Last week politicians in Scotland were queuing up to call for more power to be exercised at local level.
But it seems our politicians are coming late to the party on localism.
Today we launch the findings from the first set of roundtables from our Democracy Max programme. We’ve captured the views of ordinary members of the public selected from across Scotland, and fed the results into roundtable discussion of experts and non-experts and open public meetings.
And the results are showing that that remote decision making and abstract policy debates are proving a real turn off to the Scottish public.
What we are seeing is a clear desire to bring decision making down to the level of communities and neighbourhoods. Compared to most other European states, the levels of local representation and local power are frankly derisory. Local government, to put it simply, isn’t quite local enough.
We’ve seen support for volunteer councillors representing much smaller local areas. We’ve also seen a strong endorsement for a ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ – an additional decision making chamber constituted like a large jury, where people are appointed for short terms to reflect the make-up of the Scottish public.
While our politics might be in crisis we do not think it is beyond treatment. There is an opportunity for Scotland to lead the way in creating a new politics.
Democracy Max: The Sovereignty of the People is available to download