Festival of Politics: Power of the People


Day two of the Festival of Politics sees ‘Power of the People’ argue politics is not the exclusive preserve of our elected representatives and democratic institutions.

The event will examine how the vast majority of the population, who are not professional politicians, can have a significant impact upon the political landscape, and how this can affect parliaments and governments.

Insights will be offered from a panel consisting of Annie Lennox, explaining how her SING Campaign is combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa; Martin Bell, will be recounting his successful campaign to become a “sleaze busting” MP; and leading political campaigning comedian Mark Thomas will be offering his opinions on the subject as well.

Other events today include:

Is Peace Worth Fighting For? – Sir Malcolm Rifkind QC MP and Joel Rosenthal, President of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, debate the idea of just war, peace and security. Chaired by the Very Reverend Graham Forbes, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral Edinburgh.

New Towns: Who Needs them? – What is driving the current enthusiasm for new towns in Scotland, and are our established new towns quality places to live? This debate gives the audience the chance to quiz a panel of experts which includes: Robin Harper MSP; Alistair MacDonald, Head of Planning at Glasgow City Council; and Howard Liddell, of GAIA Architects - amongst others.

Solutions to the Crisis in News Media and Representative Democracy – the demise of traditional news media, coupled with a lack of trust in representative democracy, presents major challenges to citizen engagement and politics in general. This session will explore what can be done by civil society groups to grow a more pluralistic news media in the interest of enriching democracy and strengthening civil society.

Are Compassion and Philanthropy Working in Harmony to Produce Truly Global Citizens? – Across Scotland there is increasingly good work being undertaken in our educational system to meet the needs of people in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world. But are Scottish schools rising to the challenge of helping create global citizens and, in turn, creating a society recognised for its generosity of spirit? Join Anthony Finn, of GTC Scotland and other panellists, including the Rt Hon Jack McConnel MSP, and Isabelle Boyde CBE. Chaired by Mike Stevenson.

Full details of all eight events today at the Festival of Politics can be found at www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk  


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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