Scottish material in the National Library of Scotland's extensive collections include press releases received by fax from four of Scotland's main political parties in the first few years after the opening of the present Scottish Parliament.
More than 6,700 press releases were faxed to the Library between March 1999 and February 2004, some of the early ones relating to events prior to the Parliament's opening on 1 July 1999.
Subjects cover a broad spectrum, taking in themes such as:
- Scottish domestic affairs
- Party politics and party leaders
- General political matters
- British, European and other international issues.
From the content of press notices it is possible to gain an insight into how 'the political machine' has dealt with milestones in recent history, and to follow the unfolding of some news stories during the period that they were in the headlines.
Scottish National Party
By far the largest share of releases — nearly 5,000 up to July 2003 — came from the Scottish National Party. Among subjects covered are:
- Student tuition fees (July 1999)
- Scottish fishing boundaries (November 1999)
- 11 September 2001
- War in Afghanistan (October 2001).
Scottish Labour Party
The Scottish Labour Party was the leading party in the Parliament in its early days, and has produced the first three First Ministers. More than 930 press releases were received, including several relating to the First Ministers:
- New Scottish Executive announced - speech by Donald Dewar (May 1999)
- Death of Donald Dewar (October 2000)
- Tribute to Henry McLeish on his resignation (November 2001)
- Nomination of Jack McConnell (November 2001).
Scottish Conservative Party
Almost 800 releases were faxed from the Scottish Conservative Party between April 1999 and March 2000. Subjects include:
- Hunt Ban Bill (November 1999)
- Repeal of 'Section 28' of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1986 (February 2000)
- Holyrood Project ('Donald's Dome') (February 2000).
Scottish Green Party
Up to March 2004, two press releases had been received by fax from the Scottish Green Party. They focus on:
- First meeting of the Scottish Parliament's environment committee (June 1999)
- Genetically modified salmon (July 1999).
The number of releases received from each party per month up to February 2004 can be seen in the table in our inventory of faxed political press releases. A record for the collection for each party can be found using Library Search. (Change the 'Search Scope' in simple search from the default 'Everything' to 'Library collections' and then search by party name.)
Since March 2004, political press releases have been received by email, and these will be made available in due course.