Indyref2: The opening gambit

After a brief calm before the storm, the whirlwind of Scottish constitutional debate returned two weeks ago as Nicola Sturgeon fired the starting gun on the campaign for a second independence referendum. Today the SNP & Scottish Greens voted in favour of asking the Westminster Government for a temporary transfer of power to Holyrood to hold another indyref, while Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems voted against. The battle lines might seem almost exactly the same as 2014 and before, but the circumstances are — Read more →

How do polls work?

Opinion polls have had a rough ride in a political sense over the last few years.  Despite getting it broadly right in the Independence Referendum of 2014, the General Election of 2015 shook the industry to its’ core as the Conservatives marched to victory despite all the predictions. Last year’s political shocks of Brexit and Trump have also weakened belief in the polls, despite the final indications in each showing that they were close races towards the end. Polls are still our best way of — Read more →

The new BBC Scotland

The BBC announced today its plans for BBC Scotland and BBC Alba to be included in the new Royal Charter, and it’s fair to say that most people will be pleasantly surprised and enthusiastic about what’s to come. In the biggest shake-up of the state broadcaster’s role north of the border in 30 years, a new dedicated BBC Scotland channel will launch in Autumn 2018 to provide 5 hours of Scottish-focussed content each day. The centrepiece of this new channel will be a so-called “Scottish — Read more →

The Scotland we want it to be

While the rest of the world has gone slightly mad in the last twelve months, Scotland has been a place of relative calm.  Having had our independence referendum and two major elections year after year, since May there’s been very little drama in Scottish politics of note.  It’s been refreshing for many I’m sure. The two issues that remain at the heart of Scottish political life though are the effects of Brexit upon the country and also the potential second Scottish independence referendum that the — Read more →

Our new and frightening reality

2016 might have been the year of political shocks, but this week was where those shocks became reality – both here in the UK, and in a more real sense, in the US. Today marked the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, an amazing feat for all of the wrong reasons and a staggering reminder that complacency of the political establishment and the public at large can result in populist overthrow right before our eyes. Trump’s speech was perhaps more polished than I’d expected, with — Read more →