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Analysis and Comment (184)

Devo max would fundamentally undermine the UK, says Midwinter. Devo max would fundamentally undermine the UK, says Midwinter. Steve Allen

Devo max in Scotland would be disastrous for Northern Ireland and Wales

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader-in-waiting Nicola Sturgeon recently confirmed that her party wants to see the Scottish parliament take control over almost all taxation, pensions, the welfare system…
Martin McGuinness believes it’s time for a border poll. Martin McGuinness believes it’s time for a border poll. Sinn Fein

A Northern Ireland ‘border poll’ could help pave path of peace

In the wake of the Scottish referendum, Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, renewed his party Sinn Féin’s call for a “border poll” to decide if Northern Ireland should leave…
Whatever Sturgeon may say, there will be no devo max in Scotland. Whatever Sturgeon may say, there will be no devo max in Scotland. Danny Lawson/PA

Scots should forget devo max – it’s not possible and wasn’t offered

One of the unfortunate things about the independence referendum debate is that it did not help us clarify the most likely outcome: the offer of more powers commonly known as devo max. For some, this refers…
Neptune’s own prongs. Neptune’s own prongs. PA/PA Wire

Scotland No vote has halted a wider debate about Trident

Nowhere was the relief over Scotland’s decision last week to remain part of the United Kingdom more acutely felt than with those responsible for Britain’s nuclear deterrent system, Trident. The Scottish…
Scotland next first minister looks set to be a coronation. Scotland next first minister looks set to be a coronation. Danny Lawson/PA

Sturgeon poised as Salmond quits and power struggle with Westminster begins

I was asked about three times this week by journalists covering the referendum whether David Cameron would have to resign in the event of a Yes vote. Nobody asked me about Alex Salmond. But when you lose…
Separating power is not so easy. Separating power is not so easy. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

People must remain engaged in debate over future of Britain

The vote, in the end, was decisive, with the Better Together campaign winning with 55% of ballots cast. As a Glaswegian living in Southampton, I’ve watched from afar, saddened not to be in my home nation…
Now, naw means no. Now, naw means no. Liz Smith

Scotland Decided: experts react to No vote

In its independence referendum, Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom by 55-45%. Our panel looks at what happened, and where it leaves the UK and Scotland. Neil Blain, Professor of Communications…
Jubilation: No supporters celebrate. Jubilation: No supporters celebrate. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

The UK survives as Scotland votes No to independence

In the end, Scots pulled back from the brink. After a referendum that saw support for independence start well behind in the polls, it grew over the long campaign. Dennis Canavan, former Labour MP who chaired…
Look who’s back… Look who’s back… Stefan Rousseau/PA

Gordon Brown’s political resurrection

In the last three weeks of the Scottish referendum campaign, Gordon Brown had already emerged as the galvanising force on the No side. This reached new heights on Wednesday in Glasgow when he made what…
Val McDermid and Alex Massie on The Andrew Marr Show. Val McDermid and Alex Massie on The Andrew Marr Show. BBC

Scotland’s literary types should leave indyref analysis to the experts

You can hardly miss all the Scottish writers who are engaged in the business of considering the state of an independent Scotland – writers such as Val McDermid on The Andrew Marr Show, or the poet John…
Not the bleedin' Geordies ‘n’ all?! Not the bleedin' Geordies ‘n’ all?! Ian Livesey

Could Newcastle ditch England for an independent Scotland?

While the Scottish independence referendum debate has revived democracy north of the border, it has also led to increased stirrings in the north of England. One recent proposal has even launched a petition…
Without official polls, we’d be reduced to reading cakes for clues. Without official polls, we’d be reduced to reading cakes for clues. EPA/Andy Rain

Ban pre-election opinion polls at your peril

I really thought we might make it. We’d got past the publication of YouGov’s potentially constitution-changing poll showing a minuscule lead for the Yes campaign without anyone grabbing for an easy headline…
Home to many Scots, including this Highland terrier, is now on the other side of the world in Australia. None of them get to vote but they are still deeply affected by Scotland’s independence referendum. Home to many Scots, including this Highland terrier, is now on the other side of the world in Australia. None of them get to vote but they are still deeply affected by Scotland’s independence referendum. Kelly Hunter/Flickr

Yes or No? The moment for Scots when extremes of their being meet

The upcoming referendum in Scotland is premised on a simple “yes” or “no” vote: should Scotland be an independent country? Except it’s not so simple. It’s a deeply personal question for the nation and…
Terse passing handshake between Salmond and Darling over the weekend. Terse passing handshake between Salmond and Darling over the weekend. Andrew Milligan/PA

Why a Yes win in tight indyref fight might be the way to keep Scotland united

The polls in the Scottish independence referendum indicate that the Yes and No votes have narrowed to such an extent that it is now impossible to predict with any certainty what the outcome will be. Indeed…
Ed just faded away. Ed just faded away. Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/Press Association Images

How Scottish referendum could push English politics to the right

The difficult-to-predict nature of what a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum would mean is, in part, what makes the possibility so fascinating, so exciting and so scary. It seems, to a large degree, a…
Alex Salmond on the campaign trail at the Grand Central Mosque in Glasgow. Alex Salmond on the campaign trail at the Grand Central Mosque in Glasgow. Andrew Milligan/PA

To fully embrace its minorities, Scotland’s idea of itself will have to change

With all eyes fixed on the independence referendum, some important questions remain in the shade. Chief among these: where do Scotland’s ethnic and racial minorities, sometimes dubbed the “new Scots…
Can the genie be put back in the bottle? Can the genie be put back in the bottle? Andrew Milligan/PA

Scotland Decides ’14: if No wins, what happens next?

