Edinburgh professor inspires debate on democracy

The future of democracy – both in the UK and abroad – will be explored at an event that acknowledges the influence of an Edinburgh politics professor.

The event, taking place on Thursday 1 March at the Scottish Parliament, will mark 40 years since the death of John P Mackintosh, the former Labour MP often referred to as 'the Father of Scottish devolution.'

The debate, titled Where now for democracy? has been organised by the University, where Professor Mackintosh was a professor of politics until his death at the age of 48. 

Scottish devolution

Professor Mackintosh’s advocacy of the UK joining the then European Community, as well as his support for Scottish devolution put him at odds with his party, but won him admirers from across the political spectrum.

The late First Minister of Scotland, Donald Dewar, described him as “something of a prophet, a mighty champion of reform at a time when constitutional change was not an approved and certainly not a fashionable cause”.

The John P Mackintosh Memorial Debate will see a distinguished panel of politicians and commentators discuss his legacy and ask what the future holds for good government.

The first two Presiding Officers of the Scottish Parliament, former Liberal Party leader Lord David Steel and former SNP MP and MSP, Sir George Reid will be joined by journalist Polly Toynbee of The Guardian and Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society at the University. 

Chairing the debate will be Ken Macintosh MSP, the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer.

Free tickets

Tickets for the event, which is free and open to the public, can be booked via the Eventbrite page. 

Eventbrite: John P. Mackintosh Memorial Debate 

The debate takes place in the Scottish Parliament’s Debating Chamber on Thursday, 1 March, from 6:00 to 7.30pm. It will be followed by a reception, which will be addressed by the University’s Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson.


John P Mackintosh

Politics and International Relations