The Greens will be hosting a morning of discussions about increasing local control over local affairs, including the management of the Common Good, at the Forres Tolbooth, from 10.30 to 12.30 this Saturday, 29 March. This free informal ‘drop-in’ event is open to everyone with an interest in the Common Good and the future of local democracy.
Participants can expect a warm welcome and free refreshments, as well as the opportunity to join small discussion groups to learn about and discuss different approaches to increase the say local people have over local issues.
“I am really looking forward to sharing the experience of how Green Councillors in Glasgow City Council have campaigned, and continue to campaign, for better management of the Common Good”, says special guest Martha Wardrop, Green Glasgow Councillor and vice convenor of the Scottish Greens. “Our focus on fuller registration of Common Good assets, including initiating development of a policy on the management of common good assets, has been a corner-stone of our campaign. I will be suggesting ways to help the people of Forres further develop their local campaign, but I also look forward to gaining new insight in to common good assets I can take back to Glasgow.”
“More local control over Common Good assets is just one aspect of renewing local democracy and giving power back to communities”, stated local campaigner and Moray Greens Convenor, James MacKessack-Leitch. “The current position is that, despite the best efforts of some local authority officers and elected members, there is a democratic deficit at the heart of local government in Scotland. In Moray, a recent Council by-election saw three out of every four voters staying at home and taking no part in the election of a new councillor to represent Buckie. Many Forres people fear that their views will not have any impact on the Council’s final decision in the current debate about development proposals affecting Forres Common Good land at Bogton. This event will help stimulate action for bringing local power back where it belongs: with local people.”
“The Greens have always stood for bringing power closer to the people and for a renewal of democracy at all levels” adds Highlands & Islands Greens convenor Fabio Villani. “For many of us this – together with the belief that the people of Scotland would elect governments with a greater sense of social and environmental justice than those elected by the UK as a whole – is one of the key reasons for intending to vote YES on 18 September.”
“The recent launch of the Greens’ briefing paper on local democracy, supported by Andy Wightman’s report on renewing local democracy in Scotland, was timed to contribute to the current debate on how to revive local democracy, not just through greater devolution of powers from Westminster to Holyrood, but through using the referendum debate to bring about a double-devolution of power – bringing far more power and money to communities”.
The Greens’ local democracy briefing and Andy Wightman’s report on renewing local democracy in Scotland are available in the publications area of the at Scottish Greens website