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Scotland and the UK General Election--do you like understanding local politics?

Well Scotland is back in the New York Times this weekend. :) The referendum on Scotland's Independence seems to still be reverberating though UK politics. Scotland has traditional been a bastion of support for Labour. However, it sounds like the way Labour supported the Better Together campaign has not set well with many Scots--even those who voted No, to Independence. I heard a discussion on the BBC this morning that implied that Labour belittled and scorned Scotland in the campaign and that is one reason why the polls currently show that Labour is going to lose their seats in Scotland to the SNP--Scottish National Party. Of course, they also pointed out that the Tories are going to lose seats to UKIP--right wing UK Independence Party.

At any rate it's quite an election that is going to happen in the next few weeks. (I sure wish that our elections would happen this quickly! A sprint sounds so much better than a marathon.)

Obviously, I follow UK politics, do others when they are planning a trip? I'm not suggesting that you necessarily pick sides, but do you think it adds to your journey to have information on the current state of the country when you visit?

Pam

Posted by
10344 posts

Pam, I wish that I could better understand the current political-economic-social situation of countries that I'm visiting. But I have to admit I haven't found a way to do that in the amount of time that I have to spend on trip preparation and research, to go beyond a superficial look. I think to go beyond a supercial look at a country, you have to either be a resident or at least a student of the country.
I would like to be able to do that, it would add to my journey, but I haven't figured out how to do it in the time I have available.
For a Europe trip, I'm so busy arranging the logistics of the trip that, unfortunately, I don't make the time to educate myself about the current political situation.

Posted by
1291 posts

Pam, why do you do this to me? ;-)

Unclegus will have his own views, which may or may not be different to mine, but these are mine.

For 40 years Labour has been the dominant party in Scotland, a position it inherited from the Tories. It got institutionally comfortable. No one could threaten the Red Fort. In 2010 my Westminster MP was returned with such a margin we were in one of the safest seats in the UK. According to the polls I now live in an SNP/Labour marginal where every vote counts. For the first time in my voting life my vote counts in a Westminster election.

The problem for Labour is that they acted as if they owned Scotland, and did not notice the SNP studiously working to take over the territory. Bluntly a series of uninspiring Labour leaders faced Salmond, who whether you like it or not was a forceful politician, and then the current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has had people south of the border wishing they could vote SNP. And that is the problem for Labour. In the referendum they presented it as a Labour victory forgetting Conservative and Liberal Democrat campaigners, yet allowing the SNP to tie Labour to an unpopular in Scotland Conservative Party, though the Tory leader is probably one of the better performers in the Scottish Parliament.

So that is the landscape. I know plenty of No voters who will be voting SNP. And a couple of Yes voters voting SNP for the first time. What can be said is I have not seen an election like this before. And if the choice was between Labour or the SNP would probably be voting SNP.

Posted by
639 posts

I am so dismayed at politics in the USA that I follow European politics much more closely. I try to get some idea of the main issues in every country we visit, and I like to see what the locals think about them. I do think this adds hugely to experiencing a country. I am particularly interested in the UK election; can't wait to see what happens!

Posted by
3091 posts

I await the outcome with keen anticipation . We live in a global community and awareness of politics in other lands is quite important to me . I am sympathetic to the SNP and would like to see Labour move in that direction .

Posted by
1582 posts

We were in London during the last election and it remains a highlight of that trip. Everyone was willing to share their thoughts, so we watched the results much more closely. That has also led us to stay more aware of the political landscape in general.

