A par­lia­ment

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,

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