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The Problem with Polling

By Daniel Shaw and Claire Elliott Political polls are making a fast comeback after failing to correctly predict either Brexit or the election of Donald Trump.  Following the highpoint of Nate Silver’s flawless prediction of Obama’s 2008 victory, these embarrassing failures blew up in the face of both polling companies and liberal orthodoxy.  These failures were […]

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Posted in Europe, UK News, US, World0 Comments

Image by Duarte JH

Assessing the Impact of Independence On Scottish Agriculture

The UK’s vote last year to leave the EU has resulted in Scotland once again re-evaluating whether or not independence would be in its best interests. The Brexit decision and the subsequent triggering of Article 50 have both generated significant political upheaval throughout the UK. In a recent speech, Nicola Sturgeon has added to that turmoil […]

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Posted in Economic Security, Food Security, Scottish Independence, UK News, World0 Comments

HRH The Queen meets deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at private audience in Hillsborough Castle this evening.
Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Martin McGuinness and the Not So Uncommon Transition From Terrorist to Statesman

With the death of Martin McGuinness, the former Provisional IRA senior commander  turned peace-maker and Deputy First Minister, one is struck that such a transition was simultaneously, impressive and outrageous. I had the opportunity of meeting McGuinness last January when I interviewed him. I was struck by his warmth and generosity in taking time out […]

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Posted in Conflict, Europe, Security Issues, Terrorism, UK News, World0 Comments

Image by Lawrence OP

Scotland’s Renewed Route to Independence

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is certain to have far reaching consequences both domestically and internationally. Dominating early headlines is the idea that this decision could lead to the fragmentation of the UK as geographic divisions have been thrown into sharp relief. With Northern Ireland and Scotland both voting to remain – Scotland […]

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Posted in Europe, European Union, Global Economy, Scottish Independence, UK News, World

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From Brexit to Breakup: a Scottish View on the EU Referendum

CC Image courtesy of Rareclass This piece was also published in Huffington Post on 23rd June 2016 Something we in Scotland learned the hard way in 2014 is that referendum questions are dangerous because they make both choices on the ballot paper seem equally plausible. By giving the people a choice we somehow assume that […]

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Posted in Europe, European Union, Germany, Global Economy, Refugees, Scottish Independence, UK News, World

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Britain’s EU Referendum Demonstrates the Volatility of Populist Politics. Is the US Listening?

In trying to puzzle through the populism animating the right and left after the 2008 global financial crisis and the 2015 European migrant crisis, we can draw a worrying parallel between the UK referenda and social and economic populism in the US. As in the US presidential race, the UK’s Remain/Leave debate is complex: it […]

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Posted in Europe, UK News, US, World

Image by Abegum

The ‘Pure Wind’ of the Leave Campaign Shows Contempt for UK Voters

George Orwell famously wrote that “Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Having lived through the Scottish independence referendum, it is hard to believe that less than two years on from that experience the people of the UK are […]

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Posted in Europe, European Union, UK News, World

Image courtesy of lism

Scottish Independence: The Perspective from Northern Ireland

On the 18th of September 2014, 84.59% of the registered Scottish public exercised their right to express their opinion through the ballot box. 55% voted ‘No’ to independence while 45% voted ‘Yes’. Although the result was decisive, it was not a landslide victory for the status quo, with 1, 617, 989 Scots voting in favour […]

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Posted in Europe, UK News, World

Image by Koala99

Tory Claims on Legitimacy of Scottish Votes Threatens Union Anew

The Conservative party has this week been briefing about the possibility of a Labour government supported by the SNP leading to a constitutional crisis. However, this crisis may be largely of their own making. Polls currently suggest that the Conservatives will be the largest party in Westminster, both in terms of vote share and seats, […]

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Posted in UK News, World

Image by @Doug88888

In Defence of Our Procrasti-nation

Procrastination report just goes to show how we view people as machines. Monday marked the launch of the ‘Great British Procrasti-nation’ report: the first ever in-depth look at the nation’s procrastination habits. I admit I admired the playful pun for a while. It didn’t last long. Based on a YouGov survey of over 2,000 adults, […]

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Posted in Economics, Europe, UK News


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For the next 2 weeks @BorisJohnson will talk about Jeremy Corbyn talking to Sinn Fein. Here he is with Martin McGuinness (via @liamyoung) pic.twitter.com/exlnSnCYNP

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