23 Jan 2014

Democracy: the year ahead

There will be elections aplenty in 2014 at home and abroad: the last locals ahead of the 2015 General Election, to be held on the same day as polls for the European Parliament; Scotland’s referendum on 18 th September; major contests in Brazil and US mid-terms in November kicking off the 2016 presidential election. Underlying these are three democracy moments to watch, with implications beyond […]
13 Sep 2013

An antidote to "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo"

We are grateful to Shelagh McKinlay for sharing this post which originally appeared at The Electoral Reform Society Scotland (ERS Scotland) has just published a report, “Democracy Max: an Inquiry into the Future of Scottish Democracy”. The report follows a year long process of discussion and deliberation which set out to explore a vision for a good […]
28 Aug 2013

Keep politics civil

Often when discussing the necessary culture and institutions required for democracy to flourish, the need for ‘civil society’ is extolled – that is, the networks of non-state organisations which are formed by people coming together to deliver services or to campaign for change. These civil society organisations are seen by many as vital to an open and plural politics. In Scotland at least , the […]
28 Aug 2013

A democratic vision

As Edinburgh’s celebration of artistic endeavour and creativity drew to a close ERS Scotland shared the results of 13 months of political endeavour and creativity with the launch of the Democracy Max vision for a good Scottish democracy . I hesitate to call it ‘our’ vision, because this document isn’t ours to own. It belongs to the hundreds of individuals who gave up their time to share, discuss […]
26 Jul 2013

A civil referendum

The chances of Scotland having a high-quality and inclusive debate about independence just got significantly higher. The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has given charities and voluntary organisations the green light to campaign during next year’s referendum, whether on the ‘yes’ side or the ‘no’ side . The only proviso is that their campaigning conforms with their charitable aims […]
14 Jun 2013

More pantomime than serious debate

Balanced and informative media is vital for a good democracy. The BBC's decision to invite controversial politicians to participate in a Question Time panel in Edinburgh and overlook two of Scotland's elected parties was greeted with astonishment across social media yesterday. ERS Scotland was particularly concerned that this decision failed the invited audience of 16 and 17 year olds. How the […]
22 May 2013

1.25: A small price to pay for a proper debate.

Today we've welcomed news that BBC Scotland is to set aside an extra £5 million for dedicated coverage of the 2014 Independence Referendum. We are now looking at a team of 50 tasked with providing coverage and encouraging debate at national and local level - and online. Over 4 million registered voters will make a decision on the future of their country in 2014 – and £1.25 per head seems a small […]
18 Mar 2013

What Scots really think about devolution?

Scots currently aren’t keen on independence, but most of us would like all major powers - including welfare and tax - exercised in Edinburgh not Westminster. Today we launch a joint report with Scotcen to show what voters really think about their democratic future. Since 2007 support for giving Holyrood primary responsibility for welfare benefits has consistently been somewhere between 60% and 64 […]
12 Mar 2013

Scottish Public want bigger voice in politics

Last week politicians in Scotland were queuing up to call for more power to be exercised at local level. But it seems our politicians are coming late to the party on localism. Today we launch the findings from the first set of roundtables from our Democracy Max programme. We’ve captured the views of ordinary members of the public selected from across Scotland, and fed the results into roundtable […]
28 Feb 2013

An Ordinary Election

Andrew Burns , Labour Leader of Edinburgh City Council On Thursday the 3rd May 2012, I was elected for the fourth time to represent a Ward within the City of Edinburgh Council area. It was a real privilege to be given local residents' trust once again, and I'll do all I can to repay that over my term. That election was the second time that Edinburgh - and the rest of Scotland - used the […]