For Jamie McIntyre: You’re very welcome to contribute …

Comment posted Scottish government’s mad plan for rural parliament by newsroom.

For Jamie McIntyre: You’re very welcome to contribute to For Argyll – and we wish Ardnamurchan was still with us on paper as well as in spirit.

Everyone interested in doing so is ‘entitled’ to contribute here as they wish – and is welcome. Neither we nor our readers are parochial and everyone is interested in informed discussion and variety of positions.

newsroom also commented

  • That would be interesting – what a constituency to cover.
  • Think about it.

    We’ve got a parliament. It’s not good enough. How will a Division B team help? We have to assume the A team has the best available.

    A second outfit can only take some of an already slim talent pool out of Holyrood – the one supposed to represent the entire country, listen to it and govern it. It has to be more productive to ensure that the one we’ve got raises its game to deliver this.

    A country the size of Scotland cannot have two parliaments – and pay for two parliaments (one to govern and one just to talk???) – without being a broke ruritania with no time to produce and no production revenues to pay for the talking shops.

    And when did you last hear any Scottish serving parliamentarian say anything in or outwith a Holyrood debate that was seriously worth paying to listen to or to remember?

    The argument for devo max or independence is largely based on the sense that ‘they’ don’t understand us. But if we don’t or won’t understand each other within a small country, why change anything?

    On the brink of considering independence, if we cannot imagine rural and urban folk coming to know and respect each other without ghettoised talking shops – which would quickly be seen as the smart crowd and the teuchters – why do we pretend that the sales ploy of an integrated country with a common purpose is anything other than a decoy bride?

  • We agree with Barmore2 and Iain S MacLean that LAs as we know them are showing their age and inability.

    But this hot-bath notion is not to be a layer of government so it cannot replace LAs – which are metropolitan and urban as well as rural. And a parliament is not a management structure but a debating chamber.

    This expensive folie de grandeur is not one to be ‘wished down’. It is one to be put down.

