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A catenaccio game : the 2010 election in Scotland

Mitchell, James and Van Der Zwet, Arno (2010) A catenaccio game : the 2010 election in Scotland. Parliamentary Affairs, 63 (4). 708 - 725.

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Abstract

The result of the general election in Scotland was very different from the rest of the UK. No seats changed hands. Labour consolidated its position as the dominant party in Scotland. Cameron may have been able to detoxify the Conservatives’ image in England but failed to do the same in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats were the only major party in Scotland to see its vote share reduced. Nevertheless, the Liberal Democrats in coalition with the Conservatives provide cover for the Conservatives in Scotland who might be accused of having no legitimacy in Scotland. The 2010 election campaign was a very British affair. The ‘Prime Ministerial Debates’ presidentialised the elections, marginalising regional voices and issues. Furthermore, the economy and public finances dominated the agenda, and constitutional issues were neutralised as all British parties appeared to agree with the Calman Commission's conclusions. Despite little change in the headline figures, under the surface there were interesting developments. The Scottish National Party overtook the Liberal Democrats as Scotland's second party in vote share. Targeting was unsuccessful in Scotland with parties generally performing better in marginals where they were incumbents than their overall performance and less well where they were challengers.