Nordic Horizons Meeting
The first meeting of Nordic Horizons in 2012 is happening on Feb 7th in the Scottish parliament on the theme of localism and local government. The success of the Nordic nations seems tied to their systems of small and powerful municipal government. Even though many of the smallest municipalities are merging the Swedish average is still 12,500 people per “local” unit while Scotland’s average is 162,500. That’s not “local “ to me! It’s a great time to be discussing all this – Johann Lamont promised a new scrutiny of policy on local government in her first speech at Labour leader. We’re delighted Sarah Boyack can come along since she’s got the Local Government brief. Rob Gibson has launched a campaign to break down the enormous Highland Council. Paddy and Mike have both written papers on the vast discrepancies of size, funding, autonomy and reach between Scottish councils and almost every European neighbour. We’ll be posting them soon at the NH website. I hope some folk from the Development Trust movement will come – maybe the answer for Scotland in the short term is the growth of small, community asset-based projects rather than local government reform?
Join our round-table discussion on whether ‘McKommunes’ might help to create a similarly successful society here and reverse the trend towards merger and centralisation.
Guest speakers are Rob Gibson MSP and meeting sponsor (SNP, Caithness, Sutherland & Ross), Sarah Boyack MSP (Scottish Labour, Lothian; Local Government Spokesperson),
Eberhard ‘Paddy’ Bort, Academic Coordinator of the Institute of Governance at Edinburgh University and Professor Mike Danson, Reader in Economics and Management at the University of the West of Scotland. Chaired by myself. Round table discussion and Danish pastries follow! Kindly sponsored by the Swedish Embassy.
Places are free but for security reasons we need you to register if you’d like to come. You can do that by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or clicking “going” on this facebook page link McKommunes – People-sized local government? .
Half the available 100 seats have already gone – dinnae delay!