When Donald Dewar spoke at the opening of the Scottish Parliament two decades ago he described the moment as “a new stage on a journey begun long ago and which has no end”.
The journey the late first minister was referring to had its origins in the old parliament – dissolved in 1707 – and included the long fight for Home Rule that was to lead to the first Scottish election exactly 20-years ago today.
Mr Dewar was also looking ahead to what would be a rocky path littered with tragedy and scandal, but which today has resulted in Holyrood firmly established as the focal point of Scottish public life.
Mr Dewar’s death in 2000 was one of the saddest of the many dramatic and controversial moments that have characterised devolution.
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But speaking on the eve of its 20th anniversary, one of Mr Dewar’s successors as first minister, Lord McConnell, said away from the dramas the parliament had made a “huge difference” to people’s lives.
According to Lord McConnell, Holyrood has been good for democracy, with one example of that being his administration’s decision to introduce the smoking ban.
“If the smoking ban had been an experiment by Westminster in Scotland there would have been riots in the streets – or riots in the pubs,” the former Labour first minister said.
Other ground-breaking social policies have included free personal care for the elderly, minimum pricing for alcohol and the legislation allowing same sex weddings.
More recently, new powers have seen Scotland diverge from the rest of the UK on income tax.
In terms of political drama, nothing could beat the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
In a parliament designed to be run by a coalition, Alex Salmond’s SNP defied the odds to win a majority in 2011.
What followed was a roller-coaster that ended up with Scotland voting by 55% to 45% to stay in the UK.
But with Nicola Sturgeon renewing calls for a second referendum, the issue remains in a country where politics has become characterised by the independence divide.
In the early days, the most damaging controversy to dog the early days of devolution was the spiralling cost and construction delays of the Scottish Parliament building.
As parliament sat in its temporary home on the Mound, the budget increase of the project at the other end of the Royal Mile from £40 million to more than £400 million fuelled much of the cynicism about devolution.
Then there was the downfall of Henry McLeish, the Labour politician who became first minister after Mr Dewar’s death.
Mr McLeish resigned after just over a year in the role after becoming embroiled in an “officegate” expenses controversy.
Another political leader to succumb to an expenses row was the late David McLetchie, who stepped down as Scottish Tory leader in 2005 after it was revealed he had claimed £11,500 on taxi fares over five years.
Some Scottish politicians even found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The socialist firebrand Tommy Sheridan was sentenced to three years in jail for lying in court about an affair and a trip to a sex club.
Labour MSP Lord Watson of Invergowrie was jailed for eight months after setting fire to hotel curtains at a political dinner.
Former SNP MSP Bill Walker, meanwhile, was jailed after committing a series of attacks on three of his former wives and a step-daughter.
In his opening speech, Mr Dewar acknowledged mistakes would be made. But he also said politicians would strive to do right by the people of Scotland.
Despite set-backs, parliamentarians have tried to live up to that plea.
Twenty years after it was made, Holyrood survives and thrives.