    We do not need more empty talk. We need to start making things.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Salmond finds irresistible his ‘dark star’ of London and his reviled Westminster
    I have never been an ‘Ulster Unionist’ I do not know Mr Clegg. I am no part of any political or other clique. I now have no political affiliations.
    I have joined two political parties in my lifetime.
    I joined the Labour Party of Northern Ireland when it was set up in 1985 by the late Paddy Devlin, since Northern Ireland had a serious political deficit being a member of the UK but with no UK parties established there. The LPNI did not survive too long in the largely sectarian politics of Northern Ireland it was set up to render redundant.
    I joined the SNP early in the 2007 minority administration as I was and remain deeply respectful of the abilities and achievements of Argyll’s then MSP, Jim Mather. I left the SNP early in the independence campaign when I saw, on independently researched evidence, its prospectus to be disappointingly incompetent and downright dishonest. I was relieved to have come to this decision when I saw how primitively tribal, abusive and divisise the indy campaign became.
    In my voting history, since I make my decisions on the calibre of candidates alone, I have probably voted for representatives of every one of the main UK political parties and for independents – and, in Northern Ireland, for the Social Democrat and Labour Party [SDLP].
    For the record, I personally found the most genuine and honest moment in the endless indy campaign to come from the Scottish Conservative MSP, Jamie McGrigor.
    At the pro-union launch indoors in Dunoon one night – which was constantly disrupted by a pretty brattish SNP claque, Jamie McGrigor, who was on his feet at the time, uncharacteristically turned on them and said: ‘Do you know, I am sick of you. I am sick of the lot of you. You’re going on about Bannockburn – but I went to a memorial event recently for Flodden and there was not one single SNP representative there, from any level. Not one.
    ‘I was there – to pay my respects to the many Scots who died in that battle but no one from the SNP was bothered to come, because they lost.
    ‘You lot are only interested in the victories, not in the Scots who died in failed attempts. I have no respect for that.’
    He sat down to silence and then growing applause.
    Being a gentlemanly person, Jamie McGrigor got up again at the enld of the session and apologised to the SNP claque ‘for losing my temper’.
    To me, his first intervention blazingly underlined the hyopcrisy of the braveheart stance; and his second one spoke volumes for the sort of civility in politics I did not witness at any other point in the campaign.
    So while I am politicised, I am unattached; dogma free; recognise merit, dishonestly and incompetence where I find it; have been and will be profoundly critical of every political party deserving it.
    I believe that party politics are redundant and damaging to any state’s chances of progressively building for a balanced and sustainable future.
    I believe that the United Kingdom, if it has any political vitality left, must work to become a federal union, as the fairest and most mutually respectful political system for today – and I will openly support that. If the UK proves to have little interest in fundamental reform and redirection, I will not support it again.
    And that’s the picture.
    Lynda
  • Lamont standing down immediately as Scottish Labour Leader
    The desperate grasping at Kezia Dugdale rather suggests that what you fear may happen is on the slipway.
    Kezia Dugdale is a talented MSP who shines in a very shallow pool where the best talents are unremarkable.
    With experience and a good mentor, she could be an influential politician for the future.
    But she is being grabbed at simply because she shines relatively, with no care for the fact that she needs time and guidance to grow to political maturity.
    She does not need to be propelled prematurely into the leadership of a haphazard parliamentary group within a national party which is directionless and underfuelled.
    With no sign on the horizon – at Holyrood or Westminster, of the thinkers that are so badly needed right now, Labour needs a strong strategic political intelligence to harness and redirect itself. There is no sign of that capability either.
    Political fixing and opportunism will get a listless party through the odd bad night but cannot fuel it for an expedition.
    The prospects are not good.
  • Oban North and Lorn by-election count under way: indications, analyses, result
    Obviously cross-eyed in adding this one up. Apologies. Will recalibrate this later.
    On the second point, this is a rule-of-thumb indicator; and some people who give first prefs do so out of temporary disaffection with another party and are not actually core vote for the party on question. So the most reliable rule-of-thumb is to take votes at face value – including those for newly disaffected independents.
  • Decoding Helensburgh’s Colquhoun Square: Comet I or Comet II?
    Had you made your suggestion on the lighting design for the square to Councillor Petrie who might then have taken if forwards at council level and become singularly associated with it through that process?
    We should make it clear that it is popular received perception that associates Councillor Petrie with the ‘Comet’ lights, rather than any claim made by the man himself.
    It would be very interesting to know of your complete plans for the lighting of the Square and the thinking behind what you had intended.
  • SNP Deputy Leader candidates set out their stalls
    It may be that this is an issue Mr Brown has not fully thought through.
    He does seem the most capable candidate and the most progressive one.

powered by SEO Super Comments

48 Responses to For Jamie McIntyre: You’re very welcome to contribute …

  1. Right on,Barmore 2, LA’s mainly disfunctional and so let the horse run and see how this plays out – please,do not wish for it to stumble at the first fense.

    Let the debate begin.

    Can we find a way to better accountability and responsibility?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The key to ‘a way to better accountability and responsibility’ is surely the quality of local authority councillors, and management, and the revelations over the schools debacle in both Argyll & Bute and Angus show just how much scope there is for improvement.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. I’d like to hear a bit more about how this would be constructed and how it would work before dismissing it out of hand.

    The BBC article also says: “A report has also been published, highlighting the experiences of countries which already have rural parliaments, including the benefits and potential pitfalls, success stories and the various formats used.”

    So it’s not ‘blue sky thinking’ as such – if the idea is already in use elsewhere?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • A sensible response. Those condemning the proposal seem to be doing so in a knee-jerk manner and in ignorance of what is involved. My default position is that anything which might serve to improve participative democracy should be assumed to be a good thing unless and until the opposite is proven.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. We agree with Barmore2 and Iain S MacLean that LAs as we know them are showing their age and inability.

    But this hot-bath notion is not to be a layer of government so it cannot replace LAs – which are metropolitan and urban as well as rural. And a parliament is not a management structure but a debating chamber.

    This expensive folie de grandeur is not one to be ‘wished down’. It is one to be put down.

    We do not need more empty talk. We need to start making things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. This expensive folie de grandeur is not one to be ‘wished down’. It is one to be put down.

    I think the rest of us might like to see some details first before condemning it out of hand.

    Sweden, the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia all have rural parliaments which are being looked to as possible models. Perhaps we should ask the Swedes if theirs is an utter waste of time.

