Rebellion and Revolution take centre stage at the Scottish Parliament


Rebellion and revolution will take centre stage at the Scottish Parliament for the next three days as it opens its doors for the 2017 Festival of Politics.

Now in its 13th year, the Festival will enter its teens by exploring political and cultural rebellion and revolution in all its forms. From the Russian revolution to the hippies of the 1960s; the feminist movement to the Arab Spring, this year’s Festival will offer something for everyone.

The packed programme will see establishment rebels such as Ken Clarke MP and Harriet Harman MP talk about their careers in politics whilst original punk pioneer Richard Jobson will take part in a session which explores life in The Skids and growing up in punk rock Scotland.

This year’s Festival will also feature events on youth mental health with Greg McHugh, star of Gary Tank Commander, and a panel discussion on growing up LGBTI in Scotland.

Rounding off the Festival, ‘Superhero Saturday’ is a day of events for all the family. From film screenings and superhero selfies to costume design and a LEGO workshop with teenage filmmaker Morgan Spence there is something for all ages.

As the Festival gets underway, the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP said:

“What better way to mark the Festival entering its 13th year than a programme celebrating the teenage notions of rebellion and revolution.

“As rebellion and revolution take centre stage at Holyrood for the next three days we will explore everything from the Russian revolution to the hippies of the 1960s; the feminist movement to the Arab Spring.

“Political heavy weights Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman will give us a fascinating insight into their political careers and we will be hearing from broadcaster Evan Davis on the growth of ‘fake news’.

“Rounding off this year’s Festival is ‘Superhero Saturday’ a day of events for the whole family including free film screenings and superhero selfies as well as a LEGO workshop.

“This year’s programme offers the chance to unleash the rebel in all of us!”

The Main Hall will this year be transformed into the ever popular Café/Bar where visitors can enjoy music, poetry and more. Highlights include Liz Lochhead who will mix poems with monologues and music as she explores the past 45 years as well performances by the amazing Dee Ukes who’ll bring their ukulele sounds all the way from Dundee.




The Festival of Politics takes place at the Scottish Parliament from Thursday 19 October to Saturday 21 October 2017.

Other highlights include:

Thursday 19 October 2017

We Are The People – Canon Kenyon Wright Lecture Uffe Elbaek – 4.30 pm

In memory of Canon Kenyon Wright, this inaugural lecture will hear from Uffe Elbaek founder of Denmark’s new green, entrepreneurial party, The Alternative, who describes himself as a Serial Trouble Maker and Solution Finder

Death of the Expert – 5.00 pm

With Brexit, shock elections and financial crisis; what do so-called experts really know? Do we even need experts when social media can directly validate our views? Join our panel including Professor Jonathan Portes, King’s College, London; Dr Julia Paul, Queen’s University, Belfast and Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal, University of St Andrews, as they debate the necessity of experts.

Friday 20 October

The Attack of the 50Ft. Women – Gender Equality – 11.00 am

In a world where fewer than 10% of world leaders are women, progress towards gender equality appears to have stalled. Journalist, author and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Catherine Mayer hopes to fight back with her ideal of ‘Equalia’, a truly gender balanced society. Join Catherine and a panel to debate the political, social and economic potential of Equalia.

George Monbiot – Out of the Wreckage – 3.30 pm

With his new book, Out of the Wreckage, George Monbiot offers hope and a vision to politically re-engage people in a world of environmental collapse, civic breakdown and anti-politics. Join George and the Presiding Officer as they discuss a world where politics inspire, advancement doesn’t cost the earth and communities thrive. Sign up and discover the political revolutionaries’ handbook on changing the world with ideas.

Saturday 21 October

Evan Davis – The Post-Truth Toolkit – 11.30 am

As a broadcaster, Evan Davis has seen and heard it all, from Newsnight to Dragons’ Den and Radio 4’s Today programme.

Join Evan in conversation with the Presiding Officer as they discuss his new book, Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It, which provides a toolkit to handle the kinds of deceptions we encounter every day, and a route through the muddy waters of the post-truth age.

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics – why investigative journalism matters – 11.30 am

No one knows if it was Mark Twain or Benjamin Disraeli who lamented the opaque nature of falsehood, but today even they would be astonished at what passes for ‘the truth’. Amid fake news websites and social media panics, we are surrounded by erroneous facts. So where are the traditional gate-keepers of truth in a world of citizen journalism? Join Chair Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee and our panel as they define the need for investigative journalism in a world where the truth is a fluid concept.

Yes Minister – 3.00 pm

Yes Minister and its follow-up series Yes, Prime Minister featuring the inimitable Rt. Hon Jim Hacker and Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, defined ‘politics’ for a generation. These adored British sitcoms set in the echelons of Whitehall satirized the relationship between the elected official and the steadfast civil service. But how true to life was the depiction of this legislative obfuscation? Join our panel including the show’s co-creator, Jonathan Lynn to find out.

More details of the programme can be found here.



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