LibLink…Tavish Scott: Community councils empower the people

One of the big themes in Scottish politics in recent years has been the Labour and SNP impulse to centralise anything that stands still for long enough. The SNP Government, against all good advice and much opinion, recently merged Scotland’s 8 police forces into one.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrats under Willie Rennie’s leadership have been emphasising giving power to local communities. Tavish Scott, MSP for Shetland writes in the Scotsman about how giving more power to community councils could help deliver the sorts of services communities need, including schools.He cites the example of a plan to close a secondary school on one of the Shetland islands and send the children on a 30 minute ferry journey which will force them to be away from their families during the week:

 A total of 47 children aged 11 to 18 would have to take a 30-minute ferry trip to school. In fair weather that might work. But this is the North Sea and weather delays happen. If the entire secondary school population is removed from the island for the week what does that do for the social and family side of life?

But there is another solution – devolving the power to the local community council:

Scotland needs a new way of invigorating local democracy. A way which does not rely on the government of the day interfering in local schools and other essential services. Community Councils could be the way to do that. Local authorities are cutting spending and are desperate to find other bodies to take on services. Voluntary bodies are very popular in town halls if they will do something for free. Community Councils could take on many more local functions if local authorities showed a greater understanding of their potential.

But for community councils to work effectively they need to be legitimate. They need to reflect their name and be embedded and owned by the people in an area. Across Europe local government involves far more people. This keeps decision making local and representative.

You can read the whole article here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , , , , or .
This entry was posted in LibLink.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/33360 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

2 Comments

  • To achieve genuine devolution of powers to a more local level, you have to devolve the finance, too. I think schools would be too expensive to be funded 100% locally.
    More realistically, I think perhaps purely local matters such as residential street lighting and pavements, playing fields and community centres/village halls would be better candidates for being devolved to community councils, with local residents being completely responsible for funding.

  • This is similar to the continental commune system

    Just on ething though, instead of complaining about what people are doing elsewhere, how about some initiatives where you are in power!

    Hasn’t the Westminster government also been centralising as well?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarNick Collins 28th Jan - 2:06pm
    Will you be issuing your canvassers and candidates with tee-shirts bearing the words "I'm not yet dead"? If you contact those nice people who produced...
  • User AvatarAlex Sabine 28th Jan - 2:03pm
    Malcolm: If it's not happening then it would perhaps be fair to characterise this initiative as gesture politics. It sounds like it is a rarity...
  • User AvatarChrisB 28th Jan - 2:02pm
    Instead of a death, it might be more productive to see this as a rebirth. Things have clearly gone wrong, the party has lost its...
  • User AvatarGreenfield 28th Jan - 1:59pm
    Stop this now! STV - nothing else will do. And DO NOT make PR a condition of any agreement............. especially a referendum - the majority...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 28th Jan - 1:59pm
    @ Matthew Huntbach Yes - a new party does seem the answer if NC manages to retain the leadership after the GE - although that...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 28th Jan - 1:58pm
    Nonsense. The job of a radical party is to set out what we want and campaign for it. Leave any compromises to the day. STV...