Letters: “I think Orkney does matter, but does anyone else?”

Dear Orkney News,

Orkney Matters?

I think Orkney does matter, but does anyone else? And does Orkney matter sufficiently for people to attend an on-line meeting with that title?

Based on my experience at the on-line Orkney Matters meeting on 25th January 2022 (West Mainland), I have to conclude ‘no’. My fellow Orkney Greens attended their respective ward meetings and reported similarly: most attendees were OIC officials, elected members, and would-be elected members (I fall into that final category).

The meeting started with a review of some of the comments received from the associated survey. Feedback such as: ‘What’s the point?’, ‘Nobody ever does anything anyway’, ‘Yet another waste of time’, was common.

Should I conclude from this experience that the majority of Orkney’s community feel overwhemingly disenfranchised from our decision-making processes and have descended into apathy? If so, how absolutely tragic … but also entirely contrary to how galvanised and caring I know the people of Orkney are whenever needed to be (like volunteering and raising money for charities).

So, as someone standing for election in May, largely on a mandate to promote transparency and communication in OIC, I am compelled to ask: how do those who represent us go about re-enfranchising and empowering us, the dsfordOrkney community? It’s obviously not by inviting residents to a series of on-line meetings (particularly perhaps when so many of us have an appalling broadband connection), so what else would work for you?

A genuine and non-rhetorical question to which I invite responses. If elected, I will take heed of the advice and apply it to how I serve. Perhaps other representatives will also choose to do so?

Yours, Helen Woodsford-Dean, Co-convenor Orkney Greens, Scottish Green Party candidate for West Mainland

Helen Woodsford Dean Image credit: Mark Woodsford-Dean

3 replies »

  1. A lot of the problem is that most councillors stand as independent. The argument is they will not be controlled by party policies and are free to do what’s best for Orkney. This is fine in theory but in practice it means the electorate have no idea what they stand for or, they have party affiliations they keep secret.

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