Scottish Labour delegates packed into a fringe event on democratic reform on the weekend, co-sponsored by Unison Labour Link, the Red Paper Collective and Politics for the Many.

The meeting titled: ‘Remaking the state: Transforming Scotland for worker and citizen power’ covered a range of pressing issues in relation to building a democracy fit for the 21st Century.

Opening the event, Neil Findlay MSP from Red Paper Collective, stressed the importance of democratic reform in delivering socially just outcomes.

Angela Feeney, Vice Chair Unison Labour Link said: “People without wealth feel powerless. How do we hold councillors and MSPs running our services to account?”

This key question fed into the discussion – raising issues around transparency, proximity to power and about how reform of local government could empower communities and marginalised voices.

Labour Peer, Pauline Bryan, speaking on House of Lords reform ‪and the need for an overhaul of the UK state said:

“If we genuinely believe in the idea of subsidiarity, then it is local government that has a more immediate impact on people’s lives. “We have to find a way to bring local authorities together where the needs of different communities can be dealt with co-operatively, not in competition with each other.‪”A poll conducted by ERS showed huge support for reform of the House of Lords. There is a serious discussion about making the second chamber an elected senate representative of the UK’s regions and nations.”

Next, the meeting heard from Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research for the Electoral Reform Society, who outlined some of the challenges campaigners face, as well as highlighting polling evidence in relation to attitudes to the House of Lords.

She said: “You only need to look at the House Of Lords to see how difficult constitutional change is. Because it lacks democratic legitimacy, it also negatively impacts Westminster as a whole.”Democratic reform is not only necessary in and of itself, but because it is needed for wider social reforms.”

Politics for the Many is a coalition of Labour supporters campaigning for democratic reform, set up to take these vital issues forward in the Labour and trade union movement.

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