In March this year, PhD student James Cameron was in Edinburgh to undertake fieldwork, in the form of interviewing of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). It was a successful trip with 58 out of 129 MSPs interviewed, including several ministers. All but two of those interviewed were recorded. MSPs from all parties represented in the parliament were interviewed, including the Scottish National Party, Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Independents.
James' thesis is titled From Niche to Mainstream - Explaining the Electoral Success of the Scottish National Party Since 1999. Primary data collection is from both interviewing and analysing datasets from the Scottish Elections Studies and Scottish Social Attitudes Surveys.
James has also recently given a speech on this topic at the Annual Parliamentary Scottish Dinner at Australian Parliament House. An edited version of the speech Scotland at the crossroads discusses the influence of the Scottish National Party and prospects for Scottish independence in the lead up to Scotland’s upcoming referendum.
James will be returning to Scotland in September to attend a conference, interview journalists and witness first-hand the referendum on Scottish independence on 18 September.