Posted by
2514 posts

I think MC sums things up pretty well but I will add a few musings of mine.
In the run up to the Independance vote the so called Scottish labour,Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberals urged a No vote.As far as i am concerned these parties cannot call themselves Scottish as they are not an separate political party but rather a Scottish section of a UK party and their Mp's are included in the over-all count for the Labour, Conservative and Liberal party in a Uk parliment and these Mp's must follow the political line of that party.
These parties had a chance last September to break the shackles of their Westminster masters and become real leaders in an Independant Scotland but they chose not to do so.Instead of the labour party becoming a real leader in an Independant Scotland they are now begging the people of Scotland that a vote for any party but themselves is a vote for the Conservatives.
The Scottish people have had enough of this as in the past we voted Labour and still got a Conservative goverment. What will happen after this election no one knows but it is going to be an interesting time.
talking to relatives and friends that live south of the border very few of them have a real alternative to the conservatives,labour a liberal parties, and like the policies of the SNP and would like to see such a party with these views that they could vote for.UKIP is not that alternative but many folk will vote for UKIP though i doubt any of my family will. i do think the Green party will get a great deal of the protest votes and Plaid Cymru will make a significant difference in Wales .

Posted by
25742 posts

How about a UKIP - Green - SNP coalition? That would put the cat among the pigeons and nothing would get done.

And what is it with the SNP and fish? First you had a salmon (farm bred and raised, I suppose, not a wild one) and now you have a sturgeon (much feistier)?

Posted by
1291 posts

Oh, it gets better, the SNP likes oily fish. Our Business, Energy and Tourism minister is Fergus Ewing MSP. I am not sure Nicola and Nigel are permitted within the same postcode without security so that there other Nigel's suggestion might not work!

Unclegus' comment about the unionist parties is an important one. After the referendum the Labour leader quit citing that as a reason. Labour does seem to be the worst at adapting to the reality of the Scottish Parliament. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have tried to move to fully autonomous Scottish parties within the union party. Labour is only just starting.

Indeed, if the current leader of the Scottish Conservatives was in any other party she would be considered a future First Minister.

Posted by
1291 posts

Emma, I have occasionally thought that Capaldi's Doctor is Malcolm Tucker with more polite language.

Posted by
5561 posts

Ah, MC you know had to post this? : ) Rick says that travel is a political act so this is probably the only travel forum where we could have this discussion! And learn some things while we're at it!

One big thing that you all in the UK have going for you is that your elections season is blessedly short. Our election is over 18 months away and we've already had more than most of us can stand--and that's the people who care about it! The minister in church today said that we all need to start praying for th election. He didn't mean specific people so much as the process which in interminable.

Unclegus, you'll see people on this forum get confused about the English and the Scottish, so the final zinger in your clip was great. (Indeed a fair bit of swear words. Doesn't the general look a wee bit like Norman Scharzkopf? Although, Schwarzkopf was clearly a much better man despite a temper and the typical military conservatism.

Pam

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5561 posts

After reading some articles from the Scotsman and the Guardian, I can see why the Conservatives have very little following in Scotland. When the conservative party leader says that it would be disastrous for England if Scotland had a significant role in the formation of the government, I would think it would put anyone's back up! It sounds like he's trying to scare the English to vote against Labour.

What fun you have with all these parties. :)

Pam

Posted by
1291 posts

Pam, I know you had to post it! ;-) This election is more fun than they've been for a few years.

The funny thing about the Tory strategy re the SNP is it seems to have backfired a bit in England! Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and First Minister, has handled herself so well in the media and some of the debates that 'I wish I could vote for the SNP' is not that uncommon from friends, family and acquaintances down south.

Posted by
2514 posts

MC I don't know if you have noticed but after nearly 60 years on this planet this is the first time in the run up to a general election that I have noticed that Scotland has become the focus of the political debate.
last year the main parties got together to beg Scotland not to leave the Union and now it seems that Scotland is the center of all things bad in the political debate.

Posted by
1291 posts

Unclegus, of course. And the main parties are not used to it. In 2010 none of the Scottish seats changed hands. UK elections are usually decided by a handful of seats in England so their efforts go on the 250 000 voters with the power to change the composition, which is unfair on voters in Scotland, Wales and the rest of England. This time virtually all Scottish seats have become marginal seats and the strategies do not seem to be able to deal with it as three million voters are suddenly important, and have gone over the top in reacting so that voters in England are looking at the SNP and wanting to vote for them.

