Election 2019: voice of the voluntary sector must be heard

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Anna Fowlie says it will be difficult, but the voice of the voluntary sector must be heard amidst the election clamour

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21st November 2019 by TFN Guest 3 Comments

I’ve always been someone who loves an election and been frustrated by low turn-out and people who say “politics doesn’t really affect me” – it affects us all.

We pay tax, we should have our say in how it’s spent; we should all have a say in what our country feels like to live in.

Since devolution, the things that matter day to day have increasingly resided at Holyrood. With the exception of the welfare system, the matters dealt with at Westminster have felt increasingly remote.

However, with welfare reform and Brexit, the importance of the overall economy and international relations has come back into sharp relief. The feelings of division and lack of community cohesion are at a level I haven’t seen since the 80s, and indeed are probably even worse because the whole way we do democracy feels broken.

Anna Fowlie

Anna Fowlie

We have a campaigning role on every issue you can think of from the environment to human rights, poverty to pensions

 At a time when people, especially the young, feel more disenfranchised than ever it is crucial that as many people as possible vote. 

The voluntary sector engages with a lot of those disenfranchised people and it’s our duty to encourage them to vote, regardless of who they want to vote for.

Voluntary organisations and the sector as a whole are inherently political, while not party political. We have a campaigning role on every issue you can think of from the environment to human rights, poverty to pensions.

The snap nature of this general election makes it virtually impossible to influence manifestos but, while Brexit is the single most significant event to hit the UK since the second world war, it’s important that this doesn’t become a binary issue poll.

This is a chance to make sure people’s rights are respected and protected, the climate emergency is front and centre and that we strive for an inclusive, wellbeing-focused economy that isn’t all about profit for big business or a few individuals.

I hope that our UK politicians will listen to the voices from the voluntary sector and most of all that as many people as possible will turn out to vote.

Anna Fowlie is chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

23rd November 2019 by Scott Wilson-MacRae

Absolutely correct, but unfortunately no voluntary sector CEO will speak out about the years of Scottish Government and local authority cutbacks, civil service incompetence or constantly delayed policy initiatives. Why? Because THIS Scottish Government expect unerring loyalty and silence or your funding is cut and the UK government are blamed.

25th November 2019 by ROBERT MCINTOSH

Dear Scott, perhaps you may wish to have a proper look at how and why the Scottish Government funds the 3rd sector. They have to watch on as Scotland's wealth is consumed by the UK Treasury, a fraction of which is then handed back to the Scottish Government to spend in Scotland. If the UK Government decides to cut the pocket money to Scotland what do you think the Scottish Government can do? The Scottish Government is not allowed to borrow and run a deficit (apart from a now allowed tiny amount) and so they have to make cuts somewhere to keep within their UK Government set overall budget. Whilst it would be great if they had a 'magic money tree' (similar to the one the UK Gov. uses to bribe the DUP and tax dodger billionaires) that is not the present legal reality; only if the Scottish Gov. has full tax raising, spending and social powers can any real difference be made to ensure Scotland's desire to be a welcoming and socially just nation transpires. Please make sure you cast your vote in this election but also do your own research and do not meekly accept mass media soundbites.

27th November 2019 by Lok Yue

Of course, why didnt I think of that? Its ALL ENGLAND's FAULT. Everything. Failure of education, the NHS, purchasing a shipyard sight unseen but that's OK because the Govt will be carrying out due diligence once its been paid for. My only question is why didnt the FM make it all perfectly clear to Andrew Neill two nights ago?