Skip to main content

Politics and International Relations (PIR): Events


The Referendum One Year On: a health check on democracy

The Referendum One Year On: a health check on democracy
Speaker: Dr Oliver Escobar # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
29th Oct 2015 19:00 - 29th Oct 2015 21:00
Glasgow School Of Art

Thursday 29 October, 19.00 until 21.00, Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew St, Glasgow G3 6RQ UK Satellites

In the space of less than a year, from September 2015 to May 2015, the Scottish people spoke twice on their political future, but the two messages can seem hard to square. If the referendum outcome was a clear-cut ‘No’, the general election result was a resounding victory for the party of ‘Yes’. Contradictions abound and clearly a wide range of considerations inform the electoral choices people make. While dissatisfaction with Westminster and a collapse of trust in representation are key driving forces, what else lies behind the seismic shifts we are witnessing?

The independence question is certainly less binary and more nuanced than it appears, with many supporters viewing independence as a means to a (broadly social-democratic) end, rather than a (nationalist) end in itself. But is there any more to this than wishful thinking? Will the rise and rise of the SNP continue in the coming Scottish national and local elections? What approaches might existing incumbents deploy to rebuild faith in representative democracy? In a time of controversy over austerity and when some basic freedoms are under attack, if ‘the people’ are to be more than just democratic window dressing, some of these conundrums need to be addressed.

Dr Oliver Escobar
co-director, What Works Scotland; lecturer in public policy, University of Edinburgh


Liam Murray
founder and owner, We Are Flat Five, a boutique management consultancy


Dr Stuart Waiton
lecturer in sociology and criminology, Abertay University; author, Snobs' Law: criminalising football fans in an age of intolerance


Craig Fairnington
associate fellow, Institute of Ideas
Produced by
Dr Simon Knight youth and community work manager; board member, Play Scotland; No vote campaigner during referendum on Scottish independence
Neil McGuire designer and design tutor, Glasgow School of Art
Edinburgh Students