John Prescott to close Festival of Politics


John Prescott was Britain’s longest serving Deputy Prime Minister and tonight, the man who was one of the key players in the Blair government, brings the sixth Festival of Politics to a close, as he joins the Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson MSP to discuss A Life in Politics.

Prior to Lord Prescott’s appearance though, the festival has another diverse programme of events to enjoy, here are just a few:

In the first of two events to explore the issue of gender equality - Equality begins at 40? - the founder of the Scottish Discrimination Law Association, Muriel Robison is joined by Peter Hunter of UNISON Scotland, to discuss ‘glass ceilings’, ‘sticky floors’, pay gaps, ‘mummy tracks’, stereotypes and segregation.

Later in the afternoon, an event on Mediating Conflict examines the role that third-party countries play in bringing countries in conflict to the negotiating table. An impressive line up, which includes former UK Defence Secretary Des Browne; and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, will be discussing Scotland’s possible role as a mediator in future.

Other events today include:

News Group - a workshop, aimed at adults, which uses a range of techniques, including drama, to analyse current news stories. These techniques are also intended to explore how we can become active participants, rather than passive consumers, of current affairs.

The Trouble with Transition – is an opportunity for people with learning disabilities, family carers and professionals, to discuss the issues which commonly affect the transition of those people with learning disabilities, as they go through different stages of their lives.

Also In the afternoon, the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kevin Dunion, will discuss the achievements of the Freedom of Information laws since they came into effect in 2005, and there will be presentations from a few people who have successfully used FOI to campaign to prevent school closures, change housing policy, or improve healthcare practices.

Full details of all nine events today at the Festival of Politics can be found at  


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
  • 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

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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