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Politics festival focuses on vote

By Press Association, 18 Jul 2014 1.01am Updated: 3.27pm

Holyrood's annual Festival of Politics is to focus on the implications of the Scottish independence referendum.

With the event taking place just over a month before the vote, Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said people would be able to "gather and discuss the implications of the important decision being made".

Voters in Scotland will be asked to decide if the country should remain part of the UK or leave and become independent in the vote on September 18.

The three-day Festival of Politics gets under way on Friday August 15 and will include a session on the most recent findings from the Economic and Social Research Council on Scottish social attitudes and identity.

In addition, an expert panel will discuss what Scotland will be like in six years' time, in the event of both a Yes and No vote.

Mrs Marwick said: "When the festival opens, it will be just over one month to go until the referendum. It is only right that we use the Festival of Politics to give people the space to gather and discuss the implications of the important decision being made.

"From oil to currency, Europe to the economy and immigration to poverty, we are offering three days of thought-provoking and inspiring sessions within our unique building."

Other events include a session with journalist Polly Toynbee looking at the impact of poverty on life expectancy, and the screening of the film One Humanity, telling the story of how South Africa's apartheid regime was brought to an end.

Meanwhile the Scottish Parliament's garden lobby area will be transformed into a cafe and bar for the duration of the festival.

Mrs Marwick said this would offer visitors a "range of food, drinks and entertainment as well as space to continue the debates of the day".

She added: "We'd be delighted to welcome people here to have their say and discuss the big issues of what next for Scotland."