City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Fast Moving Seats for Festival of Politics 2008


By Editor - Posted on 12 August 2008

Debating Chamber

Fast moving Seats for Festival
of Politics 2008

The Festival of Politics returns to the
Scottish Parliament next week (20 - 23 August) for a fourth year running. Tickets are selling out fast, with no booking problems here, at least none that we have heard of.

The Festival of Politics has grown both in stature and in attendance since its inauguration four years ago. When it first started many calls of politicians jumping on the band wagon echoed through the Festival city. Wags were heard to ask, "Haven't politicians always been comedians?" Do they qualify for the Tap Water Awards or the IFies? Can you get a fringe first for camping it up at Holyrood? Many people would say yes.

However, what has emerged and developed is a very engaging series of talks and debates hosted by a diverse group of guests, mostly experts in their chosen fields. I believe it is probably a child of the debates at the Edinburgh Book Festival, which now stands firmly on its own two feet, and allows for the elbow room neccesary to allow more depth of debate and discussion of the given subject.

We have watched it grow at first with a sceptic eye, but now with enthusiasm and relish so for all you interested individuals, below is the menu for your delicacy. Enjoy, but remember like pop concerts the tickets are going fast... perhaps you might even get some on e-bay.

John Ritchie (editor)

WEDNESDAY
20 AUGUST

Who Pays the Piper? - Funding Scottish
Culture

Culture and the "creative
industries" make a major contribution to our social wellbeing, our
cultural identity and our economy. MSPs from across the political spectrum
argue that the Scottish Parliament should have more control of cultural policy
including broadcasting - but how well do we use existing powers? Do we have the
right mechanisms and people to decide what deserves funding and what does not?
Are we giving enough support, and spending our money wisely, or are some areas
of culture unduly cosseted while others are neglected?

In association with the Parliament's Cross
Party Group on Culture and Media.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 1

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Human Trafficking - Scotland 's 21st Century Slaves

Over 200 years after the abolition of the
transatlantic slave trade, the modern day slave trade is thriving. Some 600,000
people are illegally trafficked into the European Union each year, the vast
majority for the sex trade. Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK,
outlines new research highlighting the extent of people trafficking into Scotland . John Wilkes, Chief Executive of the
Scottish Refugee Council, talks about guardianship for trafficked and asylum
seeking children in Scotland . Ann Hamilton discusses the frontline
work of the TARA project in Glasgow , which supports victims of trafficking
in Scotland.

In association with the Parliament's Cross
Party Groups on Human Rights and Civil Liberties, and Asylum Seekers and
Refugees.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 3

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Annie Lennox and the SING Campaign

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is probably the
greatest health threat faced by the world today. Nowhere is the impact of the
disease more pronounced than in Southern Africa , where in countries such as
South Africa it is estimated that over 10% of the population is living with HIV
and one in three pregnant women carry the virus. Annie Lennox is
internationally renowned as a singer songwriter but, through her SING project
and work with Nelson Mandela's 46664 Foundation, she has also become a leading
activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Join her as she talks about her
personal experience of the disease in Africa , and the action that we can all take in fighting
the pandemic. Chaired by Alex Fergusson MSP, Presiding Officer.

13.00 (14.00) Main Chamber

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Pathways to Peace

The history of the twentieth century
appears dominated by conflict and violence - not only world wars, but
confrontation resulting from ethnic and religious difference. Yet even when
such conflicts appear so deep routed as to be irreconcilable, pathways to peace
can be found, as has been seen in South Africa and Ireland Peace campaigners
Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairéad
Corrigan-Maguire, share their experiences of how conflict can be transformed
into peace, and how we might work to end violence in the new millennium.

In association with The Festival of
Spirituality and Peace.

15.00 (16.00) Main Chamber

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Setting the President

Be they Democrat or Republican, this
November will see the election of a new US President. As domestic and international
challenges seem to be mounting both within the United States and globally, what might a change in
President mean for both the USA and the rest of the world?

In association with the US Consulate
General - Edinburgh .

16.30 (17.30) Committee Room 1

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Law unto Itself?

