ERS Scotland is hosting the inaugural State of Scottish Democracy lecture next week. The event takes place on Thursday 17th November, in Govan’s Pearce Institute, and will be addressed by Professor James Mitchell.
The idea behind this new initiative is to create a yearly platform for an expert speaker to provide an assessment of the health, or otherwise, of Scottish institutions. We hope to explore a variety of topics and questions, in a way that both informs and provokes debate and discussion about how Scottish democracy might be improved.
We will examine pertinent questions that citizens and policymakers face in Scotland. How well does Scottish democracy function at a local and national level? How can decision-making and debate be enhanced. How can we grow the role of citizens in shaping Scottish politics? What’s the impact of the constitutional question and what is the future of Scottish democratic life?
Democracy does not exist in a vacuum. It is constantly evolving, and subject to events and shocks. After the experience of the pandemic, we saw the need for highly responsive intuitions at the local and national levels. Climate change opens a discussion about how institutions work, and if they can rise to the challenges of the era. Economic volatility also has a big impact on politics, democracy and decision-making.
Scotland too has its own set of circumstances to consider. The local governance review could lead to a revamped local democracy. But what does that look like, and why is that important? How can local places be given more power and to what end? Citizens Assemblies are also part of the discussion, as we reflect on the Citizens Assembly of Scotland and how such an innovation might take root in Scottish politics and policy making more broadly. Then we have the stalemate around the national question to examine, alongside the associated consequences for Scottish politics.
We want to see more power held locally, rather than being centralised in Edinburgh or London. We want to see a renewed and rejuvenated democracy at all levels. But without an analysis of where things stand now, we can’t fully grasp the issues that need addressing. That is what the “State of Scottish Democracy” lecture seeks to provide.
Professor Mitchell is one of Scotland’s leading experts on the constitution, devolution, the Scottish Parliament and Government. In addition, he is a regular commentator in the Scottish media. His lecture promises to offer fascinating insights into Scottish governance and will set out a nuanced appraisal of Scottish democracy and some ambitions for the future. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session, where you will be able to make your own contributions to the discussion. Debate will be most welcome.
Given the context, this event could not be more prescient. We advise that you book in advance to ensure your place. Tickets can be booked at the following link. It is not to be missed, and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday.
Book your ticket to the State of Scottish Democracy lecture