    Here’s a quote from a PREPARE(Partnership for Rural Europe) document:

    Swedish Rural Parliament 2010

    A thousand people from Sweden and about 100 participants from 22 other EU state members visited Swedish Rural Parliament 2010, which was held from 6th to 9th May 2010 in Sunne, a village in Värmland region. The event is being organized every two years, each time in different part of the state. The main organizer of the Parliament is national organisation All Sweden Shall Live!, which organizes the event from 1989. Other co-organizers of this year’s gathering were Swedish Rural Development Network, Community of Sunne and other partners.

    The Rural Parliament is an effective instrument for rural development in Sweden. Following this model, similar events are being organized also in Estonia, Hungary and Netherlands. The event gathers participants of different ages and professions that live on rural areas or are engaged with rural development directly or indirectly. They come from public, private and economic sector (representatives of community, NGOs, youngsters, farmers, politicians, scientists, businessmen etc.). During the gathering the participants are able to associate with each other, exchange ideas and experiences and search solutions for rural sustainable development.

    The motto of this year’s Parliament was: when younger and older generations meet, there is development, because it is based on experiences of the elders and on the strength and enthusiasm of the young ones. Furthermore, it is also important that each individual takes the responsibility for his own actions, because everyone can contribute to rural development with responsible thinking and acting.

    During the Parliament 70 lectures and seminars were organised and about 30 examples of good practise were presented. Main topics of international seminars were: the future of European rural area, rural parliament as an instrument of rural development, young and democracy, women in business, sustainable development etc. The aim of the organisers was that each participant brings home new inspirations for creative actions, to spread the network of international acquaintance for potential future co-operations.

    Doesn’t sound too bad to me, and as it only meets every two years it doen’t sound very expensive either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Newsroom :- ”we need to start making things”

    Spot on, but equal billing must be given to:-

    MAKING THINGS HAPPEN – PATICULARLY PROMPTLY,PROPERLY AND PRUDENTLY.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. LAs are not best known for being rural friendly as they’re most often run by central beltists who see the “solution” as a perpetual shrinking process. Their officials are busy projecting this to government as the only wisdom that could be applied to rurality.

    I welcome any idea that would make the feelings/problems/ideas of the rural population known to the Scottish Government. The devil will be in the detail no doubt, but I wouldn’t discount this before I’d seen more of the proposal. If it’s daft, I’ll be the first to say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Even if the body does not have any executive authority, the mere fact of having a structured way to bring together people with common interests, priorities and challenges seems like a good idea.

    Being able to discuss, debate and collate ideas and present them to government with a single voice is always more effective than when government hears those voices individually and they disappear in the background noise.

    As Anne says, the devil will be in the detail, but personally I’m interested in the idea & not for ‘putting it down’ just yet!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Think about it.

      We’ve got a parliament. It’s not good enough. How will a Division B team help? We have to assume the A team has the best available.

      A second outfit can only take some of an already slim talent pool out of Holyrood – the one supposed to represent the entire country, listen to it and govern it. It has to be more productive to ensure that the one we’ve got raises its game to deliver this.

      A country the size of Scotland cannot have two parliaments – and pay for two parliaments (one to govern and one just to talk???) – without being a broke ruritania with no time to produce and no production revenues to pay for the talking shops.

      And when did you last hear any Scottish serving parliamentarian say anything in or outwith a Holyrood debate that was seriously worth paying to listen to or to remember?

      The argument for devo max or independence is largely based on the sense that ‘they’ don’t understand us. But if we don’t or won’t understand each other within a small country, why change anything?

      On the brink of considering independence, if we cannot imagine rural and urban folk coming to know and respect each other without ghettoised talking shops – which would quickly be seen as the smart crowd and the teuchters – why do we pretend that the sales ploy of an integrated country with a common purpose is anything other than a decoy bride?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • I don’t think you have the faintest idea what is meant by the term ‘rural parliament’. Look at the Swedish example – it seems to be well thought of.

        Maybe you think rural Swedes are idiots?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • I have a considerable problem with term ‘teuchter’ as it is at least derogitary, certainly not PC and flies in the face of race relations.

        Please edit.

        Proud to be of Highland parentage and upbringing.

        Proud to have earned a living for over forty years to date in rural Highlands after city further
        education and subsequent employment.

        Proud to have developed ‘smart’ in order to overcome considerable obsticles put in the way of rural life.

        Impovement for future generation will only come via new collective representative bodies as those in the past have mostly failed.