Will the heady blend of Westminster love-bombing, ominous corporate warnings and a saltire flag over Downing Street be enough to persuade the Scots to come back into the fold? We have already looked at…
A jolly holiday could end in tears for one of the party leaders. A jolly holiday could end in tears for one of the party leaders. Oli Scarff/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband head to Scotland – but who has the most to lose?

Whichever way the Scottish independence vote swings, the result will have a significant impact on England and Wales. But as David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg rush to drop a “love bomb” on Scottish…
Gordon Brown has lead way in proposing a new deal for Scots in the event of a No. Gordon Brown has lead way in proposing a new deal for Scots in the event of a No. Danny Lawson/PA

Scotland will not be offered devo max after a No vote – here’s why

In the current debate on independence, journalists and commentators regularly claim that “devo max” is the favoured option of a majority of the Scottish people, and some express an expectation that this…
Has latest North Sea report blown No campaign out of the water? Has latest North Sea report blown No campaign out of the water? vitstudio

North Sea fracking claim is big boost for bid to secure Scottish independence

Economic and political dynamite. That’s the only way to describe the new report by N-56, an admittedly pro-independence think tank, that suggests that the remaining tax revenue from North Sea oil and gas…
Scotland has lit a fire under sterling. Scotland has lit a fire under sterling. mudricky

Sterling may take a pounding whatever Scotland decides

While Edinburgh and London wrestle over the future of the pound, it has has been sinking. The slide (especially against the US dollar) is widely seen as a knee-jerk reaction to the possibility of Scotland…
Is Scottish patronage dead? Wills and Kate on a recent visit to Crieff. Is Scottish patronage dead? Wills and Kate on a recent visit to Crieff. Andrew Milligan/PA

Scotland is still hard-wired to the class system – and that might be helping the Yes vote

If we wanted a reminder of the class system that still overshadows the British Isles, the announcement by Prince William and his wife Kate of a second baby today fitted the bill perfectly. Call me churlish…
The Victorian view of William “Braveheart” Wallace was somewhat different. The Victorian view of William “Braveheart” Wallace was somewhat different. stocksolutions

The real reason Yes Scotland avoids Braveheart nostalgia

In 1998 Alex Salmond dismissed doubts over Scotland’s Celtic lineage as “ignorance bordering on silliness”. In 2007 he expounded a vision of the country as a “Celtic lion” economy. In 2005 a Scottish National…
Salmond’s detractors still think his campaign has the currency blues. Salmond’s detractors still think his campaign has the currency blues. BasPhoto

Salmond’s plan B currency alternatives clarify nothing

In the second TV debate between Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond, the currency issue was again to the fore. This was almost inevitable after it was the Scottish first minister’s undoing in the previous…
So early in the history of UK debates, we’re still understanding their impact. So early in the history of UK debates, we’re still understanding their impact. PA

How strength of character on show in Scottish independence debates could win votes

Within less than an hour of last night’s second debate between Salmond and Darling, post-match analysis indicated a win for Scotland’s first minister. The polls showing the latest voting intentions will…
Salmond/Darling: don’t get carried away with the snap polling. Salmond/Darling: don’t get carried away with the snap polling. David Cheskin

Salmond vs Darling debate: the perceived winner is not what matters

To work out who won the debates between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, you have to ask the audience. The trouble is that different audiences will tell you different things. If you asked the studio…
Darling appeared to struggle in the second debate. Darling appeared to struggle in the second debate. David Cheskin/PA

Scotland Decides ’14: Salmond strikes back in TV debate, but will it be a game changer?

When Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling lined up for the first TV debate on August 5, Darling came out the surprise winner for the Better Together campaign. Few would disagree that the positions were reversed…
Both indyref sides need the female vote, so what’s with the half-baked policies? Both indyref sides need the female vote, so what’s with the half-baked policies? The Arches

The Yes and No sides both want women’s votes – but they have a funny way of showing it

Women appear to be everywhere in the debate on Scotland’s independence, except in the thinking of the mainstream parties when it comes to seeking ways to promote gender equality and eliminate discrimination…
Alex Salmond played the NHS card this week, to much derision from Better Together. Alex Salmond played the NHS card this week, to much derision from Better Together. Scottish Government

Scotland Decides ’14: is the NHS fair game?