What is "the law"? For
politicians and campaigners it is a tool for change, to protect vulnerable
groups, implement radical policies, and benefit lives. For others it is seen as
oppressive or mysterious; at best hindering people, at worst compelling or even
suppressing them. In a changing world, the need for society to have some formal
rules remains constant. But what possibilities exist at the interface between
politics and policy, and law and justice? Ian Smart (Vice President of the
Society) and Michael Clancy (Director of Law Reform) will be presenting.

In association with The Law Society of
Scotland .

16.30 (17.30) Committee Room 3

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Gladder to be Gay?

Since the closing decades of the 20th
century, the perception of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people
and the rights afforded to them have changed considerably. Same-sex couples can
legally register their partnerships, and the law now affords protection to LGBT
people to prevent them being discriminated against because of their sexuality.
But is the UK now truly a better place to be gay?
Renowned openly gay actor Simon Callow shares his personal experiences of Britain 's changing attitudes to LGBT people and
discusses what is still to be done to achieve full equality. Chaired by Trish Godman MSP, Deputy Presiding
Officer.

In association with Stonewall Scotland .

18.00 (19.00) Main Chamber

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THURSDAY
21 AUGUST

2008: Women and the Vote

Ninety years since the Representation of
the People Act finally gave some women the right to vote, and 80 years since
the female population won the right to vote on equal terms, women have still to
achieve equal representation in politics. Today, only 34% of Members of the
Scottish Parliament are women - down from 39% during the Parliament's first
session. With female representation also declining in the Welsh Assembly, and
the proportion of women making up the

House of Commons and the Northern Ireland
Assembly being less than 20%, how long will it be before we have gender
equality in politics and what do we have to do to achieve this?

In association with the Parliament's Cross
Party Group on Men's Violence Against Women and Children.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 1

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No Time to Retire - Stories from Older
Carers

There is a generation of Scots who have
spent their lives caring for their sons and daughters with learning
disabilities. In the 1930s, 40s, 50s and even 60s, parents whose babies were
born with learning disabilities were often told to "take them home and
love them" or to place their child in an institution. This generation of
parents never expected their child to outlive them. Older carers recount their
life stories - their struggles, their achievements and their worries about what
will happen to their sons and daughters when they are no longer able to care.

In association with the Parliament's Cross
Party Group for Learning Disabilities.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 3

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A Life in Politics: Denis Healey

He was once described as the best Prime
Minister Britain never had. He was the Foreign Secretary
responsible for withdrawing British troops east of Suez , and Chancellor in Harold Wilson's last
government. One time leftwing firebrand, and elder statesman of the Labour
Party, Denis Healey , talks about his political views and life, from the
"Winter of Discontent", to Labour's years in the political
wilderness, and the party's return to power under the premiership of Tony
Blair. Chaired by Alex Fergusson MSP , Presiding Officer.

13.00 (14.00) Main Chamber

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Parliamentary Questions

Established as a firm favourite at the
Festival of Politics, the PQ session provides an opportunity to take part in
lively and stimulating debate with some of the Parliament's leading
politicians. MSPs from across the parties discuss your topical questions.

16.30 (17.30) Committee Room 1

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The New Politics of Giving

Philanthropy is becoming increasingly
important, both globally and within the UK , with a growing number of
"new" philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, complementing the work of
established charitable foundations. But what influence is the new breed of philanthropists
and the concept of "philanthrocapitalism" having upon public policy
agendas both nationally and internationally? Join Mike Edwards , the Ford
Foundation, philanthropist Sigrid Rausing , and Diana Leat , consultant to the
Carnegie UK Trust, as they debate the new politics of giving. Chaired by Magnus
Linklater.

In association with The Carnegie Festival.

16.30 (18.00) Committee Room 3

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A Life in Politics: Douglas Hurd

A former diplomat, and private Secretary
to Edward Heath, Douglas Hurd was one of the most enduring members of the
Thatcher and Major governments. As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland , he was instrumental in bringing about
the Anglo-Irish Agreement. As Foreign Secretary, he oversaw the end of the Cold
War, as well as the UK 's diplomatic response to the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait . Join Lord Hurd as he talks about his
role during the Thatcher-Major era, and Britain 's changing role in world politics.
Chaired by Alasdair Morgan MSP , Deputy Presiding Officer.

