Growing calls for federal UK in wake of Brexit vote

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Image caption Could federalism let Scotland remain in the UK and the EU?

For years, nay decades, it was a topic only touched, if at all, by eager Liberals at party conferences. If not actually shod in sandals at the time, you could tell they were yearning to return to their favoured footwear, when convenient.

The topic? Federalism, of course. It has been on Liberal (and now Lib Dem) stocks for so long, it has tended to suffer a little from benign neglect. Like much-loved socks stuffed at the back of a drawer.

Liberals were sincere, of course. They meant it. They advocated federalism. But, occasionally, one was left with the impression they had not fully thought through the consequences for disparate governance in these islands.

They believed in federalism. They had always believed in federalism. QED.

But now? Why, federalism is the topic du jour or, more precisely, de la semaine. Only this week, not one but two senior politicians from Scotland have advanced its merits.

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In-depth Chilcot report raises further questions

Iraq Inquiry report Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Chilcot Report studies the build up to and the conduct of the Iraq War

Sir John Chilcot's compendious and coruscating report into the Iraq War and its aftermath has, inevitably, generated further questions.

Could/should the conflict have been prevented? What went wrong with equipping the troops? Why was aftermath planning, according to Sir John, so limited?

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Queen's 'keep calm and carry on' message

Media captionThe Queen urged calm in an "increasingly challenging world"

If you are the first minister, you can make your point directly. And so Nicola Sturgeon concluded her remarks at Holyrood today by urging MSPs and Scotland more generally "to play our part in a stronger Europe and a better world."

If you are the presiding officer, you can say what you mean to say, without challenge. And so Ken Macintosh, in a notably well-structured speech, urged optimism in these troubled and uncertain times.

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Brexit: Known knowns and known unknowns

Image copyright AP
Image caption Donald Rumsfeld made his famous "known knowns" comment at a Pentagon briefing in 2002

As US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld offered the following verdict upon our troubled planet:

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

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Brexit aftermath: Drawing on the words of thinkers

Irish President Michael Higgins Image copyright PA
Image caption Irish President Michael Higgins addressed the Scottish Parliament

Ideas and action. In general, it is sensible if one precedes the other. For the avoidance of any doubt, I am suggesting that thought might usefully come first.

Today, in Edinburgh and Brussels, we have had copious examples of both. More precisely, we have had a range of ideas - and, just perhaps, the first stirrings of action.

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Independence hangs over Holyrood Brexit debate

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Image caption MSPs were updated on the government's plans in the wake of the UK's vote to quit the European Union

It was not, said Nicola Sturgeon, a statement she wanted to make. Her party, her government had not sought a referendum on the European Union nor did they seek the result which followed.

Nevertheless, she delivered said statement with panache and deliberative control. It was not, she implied by her demeanour, a time for fire and passion.

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Could the Scottish Parliament stop the UK from leaving the EU?

  • 26 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Media captionNicola Sturgeon: Scotland could veto Brexit

To recap. The Prime Minister has resigned. The leader of the opposition is resisting pressure from senior colleagues to follow suit.

And, lest we forget in this temporary focus upon party leadership, the people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union after 43 years of membership.

Read full article Could the Scottish Parliament stop the UK from leaving the EU?

Is the time right for Indyref2?

  • 24 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Sturgeon said a second independence referendum was "highly likely"

It looks "highly likely", says Nicola Sturgeon, that there will now be a second referendum upon Scottish independence.

Is she enthused by this prospect? Does she thrill at the notion? Is she buffing up her best lines from 2014? The answers to those questions would be no, no and, once again, no.

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EU referendum: Doing what you feel in your heart

  • 22 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Eleanor Roosevelt
Image caption Eleanor Roosevelt was the US first lady during her husband's four terms as US president

In her lifetime, Eleanor Roosevelt prompted a range of responses. As first lady during FDR's four term US Presidency, she brought to the role an influence and status it had never had before and seldom since.

As an aside, her relationship with that other great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was occasionally cool.

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EU referendum: Who'll be rushing out to vote?

  • 21 June 2016
  • From the section Scotland
Runners Image copyright Thinkstock

According to Nigel Farage, the more avid supporters of Brexit would "crawl over broken glass" to vote to leave the European Union.

As far as I am aware, suffrage qualifications of this nature no longer exist in the UK. Electoral participation involves no particular hazards - other than enduring dusty town halls or schools, with relentlessly cheerful canvassers at the door.

Read full article EU referendum: Who'll be rushing out to vote?