David Cameron and other prominent unionists have accused Alex Salmond of desperation over his decision to question the future of the NHS in Scotland if it stays in the UK in recent days. The first minister’s…
Being ‘high-brow’, like Tim Key, draws in the awards. Being ‘high-brow’, like Tim Key, draws in the awards. Danny Lawson/PA

What is good comedy? The answer probably depends on your social background

Among the 1,000 or so comedians who have been jostling for attention at this year’s Edinburgh festival fringe, two grabbed a disproportionate amount of headlines. Both occupy prime slots in big venues…
Leading intellectual Tom Devine with Alex Salmond at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival. Leading intellectual Tom Devine with Alex Salmond at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival. Andrew Milligan/PA

Tom Devine: why I now say Yes to independence for Scotland

Tom Devine, Scotland’s most celebrated historian of recent years, sent shockwaves through the country when he revealed in a news report in The Observer newspaper last weekend that he intends to vote in…
The future of Scotland … this boy waves the flag for an independent nation. The future of Scotland … this boy waves the flag for an independent nation. cx1uk/Flickr

What makes Scotland different doesn’t depend on referendum result

One month from today, the people of Scotland will vote in a referendum. The question is: Should Scotland be an independent country? The immediate issues surrounding this question have been widely reported…
Skinheads are an easy target in the fight against racism. Skinheads are an easy target in the fight against racism. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Blood Orange overplays Scottish far right at the Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has, over the years, developed a reputation as a hotbed for alternative, edgy, and controversial performance. Graham Main’s Blood Orange is no exception. The play is a seething…
Scottish voters are still in the dark about key health and research issues. Scottish voters are still in the dark about key health and research issues. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Is Scottish independence bad for your health?

With September 18 drawing nearer, the people of Scotland still lack answers about how independence will affect a number of institutions, policies and their everyday lives. It is crucial to uncover what…
The many faces of Edinburgh’s festivals. The many faces of Edinburgh’s festivals. <p&p>/Flickr

A tale of two festivals: the history of the Edinburgh Fringe

Today, Edinburgh is known around the world for its festivals. Indeed, the Edinburgh International Festival just sold over 13,000 tickets for its first weekend – a new record. But in 1947, when the festival…
The Scottish independence referendum shows it is possible for a nation to debate fundamental questions of national identity in an intelligent, informed and inclusive way. The Scottish independence referendum shows it is possible for a nation to debate fundamental questions of national identity in an intelligent, informed and inclusive way. EPA/Graham Stuart

An independent country? Scotland and direct democracy

History resonates in Edinburgh. The 2014 International Festival opened last weekend with the James cycle of plays by Rona Munro. It is a study of the first three Stewart kings named James, and a timely…
Westminster’s latest report clouds over a chance for thoughtful debate. Westminster’s latest report clouds over a chance for thoughtful debate. Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Westminster gets it wrong on Scottish independence and education once again

On August 5, the house of commons committee for business, innovation, and skills (BIS) published a report on the impacts of Scottish independence on higher education, business, and the postal service…
Watching us, watching her: Exhibit B challenges audiences by recreating racism. Watching us, watching her: Exhibit B challenges audiences by recreating racism. Sofie Knijff/Third World Bunfight

Exhibit B puts people on display for Edinburgh International Festival

This year the Edinburgh International Festival is featuring Brett Bailey’s performance piece Exhibit B. Exhibit B presents thirteen living pictures, created with local African residents and asylum seekers…
The First World War has different resonance and meaning across the Commonwealth nations, which should be reflected in the UK and Scottish government’s commemoration plans. The First World War has different resonance and meaning across the Commonwealth nations, which should be reflected in the UK and Scottish government’s commemoration plans. EPA/Andy Rain

UK WWI commemorations should embrace Commonwealth experience

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s speech at the recent UK and Commonwealth First World War centenary commemoration subtly emphasised its politicised nature. At no point did he use the term “British…
Salmond’s performance was not the game changer Yes campaigners were praying for. Salmond’s performance was not the game changer Yes campaigners were praying for. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Scottish referendum TV debate played to the partisans, not the key undecided voters

The first leaders’ debate was meant to be an opportunity for Scotland’s uncommitted – though not necessarily wholly undecided – voters to make up their minds about which way to vote. Yet whether it succeeded…
The claws were out for Salmond and Darling’s first live televised debate. The claws were out for Salmond and Darling’s first live televised debate. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Scotland Decides ’14: Darling draws first blood by homing in on Salmond weak spot

The leaders of the rival campaigns in Scotland’s independence referendum battle have clashed in the first televised debate ahead of the September 18 poll. So, who came out on top? David McCausland, Head…
The last African games bid from Abuja fell short in Sri Lanka in 2007. The last African games bid from Abuja fell short in Sri Lanka in 2007. EPA

It is time to let Africa host the Commonwealth Games

With the end of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, it is tempting to suggest that its success might just have saved the event. Certainly what has not been in question is that its future has been in doubt…
With a few notable exceptions, the arts community is voting yes. With a few notable exceptions, the arts community is voting yes. Hugh Simmons

Scotland Decides ’14: why do artists want independence?

Edinburgh is about to undergo its annual transformation. The population more than doubles as Scotland’s capital plays host to a month-long arts extravaganza with performers, comedians, writers, artists…
Claims that Scotland would flourish after independence are wide of the mark. Claims that Scotland would flourish after independence are wide of the mark. Twonix Studio

The numbers for an independent Scottish economy look scary

An independent Scotland would be significantly better off than it is now, according to Professor Andrew Hughes-Hallett of George Mason University in two recent pieces in The Conversation. This is contrary…
Mary’s poems give a unique insight into how the queen experienced her bloody, passionate and tragic life. Mary’s poems give a unique insight into how the queen experienced her bloody, passionate and tragic life. Dave McLear

Mary, Queen of Scots was a poet – and you should know it

Think Mary, Queen of Scots and a few key facts probably come to mind: she was Catholic, she was imprisoned and she had her head chopped off. But a poet who offers insight into 16th-century women’s writing…
John Barrowman and Karen Dunbar and their complementary tailoring. John Barrowman and Karen Dunbar and their complementary tailoring. Martin Rickett/PA

Was the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony any good?

