Holyrood Sources

25 Years of Devolution: Susan Deacon

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Episode notes

Susan Deacon was Labour MSP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh (Constituency) from 1999 - 2007 and Scotland's first health minister. We spend more time with one of the stars of our live podcast recording event.

Calum, Andy and Susan discuss the 25-year anniversary of devolution in Scotland and reflects on the successes and challenges of the Scottish Parliament. We highlight the need for constructive reflection and improvement rather than getting stuck in nostalgia. We discuss the performative nature of politics, the unintended consequences of policies, and the lack of leadership and intellectual capacity in Scottish politics. They also emphasise the importance of engaging with wider civic society and fostering meaningful debate. The episode concludes with a discussion on the need to move away from comparing Scotland to England and instead benchmark against global peers. The conversation explores the challenges and shortcomings of the Scottish political system, particularly in relation to the media, healthcare, and candidate selection processes. It highlights the tendency for political discourse to focus on comparisons and not on addressing underlying issues. The conversation also discusses the need for decentralisation and regional leadership, as well as the importance of bringing in diverse expertise and allowing for independent thinking within political parties.

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