Dear Orkney News,
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