From John Barrowman’s Scottish accent to Susan Boyle’s nervous take of Mull of Kintyre to the cheered tribute to Nelson Mandela, the Commonwealth Games gave us an opening ceremony to remember. And that’s…
England flag bearer Nick Matthew demonstrating how you keep politics out of the games. England flag bearer Nick Matthew demonstrating how you keep politics out of the games. Andrew Milligan/PA

Scotland Decides ’14: could the Commonwealth Games swing it for either side?

You may have thought that politics-as-usual was only put on ice during war time. But, no; politicians on both sides of Scotland’s divide have been promising in recent days that they won’t sully Glasgow’s…
Gove got whacked this week, but will the Scots be bothered? Gove got whacked this week, but will the Scots be bothered? Stefan Rousseau

Scotland Decides ’14: will the reshuffle affect the indyref?

In the hours after David Cameron unveiled the biggest cabinet reshuffle in a number of years, the Scottish first minister Alex Salmond took to the airwaves. Putting the eurosceptic Philip Hammond in charge…
Commonwealth Games mascot Clyde and Scottish swimming champion Gregor Tait get their symbols out in Sydney last year. Commonwealth Games mascot Clyde and Scottish swimming champion Gregor Tait get their symbols out in Sydney last year. Daniel Munoz/AAP Image

Thistles and tartan: the fun and Games of Scottish identity

Since September 2012, the mascot of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Clyde the thistle, has been popping in and out of the media radar; greeting children, featuring on merchandise, cheerfully promoting…
Alex Salmond wants this lot to vote not just in the referendum, but every election. Alex Salmond wants this lot to vote not just in the referendum, but every election. Scottish Government

Pay attention to Scotland’s voting age debate – it could be heading south

Underneath the sound and fury of the Scottish independence referendum, numerous changes to how Scotland goes to election polls have been proposed by the Scottish government – in particular reducing the…
The reality about Scotland’s rape stats might be counter-intuitive. The reality about Scotland’s rape stats might be counter-intuitive. Morag Eyrie

Rising rape figures in Scotland could actually be a step forward

As was confirmed recently by figures from Police Scotland, there has been a 23% increase in recorded cases of rape north of the border over the past year. In 2013-14, the first year of Police Scotland’s…
Could there really be border controls between England and Scotland? Could there really be border controls between England and Scotland? Robert Lindsell

Customs at Gretna Green? Neither side is telling the whole truth on this one

One question that keeps raising its head in the Scottish independence debate is about border controls and what would happen between Scotland and the rest of the UK at border towns like Gretna Green – a…
Sir Walter shows off his baby blues. Sir Walter shows off his baby blues. Wikimedia

Walter Scott was no bland tartan romantic, he was dumbed down

This week sees the 200-year anniversary of the publication of Walter Scott’s first novel Waverley. Journalist Stuart Kelly has called Scott “the man who invented a nation” but what is Scott’s relevance…
Renewal personified: the Glasgow Merchant City festival. Renewal personified: the Glasgow Merchant City festival. Brian Smith

Host City Glasgow: how it set the standard for urban rebirth

Welcome to Host City Glasgow, a series of articles that will examine different aspects of the 2014 Commonwealth Games destination as part of our countdown to the main event. To begin, Adam Aitken looks…
Salmond – one pink hair day away from the anti-nuclear picket? Salmond – one pink hair day away from the anti-nuclear picket? Danny Lawson/PA

Scotland Decides ’14: could Salmond shift on retaining nuclear weapons?

One long-running sore in the Scottish independence referendum campaign concerns the future UK’s nuclear deterrent. Scottish Nationalists say an independent Scotland will no longer house any of the UK’s…
Time to say adieu, England! Time to say adieu, England! d100

Wise up England, you’d be better off without Scotland

To date, the debate on the Scottish independence referendum has focused on why the Scots should or shouldn’t back independence. There has also been some recent academic research on why the Scots have arrived…
Would the Scots be quids in after independence? Would the Scots be quids in after independence? Eltpics

Scottish independence is bad economics for three reasons

The recent publication of an extensive survey of leading economists by the Centre for Macroeconomics showed that an overwhelming majority did not think Scotland would be better off if it were independent…
The once-proud Scottish press could use a lift. The once-proud Scottish press could use a lift. Lis Ferla

If Scotland votes no, the media may well get the blame

Two distinguished Scottish journalists have recently expressed their concern at the state of the Scottish press. Both Magnus Linklater, in an article in the British Journalism Review, and Iain Macwhirter…
Is Scottish victimhood fuelling the yes campaign? Is Scottish victimhood fuelling the yes campaign? Carl Court/PA

Scotland Decides ’14: are Scots too sensitive?

