Friday night was the big night for brand new NICE and there are reports of a very well attended meeting with 100 plus souls in attendance. Not bad for Nairn, especially on a wild, wet, windy dark night. Apparently NICE now have 300 signed up and are after at least a thousand.
A lot of Gurnites find this NICE topic “mildly interesting” it is worth paying a bit more attention if you have some spare time. Well worth reading are the Nairnshire articles and editorials. The wisdom of Iain Bain states:
“Never mind specific projects based on urban regeneration, this group seeks wants to take on functions which would see it parallel, even rival, the local authority. In that respect it confronts one of the most centralised and monolithic local governments in
There lies a potential problem for NICE, we now have a change of administration however and, perhaps, a more benign regime in
Glenurquhart Road promising a measure of devolution. At the recent consultation
meeting Drew Hendry and Dave Fallows were alongside Liz and Colin and were
making soothing noises that we hope will turn into reality over the next year
or two. Maybe the new administration will seek to work closely with NICE or
will Councillors and officials feel threatened by the embryonic organisation?
Iain Bain states that NICE could rival the local authority. Yes, it certainly could, and maybe we have a game-changing movement underway in Nairn should NICE mk2 get off the airstrip and take to the municipal skies. Where would it leave the Community Councils however? NICE are hoping to play at the top of the game, should they achieve this could River, Suburban and West CC’s become defunct backwaters of local democratic life or would they continue to play a prominent role in this scenario?
Some critics have pointed to the fact that past and present members of West Community Council have, or have had, prominent roles in NICE and that, perhaps, their influence may be in some way distorting perceptions of what is right and wrong when it comes to the state of Nairn and fixing our blindingly obvious democratic deficit when one considers the, up until now, unhealthy relationship with dominant Invercentric power brokers. River CC state in a recent intervention: “Nairn River Community Council represents more than 53% of the population of the community of Nairn. (Nairn West represents 12%, Suburban, 35%).” River go on to state that the Board of NICE should contain pro rata “We feel the issues at stake and the requirements of the legislation demand a clearer commitment to local representation, so invite NICE to formally appoint to their Board a proportional number of Directors from each of the Community Councils – three from NRCC, two from Suburban and one from West.”
This observer would suggest that should NICE take up River on that point then we would all be well onto our way of achieving the Holy Grail of one Council for the Royal Burgh. A town council, democratically elected, would be the perfect vehicle to take forward the ambitions and talent that Nairn has. It would be dominated by those who got in, not the West CC or anyone else. You would get who you vote for – sometimes you don’t even get a vote for community councils. See here for the Gurn position on a Royal Burgh Community Council.
Some people are very happy with NICE however, Joe Telfer writes on the NICE site: “It’s clear to me that much thought and expertise has gone into the NICE vision for Nairn, and all those involved are to be congratulated on their joined up thinking and hard work. It seems to me that party politics have got to be left behind for the benefit of this vision for Nairn. The joined up approach shown in NICE’s vision has to be matched by the local community councils and our elected Regional councillors as well. A unified approach is far more likely to bring results for the benefit of all the Nairn residents, Nairn could look a lot better and be the envy of many Towns across the country. NICE are on the right track, keep going !” More of the swan mannie’s deliberations here.
The debate, so far has been dominated by the older generations in this town. Perhaps NICE have a marketing issue to deal with here. How can they get the young debating the issue on the social networks and elsewhere? The report on Glen Cunningham’s views on
attracted over 40, mainly highly articulate comments, mostly from
young people. NICE will know they are on the right track when those young
people, this town’s and Scotland’s future, engage and let the older worthies
know if they think NICE is a good thing.