I spent the first part of the week in Glasgow at the 67th Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual International Conference, held at the University of Strathclyde. It was well attended and very successful.
I was kept busy in that I spoke at three panels. The first, on Tuesday, was on ‘Designing for Democracy’ – The Role of Architecture and Design in Parliamentary Buildings. I focused on the importance of social space in Parliament. The second, on Wednesday, was on Parliamentary Reform. The Scottish Parliament has a Commission on Parliamentary Reform, due to report shortly, and this formed the principal focus. My role was to bring in a Westminster perspective and address what reform has been undertaken at Westminster. I developed the theme that I first employed in the Michael Ryle Memorial Lecture last year, namely that these are the best of times for Parliament in terms of its ability to scrutinise and call government to account, these are the worst of times in terms of how it is seen by the people. The third panel was in the next series of panels and was on Academic Engagement with Parliaments and Practitioners. I addressed in particular how academics can make contact with parliamentarians and have an impact.
Each panel attracted a good attendance and generated a useful engagement with the audience. I will be pursuing in later posts some of the analyses I offered.