Mix the Scots and sport and you’re bound to end up with trouble. Just ask William Hague, who gaffed this week that Team GB would break a leg at next month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – forgetting that…
With a bit of help sufferers can remain effective at work. With a bit of help sufferers can remain effective at work. Helen ST

Employers must become aware of dementia in the workplace

Recent figures suggest there are around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. People usually associate the condition with later life, but around 17,000 of people with the condition are under the age…
Why do 14-17s have such different views to 18-24s? Why do 14-17s have such different views to 18-24s? East Lothian Musems

The next generation may vote differently, just ask the Scots

There seems to be a contradiction in the media reports about young people and their voting intentions in the Scottish referendum. While many polls and the Scottish Social Attitudes survey have found that…
Scottish diabetes rates have rocketed, but there are promising signs. Scottish diabetes rates have rocketed, but there are promising signs. Tom Wang

Scotland might slowly be turning the corner on diabetes

The number of people with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled over the past two decades, with more than 3.8 million people currently affected. Around 10% of them have Type 1 diabetes, which is caused…
One in five young children in Scotland is dissatisfied with life. One in five young children in Scotland is dissatisfied with life. Pawel Bak

Growing up in Scotland: what makes children unhappy?

Surprisingly perhaps, researchers know less about what makes young children feel unhappy than what they know about the causes of children’s behavioural and emotional problems. Most existing studies of…
Attitudes towards alcohol in Scotland are changing. Attitudes towards alcohol in Scotland are changing. Marc Roberts

Hard Evidence: has Scotland had enough to drink?

Scotland is often portrayed as a place where heavy drinking comes as part of the furniture, yet it seems the Scottish public are less and less inclined to agree. New results from the Scottish Social Attitudes…
Lager-sized energy drinks R Us! Lager-sized energy drinks R Us! Glencrest

When it comes to ad antics, Boaby’s got stiff competition

Nae Danger, the Scottish energy drink, had its television advertising campaign banned the other day by broadcaster STV. The ads, which ended with the strapline “chokin' for boaby”, were ostensibly about…
England has come a long way since devolution. England has come a long way since devolution. EPA

A no vote may see Scots tied to a less patient England

It may only be Scotland that is heading to the polls on September 18, but it is not the only interested party in the results of the independence referendum. England would obviously play a dominant role…
Light rail enthusiasts aboard Edinburgh’s new tram. Light rail enthusiasts aboard Edinburgh’s new tram. Edinburgh Tram

Despite the Edinburgh debacle, trams still have a bright future

Finally the Edinburgh tram has opened – more than three years late and significantly over budget. Disputes with contractors caused long construction delays. The disruptive construction work was unpopular…
But what kind of economy will Scotland be saying yes to? But what kind of economy will Scotland be saying yes to? Danny Lawson/PA Archive

Scotland could become like its prosperous Nordic neighbours, but that won’t be cheap

At the heart of the Scottish referendum campaign is the question of whether Scotland could really thrive as a small European state. At one time, the nationalists pointed for inspiration to the “arc of…
A place of aging graceful beauty that cannot be replaced by some youngster with perfect features. A place of aging graceful beauty that cannot be replaced by some youngster with perfect features. EPA/Robert Perry

Restoring Glasgow School of Art to its original design will be impossible

I woke up yesterday to a sunny Saturday morning in Melbourne and an SMS message from my eldest son in Glasgow: I guess you will have heard but there was a major fire at the Glasgow School of Art today…
Birds aloft off Boreray on St Kilda. Birds aloft off Boreray on St Kilda. steve_w

Offshore protection zones vital to arrest decline of seabirds

Scotland is renowned for its seabirds, thanks to landmarks such as the Bass Rock, Ailsa Craig and St Kilda. There are around five million of the birds, including 95% of the EU’s great skuas, 67% of its…
By his own admission, Dave is not the most popular man in Scotland. By his own admission, Dave is not the most popular man in Scotland. Danny Lawson

Scotland Decides ’14: What to do with David Cameron?

The Better Together campaign has always had a problem. Such is Tory popularity in Scotland that the battle for the union was never going to be led by the biggest beast in British politics. Yet David Cameron…
Clare’s law will allow people in Scotland to view their partners' domestic abuse histories Clare’s law will allow people in Scotland to view their partners' domestic abuse histories jurgenfr

Scotland should look deeper than Clare’s law when tackling domestic violence

Following UK Home Secretary Theresa May’s announcement that England and Wales are bringing in a “Clare’s law” that will allow people to check whether their partner has a history of domestic abuse, Alex…
Children’s backgrounds peg them to different achievement levels from a young age. Children’s backgrounds peg them to different achievement levels from a young age. Tom Donald

For Scotland’s poorer children to catch up with England’s, a fairer economy is needed

Scotland likes to think of itself as a nation reflecting the core social values of collectivism and meritocracy. Yet social and economic inequality is deeply entrenched within both the education system…
Tourists reach for the brolly aboard HMS Britannia in Edinburgh. Tourists reach for the brolly aboard HMS Britannia in Edinburgh. David Cheskin

Scotland should look to Chinese and older visitors for long-term tourism boom

When Thomas Cook launched the first group tours to Scotland’s Trossachs in 1846, the attraction was to see the mythical land featured in Sir Walter Scott’s famous poem The Lady of the Lake, written in…
The row over Scotland in Europe lives on… The row over Scotland in Europe lives on… Yanni Koutsomitis

Scotland Decides ’14: who is right on EU membership?

