Parliamentary Unit: an introduction


We are very pleased to announce that the Common Weal parliamentary unit is now up and running.

We know from our previously published foundation report “Government By The People” that although Holyrood is vastly more accessible than Westminster, it is far from perfect.

The ability to pro actively engage with policy makers is essential if we want to successfully push a progressive policy agenda. This is how ideas are turned into reality on the ground. We aim to take policy ideas from the conceptual stage all the way through to being enacted and making a positive change.

We aim to scrutinise current prospective legislation, if we think it needs improved we will suggest changes. We will also be involved in actively pursuing a common weal defined policy agenda for effecting changes beneficial to the majority of the people of Scotland, not just the few.

Over the next few months we will determine our strategy and focus. Carefully choosing areas where we feel we will be able to make the biggest gains.

Initially our focus will be on the following issues: Land Reform, Participative Governance and Local democracy.

Why those areas?

Land Reform – Scotland suffers from the most concentrated land ownership in Europe. This state of affairs contributes to disempowered, silenced communities with low expectations, stultifying and unnatural monoculture, de-population, lack of opportunity to create change, investment, or infrastructure and consequently jobs. Modern day Scotland is restricted to urban, farm, forest or sporting estates – it could and should be so much more.

Participative Governance – We analysed the profile of those having influence over the Scottish Parliament – those invited to give evidence to committees, or inquiries or those appointed to public bodies and found that although over 70% of the Scottish population lives on an income lower that the average salary of PS24,000, of the influencers group, only 3% have an income lower than the national average. This is old style politics and it needs to change. Scottish politics needs to be open to a more representative range of views, opinions and experiences to inform policy and practice.

Local Democracy – In order to sustain and build upon the political awakening that Scotland has just undergone, local democracy must be improved. There is no reason why Scotland shouldn’t enjoy the type of local democracy that most of our European neighbours have.

Over time our advocacy programme will expand to cover other issues.

We also want to hear from you. What issues do you want to see us pursue? Where do you think we should be applying pressure?