Are Scotland's Psephologists Riding for a Fall?
Published: Wednesday, 29 April 2015 20:23
Aside from a computer on the desk, my local betting shop has a traditional look, complete with newspaper racing pages sellotaped to the wooden walls, stubby pencils and drawn blinds. As I entered, a man with a lived-in face and an unlit roll-up cigarette protruding from the corner of his mouth was exchanging a slip of paper for some ten pound notes.
Most betting here is on the horses, but I was looking to place a bet on politics. More specifically, I wanted to place a bet against the psephologists who are predicting that the SNP could take every seat in Scotlandhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/04/29/snp-could-win-all-59-scottish-seats-at-election_n_7168570.html?utm_hp_ref=uk.
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Scotland’s Pal-ocracy Makes England Look Like a Beacon of Democracy
Published: Monday, 16 March 2015 20:00
Where civil liberties are concerned, Scotland makes England look like a beacon of democracy. Scotland does not have strong independent bodies defending individual freedom. There is less emphasis on this in its education and culture than south of the border. I recently mentioned to a young friend studying Higher History that this year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. “Who’s she?” he replied. Since then, I have asked a number of others including students at Scottish universities and have yet to find one who has ever heard of this historic document which guarantees the rights and liberties of the citizen against autocracy. They have all heard of the Declaration of Arbroath but only the ‘Braveheart’ section about the yoke of the English oppressor.
In 1742, philosopher David Hume wrote: “It is a very comfortable reflection to the lovers of liberty that this peculiar privilege of Britain is of a kind that cannot easily be wrested from us and must last as long as our government remains in any degree free and independent.”
But an independent-minded observer of Scotland must conclude that civil liberties are in retreat here since the advent of a Scottish Parliament. We appear to be losing some of the recourse that citizens of Britain have historically possessed.
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