Europe is back on the agenda in Scotland. William Hague wrote to the Scottish government calling for a plan B in case EU membership is refused. Meanwhile Alex Salmond warned EU member states that there…
The national obsession: But do we make the most of it? The national obsession: But do we make the most of it? Alasdair Middleton

Scotland could make much more of its sporting identity on international stage

After the Scottish National Party had a bad result at the 1992 general election, deputy leader Jim Sillars famously accused the Scots of being “90-minute patriots”. His point, to paraphrase wildly, was…
The voting intentions of non-Scots have been under the spotlight. The voting intentions of non-Scots have been under the spotlight. AK Rockefeller

Reports that non-Scots will swing the referendum are both unwise and misleading

The latest ICM poll made delightful reading for the yes campaign the other day. It showed a split of 52/48 against independence (42/39 once we factor the “don’t knows” back in), suggesting that the yes…
BBC Scotland HQ on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow. BBC Scotland HQ on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow. John Dee

Scotland Decides ’14: what does independence debate mean for the BBC?

The union Equity is calling for a national Scottish broadcaster to be created regardless of the outcome of the independence referendum in September. Meanwhile, BBC Trust director Jeremy Peat warned the…
Will answering in the affirmative ever be politically neutral again? Will answering in the affirmative ever be politically neutral again? Andrew Milligan/PA

Young, undecided and in the front line of Scotland’s indyref mindgames

To make an obvious point, the younger generation’s opinions on the referendum have not been formed by as much experience as those of the older generation. Many potential voters were not alive throughout…
Kolkata and Scotland are both going to the polls this year. Kolkata and Scotland are both going to the polls this year. lecercle

From Kirkcaldy to Kolkata, nationalism draws boundaries that don’t exist

Kolkata may seem a long way from the Scottish independence referendum, but on a recent journey to the subcontinent the author and creative writing professor Kirsty Gunn found inspiration to consider the…
The SNP is still struggling to woo women. The SNP is still struggling to woo women. byronv2

Scotland Decides ’14: why are women wary of independence?

Poll after poll shows Scottish women are considerably less keen on independence than men. Alex Salmond has been reaching out to women voters since the campaign kicked off two years ago. We asked our panel…
UK nuclear policy arguably would mean cheaper power bills in independent Scotland. UK nuclear policy arguably would mean cheaper power bills in independent Scotland. Sebastian Bartoschek

Ed Davey’s claim that Scottish energy bills would rise after independence is a fantasy

The twin goals of UK energy policy should be to ensure security of supply for households and businesses, and to ensure the electricity we use is affordable. Unfortunately, the current UK coalition government…
Go back to your constituencies and prepare to vote Labour! Go back to your constituencies and prepare to vote Labour! Danny Lawson/PA

Salmond courts women and Labour voters – and keeps a close eye on UKIP

Of all the party conference speeches SNP leader Alex Salmond has made over the years, Saturday’s in Aberdeen was probably the biggest. As the last conference speech before referendum day on 18 September…
Irish situation is delicate enough without talk of referendums anywhere near Stormont. Irish situation is delicate enough without talk of referendums anywhere near Stormont. Joel Riley

Scottish ballot is not stoking nationalism in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s oldest joke is that a man is asked, “Are you Protestant or Catholic?” to which he replies, “Actually I’m Jewish”. His questioner responds: “Yes but are you a Protestant or a Catholic…
There’s been a reorder: What would Taggart have made of this Police Scotland malarkey? There’s been a reorder: What would Taggart have made of this Police Scotland malarkey? STV

Scotland’s single police force has had teething troubles, but there’s progress too

Break out the bunting: this month sees the first anniversary of one of the most important developments in the policing in Scotland – the creation of a unified force. Police Scotland was created through…
We should beware removing the ancient corroboration rule We should beware removing the ancient corroboration rule Penn State

The courts must not become social engineers to secure more rape convictions

The recent decision by the Scottish Parliament to scrap the need for corroboration in criminal trials is designed to solve a longstanding problem: there is a low rate of convictions in rape cases and…
One of Scotland’s most popular politicians. One of Scotland’s most popular politicians. Andrew Milligan/PA

Margo MacDonald, independent Scot, 1943-2014

The Scottish Parliament prides itself in the number of visitors it receives. They might hope for a sighting of the first minister, but Margo MacDonald was the member the public was keenest to actually…
Your friendly neighbourhood liquor store down Toronto way. Your friendly neighbourhood liquor store down Toronto way. Joseph Morris

Minimum alcohol pricing: Canada’s accidental public health strategy

I have watched with fascination as successive UK and European governments have pledged to make cheap alcohol a thing of the past by introducing minimum unit pricing or MUP. David Cameron announced his…
The poll tax was a key milestone on the road to the Scottish referendum. The poll tax was a key milestone on the road to the Scottish referendum. Stephen Fyfe

Scotland Decides ’14: what does Alex Salmond owe the Poll Tax?

