Lecture and Discussion Outlines
Welsh politics and culture | Scottish Politics and Culture | Election Briefing
Welsh politics and culture
- Plaid Cymru
- linguistic nationalism rather than independence
- rugby as national sport
- Nonconformist: Methodist and Baptist chapels
- coal and steel industries
- 2 up and 2 down cottages
Devolution produced: Assembly of 60, elected by AM method
- rock ribbed socialism in urban areas
- conservative rural areas, sheep farming
- diaspora of teachers, playwrights and actors
- the arts: eistedfoddau
- (vote for constituency member + regional list member)
- Governing by 30 possible as Speaker doesn't vote.
- Labour actually governed with 30 initially.
- Powers limited to domestic policy, administration and no tax authority.
- Welsh government brought Quangos in-house as departments.
Scottish Politics and Culture
- Scottish Enlightenment: 5 ancient universities cf England's 2
- Presbytery and Church of Scotland
- Bank of Scotland
- Scottish law
- education system
- declined heavy industry: shipbuilding, coal, steel
- most Scots work in England
- Scottish diaspora to US also -- sheep in C18th more valuable than people in highlands
"It's Scotland's Oil!" -- SNP, increased pride over North Sea oil
- Probity, thrifty
- traditional dancing and music
- bankers, academics, and politicians
- Midlothian question
- Robbie Burns night
- William Wallace and Robert the Bruce
- Scotland wa hae
- battles of Bannockburn and Flodden moor
- tax variance powers, more power over domestic policy
- but "Sewell motions"
- competitive among Labour (cities), Scot Nats, Liberals (lowlands) and some Conservatives (highlands)
- Alex Salmond, adept leader of Nats.
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UK General Election Briefing
PM asks Queen to dissolve Parliament, with four weeks' notice
- period of "Purdah" by convention:
- no major policies proposed in Commons,
- civil service prepares summaries for new ministers
- TV companies give equal time
- no exit polls published till polls close
- Elections held on Thursdays, 7am till 10 pm, by convention since 1931
- traditionally less influenced by payday (Fri) and pulpit (Sun)
First Past the Post system,
- averaging 68,000 voters (with wide variations),
- adjusted periodically by non-partisan boundary commissions
Candidates' £500 deposit, returned if win 5% of vote
- with party labels on ballot, simply mark an "X"
- reduces seats of minor parties, increases victory margin (usually)
- effects are less predictable when minor parties have good share of vote
Protest and funny candidates:
- low threshold, but embarrassing to lose
- must be an adult
- "Screaming Lord" Sutch (Monster Raving Loony Party) stood 41 times, always lost.
Queen invites the leader with best parliamentary strength to form a government advised by "Three Wise Men" or "golden triangle" of advisers to Queen, to PM plus Cabinet secretary Third party factor complicates choice: If Lib Dems rise from a quarter to a third of the opinion poll respondents, which seems to have happened, post TV debate predictive models based on national swing would be unreliable. Lib Dems declined to ally with another party before election day Lib Dems closer post-election ally would be New Labour -- but if NL has lost votes and seats since 2005, LDs might feel they should ally with the Tories because of rising support for them since 2005.
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