The dark and the light

Just when you think the behaviour of the referendum campaigns can’t get any worse, it does. We thought Alistair Darling’s Kim Jong-il comment was a new low in a relentless series of jibes and counter-jibes which have consistently lowered the tone of the most important national conversation in 300 years. And that followed the debate between Nicola Sturgeon and Johanna Lamont earlier in the year, […]
30 May 2014

The Margo way

Today, 30 th May 2014, marks the start of the official campaign period for the Scottish referendum. “But they’ve been campaigning for ages,” I hear you cry. Well yes, but from here on in all the registered campaigners have to abide by Electoral Commission rules on spending and donations, including regular reporting. Other than that, I expect there will be little change, and the visible […]
24 Mar 2014

As long as it's interim

Last week I attended two different events which discussed the possibilities a written constitution presents to Scotland. This week I am due to attend another. Scotland has already begun to think about what a constitution might look like, regardless of the result of the referendum. The debate around constitutional rights is already a separate conversation from the binary referendum campaign. It is […]