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Significant Scots
Nigel Smith

Nigel Smith was a long-time supporter and campaigner for decentralisation and devolution. He played a central [and largely unknown] role in the 1997 Referendum campaign for a Scottish Parliament. In 2017 he submitted his views on Holyrood's performance to date to the Commission on Parliamentary Reform set up by the Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh. Nigel was eventually persuaded that his views deserved a wider audience and he began to re-draft the document for publication. Suddenly, and unexpectedly, he died in January 2020 before he completed the task.

Nigel loved Scotland and actively enjoyed sailing on the west coast and walking in the hills and countryside. And he cared about the country. Nigel preferred to work in the background and did so assiduously and effectively, championing and lobbying for the causes he cared about across the political spectrum. He was admired and respected for taking a stand, arguing his case and for keeping confidences.

All who came in contact with him knew and appreciated that he was a man of integrity. Over the past two years the Covid pandemic has meant that it has not been possible to arrange an event to allow those who knew and worked with Nigel to gather to reminisce and mark his significant contribution to publicity in Scotland.

As two of his friends who shared his desire to see devolution working for the betterment of our fellow citizens, we felt that this analysisis, which is both systematic and trenchant, should be in the public realm. Nigel's family happily agreed and have made publication possible, a fitting tribute.

Some of the specific detail is a little out of date but that cannot vu be said of the analysis. That Nigel has left to us about the health service than about the economy and education is regrettable but does not detract from the force of hi comment on governance, responsibility and reform.

As to our editorial practice in framing the document for publication, we ought only on occasion to clarify meaning and, where possible, to provide references to organisations and documents mentioned in the text. The argument and conclusions are all Nigel. We are only sorry' e have been denied the chance to penda few happy hour talking and arguing with him about the thought he presents here.

This is an important tud from a man he cared about Scotland. We hope it will contribute to the debate about how Holyrood can best serve the interest of the people of Scotland.


You can read
The Scottish Parliament - Partial success: could do better?

here in pdf format
Read more about Nigel from an article from Gerry Hassan

An architect of devolution on how highest hopes for Holyrood have been foiled

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