I’ve always though of Scotland as a pretty conservative country. Its institutions and its culture do not seem receptive or open to radical ideas. Individuals of course are a different matter and there are hundreds of them with wonderful ideas trying to make a change. But where are the channels that can turn their ideas into reality?

Others, whom I respect, appear to think likewise. Laurence Demarco of SENSCOT has been arguing along these lines for a long time. My good friend Gerry Hassan also wrote an interesting piece trying to make sense of David Cameron’s Big Society ideas and how they would play in Scotland.

What prompts me to write this is the Festival of Politics organised by the Scottish Parliament which seems increasingly irrelevant to the big issues of the day with a selection of worthy but largely uninspiring speakers. ├é┬áHaving attended Jim Hunter’s talk on Friday, I must emphasise that he is an exception to my generality! Tom Gallagher’s piece in Scottish Review highlights the problem. Perhaps we need a fringe festival of politics?

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