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A walk through Scottish democracy

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On the 29th June 2019, the Scottish Parliament celebrated its 20th anniversary. We, the Scottish Youth Parliament, celebrated the same birthday a day before!

For a belated birthday surprise, the Creative Communications Team (CCT) was invited to represent SYP at a Social Stroll organised by the Scottish Parliament’s web and social media team. More specifically, the invite came from a former SYP Trustee and the founder of CCT – Tom McEachan. We couldn’t pass on an opportunity like this!

As the Convener of the CCT, I travelled to Edinburgh to see what exciting things I would learn about the creation of this grand establishment, which has been serving Scottish democracy for one fifth of a century!

Braving the spitting rain, our 3 hour walking tour began at the General Assembly Hall on the Mound. We were told of the religious reasons behind the awe-inspiring symmetry of the building built by William Playfair before being led into where the Scottish Parliament first held its meetings. Outside the hall, the ‘black and white’ corridor was introduced where the press would meet the MSPs as soon as they exited the chambers. This contrast tiled floor was then taking as inspiration in the creation of the current Parliament Building.

The next destination was the New Parliament House. This is the second chambers that were built but never actually used for gatherings; it is “the parliament that never was”, our tour guide Gordon told us. Very rarely does the building get opened for public so it was an honour to see this part of Scottish history. Side note: the interior design looked like an early prototype of an abandoned Star Trek set. Pretty spectacular.

Holyrood was the final stop of the stroll. Gordon walked us through the building from the foyer to the debating chamber, explaining artworks and the meaning behind the original architectural design by Enric Miralles. With so much fascinating knowledge acquired about the journey of the Scottish Parliament, it was time to end the stroll with some snacks and goodie bags – a great finish in my opinion!

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