Introduction to Government in Scotland, the UK and EU

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Important terms, positions, titles, and phrases to learn will be highlighted this way.

Outside of Scotland itself, Scottish politics is intertwined with the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU). The United Kingdom is a union of the Anglo-Saxon country of England and the Celtic nations of Wales, Scotland, and formerly all of Ireland but now just Northern Ireland. South Ireland, now called the Republic of Ireland, broke with the UK and became independent in 1922. Also England previously conquered and now controls and administers the Celtic countries of Cornwall and the Isle of Man. The UK as a whole are currently members of the European Union but are expected to leave it (called "Brexit" British Exit) by January 31, 2020. The European Union is an economic and political federation of over 28 European countries. Nicknamed "the United States of Europe," the European Union has a similar concept of the United States of America in its federation or "union" of states and a central federal government of the 50 sovereign nation-states in America.

Scottish Politics covers four areas:
local Community Councils, the Scottish Parliament, the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament, and the European (EU) Parliament.

♦  Counsillors are elected members of the local Community Council who handle local community issues.
♦  MSP means a Member of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Similar to a state legislator. List/Map of MSPs.
♦  MP means Member of the UK Parliament at Westminster in London, England.  Similar to a U.S. Congressperson.
♦  MEP means a Member of the European Parliament of the European Union. The European Parliament has three places of work – Brussels (Belgium), Luxembourg City (Luxembourg) and Strasbourg (France).


The United Kingdom

The UK is a united government containing the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In the 1990s Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland gained their own  parliament and government that has limited "de-evolved" powers from Westminster.

Who is in charge of the Government? The Chief Executive, like the American President, is the one who runs the government, and is the UK Prime Minister, who is the leader of the majority party and/or coalition of parties in the "House of Commons" like the U.S. House of Representatives.  The legislature who makes the laws, similar to the U.S. Congress, is the UK Parliament at Westminster. The UK Parliament is made up of two houses: The House of Lords who are appointed by the Queen for life; and The House of Commons who are locally elected members from set districts across the entire UK called "constituencies."

Seat of Government for the UK is in London. Parliament, like Congress, is at Westminster. The Prime Minister (like the U.S. President) is the head of government at Whitehall who lives at "Number 10" Downing Street (like the U.S. White House). See Wikipedia article on the United Kingdom.



UK Government
Official Websites:  www.Gov.UKUK Gov DepartmentsPrime Minister's Office (youtube, facebook)

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UK Parliament
Official Websites:
www.Parliament.UK3D Virtual Tour (cool) —Parliament Live TV

See also: the Westminster Parliamentary System of Government and the Wikipedia article on the Parliament of the UK.

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The European Union

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Government in Scotland
Government in Scotland is divided between local Community Councils and the Scottish National Government. 


The Local Community Councils
Wikipedia: Community Councils in Scotland
Official Websites: 
www.CommunityCouncils.Scot   www.LocalCouncillor.Scot
A few local councils: Glasgow (wikipedia, youtube), Edinburgh (wikipedia, youtube), Aberdeen (wikipedia, youtube), Stirling (wikipedia, youtube), Orkney (wikipedia, youtube), Highlands (wikipedia, youtube).

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The Scottish Government
The "First Minister of Scotland" is similar to the UK Prime Minister and is also the head of the Scottish government by the fact they are the leader of the majority party and/or coalition of parties in the Scottish Parliament.  Nicola Sturgeon is the "First Minister" of Scotland and Bute House is the official working residence of the First Minister, similar to Number 10 Downing Street and the U.S. White House.
Official Websites:  www.Gov.Scotwww.FirstMinister.Gov.ScotBute House

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The Scottish Parliament
The democratic voice of the people is expressed on a national level in their vote for their MSPs (Ministers of Scottish Parliament) elected for a 4 year term.  Each Scot has 8 MSPs representing them in Parliament: 1 from their local area (73 total areas) called your Constituency MSP, and 7 from your region called your Regional MSPs (total 56 MSPs from 8 regions) with a total 129 MSPs in Parliament.

The Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999, after being dissolved when it joined the United Kingdom about 300 years prior. The Scottish Parliament is a one house unicameral legislative body in contrast to Westminster's two houses. The seat of government and parliament is in the city of Edinburgh ("g" is silent). Parliament is sometimes called Holyrood because it is in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. Parliament has been controlled by the Scottish National Party since 2007.  
Official Websites:  —  Scottish Parliament TV  —  The Legislative Process  —  Scottish Parliament on YouTube
See also: the Westminster Parliamentary System of Government and the Wikipedia article on the Scottish Parliament.

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Tour the Scottish Parliament
"Immersive Tour" videos below are in a 360 format, meaning you can use your mouse to move up, down, left, and right.

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