George Monbiot is a writer, activist and environmentalist. As well as having a regular Guardian column, his books include: Feral, Age of Consent, How Did We Get into This Mess? and Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. His latest collection, This can’t be happening (Penguin), is a collection of galvanising speeches and essays, calling on humanity to stop averting its gaze from the destruction of the living planet, and wake up to the greatest predicament we have ever faced.

This event is chaired by Alison Johnstone MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

January 21, 2020

Women in science

Recorded as part of the Festival of Politics in partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, this panel looks at the issue of gender inequality in STEM across public, private and education sectors.


Chaired by Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame MSP, this panel includes:

  • Professor Niamh Nic Daéid FRSC FRSE, Professor of Forensic Science and Director of Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee
  • Professor Joanna Wardlaw FRSE, Chair of Applied Neuroimaging & Head of Neuroimaging Sciences and Edinburgh Imaging
  • Professor Raffaella Ocone OBE FREng FRSE, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University


Join our panel to hear as they consider whether public health laws promote healthy living or undermine freedom of choice.

Chaired by Emma Harper MSP, this event also featured

  • Pennie Taylor, freelance health journalist and broadcaster
  • Professor Linda Bauld, Chair of Public Health at the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh
  • Professor John Coggon, Chair in Law at the University of Bristol
  • Dr Iain Kennedy, Representative for the British Medical Association Scotland Council

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signalled that barriers between people and nations could be broken.

Join the panel as they debate the motivations behind wall building.

This panel was chaired by Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Anniversary Chair in Law, Queen Mary University of London, and included:

  • Professor Holger Nehring, Chair in Contemporary European History at the University of Stirling
  • Jason Boxt, US pollster (conducts and analyses opinion polls)
  • Dr Nour Halabi, Lecturer of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds
  • Professor Alison Phipps, Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, UNESCO chair in Refugee integration Through Languages and The Arts at the University of Glasgow

In this podcast, we hear the opportunities and challenges on achieving net-zero carbon emissions in Scotland by 2045.

Chaired by Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, this panel includes:

  • Anne Johnstone, Head of Environment, Energy and Sustainability service for Hollis Global
  • Dr Martin Valenti, Head of Climate Enterprise for Scottish Enterprise
  • Catriona Patterson, 2050 Climate Group
  • Dr Matthew Brander, Senior lecturer in Carbon Accounting at the University of Edinburgh

This session was recorded as par of the Festival of Politics, in partnership with Edinburgh Science Festival.

Join Baroness Kennedy in conversation with Linda Fabiani MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Baroness Kennedy is one of the UK’s most distinguished lawyers. Her high-profile work includes legal reform on sexual and domestic violence and campaigning for progress on equal opportunities within the legal profession.

Recorded at the 2019 Festival of Politics.

Finland is the only country in the EU where homelessness is falling. Now its radical approach is about to be piloted in parts of the UK.

Join the Presiding Officer and panellists Sanna Vesikansa, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki; Ewan Aitken, Chief Executive Officer, Cyrenians; Kate Farrell, Mayoral adviser on homelessness, Liverpool City Region; and Mark Johnson, former rough sleeper and User Voice founder, to discuss whether Finland’s solution will work in the UK.

Recorded at the 2019 Festival of Politics.

In this episode, The Presiding Officer speaks with journalists Brian Taylor, Colin Mackay, Elizabeth Quigley and Katrine Bussey on their experience covering the Scottish Parliament.

To find out more about the Scottish Parliament at 20, please visit our website.


A recording from the Festival of Politics session titled "What’s Wrong About Foodbanks?".

A decade ago foodbanks were an oddity. In 2018 there are over 400 foodbanks run by The Trussell Trust alone across the UK. Join chair Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame MSP and panellists including Professor John McKendrick, Glasgow Caledonian University; Lindsey Welsh, Development Officer Moray Foodbank; and Emma Revie, CEO, The Trussell Trust to debate whether the existence of foodbanks is actually a sign of the UK’s strong social fabric and the real scandal is that they haven’t been around for longer.

A recording from the Festival of Politics session titled "Abnormally Funny: Disability & Comedy".

A 2017 survey by disability charity Scope found that one in four people avoided having conversations with disabled people because of feelings of discomfort and fear of saying the wrong thing. Join chair Ethan Young, Civic Participation Officer at Inclusion Scotland, and panellists including Dr Sharon Lockyer, Centre for Comedy Studies Research, Brunel University; Laurence Clark, stand-up comedian and disability rights campaigner and Colin Young, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland to debate common misconceptions about disability, and to ask whether or not comedy by disabled people helps to change attitudes. 

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