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Is 2021 the year Holyrood came of age?

More diverse than ever, Scotland’s new parliament presents opportunities that transcend the constitutional gridlock

By Christopher Silver  

Votes being counted in Glasgow last week. This year saw the highest turnout ever for a Holyrood election. Image: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Scottish political commentators are fond of likening the Scottish parliament to a child growing up. As an institution it had its clumsy infant years under Labour and Lib Dem coalitions, before going through an awkward teenage rebel phase under Alex Salmond; it has since reached maturity under the steady hand of Nicola Sturgeon.

It’s an analogy that feeds into an established rhetoric about Holyrood’s contemporary clothing and its gut institutional instinct: to be, above all else, all the things that Westminster is not. This was a parliament that was built to embody values of reflection and consensus, in…

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