by Stewart Lochhead, Edinburgh
A crisis in South Lanarkshire Council reminds me of the democratic deficit in Scotland today.
We face a dangerous democratic deficit across Scotland and are apparently without an alternative. I propose we take action ourselves.
We elect politicians to call the officials to account on our behalf. However jobsworths with pension rights til death are now unaccountable due to the low esteem of our politicians; whilst the mainstream media, having abandoned its duties to protect us from the powerful, now echoes Russia by reporting a very partial picture of Scottish affairs.
Our legal establishment is a laughing stock since Camp Zeist so don’t expect a sudden rush of senior lawyers to protect us.
We rightly call for crooked politicians to be prosecuted. Very few are and we assume a conspiracy to be behind that failure. When a senior apparachnik is forced out of office (a very rare event) the size of the pension pot leaves us speechless.
As a boomer I retain a Maoist tendency to assume that power corrupts and therefore that all officials become corrupt unless proven otherwise. Where is the system to protect our liberties in the event of the failure of our politicians?
President Jimmy Carter’s ‘Georgian Mafia’ (the appointment of five thousand Federal officials from beyond Washington) was an attempt to clean-up US bureacracy but so enraged the Washington establishment that they ensured, with the assistance of the Iranians, that the best US President of modern times didn’t get re-elected.
Even Thatcher, the darling of the right, had Maoist tendecies which attracted a liberal following.
The current Scottish system of local government has little repute beyond the establishment which it functions to support. We need to reconsider a safeguard; import a new-world system of propositions and referenda using social media to call our officials to account.
When Edwyn Collins penned ‘Rip it up and start again’ I really thought it was a revolutionary call.
It’s still a great idea.