Holyrood has been a force for good and its democratic journey continues, writes First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
My recollections of the start of the devolution era in Scotland are vivid – for both personal and wider political and historic reasons.
Personally, it was an election which saw me elected to parliament for the first time, with the profound sense of responsibility and privilege that comes with that.
And for the country as a whole, it was momentous – a historic event in the purest sense of the word; a moment in time which now, two decades on, seems both poignant and uplifting because of the sense of possibility that having a new parliament awakened.
It was only a new legislature in one sense, of course, as the first MSP to chair proceedings was quick to remind the 129 newly elected members as we took our seats in the Kirk’s Assembly buildings on the Mound. Winnie Ewing’s words
that “The Scottish Parliament, adjourned on the 25th day of March in the year 1707, is hereby reconvened” have become etched into the Holyrood story.
It was an important reminder that, while this 1999 institution was a new one, we were merely picking up a baton which had been laid down almost three centuries earlier.
And, for all the teething troubles of the early days, principally the controversy over the Holyrood building itself, the Scottish Parliament has been a success story.
Surveys, including some of the most detailed opinion polling, show that people across Scotland overwhelmingly identify with the Scottish Parliament, ahead of Westminster, and believe it has improved things for the better on a range of policy fronts.
Having a parliament has brought democracy closer to the people and
0 Before the construction of the controversial Parliament building at Holyrood,