Theme: Parties & Elections | Content Type: Journal article

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From Donald Dewar to Humza Yousaf: The Role of Scotland's First Ministers and the Importance of Political Leadership

Gerry Hassan



| 1 min read

The establishment of the Scottish Parliament created new institutions and a political environment which has had lasting implications for Scottish and UK politics, including furthering the rise of the Scottish National Party and the independence question. One central element of this new terrain has been the emergence of the Scottish government and the post of First Minister of Scotland. The latter, the most prominent devolved political position in Scotland, has so far been subjected to little detailed analysis.

Drawing on a wide array of material, research and interviews with key individuals, this article explores four aspects: first, the nature of the office of first minister; second, how it has evolved over the past quarter century; third, what various post-holders have brought to the role; and finally, how they have been influenced by wider contextual factors such as the changing dynamics of party support, electoral competition and intra-party considerations. The article offers some provisional conclusions about the changing nature of political leadership and the interplay between institutional factors, public opinion and the role of the individual political actors in the twenty-first century, which has relevance not just for Scotland but further afield.

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Volume 95, Issue 2

Latest Journal Issue

Volume 95, Issue 2

Includes a collection edited by James Hampshire on Immigration and Asylum Policy After Brexit, exploring how recent immigration and asylum policies reflect the ambivalent, unstable and unresolved meanings of Brexit itself. There are a wide range of other articles including 'A Hundred Years of Labour Governments' by Ben Jackson; and 'The Good, the Not so Good, and Liz Truss: MPs’ Evaluations of Postwar Prime Ministers' by Royal Holloway Group PR3710. Reports and Surveys include 'Addressing Barriers to Women's Representation in Party Candidate Selections' by Sofia Collignon. Finally, there is a selection of book reviews such as Nick Pearce's review of When Nothing Works: From Cost of Living to Foundational Liveability, by Luca Calafati, Julie Froud, Colin Haslam, Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams; and Penelope J. Corfield's review of The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time, by Yascha Mounk.

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