        The name is unimportant.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. There is loads of information on line on what happens in other countries. Unfortunately, the Swedish model, and some others are no more that large conferences and talking shops. Scots Renewables confirms above that in Sweden, they only meet every two years. We can well do without spending millions on what is no more than a large Community Council conference every two years.

    We certainly do need reform for LAs. Instead of the 32 we have at the moment, they should be combined and reduced to 15 or 16 maximum. While we are looking at reducing to one Police Authority and one Fire and Rescue Authority, we should also loook a reducing the number of Health Boards etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Someone’s been playing with the ‘blue sky thinking’ toys again.

    Why call it a Parliament, Sweden’s isn’t, it’s a bi-annual four day conference for sharing best practice in the Rural setting. Great idea, but it’s not a Parliament so don’t call it one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Does it matter what it’s called? We also have a Youth Parliament – after all, the word itself just means ‘talking shop’ but without the pejorative overtones!

    I would encourage anyone who is interested in the Rural Parliament idea, even if they have already closed their mind to it ;-) to read the SAC report:-

    http://www.sac.ac.uk/mainrep/pdfs/ruralparliamentseuro2012.pdf

    This is not ‘Blue Sky Thinking’, it is a study of the direct experience of people involved in six of these Rural Parliaments in other EU countries.

    As Cllr Freeman says, they are essentially conferences which are held every two years to draw together the various groups and individuals with an interest in rural affairs and development. They provide an opportunity for networking & debate and for sharing ideas and developing collective enthusiasm, as well as making closer connections between government and rural communities and helping to ensure that the rural perspective is properly taken into account when drawing up legislation.

    The clear consensus from the ‘six’ is that this generally works well and is worthwhile and not expensive. There is plenty of existing experience (and offers of help) here to make it entirely possible that a similar scheme could work in Scotland, and because it only takes place biennially, there is no need for it to prevent anyone from ‘making things’. The term ‘talking shop’ suggests that any forum which has no executive authority is automatically a waste of time – clearly a nonsense view. The talent-pool argument also seems weak; we have seen plenty evidence over the last year or so, with the schools & other issues, that rural Scotland has many talented people who don’t have the time or inclination to commit to full-time ‘conventional’ politics at either Council or Holyrood level, and I’m sure a good number of them would be interested in a part-time operation with a narrower remit of more direct relevance to them & their communities.

    As for reducing the number of local authorities… I’m not so sure. We have seen examples of bad governance in Argyll & elsewhere, but are we really saying that this is because Argyll is too small an area to take decisions on its own affairs? That seems to me to be missing the point. If it’s efficiency savings you’re after, by all means share operational and departmental resources with neighbouring authorities – that’s a different issue. However, in all the (many) grumbles I’ve heard about A & B Council over the years, I’ve yet to hear anyone say “ahh… I chust wish we were still part of Strathclyde Region”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. The term ‘talking shop’ suggests that any forum which has no executive authority is automatically a waste of time

    Quite. If one took such a blinkered view one would have to conclude that ForArgyll was a waste of time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Whilst I am a wee bit rabid in favour of self determination for our country, I will admit to being increasingly concerned about the Edinburgh-centric views.
    Perhaps, if our seat of government were moved to Stirling in the future a fairer view would be taken about national affairs. Though ideally, Aberfoyle would be about perfect to focus the political minds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Wouldn’t any parliament no matter where it is situated become “centric”?

      Basically, there has to be a central point of governance to oversee laws.

      As long as that parliament remains in Scotland it’s closer to the Scots!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The only real answer is to base the parliament at Kilcreggan, because the only way the local transport mess will be resolved is if there’s an element of self-interest amongst our politicians.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. LOL @ this article and the comments over the past couple of days and it seems to be getting even funnier.

    Will admit to thinking did newsroom have a bevvy on Saturday night and wind the clocks forward a wee bit too much – like to the 1st of April? Then saw the Beeb had it on their website too.

    So this is essentially a proposal for a wee get together every couple of years and talk about rural stuff. Why don’t they all just attend that conference in Mull with the Ulva folk? Straight from the horses mouth, so to speak, they’ll get with everything they need to know.

    Edinburgh-centric? Superb terminology which I will also be applying to all things Kilmory on a local level.

