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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Democracy must be brought closer to the people

This news post is about 8 years old
 

Democracy in Scotland must aim for full inclusion, says charities' body

The energy unleashed by the Scottish independence referendum campaign must be tapped into and turned into a democracy that works for the people.

That’s the bold assertion made by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) as it publishes a report looking at how the country’s democratic institutions and culture can be overhauled.

Steps must be taken to ensure democracy works for the vulnerable people whose lives are most directly affected by decisions about welfare reform, the economy, and health and social care, the paper says.

Ideas which could transform political engagement include electronic voting and citizen scrutiny of new laws, policies and budget processes.

With the general election coming up next year, many politicians are still treating people like pawns in the tactical game of party politics

John Downie, director of public affairs at SCVO, said: “The referendum debunked the myth of voter apathy. It, along with overwhelmingly strong engagement with the Smith Commission, prove that there’s a big appetite among people to talk about their vision for Scotland but politicians are still failing to tap into that energy and enthusiasm.

“We need to build on the momentum of the referendum to bring power closer to people and communities, and give them more influence over the decisions that affect them.

“With the general election coming up next year, many politicians are still treating people like pawns in the tactical game of party politics.

“They have been failing people in this way for the last 20 years and people simply won’t stand for it anymore.

“For our democracy to work well it needs to meaningfully change people’s lives for the better, and tackle the big issues affecting Scotland, such as poverty and inequality.

“Electronic voting, citizen juries in the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise new laws and policies and opening up debate about Scottish budget-setting to the public, are just some of the ideas that could help us take the first steps to build on the momentum created by the referendum and reinvigorate democracy in Scotland.”

 

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