Holyrood magazine celebrates its 500th Issue
Holyrood magazine celebrated its 500th issue with a drinks reception and exhibition of its work, which was attended by current and former politicians.
Members from across the Scottish Parliament attended the event along with the current presiding officer, Alison Johnstone, at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, as did writers, actors, academics and representatives from business and public affairs.
The evening included a ‘fireside chat’ between Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes and parliamentarians Fergus Ewing, Jackie Baillie, Liam McArthur and Craig Hoy, and also incorporated a screening of the live STV debate between SNP leadership candidates Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes – complete with popcorn. Interviews with guests and footage from the event were captured by the broadcaster as part of its coverage of the leadership race.
On stage at the Fruitmarket, the four MSPs reflected on the changes in the Scottish Parliament and politics since 1999 and how Holyrood has reported them. Guests heard how the arrival of majority government in 2011 marked a shift in which there was less need for working across parties to build consensus, and that the retiral of many veteran MSPs ahead of the 2021 election led to a loss in experience and institutional memory. The panel told how the pandemic meant the new intake in 2021 had been unable to meet in person, and there was agreement that, with the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP has reached a crossroads.
“It’s been extraordinary – it’s comedy gold, if it wasn’t so serious,” Baillie told STV’s Kathryn Samson as the screening of the hustings ended. “What we’ve seen is three candidates for the SNP leadership destroying their own party’s record in office and actually attempting to destroy each other. It has been unedifying, if you’re a member of the SNP. Certainly, for the rest of us in the opposition, we are just astonished at how bitter and vitriolic and divisive this debate has been.”The event followed the publication of the magazine’s 500th edition and commemorative Caledonian Companion supplement, which featured reflections on Scottishness from some of the country’s leading figures.