Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Independence or devolution megamax is on the way but what about self-determination for communities like Nairn?

In May we published an article on a report entitled:  The Silent Crisis - failure and revival in local democracy in Scotland, you can see that article here. Firstly let's re-quote a paragraph from that report:

“What’s the average budget of a community council in Scotland? Go on. Guess. It’s £400. That says almost everything you need to know about local empowerment in Scotland. Of course money can’t buy you democracy any more than it buys you love. But the near zero budget for Scotland’s “community tier” of governance matches its near zero powers and near zero number of contested elections. This is not local democracy.” 

So can renewed and reformed Community Councils be the conduit whereby the democratic deficit that affects communities like Nairn can be tackled?
There is presently a Community Empowerment Bill somewhere in the guts of the Holyrood machine and there is talk of more "localism" coming from the new powers that be in Edinburgh. Here in Nairn there is a strong school of thought that we are stuffed because our town is split along bizzare lines into three community councils and that this suited the Highland Council Invercentric movement as they imposed centralist policies. Putting that to one side, it remains to be seen if the new regime in Glenurquhart Road comes up with real changes to the damage the Invercentrics have done to local democracy in Nairn over the past 15-20 years and give us back some local control. All serious hope in this direction surely has to look towards Holyrood however.

One of our correspondents points to an article on the APT blog which refers to a short-term working group on Community Councils.  Our correspondent wasn't too impressed by this document and wondered why we heard little or nothing about it in the Highlands and our regular reader is also very critical over the entire modus operandi of the consultation therein. I hate to stress that all this is obviously for the serious students of local democracy matters in Nairn but previous experience has shown there are many Gurnites who are willing to tread in this direction. Therefore you can find the document here. Food for thought on how serious the Scottish Parliament will get in this direction perhaps?

So back to the  main complaint of this article, with Independence probably on the horizon and failing that devolution max it is imperative that the Scottish Government take serious steps to return real local democracy to communities like Nairn. If London rule goes then give real democracy to Scotland -  let towns like Nairn also shake off rule from the centralist power of cities like Inverness. Let's build a better democracy at all levels.


Caity said...

I feel that I cannot simply look over this article; It’s titled ‘Independence or devolution megamax is on the way but what about self-determination for communities like Nairn?’ is misleading readers. You later on in your article state ‘with Independence probably on the horizon and failing that devolution max.’
As of the 15th of October 2012 the SNP and the UK government came to an agreement that the referendum would contain ‘a single Yes/No question on Scotland leaving the UK’ ( Black, A 2012). It was also made public that the chase for a second question would be dropped. This is all as specified in the Referendum agreement where it states ‘Under section 30 of the Scotland act 1998 in the United Kingdom and Scottish parliament to allow a single question referendum on Scottish independence.’ (Referendum Agreement Document, Signed 15/10/2012). This article should have instead been titled ‘Independence may be on the way but…’ Although that in itself implies something that has not been decided yet. Please don’t confuse this already chaotic campaign.

Black, A. (2012). Scottish independence: Cameron and Salmond strike referendum deal. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-19942638. Last accessed 5/12/2012.
RAD. (Signed 15/10/2012) http://www.number10.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Agreement-final-for-signing.pdf

Graisg said...

There is a school of thought that you will probably not get a rizla paper between the final result of Independence and Devolution Max. Speaking to Oor Graham of the Better together campaign I would suggest he is not far from that standpoint himself.
If upset with the title of the article however please accept a full refund.

Unknown said...

Please open your mind when labour was in holyrood they were totally against a referendum and sacked Wendy Alexander for saying bring it on on newsnight Now all the opposition want one yesterday We have had enough lies and scaremongering to last 10 lifetimes let it unfold and be debated point by point the Scottish people are not as stupid as the media and David Cameron would have the world believe VOTE NO to self determination and we might give you something sometime later DHU John Gallagher Fishertown from Cyprus