This week saw the 25th anniversary of one of the key events in recent Scottish political history. On 1 April 1989, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government introduced a new tax in Scotland to replace…
The Catalans want an independence referendum in November. The Catalans want an independence referendum in November. Liz Castro

Catalonia deadlocked as nationalists plan new offensive

Welcome to Breaking Nations, a series of articles that examines independence movements across the globe ahead of the Scottish referendum in September. To begin, Dani Cetrà gives us the view from Catalonia…
Prefab resprout: Here they come again! Prefab resprout: Here they come again! wikimedia

Prefab housing is coming back, and this time it’s permanent

In the late 1950s, more than a decade after the war and not long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked on a house-building programme the like of which we have never seen before or since…
The final countdown. The final countdown. Scottish Government

Scotland Decides ’14: The Conversation expert panel

Britain’s most significant political event of 2014 takes place on September 18, when the people of Scotland will vote on whether it should become an independent country. It is a referendum with massive…
Pinning hopes on the pound. Pinning hopes on the pound. gominokouhai

Scotland Decides ’14: all about the money as currency debate rages on

Scots would continue to use the pound as part of a formal currency union after independence, the SNP long argued. But Chancellor George Osborne ruled that out in a recent speech, following advice from…
Scotland is considering an assisted suicide bill. Scotland is considering an assisted suicide bill. Matt

Assisted suicide bill is laudable, but poorly drafted

A bill on physician-assisted suicide is being considered by the Scottish parliament. It is the second attempt by independent member Margo MacDonald, who has Parkinson’s disease, to get such a law onto…
Now, where to put my cross? Now, where to put my cross? Cx1uk

Scotland’s referendum: can we trust the polls?

Opinion polls can have a profound influence on the atmosphere of a campaign. If they suggest that one side is well ahead, the media loses interest. The politicians get less space and perhaps airtime, while…
Sir David Gill, the most important astronomer you’ve never heard of? Sir David Gill, the most important astronomer you’ve never heard of? Uncredited via Wikimedia Commons

Sir David Gill – Scotland’s most notable astronomer?

There have been 10 astronomers royal for Scotland since the honour was created in 1834, only three of whom were Scots. I believe Aberdonian Sir David Gill (1843-1914), who never held the honour, trumps…
Scarlett Johansson as a man-hunting alien in Under the Skin. Scarlett Johansson as a man-hunting alien in Under the Skin. TWITAI

How to get more films like Under The Skin made and develop domestic talent

Film making in Scotland has never been easy. Scots' almost unrivalled appetite for cinema rarely finds its way into the pockets of performers, producers, crew or facilities. We make so few films each year…
Child poverty is not going away. Child poverty is not going away. Need Not Greed

Scots more likely to blame parents for child poverty

Evidence about poverty is meant to be troubling. The only crumb of comfort for campaigners is that the harsh realities of everyday life portrayed through statistics, imagery and narratives can be the catalyst…
Scotland strategy paving the way. Scotland strategy paving the way. Ale'streets

Scotland aims to be smoke-free by 2034 but what about e-cigs?

Given just how well established anti-smoking campaigns in Britain now are, many of today’s smokers, and younger smokers in particular, have taken up the habit with at least some awareness of the damaging…
HMP Grampian opened for business early in March. HMP Grampian opened for business early in March. George Lamb

Scotland’s newest prison is another nod to Scandinavia

HMP Grampian, which opened in March, lies on the southern side of the fishing port of Peterhead. This is high on the north-east Scottish coast, more than 50km north of Aberdeen. It is a public project…
Will this be how the Record celebrates a Scottish No vote? Will this be how the Record celebrates a Scottish No vote? Lis Ferla

Which way will Scotland’s tabloids go on independence?

Few things are most closely scrutinised by media watchers than The Sun’s headlines at election time. “Will the last person in Britain please turn out the lights” is often seen as crucial to the outcome…
The future of Scottish criminal law is in justice secretary Kenny MacAskill’s hands. The future of Scottish criminal law is in justice secretary Kenny MacAskill’s hands. Danny Lawson/PA Archive

Scrapping corroboration rule will undermine Scottish justice

A woman alleges she was raped by a man she met at a party. She says he forced his way into her flat after walking her home. He claims she invited him in and that the sex was consensual. There are no witnesses…
Can CCS cast a new light on fossil fuel-fired power stations? Can CCS cast a new light on fossil fuel-fired power stations? Alan Murray-Rust

A step forward for CCS, but much greater strides are needed

Despite the evidence that shows greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels are leading to changes in the planet’s climate, the development of large scale technologies to slow or stop these effects has…
Scottish marines dashing through the glens near Dundee. Scottish marines dashing through the glens near Dundee. David Cheskin/PA

How to strengthen Scottish defence after independence: cooperate with London

The Scottish government’s commitment to a post-independence defence and security budget of £2.5 billion, “exceeds most of the earlier predictions” and would place it in the top six of NATO countries for…
Barroso is doing no favours for the Yes campaign. Barroso is doing no favours for the Yes campaign. Virginia Mayo/AP/PA

Kosovo’s EU struggle is no precedent for Scotland

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso’s comments on Scottish EU membership during his recent interview with Andrew Marr were discredited as an example of the fear-mongering pervading…
Puzzled? Stuck? Or just apathetic? Scotland’s undecideds. Puzzled? Stuck? Or just apathetic? Scotland’s undecideds. David Cheskin/PA Wire

Hard evidence: who are Scotland’s undecideds on independence?

