Hundreds to gather for major conference on creating ‘real democracy’ in Scotland

Posted on the 19th June 2018

‘Our Democracy’ activists hope to challenge democratic deficit – from centralisation of power in Holyrood to need for overhaul of campaign regulations.

  • Operations note and invite from ERS Scotland/Our Democracy campaign
  • To attend please contact the media office at the Electoral Reform Society –mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or 01316249853
  • Spokespeople/speakers are available for interview in advance and on the day

Journalists are invited to attend a major national conference on how to decentralise power in Scotland, being held in Glasgow on Saturday, June 23.

Nearly 400 people have registered already for ‘Democracy 21’ – organised by ERS Scotland and the Our Democracy coalition – which will bring together democracy campaigners, community activists, academics and politicians to debate how to revitalise Scottish democracy.

Hundreds will be gathering from across Scotland to launch a ‘Charter for Local Democracy’, amid concerns that power is highly centralised in Holyrood. It comes alongside plans for major legislative reform in Scotland – including the Local Democracy Bill, which the event will feed into.

Sessions will cover how to ‘take power back’ for local communities, online campaigning in the 21st century in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a ‘crisis of representation’ in Scotland and more.

Event details:

  • Venue – Glasgow Marriott Hotel
  • Times –  Saturday June 23rd, 10am-5pm
  • Key Speakers – Paul Mason (Journalist), Willie Sullivan (Electoral Reform Society), Linda Somerville (Director, NUS Scotland), Lesley Riddoch (Broadcaster), Kyle Taylor (Director, Fair Vote) and many more
  • Tickets for public – democracy21.eventbrite.com

Background

The Our Democracy campaign was launched in 2016 after it was revealed 76 percent of Scots felt they had no or very little influence on council spending or services.

Since then, it has brought together thousands of local people – with the aim of taking power into our own hands.

In October, examples of Scottish communities already getting organised for change were celebrated at ‘Amplify– the first of a three-part series of events.

And at the start of this year Our Democracy campaigners, in conjunction with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, facilitated six deliberative events in small communities where citizens were encouraged to ‘Act As If’ they own the place, and to decide on their local priorities.

A second event in the series, Impact’ showcased some of the best work already being done in community organising, and saw campaigners discuss how communities can take the power they need to make decisions locally.

Attendees also began work on drafting a ‘Declaration on Local Democracy’ – a charter for reforms to be included in the Scottish Government’s Local Democracy Bill, which is expected to make its way through Parliament later this year.

The Declaration will be launched at Democracy 21. This is the culmination of two years of work bringing communities together to look at how we can build local democracy for the 21st century in Scotland.
ENDS

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