About You Tell me about the political system in your country At the end, I will ask you: –What could Scotland learn from your country in terms of politics? –What could your home country learn from Scotland in terms of politics?
Setting the Scottish Political Scene Scotland is a country within the United Kingdom Scotland has self-government i.e. devolution –Scottish Parliament –Scottish Government (known as Scottish Executive) Scotland is not an independent nation
UK Parliament Prime Minister Tony Blair 59 Scottish MPs out of 646 Passed 1998 Scotland Act Three main parties Has power over Scotland in ‘reserved’ areas: –Economy –Defence –Social Welfare –Foreign Affairs –Immigration –Energy
Scottish Parliament First Minister Jack McConnell 129 MSPs Six main parties Has power in ‘devolved’ areas: –Housing –Health –Education –Legal system –Raise taxes! –Planning
History of the Scottish Parliament 1707: Parliament suspended 1997:Referendum for a Scottish Parliament 1998:Scotland Act passed 1999:Scottish Parliament re-convened
What Does the Scottish Parliament Do? Passes legislation in devolved areas –99 Acts of Parliament passed in 7 years Committees Hold Inquiries –European and External Affairs Committee and Fresh Talent Initiative Holds the Scottish Executive to account –Question Time Gives people of Scotland a voice –Scottish Solutions for Scottish Problems
Who is Your MSP? www.scottish.parliament.uk/msp/index.htm –Allows you to search by postcode Call the Scottish Parliament on 0131 348 5000 Your MSP will help you on any issue How to contact MSP is explained on the web address above George Reid MSP Anne McGuire MP
Scottish Executive Scottish Executive is the name for the devolved government of Scotland A coalition government between majority Labour party and minority Liberal Democrat party First Minister Jack McConnell is head of the Scottish Executive Various other Ministers for Health, Education etc Consults with Scotland before new legislation
Getting Involved Visit your MSP Attend Parliamentary Debates Attend Committee Meetings Respond to Consultations Start a Public Petition
Useful Websites Scottish Parliament –www.scottish.parliament.ukwww.scottish.parliament.uk Scottish Executive –www.scotland.gov.ukwww.scotland.gov.uk UK Parliament –www.parliament.ukwww.parliament.uk Public Petitions –http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/ committees/petitions/index.htmhttp://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/ committees/petitions/index.htm
Scotland’s Political Parties www.scottishlabour.org.ukwww.scotlibdems.org.ukwww.scottishtories.org.uk www.snp.orgwww.scottishsocialistparty.orgwww.scottishgreens.org
Achievements of the Parliament Ban on smoking in public places Reformed Scottish housing Reformed many aspects of Scottish life Allowed Scottish solutions to Scottish problems
Problems with the Parliament Devolved and Reserved Issues cause tension Inconsistent Devolved and Reserved Issues Stays in line with UK Parliament Hostile Media Cost of the Parliament Building
Scottish Solutions to Scottish Problems Scotland has a declining population Scotland needs more people to come and live here more than other parts of the United Kingdom But Scottish Parliament has no power over this issue Scottish Executive developed Fresh Talent Initiative and now two year visa extension applies only in Scotland Caused tensions with other parts of the UK
Differences from UK Parliament Closer to the people of Scotland More accessible and user friendly More consensual and co-operative More political parties so more perspectives BUT Like UK Parliament, the Party will always come first!