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Festival of Politics
19-23 August 2024

Wednesday, August 21, 2024

Are standards in public life really declining?

Time: 1:15pm to 2:45pm

In partnership with the University of Stirling

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£7.50 full price and £5 concession

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Event description

With the Scottish Parliament marking 25 years, it is timely to discuss the public’s view of everyone in public life such as politicians, the media and the justice system when it comes to perceptions of honesty, integrity and ethics.

Join the panel to discuss the lessons to be learned from history in light of the Victorian’s radical changes initiated in their reforms of standards in public life, and find out how political, social, and cultural changes can bolster the perceived decline of standards in the 21st century.  

Chair: Martin Whitfield MSP, Convener, Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee


Festival of Politics panellists

Dr Ian Cawood is associate professor of modern British political and religious history at the University of Stirling. His current funded research project Corruption, Public Service and the Common Good in Western Europe is a multi-disciplinary, transnational investigation of the means whereby corrupt practices were challenged and an alternative ethos of governance, inspired by contemporary religion, utilitarian philosophy, radical literature and the Scottish Enlightenment came to dominate British political culture. He is the author of The Many Lives of Corruption: The reform of public life in modern Britain, 1750-1950.

Philip Rycroft worked in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) between 2017 and 2019, and as a permanent secretary. He was responsible for leading the department in its work on the Government’s preparations for Brexit. He was head of the UK Governance Group in the Cabinet Office, with responsibility for advising ministers on all aspects of the constitution and devolution. From 2012 to 2015, he was the director general in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. Philip has worked in the civil service in Scotland and London, in the European Commission and in business. He is now a non-executive director, academic and consultant and an is now a non-executive director, a consultant and an academic at the University of Edinburgh and the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at Cambridge University.

Dr Elisabeth Loose is the research and external engagement officer for the John Smith Centre, where she works towards empowering young people to engage in and enter British politics, as well as monitoring trust in politics and politicians. Elli holds a PhD in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Glasgow, where she explored the inclusion of women in male-dominated spaces. She sits on the board of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group and is an active member of the Women’s Equality Party in Glasgow.


Interpreters: Shaurna Dickson and Jenny Laird


British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation is available at this event. 

All Scottish Parliament event locations:

  • are accessible by lift or level access, and venues are accessible to wheelchair users
  • welcome guide dogs or other assistance dogs

Some venues are fitted with induction loop facilities.

Please contact us in advance if you have any access requirements.  

Further information on accessibility at the Scottish Parliament.

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