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Date : 24/03/2022 | Time : 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm |

The State of the Union – Professor Sir John Curtice

With Brexit settled, the most pressing constitutional issue facing the UK is the future of the Union itself and the relationship between its four component nations. It had been assumed that devolution would satisfy the wishes of many people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for greater autonomy. Ironically, it seems to have had the opposite effect, especially in Scotland. There the SNP, which campaigns for full independence, is by far the largest political party. Despite the referendum which resulted in a win for the unionists, albeit by a relatively small margin, the SNP continues to demand a second referendum, arguing that Brexit has changed the political landscape.

The agreement between the UK and the EU has meanwhile led to Northern Ireland having a semi-detached trade relationship with the rest of the UK. It is thought that the main nationalist party may well win more seats than the main unionist party in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

How England should be governed within the Union remains unfinished business. England does not have a Parliament/Assembly of its own while there are arguments about the higher level of public spending in Scotland. Professor Curtice will assess how these developments may play out in the short and medium terms, and the implications they may have for the future of the Union.

Sir John is Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Social Research and ‘The UK in a Changing Europe’. He is President of the British Polling Council, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Elections and of the Policy Advisory Committee of the Institute for Public Policy Research. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1992, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2004  and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Market Research Society and the Royal Statistical Society. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2018. He is particularly interested in electoral behaviour and researching political and social attitudes and has frequently appeared on the broadcast media coverage of elections both local and national.

 

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