Pioneer’s legacy to inform debate on future of democracy

The future of democracy – both in the UK and abroad – will be explored at an event that commemorates the influence one of Scotland’s most pioneering politicians.

The event on Thursday 6 September at the Scottish Parliament will mark 40 years since the death of Professor John P Mackintosh, the former Labour MP, academic, writer and leading advocate of Scottish devolution.

The debate, titled Where Now for Democracy?, has been organised by the University of Edinburgh, where Professor Mackintosh was the Professor of Politics until his death at the age of 48.

Where Now for Democracy? 

Main Debating Chamber, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP

Thursday 6th September 2018

6pm - 8.30pm

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Reform champion

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”.

Professor Mackintosh was the Member of Parliament for Berwick and East Lothian between 1966 to 1978.

John P Mackintosh’s influence is still felt today in politics and academia. His publication The British Cabinet remains a widely referenced source for those interested in the politics and government of the UK. We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Parliament on this event to acknowledge his work.

Professor Peter MathiesonPrincipal of the University of Edinburgh

Distinguished panel

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.

Lord Menzies Campbell of Pittenweem, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Angus Robertson, former Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party, will be joined by Professor Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, and Catherine Stihler MEP, Labour Member of the European Parliament for Scotland.

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

The words of John P Mackintosh are carved in stone within the Scottish Parliament building. They remind MSPs and visitors of the passion and commitment to Scottish devolution over many years that shaped Scotland’s journey to securing a Parliament. It is fitting that his memorial debate at Holyrood should see a panel of experts consider what the future holds for democracy both at home and abroad.

Ken Macintosh MSPThe Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer

Free event

The free event, which is open to the public and ticketed, takes place in the Scottish Parliament’s Debating Chamber. It will be followed by a reception, which will be addressed by the new Principal of the University of Edinburgh, Professor Peter Mathieson.

Related links

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Study Politics at Edinburgh

The Scottish Parliament