For the first time since I turned 18 am I in a seat that can be won for by somebody other than the imcumbent party, and it feels good. ;-)

Posted by
25742 posts

I wonder how many people in North America realise that only a very few people have the opportunity to vote for Sturgeon, Cameron, the kipper, or David's brother.

They are only eligible for election in their very small local constituencies. The party able to muster the most MPs gets to try to form a government, regardless if their leader was elected (vis. Lib Dems).

There is no direct election of the Prime Minister, or of the First Minister either.

Posted by
1291 posts

Good point Nigel, though Canada does use the Westminster system like the UK. One thing to add is in this election, nobody will get to vote for Nicola Sturgeon as she is not standing. THat will be next year in her Glasgow Southside seat.

Posted by
2514 posts

MC I too am in an area that has been a Labour stronghold since 1935 and the last Labour majority was 9000 but it is now considered a marginal seat and in all likely-hood will go to the SNP.
I sent a letter to the sitting MP about a Food Bank they had opened in the area saying I was disgusted that they had use this as a photo opportunity when in fact they should be holding their head in shame for allowing things to get so bad a Food Bank had to be opened for those in desperate need in our area.
I await a reply but doubt I will ever get it.

Posted by
4528 posts

"'I wish I could vote for the SNP' is not that uncommon from friends, family and acquaintances down south."

And I have heard a life long Labour supporter say he is to switch to the Conservatives in a marginal seat as there is no way he wants the SNP to have any kind of a say in the UK government.

The Scottish Conservatives seem to have increased their support from 2010, possibly from the Lib Dems. Somewhat ironically they seem to have adjusted more to a devolved system than the other national parties, having informally supported the SNP in the Scottish Parliament, after the 2007 election, something the SNP seems to want everyone to forget.

The real problem has been a lack of a proper English settlement in the devolution system, which has to be put down to Tony Blair's government, as does the confused situation with the House of Lords.

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1291 posts

The tactical voting element is going to be interesting. I can easily see the Labour and Tory votes collapse in some of the Lib Dem seats, especially Charles Kennedy's seat and in Gordon where Salmond is standing. Lib Dem and Tory votes doing the same in some bits of the Red Fortress on the Clyde, and Lib Dem and Labour votes plummet in the one Tory seat.

I was going to say that I agree that England is the unfinished bit of the constitution, but really it is not unfinished, it has not been started! The future of the UK really hangs on how England is treated.

Posted by
5561 posts

Yes, most Americans probably don't understand the parliamentary system. While most colleges and universities offer intro to political science and comparative government, the big enrollments are in the American government course. The good news is that some books and professors are trying to interweave some comparative coverage into the Am/Gov course.

Pam

Posted by
3 posts

Hi :)
The Scottish referendum made people very passionate, on both sides of the debate. It also got the younger generation interested in politics due to the age of voting being lowered. This can only be a good thing as they are the future. it amazed me that it was and still is discussed all over the world. Will be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by
5561 posts

Interesting article in The Scotsman today. They say polls indicate that the SNP will sweep Scotland in next week's election. But, what was even more interesting from an American perspective is that they forecast 80% voter turn out in Scotland! Wow! We haven't seen that level of participation since the Civil War! The last time we topped 60% was in the 60's and we haven't been above 70% since 1900. So, sad.

And in the meantime, Ed Miliband is interviewed on Trews by Russell Brand, a UKIP MP is banned from Wikipedia, and Nick Clegg is losing to the Tories. What next is this wild election of yours? :)

Pam

Posted by
31289 posts

Nigel,

"I wonder how many people in North America realise that only a very few people have the opportunity to vote for Sturgeon, Cameron, the kipper, or David's brother."

