Festival of Politics opens for sixth year


A diverse programme of events, including comedy, debate and football, starts today with the opening of the Scottish Parliament’s sixth annual Festival of Politics.

During its five-day run, the Festival offers people from across Scotland and further afield a line-up of singers, sports gurus, political movers and shakers, activists and journalists.

In a first for the Parliament, a debate on the future of Scottish Football will be broadcast live this evening from the Main Chamber on the Real Radio Football Phone-In. ‘Scotland’s Political Football’ will see Real Radio presenter and Scotland goalkeeping legend Alan Rough and sports journalist Ewan Cameron lead what is sure to be a fiery discussion involving football pundits and politicians.

Other highlights of the week include John Prescott, who was Britain’s longest-serving Deputy Prime Minister, discussing ‘A Life in Politics’ on Saturday.

On Wednesday, political activist and Perrier Award nominee Mark Thomas will take part in a discussion on the public’s involvement in politics.

And Scottish musician Annie Lennox will return to Holyrood on Thursday to provide an update on her SING Campaign, which she set-up to help fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. She is also fulfilling her role as special envoy to the Scottish Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: "Now in its sixth year, the Festival of Politics is an ideal opportunity to engage the public in the Scottish Parliament.

"The Festival is a prime example of the dynamic nature of politics and the effort the Parliament makes to reach out to people across Scotland. The popularity of the event is clear from the fact that in the last five years it has attracted more than 175,000 visitors."

Other events today include ‘The Science of Eating’, chaired by BBC Scotland Home Affairs Correspondent Reevel Alderson, which examines the root causes of over-eating. This afternoon a session on ‘Privacy and Human Rights’ looks at how a balance can be achieved between media freedom and respect for family life.  


The Festival, which runs from 17-21 August, presents a diverse programme of events bringing together politics, media and the arts through performance, discussion and debate. On their way to and from events, visitors will be able to view one of the largest and most prestigious photographic exhibitions - the 53rd World Press Photo exhibition. Striking images taken by the world’s leading photojournalists that depict dramatic, life-changing events from around the world, line the public entrance to the Scottish Parliament. Photographic events for the public will take place alongside this year’s Festival sessions.  

Programme availability and tickets:

  • Online from www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk
  • By telephone: 0131 473 2000 (calls via RNID Typetalk: 18001 0131 473 2000)
  • By post: to the Festival of Politics, Hub Tickets, The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE.
  • In person: The Scottish Parliament or The Hub.

Full details of the festival programme are available from www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk

Festival Partners

This year’s Festival of Politics is delivered in formal partnership with:

  • Carnegie UK Trust and the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust
  • The Law Society of Scotland
  • The Scotsman

You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.

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