"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
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
I've been thinking we should have more debate between meetings of the Nordic Horizons group. (for more info see www.nordichorizons.org ) And maybe your responses can help us get the best focus for meetings currently being planned – and one is being planned about small nations culture. So here are some thoughts about the cultures of small northern Nordic nations– are they suffocatingly couthy or devastatingly dynamic? Every nation constructs an identity and Scotland and Norway are no exceptions. But for a Scot who has become used to seeing the distinctive culture of Scotland tucked away in corners as "alternative" or "traditional" it's been moving and massively thought-provoking to visit Norway and see the collective life experience of Norwegians take centre stag...Read More
The North Sea oil spill has made our High North debate horribly topical all of a sudden. So has the news that Statoil’s latest North Sea oil discovery (in Aldous Major South) is the biggest in 20 years. So is the Far North safe in Nordic hands? Do the Norwegians have systems ready to close down leaks more quickly than the British sector and less secretive oil companies – if not can they honestly say Arctic drilling is safe or ethical? Rune Rafaelsen of the Barents Secretariat says “All industrial activities have a risk for accidents. For the people in the North it is a challenge to minimize the risks. But the answer for the people of the High North must be economic development.” Anna Kireeva of Bellona says “Such spills can happen anywhere, and Norway is not an exception — no oil com...Read More
Is the far north safe in Nordic hands? 13:30 – 14:30, Committee Room 1, FREE. The Arctic region contains a high proportion of the world’s fish stocks, includes important breeding grounds and has huge untapped supplies of oil and gas. The Norwegian government is pledged to exploit natural resources without harming this precious environment. On the 150th anniversary of the birth of explorer Fridtjof Nansen, the Chief Secretary of the Barents Secretariat, Rune Rafaelsen will outline Norway’s ambitious plans for human, natural and safe energy development in the High North, challenged by Anna Kireeva from the environmental group Bellona. The debate will be chaired by Lesley Riddoch, — co-Director of Nordic Horizons. Tickets are free but must be booked. Bookings open in “early July” ...Read More
"The world in 2050 will be radically different from today. Northern countries – notably Canada, Russia and Scandinavia – will rise at the expense of southern ones." So says Laurence Smith whose book "The New North" has been a bestseller. Nordic Horizons invites you to hear more about the reality of change in the Arctic with Rune Rafaelson, General Secretary of the Kirkenes-based Barents Secretariat. The Arctic contains fish stocks, breeding grounds & huge supplies of oil and gas. Can the Norwegian government exploit them without harming the environment. Rune outlines Norway's ambitious plans to develop people, assets and energy in the High North with loads of projects to connect with neighbouring Russians and create a new dynamic cross border Arctic ...Read More
Journalist Lesley Riddoch and activist Dan Wynn organised a launch meeting in Holyrood during April 2010 introduced by an MSP from each of the main Holyrood parties and conducted in a round table format to include contributions from other MSPs like former Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander, Nordic, German and Scottish academics, policy specialists and interested members of the public. Around 70 people were present and some Napier students made a short film you can view here. In August 2010 The Viking Feminists was a Festival of Politics event with two speakers – Agneta Stark a member of Sweden’s gender equality movement the “support stockings” and Henny Aune, a pioneer of Norway’s outdoor kindergarten system. We had help from Nordic/Scottish based businesses Boda Bar and Kinnarps, thin...Read More
Nordic Horizons is an informal group of Scottish professionals who want to raise the standard of knowledge and debate about life and policy in the Nordic nations. We’ve been holding public meetings in Edinburgh since 2010 so Nordic specialists can discuss how they do things with decision-makers, practitioners, MSPs, academics and the interested public here. We try to produce audio recordings of the meeting and even short interviews with speakers. You can browse topics, content and voices here. And join our Facebook group , or listen via SoundCloud or watch via Vimeo or follow us on Twitter to join live debate and discuss Nordic news as it happens.