Can The SNP Meet The Three Conditions For An Independence Yes Vote?

The message from the polls continues to be promising for the SNP, who are gathered this week in Aberdeen for their autumn conference. But the path towards holding a second independence referendum that delivers a majority vote for Yes still potentially contains many sharp corners and diversions. Three conditions are likely to have to be […]

Not So Hypothetical A Swing After All? First Post-Boris Poll from Lord Ashcroft

In recent weeks and months more than one poll has asked people in Scotland either how they would vote in anther independence referendum should Boris Johnson become Prime Minister or how they would vote in the event that the UK left the EU without a deal. The responses to these hypothetical questions suggested that either […]

Twenty Years of Devolution: A Lesson in the Law of Unintended Consequences?

Twenty years ago today, Scots went to the polls to elect their new devolved Scottish Parliament. Although in specifying that the new parliament should be elected by a system of proportional representation Labour had accepted that it might not be able to win an overall majority and might need to share power with the Liberal […]

The Swings and Roundabouts of Nationalist Fortune

There is, perhaps, likely to be an unspoken hope stalking the corridors of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre where the SNP gather for their spring conference this weekend. It is that, rather than being resolved via a second referendum, the Brexit impasse should eventually precipitate a general election. For, so far as voting intentions for […]

Can Scottish Labour Deliver for Jeremy Corbyn?

Not so long ago, what happened in Scotland appeared immaterial to the outcome of a UK general election. The country was full of safe Labour seats that seemed unlikely to change hands, while the Conservatives appeared unable to do much more than secure the odd crumb.  The prospects for a change in the tenancy of […]

Tough New Questions For The Liberal Democrats?

In truth, until the events of this week at Westminster, the opening salvo of this spring’s Scottish party conferences – the Liberal Democrat gathering this weekend in Hamilton –  looked as though it would be a rather uninteresting affair.  However, the formation of the new Independent Group of MPs has given the occasion some unexpected […]

A Tale of Two Scenarios: Actual and Hypothetical Independence Polling

Almost inevitably, the SNP conference has occasioned something of a flurry of polling. After nearly three months without any polls of voting intentions in an election or any future  independence referendum, yesterday two polls commissioned by newspapers were published, one by Panebase for Sunday Times Scotland, and one by Survation for the Sunday Post In […]

How Brexit Became A Problem For Nicola Sturgeon

When the outcome of the EU referendum was announced, it looked at first glance as though it represented a golden opportunity for the nationalist movement. The divergence between the majority Remain vote in Scotland and the majority Leave vote across the UK as a whole provided what must have seemed to nationalists like a perfect […]

Is There Any Room for the Liberal Democrats?

Back in 1999, the creation of the Scottish Parliament seemed like a heaven-sent opportunity for the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Given that the new body was to be elected using proportional representation (the result of successful bargaining with Labour in the Scottish Constitutional Convention), it was unlikely that any single party would ever win an overall […]

Back from the Brink? Prospects for Scottish Labour

When Scottish Labour gathered for its spring conference in Perth twelve months ago, the party seemed to be heading for disaster. Its standing in polls of vote intentions for Scottish Parliament elections averaged just 16%, while its reading on vote intentions for a Westminster election were, at 14%, even slightly worse. The party was seemingly […]

The Three Characteristics of the Scottish Conservative Revival

The revival of the Conservative party in Scotland during the last two years has been regarded by many as remarkable. This, perhaps, is hardly surprising. After all, in the nine UK and Scottish Parliamentary elections held between 1997 and 2015, the party had consistently flatlined at around 16-17%  – and indeed in 2011 and 2015 […]