Friday, February 14, 2014

Local government in Scotland - "Basically a regional service delivery the behest of national government"

Yesterday we posted a video of the Scottish Greens launch in Nairn of their document intended to kick-start a debate about the future form of local government in Scotland. That document Renewing Local Democracy in Scotland is available here. You can see the video here - it is long but the first 20 minutes or so is the intro (including Common Good campaigner Andy Wightman) and then there is a question and answer session, this observer asked (at 32 minutes into the video) if those in Nairn who are looking with hope towards the Scottish Government's Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill will be disappointed. The Scottish Greens seem to be pessimistic about the Bill's prospects of giving democracy back to communities. 

Much of what the Greens had to say on local democracy would probably resonate well within the ranks of the Community Council usual suspects and the NICE rank and file too. Here's just a couple of quotes from yesterday's event in Nairn Community Centre. 

"There are fundamental problems not only with local government, local democracy but with people's sense of connection to decision making right throughout our society." Patrick Harvie MSP.

"One of the most interesting things about local government in how it stands in very sharp contrast to local government across most of Europe, because the local government we have a the moment is neither local nor does it govern. It is basically a regional service delivery vehicle which delivers services at the behest of national government."  Andy Wightman

"Local government should enjoy a large amount of fiscal autonomy - and we argue in the report that at least 50% of the funds they have should be raised locally and that is the norm across Europe. " Andy Wightman. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The end of anything LOCAL is fast approaching, no matter what we vote for in September. The Ambulance Service, Fire Service and Police Service have all been centralized and put under the control of a Minister. Next on Edinburgh's sights must be the regional councils, they underwent a mini centralization when the District Councils were abolished and look what we have now. Will even the NHS follow? Edinburgh is where all thing great and small must move to where they can be controlled. Edinburgh to Scotland is what Westminster is to the UK, remote, authoritarian, controlling and uncaring.