The new independence – devolution-max?

Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland, stated yesterday that independence for Scotland would require two referendums. The first would be an advisory referendum, which would seek a mandate for the Scottish government to negotiate with the UK government at Westminster to work out an agreed position. Any settlement deal reached would then also need to be put to the Scottish people in a referendum for the UK government to approve it. Moore’s two-referendum statement was immediately rejected by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. I admit to not having followed the evolution of the Scottish independence movement, and so I am busily researching the issue as it will undoubtedly remain very topical over the course of the next four years. […]

On secession

The May 5 elections for the Scottish Parliament returned a majority Scottish Nationalist Party government. Party leader Alex Salmond quickly announced that a referendum on Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom would be held during the SNP’s term in office, and recently clarified that it would be held in 2015. For a Canadian, this immediately brings to mind the province of Quebec’s repeated attempts to gain independence. To date, two referendums have been held, one in 1980, the most recent in 1995. Both were defeated, though the last one was extremely close, with the No side winning 50.58% to the Yes side’s 49.42%. Following the second referendum, the Government of Canada initiated a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada […]

Important Political Resources

I admit to being somewhat surprised by some of the keyword searches that bring people to this blog. It seems that too many people have no idea where to get key information – somehow they end up on this blog rather than on the sites they should be visiting to get the information they want. Consequently, I thought I would provide links to key resources based on recent keyword search activity. I will add to this post over time, as needed. Also, if any readers know of sites that should be added to this list, please comment with the link or use the site’s contact form to let me know. Topics: Election results Canada, Election results UK, general information regarding […]

STV is not the problem

Liberal Democrat Voice carried an op-ed piece by Anthony Butcher arguing that the Liberal Democrats need to drop their support for the Single Transferable Vote because “the perceived complexity of AV was a significant factor in its rejection by the public. The whole concept of preferential voting has now been tainted for a generation as overly complicated” and STV is more complicated than AV. It should be noted that Butcher is not a member (or even a supporter) of the Liberal Democrats. He is interested in electoral reform, however, and he argues that “the Lib Dems, UKIP, Greens, ERS and every other organisation involved” in pushing for electoral reform need “to settle on a single electoral system that we will […]

A referendum if necessary but not necessarily a referendum

To no one’s surprise, the UK referendum on the Alternative Vote was lost 69% to 31%. I’ve not yet waded through the myriad opinion pieces in the British press asking “Why did AV lose?” It doesn’t really matter, in the end. I was livestreaming the BBC’s election coverage yesterday, and at one point, one of the commentators (regretfully, I can’t recall who) stated that the big problem with AV was that no one really wanted it. Nick Clegg was right all along when he (in)famously described it as a “miserable little compromise”. Most Labour MPs didn’t want AV – even though the party’s 2010 election manifesto promised a referendum on AV. The Lib Dems certainly didn’t want AV – they’re […]

How the AV referendum killed the republican movement

In an earlier post, I wrote that referendums aren’t very useful means of deciding key policy issues and that the entire referendum campaign on the Alternative Vote has been rather disgraceful. This view has only been reinforced following news today that the No side admits it used completely made-up figures when it claimed adopting AV would cost £250-mn. Of course, this revelation came out on the day of the vote, too late for many who had already voted by postal ballot and who might have voted No in large part because they believed these claims. However, the way in which the referendum on AV has transpired raises another interesting point. If a referendum on a relatively minor issue such as […]