Democracy-Max is a programme of events designed to debate the issues facing people in a changing Scotland, and come up with key proposals to strengthen our democracy.
Q. So what's the plan?
In July two public events will take place.
The first is a ‘People’s Gathering’
; a daylong event featuring 129 Members of the Scottish Public, selected to be as representative as possible of the Scottish population. These 129 people will have the chance to share their concerns, their ideas and their questions about politics and democracy.
The second will be a short hour long debate at the Big Tent Festival
which will present some of the ideas from the People’s Gathering to festival goers and seek their thoughts on these as well as their original ideas.
The findings from these events will be collated and presented to an invited group of leading thinkers, commentators, academics, activists and campaigners. They will participate in three distincy roundtable sessions supervised by ERS Scotland.
Each roundtable will ‘feed into’ the next i.e. the discussions and conclusions of the first phase will be fed into the next one and the first two will feed into session three. This will allow ‘learning’ to travel through the whole process but also allow fresh thinking and different perspective and expertise to be applied at discreet phases.
Each set of roundtables will be asked to answer a series of questions framed by ERS Scotland in consultation with partners and the chair, taking inspiration from the People’s Gathering and the Big Tent event.
Q. What are the phases?
We have themed the investigation into three main phases:
1) Sovereignty of the people – How do we return more power to the people?
2) Defending our democracy – How do we stop vested interests having too much influence?
3) How do we write the rules – How do we get the checks and balances our democracy needs?
Q. Who can participate?
The People’s Gathering is open to anyone to apply to take part. We will then select 129 people to try and have a final attendance of as representative a sample of Scots as possible.
The roundtable events are debate sessions between invited participants.
The subsequent public events are open to anyone and everyone. .
Q. Why is the Electoral Reform Society involved?
With a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional status expected in Autumn 2014, the debate about the institutions and processes of state and government is already underway.
As the only organisation in Scotland campaigning for democracy from a neutral, no-partisanposition we want to create space for debate, avoid pure party politics, and ensure the voice of the people is heard and democracy respected.
For those of us interested in understanding how power is awarded, exercised and held to account in a manner most likely to create a good democracy this is a significant opportunity. It is an opportunity to engage with Scottish society to discuss what constitutes that ‘good democracy’.
Q. What will the final outcome of the programme be?
Once the three phases are complete ERS Scotland will produce a summary paper that sets out the vision of a ‘Good Scottish Democracy’, Democracy-Max, if you will.
Q. Who else is involved?
CSPP, Occupy Edinburgh, Edinburgh University’s Institute of Governance, the Scottish Youth Parliament, SCVO, Reform Scotland, Andy Wightman, James Robertson, Rob Edwards, STUC, Unison Scotland, Law Society Scotland, Scottish Environment LINK, the Hansard Society and Scottish Times, amongst others.