- Created on 25 July 2012
Around 100 people representing a wide range of rural sectors and interests, including VAO’s Chief Executive, got together in Edinburgh on 29th May for a seminar about the possibility of a Rural Parliament for Scotland. The event was a chance to hear from those involved in existing Rural Parliaments in other European countries, and to discuss what a Rural Parliament in Scotland would look like, and what it could achieve.
There was lots of lively discussion and detailed presentations - an in-depth report and presentations from the event will be available soon. A Rural Parliament is not a formal part of government, nor is it a parliament in the sense of a legislative or decision-making body. It is a bottom-up process of involvement and debate between the people of rural Scotland and policy makers to enable better understanding, improved policy and action to address rural issues. You can find more detail in a briefing from the Rural Parliament for Scotland steering group.
Workshops focussed on two main questions:
§ What would a successful Rural Parliament achieve for Scotland?
§ How would a successful Rural Parliament be organised?
Discussion in all groups was lively, and opinion was diverse, with not everyone agreeing that a Rural Parliament is the right way forward. Most groups talked about the opportunity to increase the influence of the voices of people living and working in rural Scotland.
The importance of independence from government, involving young people, and attracting a wide range of people to take part were also raised. The issue of resourcing was highlighted, with some warning it was possible that a Rural Parliament could become a network of people with the time and resource to take part. Some participants were keen that poverty and inequality should be addressed by a Rural Parliament, and that commercial interests should be represented.
What was clear from discussion was that the seminar is that it is just the start of a conversation about the possibility of a Rural Parliament in Scotland, what form it could take, who should be involved and what its aims should be. A document with feedback from the workshops will be available shortly.
VAO has asked to be kept informed so we’ll keep you up to date with progress.