That sounds like the same system we use here (which as I recall is based on the British model). Only those that live in the riding of the leader of each party get to vote for him/her. The leader of the party that wins the most seats gets to form government and become Prime Minister, with the next one in line becoming the official opposition. It becomes a bit "problematic" when the leader of the party doesn't win their home riding, and one of their colleagues who did win a seat is then asked to resign to make room for them (which happened in our last provincial election). The one that resigns always seems to be "compensated" for their trouble.

We have a federal election coming up this October, and at the moment I don't have a clue who to vote for. I'll look at the platforms when the campaigning starts in earnest (fortunately we only have to put up with the campaign for a month). There has been steady criticism of the "first past the post" voting system over the years and frequent calls for a proportional voting system, but nothing ever seems to change. The proportional system was narrowly defeated in a referendum here in B.C., but I suspect we haven't heard the last of that.

I'm watching a debate on BBC right now between the various leaders in the U.K. Cameron just finished being grilled with questions and now it's Miliband's turn. They're all very polished and professional and use some of the typical tactics such as asking the name of the person they're addressing to add the "personal touch", and using phrases like "I'm glad you asked that question". As with most politicians, they seem to have an answer for every question. As an "outsider looking in", it's difficult to get a grasp of all the current issues in the U.K. and what's most important for the country at the moment. Although the incumbent often seems to be less favoured, Cameron made some good points. If I were able to vote in the U.K. it would be a difficult choice to decide who to vote for. From what I've seen of the polls, the Conservatives and Labour are running "neck-in-neck" at the moment.

Posted by
1291 posts

Emma, I like that ad, but it does not have Nicola in it! Farage still looks like an alien.

I cast my vote in person, but have read the candidates for this seat and still cannot decide. Now to decide if I go with head, heart or spleen.

Posted by
5561 posts

I understand Miliband's problems re the SNP, but he seem to have become almost rabid. I that the SNP fanatics think that the Scotsman shills for anyone but the SNP, but is the article actually reflecting what Miliband is saying?

And I now wish I was following Game of Thrones! :) I have former college classmate who served in the Reagan administration who is a Game of Thrones fan. I am going to have to make sure he has seen Emma's link!

Pam

Posted by
5561 posts

Voting starts in a few short hours. I hope that you get a good turn out!

Posted by
5561 posts

Voting starts in a few short hours. I hope that you get a good turn out!

Posted by
2246 posts

It's pretty interesting, David Cameron could be out, it looks like a very close race at least in terms of polls. And if it is in fact super close I gather that Queen Elizabeth makes the choice between him and Ed Milliband! Cameron has promised a vote on EU status if he prevails in the election. England out of the EU?! Scotland out of the UK one day? Incredible stuff.

In other political news, Alberta, Canada has just witnessed a sea change. The conservatives are out in a big way after some forty years, and the oil companies-and investors-are freaking out. There is a whole lot of oil activity in Alberta.

Posted by
2514 posts

Sorry but he Queen does not get to make a choice. if there is a hung parliament then David Cameron stays on as PM until an agreement can be made, he can remain as PM even though his party is not in the majority as long as no other party has an overall majority but over all the Queen has bugger all say in the matter she does not even have a vote.
I will be at the polling station in a bout an hour and will vote before I head to work.

Posted by
2246 posts

Thanks Unclegus, that was what an American news report said day before yesterday, hard to imagine a news report being wrong ;-))

Posted by
3091 posts

Well , there was the Tammany Hall political machine in New York City of the 1860's whose motto was " Vote early and vote often "

Posted by
5561 posts

Holy moly! Is the SNP really going to have more than 50 MP's?

Pam

Posted by
5561 posts

I think someone on BBC said that the last time someone young was elected was the 1600's!

Switching back and forth here between BBC election results and DCI Banks! 😊

BTW it is amazing the way you announce the results with all the candidates lined up and the Council reading off the totals. I think we should copy it for the House elections!