A lot of things have been said about those who have not made their minds up yet with regards to whether they will vote yes or no in this year’s referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. Sometimes…
Tough times for one Lerwick store. Tough times for one Lerwick store. Andrew Milligan/PA

Amazon retail culture a blessing and a curse for Scots island life

E-commerce has irreversibly transformed our lives by giving us greater control over how, what, where and when we purchase. The further away an area is from traditional shopping regions, the more pronounced…
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face. Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face. Wikimedia Commons

A Robert Burns is for life, not just for 25 January

On 25 January, people all over the world will congregate to feast upon a spicy sheep’s stomach – but not before they’ve recited a poem in its honour. The occasion is Burns Night, the poem is Robert Burns’s…
Can Scotland generate enough energy to go it alone, or is it blowing in the wind? Can Scotland generate enough energy to go it alone, or is it blowing in the wind? Ben Curtis/PA

Scotland benefits by paying for its energy, not UK’s mistakes

Could Scotland benefit from having an independent electricity system? Our report published this week found that it could – if it meant Scotland paying for (and benefiting from) its own renewable energy…
Shadows of things to come (or so they hope…) Shadows of things to come (or so they hope…) Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The Queen, the pound and the EU: Salmond’s Scotland plan

Just two days after the latest polls showed the “Yes” vote for Scottish independence gaining on the pro-unionists, the Scottish government’s White Paper, Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent…
The writing was on the wall for some in city licensing review. The writing was on the wall for some in city licensing review. Andy Bell

Police attitude to sex saunas is wrong, bizarre and dangerous

Scottish police were forced to issue a statement that they did “not advocate the banning of condoms” after a BBC report, which ran under the headline “Police ask for condom ban in Edinburgh saunas”, said…
On a level playing field? On a level playing field? Lynne Cameron/PA

An independent Scotland may turn to Sweden for inspiration

What sort of political system could Scottish independence produce? The debate in the referendum of 2014 shares with debate on the devolution referendum in 1997 a focus on the Nordic experience. In both…
Hands up if you want to end the union. Hands up if you want to end the union. Andrew Milligan/PA

One year to go: Scottish vote that will shape Britain’s future

A year away from the Scottish referendum, we have opinion polls almost weekly, as the media tries to discern the rise and fall in the standings of the rival teams. Yet the most striking fact is the stability…
Popular south of the Border? Popular south of the Border? David Cheskin/PA Wire

Growing support for Scottish independence … in England

The introduction of devolution in Scotland and Wales and its re-introduction in Northern Ireland was one of the major achievements of the Labour government. Yet its aspirations for fostering devolution…
It’s a date: Scotland gears up for next year’s vote. It’s a date: Scotland gears up for next year’s vote. Andrew Milligan /PA Wire

Poll says Yes to Scottish independence … or does it?

Well, at last we have a referendum poll that is generating some excitement. Hitherto every poll has put the No side ahead, and indeed often (as in Sunday’s YouGov poll for Devo Plus) quite a long way ahead…
Scottish island energy would be transformative for the UK, and for the communities that build them. Scottish island energy would be transformative for the UK, and for the communities that build them. Andy Butterton/PA

Islanders can’t cash in on their rich seams of renewable power

The islands off the north and west of Scotland hold the UK’s best renewable resources, yet for more than a decade energy policies have prevented them from realising their full potential. Due to long out-of-date…
There’s more wind in Scotland than in England, and not just in the pipes. There’s more wind in Scotland than in England, and not just in the pipes. Danny Lawson/PA

It’s advantage Scotland when it comes to wind power

A frequent claim heard is that the UK is Europe’s windiest country. This is a partial truth; Scotland is the windiest country, whereas England is far from the windiest. To see the truth of this one need…
Big question: Scotland will get the chance to decide on its future. Big question: Scotland will get the chance to decide on its future. Scottish government

Scottish independence: simple question - but no easy answers

Foundation essay: This article on the debate over Scottish independence is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the UK. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and…
Talk of a 100% renewables Scotland by 2020 is more than just hot air. Talk of a 100% renewables Scotland by 2020 is more than just hot air. Kara Allyson/Flickr

Reaching the 100% renewable target is now possible, but sustaining it might be trickier

When the Scottish Government set itself the target of generating 100% of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2020 many people scoffed. Now that goal is only six years away. Is it reachable? Remember…
Alcohol: your arms can carry more than your liver can handle. Alcohol: your arms can carry more than your liver can handle. PA/David Cheskin

Alcohol act dropped sales, now it’s time for minimum unit pricing

The evidence is in. Sales of alcohol in Scotland have decreased since the 2010 Alcohol Act was introduced. The act restricted the display and promotion of alcohol to a single area of any store. It banned…
Catalans march though the streets of Barcelona demanding independence. Catalans march though the streets of Barcelona demanding independence. Maria Poblet

Catalonia: independent but united with Europe?

In the biggest rally for Catalan independence ever, an estimated crowd of 1.5 million people flooded the city of Barcelona with red-and-yellow striped flags on Catalonia’s national day, the Diada. Tax…

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