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What’s Next in Scotland?

Video by Dr Alan Convery (The University of Edinburgh) on the outlook for Scottish politics following the 2016 election.
So, next for the Scottish Parliament, the SNP will have to rediscover some of the skills that it used to govern as a minority government from 2007 to 2011. It has to be said that, looking back on that period, a lot of commentators have said it was a successful period for the Scottish National Party and that they quite competently managed the pressures of being a minority government. For the Conservatives, it’s a chance to prove themselves as perhaps a changed party, and perhaps a base to build on for future gains. For the Labour Party, in third place, might give them some time to reflect on where they might go next.
And for the other parties, they’ll certainly be trying to influence policy through the various committees in the Scottish Parliament. The issue of independence has come up during the campaign in these elections, though Nicola Sturgeon has been keen to emphasise that she also has a domestic policy agenda. So she’s emphasised her commitment to education and to making sure that poorer pupils have the same opportunities as more affluent pupils when it comes to educational attainment. So, although the issue of independence won’t go away for the Scottish National Party, they’ve also been keen to emphasise what they’re going to do away from that issue.
Academics should never try to predict, but I want to just leave you with three thoughts about the future direction of politics in the UK and Scotland. The first is what will be the impact of the EU referendum on Scottish politics. That’s the next thing that’s on the horizon. We know that the SNP have said that they would consider the UK leaving the EU and Scotland voting to remain in as a material change in circumstances that could justify the holding of another referendum. The second thing that’s coming down the pipeline is the further financial powers for the Scottish Parliament, so the implementation of the Scotland Act 2016 as the Scottish Parliament gets more control over the taxes that it spends.
The third thing, I think, is the future of the union. So the Conservative Party has done very well at this election. But is there potentially a problem with the union becoming to be increasingly associated with a party that’s on the centre right? Does that potentially have problems for the union in the future? And is that something the Conservative Party needs to think about as a unionist force?
Alan Convery gives an overview of the main challenges Scottish parties will face after the election and highlights some key issues that might emerge in Scottish politics going forward.
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