17.00 (18.00) Main Chamber

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FRIDAY
22 AUGUST

Keeping the Faith in Sexual Health

Since its publication in 2005, Respect and
Responsibility , Scotland 's first sexual health strategy has attracted
reactions ranging from praise through to controversy and criticism. Patrick
Harvie MSP , chair of the Parliament's Cross Party Group on Sexual Health, is
joined by a panel of representatives from Scotland 's Faith Communities to
explore their response to the strategy and the role they see religion playing
in the promotion of Scotland 's sexual health.

In association with the Parliament's Cross
Party Group on Sexual Health.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 1

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Linguistic Diversity in Europe - Let's
Begin at Home

"Linguistic diversity calls for
special attention from European politicians," so says a recent EU survey.
The Gaelic Language ( Scotland ) Act has set the framework for language revival
in Scotland and the Scottish Government has now commissioned an audit of the
Scots language. So how does 2008, the EU Year of Intercultural Dialogue, help
Europe 's lesser-used languages which underpin identities and cultures? A panel
including Billy Kay, author of The Mither Tongue, Mathew Fitt author of Butt n
Ben A Go Go, Vladimir Sucha, Director in the European Directorate-General for
Education and Culture, and Neasa ni Chinneide, President of the European Bureau
of Lesser Used Languages, will join the debate, chaired by Rob Gibson MSP,
Convener of the Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Scots Leid - Scots Language.

In association with the Parliament's Cross
Party Group on Scots Language - Scots Leid.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 3

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Iraq - War on Terror or Conflict Without
End?

Five years since the US and UK led
invasion of Iraq to overcome the "clear and present danger" of global
terror posed by Saddam Hussein's regime, the war in Iraq appears no closer to
ending. Author, journalist and Daily Mail columnist Peter Oborne has recently
documented the current political and military situation in Iraq for Channel 4's
Dispatches series. Hear his take on whether the invasion of Iraq has
transformed the country into a unified democracy, or if it is potentially the
greatest foreign policy failure of modern times.

13.00 (14.00) Main Chamber

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Part 1: Cultural Identity

What do these trends mean for European
nations and regions? Do cultural identity and national identity coincide? What
role do artists have in exploring our many-layered identities? A panel of
political and cultural leaders will discuss these and other questions around
the interaction of culture and identity for individuals, regions, nation-states
and Europe.

14.30 (15.45) Committee Room 3

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Part 2: Artists, Arts Policy and
Intercultural Dialogue

Are national and international arts
policies keeping up with political changes?

What responsibilities do cultural
policy-makers have towards encouraging intercultural dialogue? Does this
movement of artists and work increase access to culture? A panel of policy
makers and artists from across Europe will discuss these questions and explore
the practical aids and obstacles to intercultural dialogue.

European Year of Intercultural Dialogue
seminar presented by the Edinburgh International Festival.

16.15 (17.15) Committee Room 3

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Delivering Democracy: Elections in the
Modern World

From the elections in Kenya, Pakistan and
Zimbabwe to the forthcoming US Presidential elections; elections have never
been so prominent in the news. But what are the challenges faced by those who oversee
elections? And what are the fundamental principles that should underpin
elections, wherever they take place? Panellists include Sam Younger, Chairman
of the UK Electoral Commission; Dr Brigalia Bam, Chair of the South African
Electoral Commission and Douglas Fraser, Scottish Political Editor, The
Herald..Chaired by John McCormick, Electoral Commissioner for Scotland

In association with the Electoral
Commission for Scotland.

14.30 (15.30) Committee Room 1

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Power to the People?

Can citizens, working through civil
society organisations, influence the decisions that impact on all our lives? Do
the media, the super-wealthy and multinational corporations have too much influence
upon society? Rajiv Joshi, Non Executive Director of CIVICUS, Dave Morris ,
Director of Ramblers Scotland, Stuart Etherington , Director of the National
Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and Diana Leat , Consultant to the
Carnegie UK Trust, discuss who holds the power in today's society. Chaired by
Geoff Mulgan , Chair of The Carnegie Commission on the Future of Civil Society,
and former Head of Policy at 10 Downing Street .

In association with the Carnegie Festival.

16.30 (18.00) Committee Room 1

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Banking on Disaster?

