John Mackintosh
John Pitcairn Mackintosh (24 August 1929 – 30 July 1978) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 politician known for his defence of devolution and the concept of dual nationality; that Scots could be both Scottish and British.

Mackintosh was born In Simla, India, and brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was educated at Melville College, the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

, Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College , founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England but founded by a family with strong Scottish connections....

 and Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

. He was senior lecturer in government at the University of Ibadan
University of Ibadan
The University of Ibadan is the oldest Nigerian university, and is located five miles from the centre of the major city of Ibadan in Western Nigeria...

, Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 1961-63, and became Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde
University of Strathclyde
The University of Strathclyde , Glasgow, Scotland, is Glasgow's second university by age, founded in 1796, and receiving its Royal Charter in 1964 as the UK's first technological university...


Mackintosh contested Edinburgh Pentlands
Edinburgh Pentlands (UK Parliament constituency)
Edinburgh Pentlands was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, first used in the general election of 1950, and abolished prior to the general election of 2005...

 in 1959
United Kingdom general election, 1959
This United Kingdom general election was held on 8 October 1959. It marked a third successive victory for the ruling Conservative Party, led by Harold Macmillan...

 and Berwick and East Lothian in 1964
United Kingdom general election, 1964
The United Kingdom general election of 1964 was held on 15 October 1964, more than five years after the preceding election, and thirteen years after the Conservative Party had retaken power...

. He was elected Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Berwick and East Lothian in 1966. In the February 1974 general election
United Kingdom general election, February 1974
The United Kingdom's general election of February 1974 was held on the 28th of that month. It was the first of two United Kingdom general elections held that year, and the first election since the Second World War not to produce an overall majority in the House of Commons for the winning party,...

 against the national trend, he lost his seat to the Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 Michael Ancram
Michael Ancram
Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian, PC, QC , known as Michael Ancram, is a United Kingdom Conservative Party politician. He is a member of the House of Lords, former Member of Parliament, and a former member of the Shadow Cabinet...

, but regained it in the October 1974 election
United Kingdom general election, October 1974
The United Kingdom general election of October 1974 took place on 10 October 1974 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. It was the second general election of that year and resulted in the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson, winning by a tiny majority of 3 seats.The election of...


Later in his life Mackintosh became Chair and Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh, where he managed to balance his duties in the House of Commons with teaching students, a role he enjoyed. He was a strong supporter of formal lectures and would deliver his remarks written out all in longhand. This style of presentation did his students no harm: during his last year of life he taught an introductory undergraduate course on political philosophy in 20 lectures; at the end of this series the students gave him a standing ovation.

He wrote widely in the academic press and also for the educated general reader. He first wrote on devolution in 1966, publishing, "The Devolution of Power." Perhaps his most famous book was "The British Cabinet," published in 1968. Other works include: "The Government and Politics of Britain"(1970), revised twice; "Nigerian Government and Politics" (1968); and "British Prime Ministers in the Twentieth Century (Editor-1977). He was a prolific academic writer and authored scores of academic analyses.

Mackintosh had a regular column in The Times and The Scotsman newspapers. He was an accomplished broadcaster and lecturer, appearing regularly on television and giving public lectures. He was also the Editor of The Political Quarterly, and Chairman of the Hansard Society.

John Mackintosh died in office in 1978, aged 48. His successor in the resulting by-election
A by-election is an election held to fill a political office that has become vacant between regularly scheduled elections....

 was John Home Robertson.

He was a dedicated constituency MP. His agent, Gerald O'Brian, recalled at his memorial service that Mackintosh, "only once lost his temper with me when I caused him to miss a constituency General Management Committee meeting -- it was the only one he ever missed." He was extremely fond of East Lothian and is buried in the churchyard in Gifford.

Mackintosh was a fierce proponent of devolution
Devolution is the statutory granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to government at a subnational level, such as a regional, local, or state level. Devolution can be mainly financial, e.g. giving areas a budget which was formerly administered by central government...

 to Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. He famously said in the House of Commons in 1976 : "People in Scotland want a degree of government for themselves. It is not beyond the wit of man to devise the institutions to meet these demands." This quote is engraved on the threshold of the Donald Dewar
Donald Dewar
Donald Campbell Dewar was a British politician who served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament in Scotland from 1966-1970, and then again from 1978 until his death in 2000. He served in Tony Blair's cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1997-1999 and was instrumental in the creation...

 Room at Holyrood
Scottish Parliament Building
The Scottish Parliament Building is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Edinburgh. Construction of the building commenced in June 1999 and the Members of the Scottish Parliament held their first debate in the new building on 7...

. The late Donald Dewar, First Minister of Scotland, said of John Mackintosh's life long belief in devolution:

"His ideas had a lasting influence. ....[He] was a powerful advocate for devolution...John was something of a prophet, a mighty champion of reform at a time when constitutional change was not an approved and certainly not a fashionable cause. At the core he always placed democratic control, the empowering of the people. He did not base his argument on nationalism. It was not the glorification of the Nation state. It was never Scotland right or wrong. His vision was good government, an equitable democracy, that borrowed, elevated, created opportunity for the citizen."

An annual memorial lecture is held, alternating between East Lothian and Edinburgh University. Past speakers have included: Jack McConnell, MSP, First Minister of Scotland; John Kenneth Galbraith; Niel Kinnock MP; John Smith MP; Donald Dewar MSP, First Minister of Scotland; and Gordon Brown MP, among others.

After his death two volumes of essays were published: "Mackintosh on Parliament and Social Democracy," edited by David Marquand (1983); and "Mackintosh on Scotland," edited by Henry Drucker (1982).
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