“21st Century Rural Development – learning from Scotland”

‘What does successful, community-led rural development look like in the globalised, networked world of the 21st Century? This question faces rural communities and governments I meet around the world and I often respond with the suggestion that they look to learn from Scotland.’


The above opening quote from Professor Mark Shucksmith OBE in a report I suspect we all missed on November 17th 2016 caught my attention in the same way as the Carnegie-funded reports praising Scotland’s approaches to public policy reform which I reported on (2.2.17) in:

Only in Scotland! ‘A review of small country’s approaches to public policy reform in response to economic, demographic and other pressures found that only in Scotland could this ‘golden thread’ be so clearly discerned’



 Is this another strand in the ‘golden thread?’

We rarely if ever hear of this kind of news in our mainstream media. Clearly it doesn’t fit with a Unionist agenda plus the documents are often quite long and complex. So once more, I feel it’s my duty to spread the good news as far as my blog will allow. Do share if you can. Once more, if Reporting Scotland gave this due attention, I’ll eat my something.

If you have time, reading the original makes more sense but if not, Professor Shucksmith’s case for Scotland as a model is based on these points.

In the past, control was too far away (in London or with a London-controlled party in Edinburgh?) and decisions were made in a top-down way with little input from locals. Now with an ‘enabling state’ (Devolved Scotland), land reform leading to greater community land ownership and especially the creation of a Scottish Rural Parliament (SRP):

‘Now the SRP functions at one level as a means for the people of rural Scotland to collectively articulate and present their manifesto to government and other authorities, calling for the state to play its part in enabling a better future for all parts of rural Scotland. At the same time, the SRP is a network for sharing and celebrating ideas and experience, which local people can then take back to their own communities to consider and to weave into their own strategies and actions.’

Although at first inspired by developments in Sweden, the Scottish model is now an inspiration elsewhere:

‘Around the world many people in rural areas are interested in these ideas and Scottish experiences of networked rural development, and they draw strength and inspiration from them. But this is more than bottom-up rural development or self-help. A successful approach requires an enabling state, not an absent state leaving each community to sink or swim in a neoliberal world which would inevitably lead to widening inequalities and a two-speed countryside. Scotland is fortunate in having had successive governments which recognise that they must play their part.’

I ask the obvious question. If devolution can lead to this, what could full control do?


4 thoughts on ““21st Century Rural Development – learning from Scotland”

  1. Contrary February 5, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    Thank you for reporting this, and the other golden thread reportages.

    The time it takes to dig through the Internet to find information is prohibitive – I realised once I started raking through parliament tv to find debates and committee meetings, that watching it first hand can give you more/ more realistic information, but takes up too much time – which is the reason for having journalists in the first place, to condense the information – if only they reported the bits I want hear about!

    Watching David Davis getting questioned in a committee on Brexit way back, I was horrified,,, that anyone would ever vote for him, that he was put in charge of anything, that he thought it okay to come across as so arrogant and ignorant in public – but that was not what was reported. Maybe I just have a hugely different attitude towards what ‘competent’ should look like?

    I watched Nicola Sturgeon live in Trinity then in the Irish senate, and was overwhelmed by her reception there, that, in fact, she IS respected by many and scots can be proud to have her representing them. It told me that the vitriol and hatred that we are shown, on a daily basis, towards her, very much belongs only to one very specific group. The rest of the world thinks she’s fab, and I believe that the EU are very enthusiastic about having an independent Scotland in the group.

    I only make the time and effort occasionally, and most people won’t ever, so battling against biased reporting (why such a huge effort to do it??) is so important.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnrobertson834 February 5, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    Cheers Contrary. I appreciate your support. Agree with your comments on David and Sturgeon’s misreported reception. Think I did something on the latter.


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