Friday, 25 May 2012

Why not strive for more genuine public involvement to increase voter confidence

From THC web site:

A meeting of the Highland Council will be held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10.30am.

Webcast Notice: This meeting will be filmed and broadcast over the Internet on the Highland Council website and will be archived and available for viewing for 12 months thereafter.

13. Notice of Motion

      Brath Gluasaid

The following Notice of Motion has been received in accordance with Standing Order 10.1 –

“The Independent Group is very disappointed at the low turnout in the recent election and we believe people are confused by the STV system.

We propose that this Council forms a short life cross party Working Group to formulate proposals to Scottish Government on ways of increasing voter turnout and engaging with the electorate”.


Mrs M Davidson, Mrs I Campbell  

So, if this working group is ever set up will it cast its net wide to seek the public view and work to engender public confidence and trust or will it be just another - however well meaning - talking shop?

Highland Council - New committee structure and office bearers to be decided on

PR just up on Highland Council web pages here;

UPDATE: Meeting Agenda here

The Highland Council will be asked at its next meeting on Thursday 31 May to agree a new committee structure and elect office-bearers. A motion from the Administration of SNP, Liberal Democrat and Labour Group members – to be moved by the Leader, Drew Hendry and Depute Leader David Alston - proposes the creation of four strategic committees, namely: Finance, Housing and Resources; Planning Environment and Development; Transport Environmental and Community Services and Adult and Children’s Services. All of these committees will comprise 22 members and will meet 6 times each year.

There will also be a Pensions Committee, comprising 11 members; an Audit and Scrutiny Committee, (22 members; a Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee (15 members); and a Gaelic Implementation Group, (11 members)  and 3 members of Bord na Gaidhlig (or their nominees).  All will meet quarterly.

It is proposed there be an Inverness City Committee, comprising 26 members, meeting 6 times each year and a Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee, comprising 16 members, meeting quarterly, which will pilot specific responsibilities from the outset with a view to paving the way for the following area committees: - Ross and Cromarty (19 members); Nairn and Badenoch (8 members); and Lochaber and Skye (11 members). All would meet quarterly.

The Administration are proposing that the Leaders of the City/Area Committees should be appointed at the first meetings.

Regulatory committees, overseeing planning and licensing issues, will see the continuation of a Planning Review Body of 9 members, meeting six-weekly; as well as a North Planning Application Committee of 17 members and a South Committee of 19 members, both meeting monthly.

A Highland Licensing Committee of 12 members and a Highland Licensing Board of 10 members would meet six times each year.
The Administration will move the following appointments of office-bearers: _ Vice Convener (2) – Maxine Smith (Cromarty Firth); Mr Hamish Wood (Aird and Loch Ness).  

Chair of Finance, Housing and Resources Committee – David Fallows (Badenoch and Strathspey); Vice Chair  – David Alston (Black Isle).

Chair of Planning, Environment and Development Committee and the Planning Review Body – Thomas Prag (Inverness South); Vice Chair – George Farlow (North West and Central Sutherland).

Chair of Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee –
Graham Phillips (East Sutherland and Edderton). Vice Chair  – Bet McAllister (Inverness Central). 

Chair of Adult & Children’s Services Committee – Alasdair Christie (Inverness Ness-side); Vice Chair  - Liz MacDonald (Nairn).

Chair of Pensions Committee – David Fallows (Badenoch and Strathspey)

Chair of Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee –
Drew Millar (Eilean a Cheo)

Chair of Gaelic Implementation Group – to follow  

Champions’ Co-ordinator and Children’s Champion – Linda Munro (North West and Central Sutherland)

Nominations will be sought at the meeting for the following Senior Member posts: Leader of the Opposition; Chair and Vice-Chair of Audit & Scrutiny Committee.

Other nominations can be made at the meeting.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Thought provoking discussions - money and morality

As I was driving out this morning I stumbled upon a fascinating discussion on Radio 4's 'Start the Week'.  The programme was even more interesting than their web page blurb (see below) conveys . 

...On Start the Week Andrew Marr discusses the relationship between markets and morals with the political philosopher Michael Sandel. In his latest book, What Money Can't Buy, Sandel questions the dominance of the financial markets in our daily lives, in which everything has a price. But the economist Diane Coyle stands up for her much maligned profession, and points to the many benefits of a market economy. The Russian economist Grigory Yavlinksy argues against viewing the world of money as separate from culture and society: he believes the financial crisis was merely a symptom of a wider moral collapse, and that it is time to examine the way we live.

Web link here for more details about the programme's contributors and their publications.  

Sadly it does not look as if the 'listen again' facility is available for this programme, so no listening and digesting the views at our leisure.   

It is however repeated: 

Mon 21 May 2012 21:30 BBC Radio 4

More food for thought on Woman's hour at Link here (The chat fills the 30 - 40 minute time slot in the programme); Icelandic Politician Birgitta Jonsdottir talks of politics, power and freedom of information amongst other things.