The Scottish Parliament was suspended in 1707 when it was decided to join a union with England to create Great Britain. It was reopened in 1999 and it was decided to commission a new building for the Parliament at the foot of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The initial cost, in 1999, was between £40 million and £50 million but over the next 5 years soared to over £400 million.
The building has a controversial design and polarises opinion – some people hate it and condemn it as a collossal waste of money. I think it looks fabulous and is a real asset to the city. It’s a building that Scotland can be proud of and these have been few and far between in the last 20 years.
One of the very positive things (so far at least) about the Scottish Parliament building is that it is a public space – people can wander right up to the building and it is open to all (unlike Westminster, there no need for a prior arrangement with an MSP). This is as it should be – we paid for the building and it should be open to all.
Scottish members of Parliament have individual offices with interesting windows and window shades.
What I really like about the Parliament building is the attention to detail. This wall, at the back of the building, is rarely seen but is decorated with a pattern reflecting the wooden shading over the offices.
On the Royal Mile, the building has several plaques with quotes from poets. This one extols the value of wilderness. Sadly, our current Scottish Government shows no sign of ever having noticed this as their policy of supporting the building of industrial wind farms in the Highlands is doing irreparable damage to the landscape.
For those of us who live in Scotland, this comment on a rock, framing the Parliament building, in the nearby Dynamic Earth hits the nail on the head. The Union, established in 1707, is in real trouble as the political views of the Scottish and English electorate inexorably move apart. Will we see the establishment of Scotland as an independent country or will some other compromise be agreed to preserve the Union for a few more years? Much will depend on the debates and policies discussed in this building.