For the last 3 weeks, the Parliament has been in recess. Recess is a period when the Parliament is not sitting but not dissolved. In Scotland, parliamentary recess normally coincides with school and public holidays.
Although recess of the Parliament is a normal procedure, this year, the recess periods have been somewhat stilted and disturbed by the Scottish referendum on independence. After summer recess in July, the Parliament was back in session for 3 weeks, on recess for 3 weeks, it is now back in session for a further 2 weeks and then off on recess again for 2 weeks. This has made it an incredibly strange time to be an intern; I have no doubt that it has been strange for the regular staff too though.
The most recent recess period was the run up to the referendum. Almost all of the MSPs and their staff returned to their constituencies and regions to campaign for their party’s desired result. As Ryan previously mentioned on his blog, the Parliament was a quiet place to be with a rather different atmosphere to what is normal. Prior to this period of recess, it was discussed with my MSP that I could regularly work from home a couple of days a week and more frequently over the recess period. This is what I opted to do and I mostly worked on my personal project and offered support where I could.
Today is the first day back in Parliament for most of the MSPs and their staff. There is still a slightly strange atmosphere in the air this morning. I think that now we have the result of the referendum, it feels a bit as though the Parliament is catching its first breath for 18 months. All of the MSPs and their staff have been working towards the 18th of September 2014 for over a year, with the weeks leading up to the referendum feeling quite tense and feisty across the parties and it’s as though now the date is past, people are breathing out, focussing on new tasks and rebooting themselves.
This afternoon, the First Minister will make a statement which will be followed by a Scottish Government debate on the statement. I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting afternoon with that buzz making a return to the building!