    There are many countries who have a capital as one city and bigger cities that are not. Edinburgh creates a good impression for Scotland on the world’s stage. Do we really want world leaders and ambassador’s coming to the Gorbals to visit us? “Yes, Mr Ambassador, that’s a jakey. Remember and hide yer passport in yer shoes and if you bend over I’ll hide yer wallet. Where do you wish me to stash the Ferrero Rocher?”. Get a grip people.

    Aberfoyle? Why not Callander? Then we can tell visiting officials “Well we were going for Aberfoyle, but then decided on Callander as they have a better chip shop. Have you tried our new national dish yet? No? Oh here’s a battered and deep-fried Mars Bar”.

    Why not have it at Crianlarich, Auchtermuchty or Milngavie? Just so we can laugh at them trying to pronounce it.

    Well, there I’ve made a hefty comment about absolutely nothing…

    kind of like this story. Sorry newsroom! :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • My preference for Aberfoyle came from always spelling Callendar wrongly.

      All kidding aside, would not Stirling make a perfect place for our parliament. Motorway and rail links with open land under the castle where there’s plenty of room for a lineup of troughs!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • How about holding it near where the Battle of Stirling Bridge was? or Bannockburn? Then we can make the kilt statutory dress and shout “Freeeeeeedom” at the start of each session…

        or am I being overly sentimental? lol

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Not sure if I am entitled to post here as I am a resident of ‘old Argyll’ (Ardnamurchan), so don’t know whether ForArgyll includes me….

    Anyway, I am going to read the SAC report before making up my mind – but it seems to me that if we can learn lessons from elsewhere in Europe (or indeed the world) we should.

    As for a ‘talking shop’ – I myself attended the Community Land Scotland conference on Mull earlier this month, and if a future rural parliament could capture even a fraction of the determination, commitment and vision in evidence at that event, than it will be a roaring success.

    If you haven’t seen ForArgyll’s own take on that event, see http://forargyll.com/2012/03/a-cresting-wave-community-land-scotland-annual-conference/

    This includes an interesting discussion on the ‘costs’ of community empowerment as delivered through the community land movement – seems to me that we should stop obsessing about cost per se, and think rather of value for money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • For Jamie McIntyre: You’re very welcome to contribute to For Argyll – and we wish Ardnamurchan was still with us on paper as well as in spirit.

      Everyone interested in doing so is ‘entitled’ to contribute here as they wish – and is welcome. Neither we nor our readers are parochial and everyone is interested in informed discussion and variety of positions.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Hi Jamie
    If the propsoed Constituency boundaries for Westminster go ahead, Fort William and Ardnamurchan Pen. will be part of the Argyll Constituency.
    Old and new coming together!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Born as I was in “old” Argyll, south of the River Leven in Kinlochleven I recall feeling somewhat displaced when the county boundaries were revised around 1974 to exclude my home patch and Ardnamurchan and Morvern from Argyll. It is somewhat salutory to realise that I was active politically prior to that and I now look forward to renewing aquaintance to some of the older stalwarts from North Lorn and Morvern in due course.Like us in Oban they have doubtless expanded in numbers and in girth.

    While Westminster MPs in Scotland have less -and let us hope, even less – to do the proposed constituency sizes take little account of physical geography but are locked into the M25 numbers game and mindset.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. My first recollection of Brian Wilson was of a scruffy but very earnest radical anti- nuclear weapons campaigner at the Ardnadam Pier on the Holy Loch when Polaris was in the offing.
    Later as the founder and editor of the West Highland Free Press he brought a very welcome wind of change to journalism in the Highlands by challenging, often successfully, the status quo but his visceral dislike of the SNP damaged much of that work and influence. It is interesting to note that now every constituency where the WHFP is widely read is represented by an MSP msp.
    My, but how Brian changed when the bright lights of Westminster and Ministerial office beckoned!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. I am always disappointed, but never surprised, when people commenting here fail to engage with the *topic*, in this case Brian’s compelling analysis that highlights the flaws in the rural parliament proposal. Instead they rail against him, effectively taking pot-shots at the *messenger*.

    That tells me you know he is the one on target. You have no answers to his charges: 1, that centralisation is at epidemic levels; 2, that the cuts being chosen by the SNP government are damaging for rural communities; and 3, that this rural parliament idea is deluded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.