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The UK is pulling itself apart

The federal moment approaches but it may yet turn out to be as elusive as at previous periods of constitutional soul-searching. The accumulation of support for a federal settlement has been noticeable even if not always expressed in explicit terms. At the most basic, it’s typically framed in terms of a written constitution underpinning a newly formalised relationship between the nations of the UK and the centre. A reformed second chamber is also mentioned frequently. David Torrance usefully provided a representative sample of such opinion towards the end of Britain Rebooted: Scotland in a Federal Union. What was noticeable was its wide-sweep, embracing figures of left and right from different parts of the UK. But it also provoked questions about how such an expanse of opinion could coalesce and be brought to bear on the problems of governance and power. Furthermore, there was concern about how to generate the popular engagement that would be necessary to confer legitimacy on proceedings.

Douglas Alexander

Douglas Alexander: in defence of Better Together’s scapegoat

The past week has been uncomfortable for Better Together. Alistair Darling’s widely perceived defeat to Alex Salmond in the second of their televised jousts seemed to contribute to a narrowing of the opinion polls, while a campaign broadcast aiming to highlight the concern of undecided female voters has been criticised for being patronising and worse. Jim Murphy’s decision to temporarily halt his 100 streets tour has ensured searching questions have rightly been asked elsewhere but there is a sense that this doesn’t have the same implications in terms of determining the outcome of the referendum, ugly though it has been.

row of houses

How to campaign: tails from the trail

From 2 ½ years to just 2 ½ weeks. The end of the mammoth #IndyRef campaign is nigh! Soon, Scotland will soon have decided and we can try and return to some semblance of normality. Recapping her recent campaigning stories, Kate Higgins (aka @BurdzEyeView) posted a few of her ‘Tales from the Trail’ and a brilliant list of tips for those new (and not-so-new) to political campaigning. This inspired me to add to this list with some of my own. Some of these are about safety, some about satisfaction and some about sanity – but I hope that all of them are useful.