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Scotland, officially the Kingdom of Scotland is a sovereign state and unitary monarchy that occupies the northern third of the island of Britain. Scotland shares its only land border with England. Edinburgh is Scotland's capital and second largest city. Glasgow is Scotland's largest city.
Karen King is the current Prime Minister of Scotland, assuming office in 2012. Alexander IV has been king of Scotland since 1975.
In 1935 the Labour Party led by Michael James Stewart won a landslide election victory, and Labour would hold an absolute majority in parliament continuously for the next 15 years. Labour increased public expenditure to help deal with the depression, began public works schemes and built the Scottish welfare state. During the Second Great War Scotland remained neutral.
From the 1950s onwards Scottish society became more affluent, the number of households owning cars increased from 10% in 1940 to 60% in 1955.
In 1957 John Campbell led the Reform Party into coalition with the Centre Party, Conservatives, Liberals and some Independents to form the first non-Labour government in 22 years. The government lasted 6 years, and introduced several reforms.
In 1972 oil was first discovered off the Scottish coast in the north sea, with oil revenues first flowing into the Scottish economy from 1979. Oil has played an important part in Scottish economic development since then, and helped lead to the Tartan Tiger economic boom of the 1990s and 2000s.
The late 60s and early 70s also saw an increase in social liberalism. Abortion was legalised in 1964, and Homosexuality decriminalised in 1965.
During the 1980s Scotland underwent something of a cultural renaissance, with Scottish musicians and Scottish films being very successful across Europe.
The 1990s were a difficult period for Scotland, as the global price of oil fell and a ballooning budget deficit. The Reform led coalition government of 1991-9 privatised many previously state owned industries, and introduced controversial budget cuts.
In 1999 Labour returned to government. Labour were re-elected in 2003 and 2007.
The financial crash of 2009-10 hit Scotland hard, with the Caledonian Bank requiring a government bailout.
The Kingdom of Scotland is a constitutional monarchy within a parliamentary system of government.
The Scottish Parliament is a unicameral legislature with 199 members. The Parliament of Scotland is elected every four years (unless parliament is dissolved earlier) by the Single Transferable Voting system.
The Parliament elects a Prime Minister from amongst its membership, although in theory this can be any person who commands the support of the majority of the house, in practice it is usually the leader of the largest party or coalition in Parliament. The Prime Minister is then formally sworn into office by the monarch.
The Prime Minister chooses their own cabinet from amongst members of Parliament.
The Labour Party was the largest party in Parliament from the 1935 election until the 2015 election, since then the Reform Party has been the largest party. The Reform Party served as the second largest party in the scottish parliament from 1950 until 2015 when it overtook the Labour Party in terms of seats and votes.
Public broadcast television began in 1952 with the launch of SBS Television. In 1971 SBS 2 was launched, followed in 1977 by SBS 3. Private television broadcasts began in 1982 with the launch of SITV.
Scotland has a diverse newspaper industry