Month: January 2012

Iceland’s home-made Constitution – lessons for Scotland – Next Event

Iceland has made a steady recovery from the banking crash of 2008 which saw the country placed on the UK Terrorism Register. Slowly but surely this Nordic nation of just 300,000 people has been making sure such a crisis can never undermine the whole country again. It became clear that the 1944 Constitution (written when Iceland declared independence from Denmark), needed major revision. So a group of 25 ordinary folk was elected (from 550 self nominating volunteers) to rewrite the democratic rulebook. The Icelandic Economist Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason was involved from the outset and won the highest number of votes. The Icelandic Constitutional Council took 4 months to write the world’s newest Constitution with input by e-mail and social media (2/3s of Icelanders are on Facebook) and re...Read More

Size Matters by Lesley Riddoch and Paddy Bort

"The process of centralisation of governance has gone further in Scotland than in other countries. Highland Council, to take the most striking example, covers an area the size of Belgium with a population the size of Belfast. Councillors need to drive hundreds of thousands of miles a year to connect with fellow councillors and citizens in their council area. Despite such herculean efforts, many remote communities feel neglected and disenfranchised. That is “damaging democracy and economic development in Scotland,” writes Rob Gibson MSP in the introduction to ‘Small Works’. This consultation document proposes a major shake-up of the Highland Council, and Gibson has made the task his “personal priority” for this parliamentary session. “We have a situation in my constituency, where counc...Read More

Gibson on decentralisation – “This is my personal priority.”

The debate over whether powers should be decentralised in the Highlands came to the fore today, as Caithness Sutherland & Ross MSP, Rob Gibson, declared the return of power to communities his ‘personal priority’. Mr Gibson said that during this, his final term as an MSP, he would do everything he could to bring about greater decentralisation and local control in the Highlands. Mr Gibson made the announcement as he launched a new paper outlining basic arguments for decentralisation, entitled ‘Small Works’. Testing how to publish

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