Pam

Posted by
2514 posts

Iwell It is just after5.00am here ,I got up early to watch the results.It has been an amazing night for the SNP and so far have taken 51 seats so far, almost wiping out all other parties.

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2514 posts

now the SNP have 55 seats out of a possible 59 with just one seat to be declared and that has gone to a recount.SNP could have 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland.
going to be an interesting time in Scotland over the next few years, what happens next I have no idea but bloody hell it is a great time to be Scottish.

Posted by
2514 posts

with all results declared in Scotland it is SNP 56 , Labour 1,Consevatives 1 and Lib Dem 1. who would have believed that 12 hours ago.

Posted by
1291 posts

There are a lot of comments about the Scottish result today, but it should be remembered that the UK election was decided in England as usual because of its population size. If Labour had retained the seats they lost the Tories would still have had a Westminster majority.

The strange slow dance of Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron as First and Prime Ministers respectively ahead of Scotland's parliamentary elections in May 2016.

Posted by
2514 posts

yes MC ,if every person in Scotland had voted labour we would still get a Conservative Goverment

Posted by
25742 posts

It is interesting that with Labour's complete collapse and SNP forming a dictatorship in Scotland, how much the SNP have lost the power in Westminster that they would have had were they in a ruling coalition with Labour.

So the SNP goes up yet loses so much power.

I wonder if that means that Rick Steves will now have a UK forum?

Ain't polerticks interestin'?

Posted by
1291 posts

Dictatorship is a bit far. The SNP is now the dominant force in Scottish politics, but what goes up eventually comes down. Scottish politics can be very, very, shouty, and the SNP faces its biggest challenge this time next year, in the Scottish Parliament elections.

If it stumbles between now and then, and the unionist parties can react properly it is vulnerable in a semi proportional electoral system.

Posted by
2514 posts

Dictatorship, that's what Scotland has been suffering from for years, Tory and Labour goverments dictating to the Scottish people

Posted by
1291 posts

Unclegus, that is the problem with the electoral system in the UK, we have an elected dictatorship. Cameron is now able , thanks to the system, to form a majority government with 36% of the vote. 64% of the UK did not vote for it.

The problem is too many of the leaders of the two main UK parties have failed to take into account the rest of the electorate.

Posted by
5561 posts

So, are the Scots that different politically from the English? Or should Labor be looking at what Nicola and the SNP did in preparation for the next election? I do feel a little sorry for the Lib Dems....

BTW you'll have months, wait nearly years, to poke at the US electoral process. Once again, I have to say how envious I am of the shortness of your election/voting process.

Pam

Posted by
1291 posts

The result for the Lib Dems was bad, but they still got just under 10% of the vote sadly losing a lot of good MPs, and I think alot of the vote was to keep the coalition in power forgetting it takes two to tango.

Are the Scots different to the English? Not that much really. The difference is we had the choice. The English did not. The stories about the SNP south of the wall were funny this side because we have had the SNP in power since 2007. They have a record that the main UK parties failed to take advantage of.

The real story in Scotland now is who can stand up to the SNP in the Scottish Parliament. Labour needs to go homewards and thing again, the choice is now between the weakened Liberal Democrats who have a good leader, and Ruth Davidson's Conservatives.

If Ruth was in any party other than the Conservatives, she would be running Scotland next May.

Posted by
4970 posts

Wow! This post has generated more responses than the questions about exchanging Euros before leaving home, or whether wearing white tennis shoes is acceptable attire.

We've frankly avoided starting up much discussion about local politics before choosing a location or making airline reservations, although having some awareness of the local situation is prudent. In Scotland last August, a month before the vote, it was evident there were positions, and some people clearly had definite opinions. We didn't seek them out, but some folks made their views clear. It's good that a forum exists where the people can have their vote, especially when issues have a close split.

Back in 2008, at a bar in Kortrijk, Belgium, we were surprised to learn of the definite divide between western, Dutch-speaking Flemish Belgium and eastern, French-speaking Belgium. A couple of gents gave us their views, even though we hadn't started any discussion (they overheard us ordering beers).

