NATIONHOOD: Talking about Politics

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

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Related Articles & Comments

  • Newsie

    Welcome to your idea of a communist state.

    Instead Scotland will democratise with small communities empowered and funded. At present we have fewer reps than any other country in Europe.

    The demise of the Labour Party in Scotland is seeing the demise of politicians with no experience outwith politics.

    Agree that reps should be limited to three terms of before taking a break of at least four years at all council, public authority and parliamentary levels

    No need for compulsion once folk realise their votes count and they can take responsibility

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    Graeme mccormick September 25, 2013 8:20 am Reply
  • Have to agree with CDS’s viewpoint. I’d also include audio/video recordings of meetings to be published.

    Strangely, to me, I find LH’s point about experience very appealing. Just had a thought though.. how does a physically handicapped voter gain this experience?

    GMcC’s 3 strikes (terms) & you’re out has a certain appeal but should be reduced to 2. In addition I think it would be a long time before the need for voting ‘compulsion’ could / would not be needed (unfortunately,)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Barmore2 September 25, 2013 11:50 am Reply
  • I was going to challenge you on referring to the Referendum campaign as bitter as my old sparring partner Jackie Baillie and I have a good laugh together. I even offered to pay for her to visit Scandinavian naval basis with a return ticket too.

    However for Johann Lamont to compare SNP members as a virus using the same word Hitler used to describe Jews should be condemned by everyone.

    We can do without this.

    Let’s keep civil

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    Graeme mccormick September 25, 2013 12:16 pm Reply
  • The civil service would need much reform with senior figures required to go back to school every three years to catch up with changing demographics, economics and innovations, one whole day of that being devoted to honesty, transparency and integrity and the meanings thereof.

    They would be required to provide references at the bottom of every paper and briefing to allow proper scrutiny of their assertions. This would also ensure sharp thinking.

    They could have a union but beyond that should be banned from membership of organisations which merely promote their own interests.

    Cosla, Solace and Ades should be reformed to become a single body responsible for advocating the causes of those who are less able to do that for themselves e.g. the disabled, single parents, the economically challenged. The often exemplary research done by the improvement service should be widely distributed for comment. If the population approves it can push for its adoption.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Anne Baird September 25, 2013 5:33 pm Reply
    • By 2050, COSLA, SOLACE and ADES would be figments of an awful past.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      newsroom September 28, 2013 12:23 pm Reply
  • To my surprise I find myself applauding FA’s vision of the future for Scotland. I am also pleased to see that it evidently endorses a YES vote. There is no way any of their vision could come about otherwise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Kassandra September 26, 2013 6:50 pm Reply
    • We have always been clear that we are not against Scottish independence – but are firmly against the particular independence prospectus on offer now – on evidence we openly lay out.
      It would be good to know what you most respond to in what we’ve been putting forwards. Sharing ideas and knocking them around is compellingly interesting and it helps all of us to think about a much bigger picture.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

      newsroom September 26, 2013 6:55 pm Reply
      • As I said elsewhere – there is no other independence prospect on offer, nor will there be for at least a decade. We have to work with what we have. Once we get independence you can work to change it nearer to your hearts desire (which, as described above, I generally applaud).

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        Kassandra September 30, 2013 11:04 am Reply
  • Regarding politics, it’s appeal or lack of it in general and effects of.

    We on here have an interest in what is reported because the issues affect us or people we know directly in A&B. These issues have either directly or indirectly been in some way influenced by politics, politics somewhere along the line have allowed something to exist, to happen or not, they’ll have played a part however significant or obvious.

    There are some excellent ideas to engage the electorate to take an interest, to participate especially from a younger age that have been mentioned in this article.
    Having acknowledged this I think we sidestep an equally important cog in the wheel to creating better societies where not only the politicians be they local, regional or national are best qualified to shape our country and the places we choose to reside.

    Those who are disengaged, disinterested, disillusioned in anything remotely relating to politics and how it affects them miss out in gaining even the smallest understanding of even the basics e.g. why we pay taxes and where they are spent, who does what with the powers each govt. has control of, what does NI fund. In them missing out the knock on effect is to all our detriment.
    These may be very basic questions, answers taken for granted by most on here but imo extremely important for each and every one of us to gain this understanding from as young an age as is beneficial, able to absorb. This would go some way to us all appreciating what why and where we contribute in our societies and the impact we have collectively, to what ends.

    So I would like to see not only those with the political clout better equipped to deal with their responsibilities when elected but to see the electorate empowered as a result of a grounding and proper education regarding their responsibilities answering questions such as why they are entitled when leaving school further education, what is social security, who funds it, who pays for their medical care and so on.
    I look forward to the day this is introduced into the curriculum be it late primary or secondary education.

    Until this is addressed we can all choose to do what is expected of us come elections without the equipment to make an informed choice from the age of 16 or 18 onwards, blissfully ignorant of the immense importance, the repercussions of our cross in the box and a basic grasp of the mechanics of this responsibility.

    Just as if not more important, we stand a much better chance of finally addressing an increasingly expectant, “I’m entitled to”, disrespecting, unappreciative and uninformed society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    JnrTick September 28, 2013 10:11 am Reply
    • Very thought provoking. On the basis of what you’re throwing up here, CDS has suggested we take educations as the next topic for sharing ideas on – so stand by.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      newsroom September 28, 2013 12:27 pm Reply

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