Scotland 2001: by a
spooky coincidence Henry ('Hal') McLeish is now in charge
Follow the continuing
story on the Internet
Is the truth out there?
There's even more information available now, but you still have to make up
your own mind at the end of the day...
1. Official websites
Parliament website is now well established. With lists of all MSPs and
their e-mail addresses, it is the definitive reference site.
If you want to eavesdrop remotely on the proceedings of the Parliament,
you can go to the live proceedings site at http://www.scottishparliamentlive.com.
To see the world through the eyes of the Executive go to http://www.scotland.gov.uk.
This is updated daily with news headlines. If you want, you can have your
say about pieces of legislation listed on the 'your views' page.
2. Not so official
One of the most comprehensive sites for Scottish politics is
imaginatively named 'Scottish
Politics', and as well as updating its news features regularly, it
provides coverage of all Scottish constituencies with links to some
individual politicians' sites. It has a built-in bulletin board and
chat-room where you can air your opinion. It will be obvious to anyone who
visits it whose side the webmaster is on, but that isn't necessarily a bad
CND have also built up a database of constituencies with a view to
finding out where individual politicians stand on nuclear disarmament.
3. The Parties and the Politicians
Most of the parties have improved their websites noticeably since the
1999 elections. No longer are the Scottish
Conservatives smeary and amateurish but just as professional as the
other parties. Likewise, the Scottish
Labour Party site has changed beyond recognition, though there seems
to be a general tendency for left-inclined parties to choose cheap and
cheerful colours in their designs! (sorry - I work in the arts)
While the SNP site once
showed the way as far as design was concerned, with the Lib
Dems breathing down their necks for the title of 'most wired party',
the other major parties have now caught up and in fact on the day I last
looked at the websites the SNP's had the doubtful distinction of having
the least up-to-date news on it.
I can now find no trace of the
Scottish Socialist Party on the web - I'm open to correction here but
their previous address isn't working for me - nor of the former Highlands
and Islands Alliance.
The Green Party,
on the other hand, perhaps inspired by victory, have continued the process
of improving their site. Their logo is by far the most attractive with a
yellow sunflower on a green background outshining all the stylised lions
etc of the other parties.
As far as individual MSPs are concerned, each of them now has a
standardised web page and e-mail address as part of the Scottish
Parliament website facilities. Some MSPs have taken things a stage further
and indeed so have some constituency parties, the sites of which tend to
conform to the house style of the national party. For example, in the case
of the Conservatives, who boast of having 'more websites than any other
political party' (I haven't checked this claim out!), Galloway
Tories and Dumfries
Conservatives, are typical in that they are quite obviously produced
by the same organisation as the central site but both include quite a lot
of up-to-date local news. They both also host on-line polls (the pound
versus the euro). Perhaps other political sites could learn something from
this as it makes a visit slightly more interesting for the passing surfer.
The SNP has 13 branches which
claim to have websites (though at least one is inaccessible at the time of
writing), and unusually the branch web designers seem to have been allowed
to go more or less their own way and don't even have a corporate colour
scheme (this is not, however, a criticism). The branch websites also
display some local news which could be useful. Do check out the Scots
in the Wind site for a weekly review of politics in Scotland. On their
site you'll also find a list of the Scottish Westminster
It is fairly hard to find
local Labour websites, and my previous example, Dundee, which looked as if
it was leading the way at the time of the Scottish elections, has now
fallen behind and doesn't seem to have been updated for some time.
A new party has come on the scene,
The Scottish Enterprise Party, which is a party for Scottish
Independence but one that wants to walk on the middle to right of the
4. Newsgroups and mailing lists
Scottish politics is often discussed on newsgroups such as Scottish
culture, Scottish topics and (naturally) Scottish politics. Such
discussions are quite likely to degenerate into slanging matches from time
to time, but that's all part of the fun.
A very active mailing list is Scotpol (accessible from the Scottish
Politics website). Once again this can become very heated at times.
Not for the faint-hearted or those who have to pay a lot for their
5. The Last Word
Politics is too important to be left to the politicians, and the signs are
that it won't be left to them now that the Internet provides a channel for
expressing your own opinions. I will certainly continue to express mine
whenever the chance arises! I am also committed to voting when the
opportunity presents itself, though not necessarily for the same party
My name is Sheila Perry and you can e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to make any comments on what I've said here. I am a
home-educator (who marched on the Scottish Parliament in September 2000
with other home-educators to try and persuade the Scottish Executive to
issue clearer guidance to local councils re the rights of home educators)
and spare-time writer, website designer, family historian and pantomime
director. Some further details about these activities are given on my own
website at http://www.mccallumperry.freeserve.co.uk.
The Parliament of Scotland
This is an extract from the book
"History of the English Parliament together with an account of the
Parliaments of Scotland and Ireland" by G Barnett Smith published in
1892. We have extracted the Scottish Parliament part from this book
and provide it in a series of pdf files below.
Mr. George Barnett Smith, author and
journalist, died at his residence in Bournemouth on Saturday, at the
age of 57.
Born near Halifax and educated at the British
Lancasterian School in that town, Mr. George Barnett Smith came as a
young man to London, and was a member, first of the editorial staff of
the Globe, and afterwards of that of the Echo. As an author, his
principal fields were history and literary and political biography.
For the "Encyclopędia Britannica", he wrote an article on Elizabeth
Barrett Browning, a further article for the supplement to that work,
and was a contributor also to the "Dictionary of National Biography".
His books included, a critical biography of Shelley, and the lives of
Gladstone, Victor Hugo, Ferdinand de Lesseps, John Bright and Queen
Victoria, several literary and political studies, and histories of
English, Scottish and Irish Parliaments. He was also a contributor to
The Times and the Edinburgh Review.