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Smaller Parties

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alistair Clark


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Small parties in Scotland have played a number of roles in the post-devolution party system. In some areas they have been trail-blazers for broader developments, while in others they have met some success but had little longer impact. Understanding this is crucial for a broader understanding of party competition and the Scottish party system. The first part of the chapter addresses thorny theoretical issues around what counts as a ‘small’ party, and the relation between smallness and relevance. The second part discusses key small parties that have had some level of success in Scotland. These include the Greens, Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), UKIP, Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party, and the ‘Others’ who have also been successfully elected in Scotland, including the Liberal Democrats, given their changing fortunes over time. The final section considers reasons for the rise of smaller parties, while examining the broader effect on the Scottish party system and putting Scotland into comparative perspective in relation to the role of small parties.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clark A

Editor(s): Keating,M

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics

Year: 2020

Pages: 301-319

Print publication date: 20/08/2020

Acceptance date: 11/04/2019

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Place Published: Oxford, UK


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780198825098