Communist Party graffiti in Nepal back in 1997 was unexpected, but the western part of the country had some issues with tourists a few years later, so being aware is never a bad thing.

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5561 posts

Cyn, your post got me wondering about when I got interested in the current affairs of the countries I visit. I had always chalked up th Scottish interest because of my grandfather and grandmother. But then I remembered that it really started with student travel in the 70's. It was the Cold War and we were in Germany, traveling to Berlin, taking the train through Yugoslavia, encountering tourist police in Greece... So maybe my interest comes from that early exposure and I really don't know any other way!

Pam

Posted by
4528 posts

It is often claimed that politics are more left wing in Scotland, but attitude surveys indicate that when all the issues are gone through, the spread of political opinion is in reality very similar to that in England.

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5561 posts

Thanks for posting the NY Times article. I hadn't gotten that far into the Times today! Interesting that it is written by Neal Ascherson. I picked up his book, Stone Voices, during a trip to Scotland and finally read it a year or so ago. He is definitely a proponent of Scottish independence and it's interesting to see his perspective on the election.

If anyone is interested in getting one perspective on how Scotland came to the point of voting on Independence, Stone Voices is a good option.

Also, here's a link to some earlier articles by Ascherson.

Last July.

1978! I am not sure if everyone can read this second one. It's on land reform and the early proposals for a Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh.

Pam

Posted by
25742 posts

So let's see - the Sturgeon led a push out of all the non-SNP MPs except one each Labour, Conservative, and LibDem who were left.

But that's not good enough for her so she's now taken on the Shetlands to get the lone LibDem out. Probably because she feels SNP don't have sufficient representation....

Posted by
6506 posts

Fascinating thread, don't know how I missed it earlier. I arrived in London the day after the election and saw all the headlines about the dramatic results. I thought to myself, huh, I thought that the polls were closer than that, but I must not have even really paying attention -- and then I saw that no, I had remembered correctly, that the fact of the difference between the polls and the result was THE huge story.

I must say, not knowing anything about it except for what I read in the papers and saw on TV that week, I found Sturgeon very impressive. It's true that in the end the SNP MPs won't be able to wield much power, but somehow it's gotta count (politically) for something, what they accomplished, right??

I really appreciated reading this friendly and civil discussion - and especially unclegus's admonition to MC that MC should only vote once after his/her comment about going to vote appeared twice! that was hilarious.

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5561 posts

There was an article in The Scotsman today about the MP from the Northern Isles who leaked a memo, which purported to say that Nicola Sturgeon really wanted the Tories to win. Evidently, he is being pushed to resign. (Thus Nigel's comment about Nicola wanting the Shetland's and Orkney seat.) So, I thought I'd see what The Orcadian had to say about it. There was a poll done and 97% of voters polled thought he should resign! (BTW I love that the lead story is about an aerial view of the Old Man of Hoy!) But it did strike me that if this had happened in the US, the whole thing would be taken up by a House (or Senate) committee and discussed to death, leading to???? I would be surprised if the politician would resign, but perhaps I'm being unfair and have gotten too jaded about our Congress.

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1291 posts

Like the original memo, the story will be five day wonder and Carmichael will stay on til 2020. If only because his party only has 8 MPs.

Kim, unclegus was absolutely right to admonish me, otherwise I might have forgotten! ;-) I shall take my punishment like a man. Or a woman. Or some strange ethereal being who posts on travel websites and occasionally posts something that makes sense.

Posted by
6506 posts

hee hee.

Nicola Sturgeon had an excellent Tweet tonight during the Eurovision:

"Is there an exit poll? #Eurovision"

haha!!

Also -- the Orcadian is fantastic, and there are some absolutely wonderful twitter accounts coming out of the Orkneys -- in addition to the excellent and renowned Orkney Library, there's Orkinithology (absolutely gorgeous bird photos all the time), Orkney Museums, Orkney Craft Association, photographer Craig Taylor, etc etc. It's lots of fun to have them arrive in your feed all day!

