Of course when we opened the debate about Scotland in 2050 it was to side-step the ongoing bitter debate by the political parties and concentrate on the issues at hand.
Now we come to look at the discussion thread, much was said about the political system and how it might be improved. So, for this week, the discussion will look at how Scotland’s political system will have changed by 2050. What would you like to see?
Here are a couple of starter notions from us.
Charles Dixon-Spain on popular democracy
In 2050 the principle of universal suffrage has become entrenched in the way we all live our lives. Every week we get to vote on policy that affects us as a nation — we are all of course always online everywhere in a country where wifi is universal, free and unlimited.
Every five years we elect around 50 individuals to ministerial posts at a national level. These individuals are accountable to the nation for their departments which are run by the civil service.
However, policy is developed as part of a national debate. Points of view, and policy documents are developed by think-tanks, political parties, loose affiliations, communities and individuals.
This work is then incorporated into achievable positions by the civil service representing two or three different approaches to the outcomes in view.
The electorate is then required to vote every Thursday. Engagement is guaranteed by law: you are required to vote unless you are under 16.
The system upholds one central tenet: everything is published. All emails, all letters. Nothing is classified.
This absolute clarity enables the voting public to trust the way they govern themselves. Votes have tangible, immediate effects. And because there is such a direct relationship between a vote and outcomes, the voters are much more engaged in how their country progresses.
The often murky world of political influence and lobbying which characterised much of the political debate in the hundreds of years prior to the implementation of this system is now no longer. Commercial interests still lobby, but they do so in an entirely transparent way. They have to, otherwise their arguments will not stand scrutiny.
Scotland has now an active, distributed body-politic, where every citizen has a right to be involved, or where they do not want to be involved, a right to vote “None of the above / redraw the policy”.
Local authorities run on the same basis, albeit at a less frenetic pace, and adhere to utter transparency.
Lynda Henderson on experience matters
By 2025 people were sick of the mediocre and terminally bored with the’ machine politicians’ reading from the same scripts in the same coded deceptions.
They became aware that too many politicians had no experience to bring to politics except a short life in politics itself. The endless procession of interns and special advisers parachuted into safe seats seemed more and more to make politics bloodless and thin.
The loss of the necessary perspectives that come from broad experience and specialist expertise were denied to politics and to government, with the inevitable impoverishment of performance in office.
So today no one may stand for election at any level of politics except the youth parliament – which has been one of the most interesting initiatives of the past thirty years – until they can show at least ten years of work experience outside politics.
Only those who can show expertise and experience in the central fields relevant to the issues with which national or local government engages may be considered for ministerial or senior positions at any level.
Local councillors are far fewer and work full time for an salary appropriate to their responsibilities.
National politicians also work full time, may not accept any outside responsibilities and are paid appropriately to their responsibilities.
Lobbying is banned as a criminal offence against democracy and has been replaced by scheduled regular public briefings to politicians by industry sectors – not companies – broadcast live online to the public.
John Patrick on postmodern politics
Much as changed this last thirty years. With the disconnection between citizens and politicians and the advent of technology “networked governance was inevitable.
Politicians have been replaced this year at Holyrood by the ruling council, a small body of elected officials that oversee the decisions made by our online nation and our compliance with treaties and European Law.
Issues and arguments are made online, citizens have there say in the chat forums and everything is available 24/7 to the population. Some of flamboyant chat contributors have become online celebrates with large followings much like the usual suspect on the For Argyll pages in the teens. Voting takes place over a 48 hour period via personal devices including Google Glass and Smart Phones.
Democracy has shifted towards a more multi-perspectival model that respects a variety of sometimes conflicting perspectives rather than seeking the one perspective of objective truth or absolute knowledge. In opposition to discourses of the unity of absolute truth our politics now stresses difference, plurality, conflict, and respect for the other.
This new postmodern politics has also overcome the Eurocentrism of politics thirty years ago and valorised a diversity of local politic projects and struggles. Our politics have learned to be at once, local, national and global depending on specific conditions and problems. We now think globally and act locally. This is a good time to be living in Scotland.
Suggest the next topic for the project here