Based on those guiding principles, I ended up taking Scotland from 32 Councils to 138 local government units – 123 municipalities in 10 regions, plus 5 unitary municipalities not part of any region (spreadsheet). That’s 4.3x as many and would average out at 42,375 people per municipality, which is much more in line with European norms.
Like the tides, seasons, and interventions from Gordon Brown, floating the idea Glasgow should absorb some of the surrounding towns happens like clockwork. This time, it’s a (misreported) piece of research by academics at Sheffield University and the recent announcement that the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green are to close for want …
There is a lot of absolute nonsense out there about the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system, especially concerning list MSPs. This post attempts to neatly rebut that nonsense. It’s quite long so unless you’re super keen, I wouldn’t read it in one go, it’s more a reference to point to for when you see a specific nonsense claim; hence why each claim is numbered, for easy-peasy reference!
Things aren’t looking brilliant for the SNP, they say. It’s no surprise some people are scenting blood and sizing up the prospects for a change of government. A few days ago, Ladbrokes tweeted that Ruth Davidson was the favourite to be the next First Minister. Davidson may be the most prominent opposition leader, but that doesn’t mean she has an easy route to the top.
Voters are well aware of the fact that the Greens aren’t (yet) in a position to win constituencies, and therefore the traditional FPTP worry about wasting your vote and letting a party you really don’t like win the seat greatly influences them. By contrast, in the three proportional(ish) elections where voters can be more sure a Green vote counts, many more vote Green, even at the lowest rates of turnout.
Transforming the United Kingdom into a Federation (the Federal Kingdom?) is a recurring theme for more progressive unionist politicians in Scotland, as well as a certain section of the commentariat. It’s a perfectly sensible idea; the UK is a large, diverse country that has highly centralised governance arrangements, except for significant devolution to the small fringe nations. The problem is that it keeps being posed as a vague alternative to independence, rather than a serious project. And it’s a conversation a small clique of Scots are having amongst themselves, not the inclusive UK wide debate it needs to be. There are a whole range of issues that need to be considered – and most of them have little to do with Scotland. This post is basically so I have a “right, but it’s not that simple” button to press every time this issue crops back up.
Do you know exactly what the internet needs right now? More hot takes from Scottish people about Catalonia! So here’s mine. Short form; This whole thing is a tremendous clusterfuck and has clearly ceased to be a simply internal crisis. The eventual end of the crisis will have significant implications for the future of Europe as a whole. I don’t think they’ll be good.
Apart from the conviction they have what it takes to be Scotland’s next First Minister, the main unifying theme in the contest is a complete refusal to countenance any form of deal with the dastardly SNP. Vote for me because I’ll stand up to nationalism and always put Scotland first, entreats Sarwar nationalistically. Vote for Real Change, is the siren song of Leonard, who apparently hasn’t given any thought to changing Labour’s self-imposed cordon sanitaire on the SNP.
There’s a wee habit that the Scottish media has that really niggles away at me. In an era of “fake news” and widespread distrust of the “mainstream media”, there are worse problems with journalism and the public’s relationship with it. Nonetheless, this little thing bugs the big part of me that’s an elections nerd. Can the media, for the love of goodness, stop referring to AMS as “complex”?
For the last few months ahead of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, I kept a little polling and projection blog. Since then polling hasn’t been as regular or as pressing to analyse, for obvious reasons. But I’ve been champing at the bit for a poll ever since the shock Westminster results here in June. After a false start, constituency only poll at the weekend, Survation and the Daily Mail have obliged with an actually useful poll. Here’s how my calculator reckons it might look;