Queen Elizabeth II is our head of state
British Parliament and Government, based in London and led by the Prime Minister, Theresa May of the Conservative party
Scottish Parliament and Government, based in Edinburgh and led by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP
Local Councils, known as local authorities; Scotland is divided up into 32 of these councils, for example, Dundee City Council or Fife Council
Right to vote in elections
E.g. British general election 2015, Scottish general election 2016. Must respect the outcome of the election, even if your party loses.
The right to free speech
E.g. Complain about the Government. Don't engage in hate speech or incite violence e.g. Racism, sexism and homophobia are against the law
The right to protest
E.g. Junior doctors 2015, independence camp 2014-16 and the Faslane peace camp. Don't turn to violence or riot e.g. Student protests 2010, London Riots 2011
The right to petition
E.g. 2016 petition to ban Donald Trump from the UK. Don't forge signatures
Participation - Vote in Elections
We can vote in local council, Scottish and British elections. The last Scottish election was 2016, which the SNP won
Participation - Vote in Referenda
We can vote on single issues in a referendum. For example. 52% of people in Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016
Participation - Stand as a candidate in elections
We can stand as a candidate in local, Scottish or British elections. In 2015 SNP candidate Mhairi Black was elected at age 20, making her the youngest ever MP in the House of Commons.
Participation - Help a candidate campaign
We can also help candidates we support to win their seat in an election. Many people in Dundee West canvassed people at home, handed out leaflets and wore badges in support of local MSP Joe Fitzpatrick.
Participation - Join a pressure group
We can join a pressure group if we feel strongly about a cause. For example, Greenpeace is an environmental pressure group
Participation - Join a political party
We can join a political party if we want to help them win. Many people joined the SNP and Conservative parties after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - Definition
This system is used in Scotland to elect local councillors and is the most complicated system. Voters can vote as many times as they want by listing their candidates in order of preference eg ranking them 1-10. It is a system of proportional representation
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - Advantages
Fully Proportional More Choice
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - Fully Proportional
The result is fully proportional so if a party gets 50% of the votes they’ll get 50% of seats on the council eg in 2012 Labour received 35% of the votes in Dundee City and so won 10 seats (35%) on Dundee City Council
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - More Choice
As voters rank their candidates they have lots of choice and each vote counts eg they might rank Labour 1, SNP 2, Conservative 3, Green 4 and so on
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - Disadvantages
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - Complicated
With such a complicated system it’s really difficult to count the result; lots of complicated maths is involved so it takes time to figure out how many seats each party has won
Single Transferable Vote (STV) - Confusing
Because there it is easier for smaller parties and independent candidates to be elected the ballot papers can be huge and cause lots of confusion. As a result, in 2012, 2.5% of ballots in Dundee were rejected because they’d been filled out incorrectly!
Independence - Reasons for No
Poorer Identity History
Independence - Poorer
Scotland would be poorer if it left the UK as it would not be able to use the British pound
Independence - Identity
People in Scotland feel British as well as Scottish
Independence - History
Scotland has been a part of the UK for 300 years
Independence - Reasons for Yes
Richer Self-Determination Out of Touch
Independence - Richer
Scotland could be richer if it left the UK; it has oil, tourism and a whisky trade
Independence - Self-Determination
Independence would allow for ‘self-determination’ – Scots would control the destiny of their country
Independence - Out of Touch
British parliament in London is too remote and far away to govern Scotland properly.
Scotland Act 2016
New powers introduced like; Control over some benefits; eg. Disability Living Allowance The power to raise/lower VAT The power for parliament to borrow money to fund projects The power to allow 16-17 year olds to vote
In total there are 129 seats in Scottish Parliament, one for each of the 129 MSPs. The political party with the most seats after each election gets to form the government whilst the other parties form the opposition
SNP - Leader
SNP - MSPs
Conservative - Leader
Conservative - MSPs
Labour - Leader
Labour - MSPs
Green - Leader
Green - MSPs
Liberal Democrats - Leader
Liberal Democrats - MSPs
Types of Government
Majority Government - Definition
If the largest party has more than half the seats in parliament they can govern alone as a majority.
Majority Government - Example
In the 2011 election the SNP won 69 seats so worked as a majority government
Majority Government - Advantage
With a majority of MSPs on their side, it is easy for the government to pass bills into law eg. 2014 Independence Referendum
Majority Government - Disadvantage
A majority government will not have a strong opposition and therefore there won’t be much scrutiny of government action
Minority Government - Definition
If the largest party has less than half the seats in parliament they can still govern alone as a minority.
Minority Government - Example
In 2016 the SNP won 63 seats, 2 less than the 65 needed to form a majority.
Minority Government - Advantage
With a minority of MSPs on their side the government are forced to work with other parties and take their views into consideration – this means other parties have a say, even though they’re not in government
Minority Government - Disadvantage
The opposition can have too much power and stop the government from passing laws – this makes the whole process slow
Coalition Government - Definition
If the largest party has less than half the seats they can work with another party to form a majority.
Coalition Government - Example
In 2003 the Labour party formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats; working together gave them a joint majority.
Coalition Government - Advantage
With two parties working together the views of more people are represented in the actions of government.
Coalition Government - Disadvantage
Nobody votes for a coalition – it’s not an option in the election. Two parties decide to form one without the consent of the voters.
Conflicts between Scottish and British Parliaments
In 2014 the SNP Scottish government campaigned for it whilst the Conservative British government campaigned against
In 2016 the Scottish SNP government has tried to stop Scotland from exiting the EU whilst the British Conservative government has argued Scotland will leave with the rest of the UK.