Posted by
17 posts

I’ve found the whole independence referendum and UK election fascinating. I was trying to understand why the idea of Scotland having its own parliament and a devolution of powers became such a big issue for those in England during the election. Some of the rhetoric was pretty inflammatory. Had to do some research to reacquaint myself with the system. Let’s see if I have this right. The UK is a parliamentary democracy, no written constitution, with power concentrated centrally at Westminster. Very different from the US, a federal system with a written constitution and power shared among the national, state and local governments. Where we have states in the US and so have the ability to levy and allocate state and local taxes, that is not the case in the UK. Right? Or do the local councils have that ability? So it seems that the more powers, especially taxing powers, that are devolved to Holyrood, the more others in the UK perceive the system as unfair to them? Is that correct?

Interesting topic. Good time to visit Scotland and hear what people are thinking after this last year.

Courtenay

Posted by
1291 posts

The issue is because Scotland has its own parliament control over large swathes of government business is carried out there, so Scottish MPs in Westminster can vote on matters that in Scotland are dealt with by the MSPs. The UK parliament is also the parliament for England where matters are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland It is called EVEL - English Votes for English Laws.

And that is where it gets complicated. A lot of those laws have spending consequences which effect the rest of the country, and very few UK government departments at some where along the line have no impact on Scotland. The Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and National Assembly for Wales have only limited taxation powers and they differ between Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff. Local government has virtually nil. Most tax is reserved to Westminster.

And so on it goes.

Posted by
5561 posts

And interestingly there was an article I think in the NY Times, just this week pointing out the problems the US has with funding AmTrack. It's a vital transportation link in the Northeast from Boston to Washington DC, which is quite profitable. But the long distant lines are less profitable, although used by many. My sister travels with her family from Rochester to Chicago a couple of times a year. But most of the states outside the Northeast don't want to fund it. Of course, it's part of a national transportation system so they do have to. It does get very tricky when distributing funding across diverse countries.

And, I was watching Niall Ferguson's series on Western Civilization over the week end and I caught the comment about how "The City" in London has been running things and run rough shod over everyone for a millennium. :)

Pam

Posted by
17 posts

Yes Pam, there's plenty of disfunction in our system in the US, especially now. I think I got so interested in the independence referendum originally because I'm a bit of out political geek, but it has gotten so incredibly depressing here that I went further afield. One thing that seems clear no matter where you go is that money and power talk loudly in elections. I too wish our elections would happen faster. I'm here in Iowa, site of the caucuses, and it never stops here. We're awash in presidential candidates.

Lots going on everywhere. I'll be interested to be on the ground in Scotland and maybe hear various views from local people. With the promised election over staying in or leaving the EU, there's a lot a stake. C

Posted by
5561 posts

Just realized that you are in Iowa Courtenay, so you certainly are in the midst of US politics. I had a friend whose son went to Grinnell College. They were from right outside DC, but Iowa was a completely different experience!

Pam

Posted by
5561 posts

So, Nicola Sturgeon has been doing the rounds in the US this week. She did exceedingly well on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. If you have not watched it, click on the link. Theoretically, she's got Jon committed to the Fringe for a year from August! I think I need to book.

MC and Unclegus, you'll be interested to watch this. She's getting high marks here.

Pam

Posted by
910 posts

Yes, I've enjoyed Nicola Sturgeon's appearances as well. Besides the aforementioned spot on The Daily Show, just caught an interview with her on the PBS Newshour. These were (obviously) two very different forums, but she did great with both. Impressive.

Posted by
5561 posts

Yes, I saw last week that Charles Kennedy had died. It's clearly a loss for Scotland and the UK, to say nothing of his family. It's also sad that the article on the funeral didn't make the headlines email I get from The Scotsman.