This book presents a narrative of Scottish politics since devolution in 1999. It compares eight years of coalition government under Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats with four years of Scottish National Party minority government.
It outlines the relative effect of each government on Scottish politics and public policy in various contexts, including: high expectations for ‘new politics’ that were never fully realised; the influence of, and reactions from, the media and public; the role of political parties; the Scottish Government’s relations with the UK Government, EU institutions, local government, quasi-governmental and non-governmental actors; and, the finance available to fund policy initiatives. It then considers how far Scotland has travelled on the road to constitutional change, comparing the original devolved framework with calls for independence or a new devolution settlement.
The book draws heavily on information produced since 1999 by the Scottish Devolution Monitoring project (which forms one part of the devolution monitoring project led by the Constitution Unit, UCL) and is supplemented by new research on public policy, minority government, intergovernmental relations and constitutional change.