University panel debate tests Scottish politicians on global development issues

On Wednesday, The University of Edinburgh hosted a panel debate on global development in conjunction with The ONE Campaign and the Network of International Development Organizations in Scotland (NIDOS).

With this year’s General Election in full swing and the deadline for the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fast approaching, the event intended to weigh each party’s approach towards furthering Britain’s role in global development.

The panel was made up of academics and Scottish politicians from across the political spectrum, including former Scottish Secretary Michael Moore of the Liberal Democrats; the Scottish Government’s Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf of the Scottish National Party (SNP); and Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party. The panel was completed by Labour’s Shadow Minister for Education Claire Baker; and Iain McGill, the Conservative candidate for Edinburgh North and Leith for the UK general election.

The discussion concerned each party’s line in development issues such as battling corruption at home and abroad, empowering women, the welfare of indigenous peoples, the need for more campaigning on the behalf of global development, stances on positive discrimination, and the methodology behind calculating the success of global development initiatives.

Despite the eclectic mix of political views, the event hardly seemed a debate at all as the majority of the discussion consisted of the speakers agreeing with one another and rehashing each other’s points. The only apparent point of disagreement that arose surrounded an off-handed remark from Yousaf on the issue of colonial pensions.

Nevertheless, the event took place to a full-house with attendees of all ages, and all speakers made a public pledge towards the betterment of Britain’s contribution towards global development.

Image Credit: Chris Mitchell

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