Last day: Alissa Bishop-Thorpe, Rhiannon Grosse and Lucy Roberts
We began the day with a seminar led by expert in Scottish politics, Alan Convery. During the session, Alan gave us interesting insight into the issues that are affecting the current political climate in Scotland. The two major topics discussed were the rise of the Scottish National Party and the 2014 independence referendum. Alan provided us with a more in depth understanding of the factors contributing towards the rise of the SNP, the party’s political ideals and the effect of the party’s emergence on Scottish politics. The discussion of the independence referendum focused on the reasons behind the push for independence and the results of the referendum. Alan also gave an informative overview of the Scottish electoral system and of each of the major political parties. Following the seminar with Alan, we have a much deeper understanding of Scottish politics and the intricacies of the major issues.
After a quick lunch where we inundated a poor lone shopkeeper with many hungry students, we reflected on the tour and its lessons. John and Clem reminded us of the important issues that we could take away and reflect on. We did this by comparing what we had learned about the English and Scottish political systems with the more familiar Australian system. The group discussed the most striking institutional, political and cultural aspects of the UK system. A common answer was the lack of a written constitution (although the jury’s still out on whether that is a good or bad thing). Another was the political engagement and the passion that the British have for their politics. On an international scale the sovereignty of the UK Parliament was a large issue as the EU position has to be constantly considered. With heavy hearts we concluded our last official study related part of the tour with a greater and more detailed knowledge of UK politics and its processes.
Previous: UK Study Tour – 19 / 20 April