With turmoil in the world's money markets,
and banks coming close to collapse, what has caused the current global
financial crisis and are we facing a credit crunch or a global depression?
Today programme presenter and former BBC Economics Editor Evan Davis , Scottish
economics journalist, Peter Jones , and Chief Executive of Lloyds TSB Scotland,
Susan Rice , give their take on how and why the global economy appears to have
transformed so quickly, and how our own economy might best weather the storm.

17.00 (18.00) Main Chamber

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SATURDAY
23 AUGUST

Climate Change: Young People's
Perspectives

The young people of today are set to be
the first generation to bear the full brunt of the impacts of climate change.
But what do our young people think about the issue? Following their
participation in a residential weekend, focusing on the climate change debate,
children from across Scotland present their contributions to both the public
and key decision makers. Come and hear the outcomes from this ground-breaking
project.

This event is brought to the Festival by
Children in Scotland and WWF Scotland, is delivered by the Children's
Parliament, and supported by The Scottish Government and Scotland's
Commissioner for Children and Young People.

12.30 (13.30) Committee Room 3

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Youth Politics Festival

What's the most important global issue for
young people in Scotland today? Human rights? Poverty? Climate change? Are you
between 16 and 25 and want your opinions heard? Then come along to this unique
event, make your views known and tell the Scottish Parliament what you think.
This isn't for those who want to sit quietly and just listen to politicians -
your participation is essential! Look out for e-voting, planning a petition to
Parliament, speed info-dating, satellite link-up with young people in other
locations, and a special celebrity Big Brother guest speaker.

In association with The Carnegie Festival,
YouthLink Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament , Scotland 's Commissioner for
Children and Young People, and Young Scot.

11:00 ( 16:00 ) Committee Room 1 and
Carnegie College Conference Centre, Dunfermline

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Unjust Rewards?

Guardian journalists Polly Toynbee and
David Walker explore the issue of social inequality in the UK, a subject
covered in their recently published book Unjust Rewards - Exposing Greed and
Inequality in Britain Today. In 21st century Britain, is it acceptable that
millions of people still live below the poverty line, whilst a small percentage
of our population earn annual salaries of hundreds of thousands, if not
millions, of pounds?

13.00 (14.00) Main Chamber

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Moving Portraits

Photojournalism often captures a dramatic
moment, conveying the intense feelings and situations experienced by the people
seen through the lens. Yet more traditional portraits can be equally powerful
in their representation of society, politics and the influence these have.
Winner of the 2008 World Press Photograph competition Portraits category Platon
discusses with journalist Alan Taylor the political and social resonance of his
work, and how he captures his award-winning images.

16.30 (17.30) Committee Room 1

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Small States - the Age of Liberation?

In recent years all modern empires and
most multi-national states have dissolved into their component parts. In Europe
many previously submerged small nations have recovered independence. Their
smallness potentially makes them more democratically responsive to their
electorate and rapidly adaptable to changing conditions in the globalised
world. Are these small states now among the most prosperous and contented of
all countries, and is their example one Scotland might follow? Consider these
questions with Paul Scott , former diplomat and well-known writer on Scottish
history, culture and affairs.

16.30 (17.30) Committee Room 3

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Politics - a Funny Old Business? Mark
Thomas in Conversation

He holds the world record for the largest
number of lone demonstrations held in a 24 hour period within the restricted
protest area surrounding the Houses of Parliament. He once performed his TV
show in front of a backdrop of plans of the MI6 Headquarters, to highlight
freedom of information issues. Yet he has also been commended by a House of
Commons Committee for his work exposing overseas weapon exports. Join Mark
Thomas as he discusses the issues that are important to him and how he uses
comedy and other non-conventional methods to make serious political points and
to empower people.

17.00 (18.00) Main Chamber

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Programme availability and tickets:

Copies of the programme and tickets are
available:

By telephone: 0131 473 2000 (calls via
RNID Typetalk: 018001 0131 473 2000). Fax: 0131 473 2003.

  • By post: to the Festival of Politics, Hub
    Tickets, The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh , EH1 2NE .
  • In person at the Scottish Parliament or at the Hub.

While most events are free, a small number
of events will charge £6.00 (£3.50 concession) with those wishing to attend
advised to book in advance.

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