voting papers small

There are 73 constituency seats and 56 regional seats in the Scottish voting system. Combined, these return 129 Members to the Scottish Parliament(MSPs).

Each elector(voter) has two votes.

The first vote is used to select a candidate who is standing in a constituency. This relies on the First Past The Post (FPTP) system where the candidate with the highest number of votes will become elected as the MSP for that constituency. The Political Party represented by the winning candidate adds to the number of seats won by that party.

The second vote is used to select a party as opposed to an individual candidate and is known as the Additional Member System (AMS). Eight regions (comprising of 8 to 10 constituencies) have a list of 7 parliamentary seats allocated to them. Which party wins which seat is determined by votes cast and processed through the D'Hondt system - a mathematical process to score the votes over a number of rounds. In each round, the highest scoring party is allocated a seat. There are 7 seats available, so the process lasts for 7 rounds.

40 Years ago, oil was discovered in the North Sea. The fields lay predominantly in the Scottish and Norwegian Territorial waters.

In 1974, Professor Gavin McCrone was commissioned by the Government of the day (Conservatives under Ted Heath) to deliver an urgent report, focused on the likely effects of North Sea oil revenue on the economic viability of an independent Scotland.

This came at a time when Scottish nationalism was begining to grow in popularity, largely due to the efforts of the SNP. The SNP knew the oil would be a huge asset for an independent Scotland and many Scots also shared this view.

mandy rhodes smallMandy Rhodes interviews Denis Healey.

The interview appeared in Holyrood Magazine on the 19th May 2013. The final part of the interview is presented here, an extremely interesting section concerning his recollections (and truthful opinions) of the previous referendum of 1979, the McCrone report, oil and the recent referendum of 18th September 2014.

If only the 'Better Together' camp had adopted the same attitude...