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Scottish Culture and Society


With the 20th Century coming to a close and the advent of the 21st Century, Scotland decided to change its political structure once and for all and this transition took place over a period of two years, i.e. from 1997 to 1999, with a referendum being put into place to a Scottish Parliament inside the United Kingdom. This report aims to look at the changing nature of Scottish Politics from 1999 till date and present an analysis of the cumulative effect of such changes.

Ever since 1707, since Scotland and England became entwined in a political union, the de jure legislature for Scotland has been the United Kingdom Parliament. However, in 1997, a referendum to establish a separated Scottish Parliament inside the United Kingdom was raised and was met with a clear majority voting in favor of creation of such a Parliament. Following this, the United Kingdom passed the Scotland Act of 1998 which set up the Scottish Parliament. On a whole, it was described as „extraordinary achievement‟; a set of decisions to „transform a highly centralized unitary state into a devolved and quasi-federal system of government in the space of only three years‟, without causing the „break-up of Britain‟ by Hazell (2000: 3; 5). Following is a year wise depiction of the changes in the Scottish political scene following devolution in 1999:

Analysis and Conclusion:

Since 1999, five general elections have occurred in Scotland and they have been outlined above. From an analysis of these elections, one can conclude that the political views of Scotland and its people saw a gradual shift. The people first preferred the Labour Party owing to the fact that it enabled Scotland to devolve from the UK. However, once the sheen of this concept wore off, the people saw the Labour Party to be competent, though uninspiring. This shift in preference was the main point to be noted in the 2007 election in which the National Party edged to a narrow victory and the shift was set in concrete in 2011 when same party won by a huge majority. The result was the same in the 2016 election which shows that people‟s views towards the Labour Party have changed and the National Party is the political man of the hour.


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