9 - The Scottish Parliament

9 - The Scottish Parliament

Moving from past to present, we need only cross the road, to gaze upon the Scottish Parliament, reinstated in 1999, following a 292-year recess, which has sat here since 2004.

Scotland's devolved Parliament is European to its core. Firstly, it was designed by a Spanish architect, Enric Moralles, whose design itself evokes a European style of democracy - the MSPs (elected members) sit in a semicircle, and are elected according to a system of Proportional Representation which increases the likelihood of coalition government - Holyrood is a European Parliament.

Moreover, the politics of Scotland represented within are whole-heartedly pro-European: of the 129 MSPs, over 3/4 represent unambiguously pro-EU parties, and reflect the very strong feelings for Europe present across Scotland.

Scotland's political settlement is one of a decidedly European social democracy, with 4 of the 5 parties in the Chamber representing broad centre-left internationalist policies. Consensus, too, is crucial in function of government here, which sets it apart from the more adversarial, two-party, legislature in London.

Free tours of the Scottish Parliament can be booked in advance. Free tickets to sit in the gallery during parliamentary debates can be obtained on the day of the visit.

© User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons. Exterior Photo © Mary and Angus Hogg (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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