In 2016 the Conservative government voted to renew the Trident nuclear submarine programme whilst the Scottish SNP government wanted the nuclear missiles removed from Scotland.
Conflicts between Scottish and Local government
Local Government Funding
Cutting School Day
Funding of Free School Meals
Local Government Funding
In 2016 local government councils complained that the Scottish parliament was not giving them enough money to run services whilst the Scottish government argued that they were.
Cutting School Day
In 2016 Dumfries council cut the number of hours in the school day to reduce costs whilst the Scottish government argued that they could not do this.
Funding of Free School Meals
One Scottish government policy has been to give all children in P1-3 a free school meal, however some local councils have argued they don’t have the money to do this.
MSPs - Parliament days
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thrusday
MSPs - Parliament Work
First Minister’s Question Time
This makes up the bulk of an MSPs work. Committees examine new laws. For example, MSP for the North East Scotland region Liam Kerr is a member of the economy committee and the public audit committee
this happens every Thursday at 12pm. Here, government ministers like Health Secretary Shona Robinson will face questions from MSPs about health in Scotland
First Minister's Question Time
This happens every Thursday at 12pm. Here FM Nicola Sturgeon will face questions from MSPs about all issues affecting Scotland. Tough questions will come from opposition MSPs like Conservative leader Ruth Davison
MSPs will spend much of their time in parliament debating about new laws with other MSPs. MSPs debate devolved issues like health, education and transport.
This happens at 5pm at the end of each day and involves MSPs voting on laws. For example, in 2015 the Scottish parliament voted to reduce the age at which people can vote in elections to 16.
MSPs - Constituency Days
Monday, Friday and Saturday
MSPs - Constituency Work
Campaign for Election
Meeting with MPs and Councillors
MSPs hold a weekly surgery where their constituents can meet them and share any problems that they have. For example, a constituent might complain about the quality of meals at Ninewells Hospital. The MSP will bring this problem up with the hospital and maybe discuss it in parliament.
Meetings with the public are held at different venues across the city to allow constituents a chance to speak with their MSP. For example, Shona Robison, MSP for Dundee East, holds meetings all over her constituency, including libraries, shopping centres and community centres.
Campaign for election
every five years MSPs must work hard in their constituency to campaign for re-election if they want to keep their seat! For example, Joe Fitzpatrick could be seen knocking on people’s doors during the 2016 election campaign
Meeting with MPs and Councillors
Sometimes constituents come to their MSP with a problem that’s better dealt with by the British government or the local council. For example, if a constituent approaches Shona Robinson with a problem about refuse collection she may take the issue up with the local council.
Raising Money for Council Services
Revenue Support Grant Council Tax Business Rates Service Charges
Revenue Support Grant
Around 80% of council funding comes from the Scottish government in the form of the revenue support grant. The amount of money each of the 32 councils get depends on their size and the amount of people living there. Councils often complain that this isn’t enough. The Scottish government gives almost £11 billion to councils each year.
Councils charge the ‘council tax’ on each property, whether it is owned or rented. People living in the council area have to pay it. The more valuable your home, the more you have to pay. Band A properties in Dundee are charged £1089 each year whilst Band H are charged £3269 every year.
Businesses have to pay a tax, very similar to council tax, for operating their businesses within a council area.
People pay fees for the council services they use. For example, people pay to use council car parks or council run leisure centres.
Types of Pressure Groups
Cause Group - Definition
Open to everyone Temporary and only last as long as their issue Have lots of members
Cause Group - Examples
CND Greenpeace Amnesty International Gurkha Justice Campaign
Sectional Groups - Definition
Open to members of a specific group only They keep going to further their member’s interests They are exclusive groups so are smaller
Sectional Groups - Examples
Education Institute of Scotland (teaching union) UNISON (workers union) BMA (doctor’s union)
Pressure Group Rights
Free Speech Protest Petition
Pressure Group Methods
Rallies, marches, demonstrations & protests Posters Letter writing/email campaign Websites Social Media Online Petitions Camps
Rallies, Marches and Protests - Example
Posters - Example
Amnesty International use posters and billboards to spread their message
Letter Writing/email campaign - Example
Gurkha justice campaign urged people to write to their MP about the issue
Websites - Example
Survival International use their website to share vidoes/images/stories
Social Media - Example
PETA used social media to share videos of Angora fur farms
Online Petitions - Example
Dyce Academy in Aberdeen used an online petition to allow fair trade chocolate to be sold in schools
Camps - Example
The CND set up a ‘Peace Camp’ at Faslane
Trade Unions - Purpose
Campaign to protect workers’ rights
Trade Unions - Examples
EIS (teaching union) BMA (doctor’s union) UNISON, the general worker’s union.
Trade Unions - Rights
Right to Strike Right to Recruit new members Negotiate changes to pay and conditions
Right to Strike - Example
Junior Doctor Strikes in 2016
Right to Strike - Responsability
The members must vote first
Recruit New Members - Responsability
Don’t force anyone to join
Negotiate changes to pay and conditions - Example
The BMA negotiated with the government over a new contract for junior doctors in 2016.
Negotiate changes to pay and conditions - Responsability
Don't make unreasonable demands
Industrial Action - Definition
Methods trade unions use to get their points across
Industrial Action - Examples
Strike Go Slow Overtime Ban Work to rule
Newspapers – for example the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Guardian. Papers will often report on what the government has done so the public are kept up to date.
Television and radio – for example BBC news, Channel 4 news
The internet – facebook, twitter, Instagram – politicians have their own social media which they use to keep in touch with constituents.