Who We Are

the University tower and main building from Kelvingrove ParkThe John Smith Centre promotes a positive vision for representative politics. We encourage the next generation of representatives to see politics as one of the most effective ways to pursue change.



Politics has become a discredited and disrespected process. This acts as a huge disincentive to talented people choosing to enter politics. People passionate to effect change will go elsewhere, and we will all suffer as a result. We need to act now: it is critical to the social and economic wellbeing of our country that the most able and willing to serve represent us.


What we do

  • Encourage those who have the interest and passion but not the access or means to enter politics
  • Champion excellence in politicians to act as role models for public service
  • Foster respect for our elected representatives through advocacy and debate and improving understanding of what it means to serve our citizens

The Centre sits within the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

John Smith

John SmithThe inspiration for the work of the Centre comes from the Rt Hon John Smith QC MP himself.

The night before he died in May 1994, John Smith gave a speech at a Labour Party Gala Dinner. He concluded with these words:

"The opportunity to serve our country - that is all we ask."

That single phrase encapsulates a lifetime of seeking to help others through public service.

Inspiring that in a new generation will be the legacy of the Centre. 

For more information on John Smith's time at the University of Glasgow, please see the University of Glasgow story.‌‌‌‌