Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tuesday morning mainstream media revue - 'Tom, Dick and Harry'

Bad news for Cawdor Primary school on the front page of the Nairnshire and inside lots of news form the recent Ward Forum and other important issues relevant to Nairn, the usual sports reports, a letter about the controversial Woolies planning application and pictures of recent graduates.
It is to the editorial we turn however, and Iain Bain raises a few concerns should perhaps Sheena Baker's wish for more local representation on the administration of the Common Good Fund come to fruition.
'Those who advocate freeing up the administration of Common Good Funds out to consider deeply before they open up control of the funds to a wider group including Tom, Dick and Harry.' States Iain in his opening paragraph.
Sheena was articulating a lot of local concern in her comments and it was interesting to see that she got a sympathetic response from the Highland Council with William Gilfillan who stated that the Council's legal department were investigating such suggestions. It seems to be the way the wind is blowing, especially in the wider Scottish sense with Common Good Fund campaigners already having had petitions on this very subject accepted into the lower rungs of the parliament's law making process.
The last West Community Council meeting discussed a circular from the Royal Burgh of Selkirk and District Community Council who were encouraging their colleagues all over Scotland to make representations to John Swinney on the issue. As time moves to the next Holyrood elections then perhaps such a policy of allowing more local control on Common Good issues might be a useful addition to the SNP's manifesto. It would be a good point to include in any of our local councillors declaration of policies too when the time comes.
Iain's editorial returns to more practical concerns however. He thinks that anyone appointed in the future should be elected rather that co-opted. This raises issues of how a future single council for the town, an entity that many think inevitable, would be elected. Here cost issues would come into the equation but there will have to be a better way than simply those who are interested turning up on the night and resolving the issue. Ballot papers in the style of the local elections would be costly but perhaps there might be some more simpler way, with residents of the town turning up and proving their identity and then being given some sort of voting slip? Maybe it could be made even more representative by allowing the over 16's/14's? a vote too.
Iain is right with his concerns but surely there could be room for co-option of non-elected citizens (without voting rights on the fund) as long has they had relevant skills and experience?
The Royal Burgh of Nairn Community Council - sounds nice doesn't it?

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