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Tuesday, January 10, 2012


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richard kerley

A fascinating set of presentations at the meeting last night on MacKommunes .
I left early so this may have been raised, if so apologies. I often observe that when protagonists for a case lay out their arguments they tend to overlook cultural and social difference. Some , of course , also tend to attribute universally desirable and benign characteristics to some societies – often in contrast to their own.
Two instances I noticed in the presentations / comments last night:
There is clearly a very different approach to power supply and domestic heating in the Scanda- countries – the reasons are very obvious .
Almost 30 years ago I led the governance of a study to develop Combined Heat and Power in Edinburgh [ for technical and demographic reasons a very good location – even now…]. I recall a Swedish engineer speaking at conference who explained that when CHP was introduced into one part of the city [ I forget which city ] residents were required to switch to that CHP system . He could not understand why conference delegates from major British cities and towns almost all considered it pretty near impossible to impose such a heating transfer onto residents. Clearly such a change was the rational thing to do; he was right , so were they .
Simply observing that in some countries there are many councils and in others fewer ; in some many councillors and in others fewer is interesting but doesn’t address the many possible reasons why that is the case. Actually the difference between Scotland , England and Wales is quite marked. And of course there are wide differences in local government systems in Germany, with mixed evidence as to whether any one system is better than another in securing engagement /efficiency.
And on a slightly worrying point of accuracy in that one mistake may signal others unseen, , the Martin Hannan who was quoted by Paddy Bort orally and in print is not a councillor , which gives an entirely different perspective to the comment attributed to him .

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