On episode thirty-two of the For A' That podcast this weekend, Michael and I were joined by Juliet Swann. An undecided voter on the question of Scottish independence, environmentalist-feminist Juliet works for the Scottish wing of the Electoral Reform Society.
She told us about the Society's Democracy Max project, reporting soon, which aims to foster broader participation in reimagining Scottish democracy, whether or not we vote Yes in 2014. The enterprise involved a People's Gathering, a sort of shadow citizen's assembly, where 129 ordinary folk came together to discuss ideas for a better nation. Juliet spoke about what she learned, and their ideas.
Should Scotland have a second legislative chamber - a citizen's chamber - with rotating membership amongst the populace? Would such a wheeze work? And what might "working" mean in this context? Is there anything to be gained by abolishing political parties and enforcing independence of political allegiance, as some people at the Gathering argued? I have my doubts.
Also surfacing in the conversation, a defence of beards, the two minds of wee Willie Rennie, and William McIlvanney and the missing ambivalence in the Scottish press.
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