Can #IndyRef’s new Civic practices help renew Scotland’s representative democracy?

Scotland Yet: a film about independence (FULL MOVIE) from Scotland Yet on Vimeo.

So this is about two weeks old. It’s an hour and a half long argument for Yes, crowd funded amongst people who are campaigning for yes in Scotland. This is what’s possible when the campaign is long enough for ordinary people to brigade their own resources.

In part it’s a documentary, with stories explaining where a disparate group of individuals are coming from on the matter. A lot of them are leftists rather than nationalists with some telling a story of disillusion with how the UK state handles and disperses power.

Some are folk who would once have seen their central political interests converge along with others on the island in London, and through the Labour Party.

What is also striking is the acceptance that whatever politics Independence brings is fine, even if it entails a swing to the right. It’s the disbursement of power and its application that repeatedly comes up as the issue.

There’s fascinating little vignette on Scotrenewables in Orkney about (1 hour), which builds wave engery generators some of which are switched off something like 50% of the time.

Calum Miller’s explanation is almost allegorical argument for the redistribution of power in an age of networks…

The grid is designed so that power is produced at the centre and sent out on branches to the periphery which works great if you have your coal-fire gas at the centre.

But what we want to do now is tap these resources at the peripheries and pump it back into the middle so that small cables that went out the islands now need to be a lot bigger to take a large amount of power back into the centre.

You get a strong sense that important things are being talked about. The meeting face to face the convening of neighbourhoods, and the degree of artistic engagement throws up some interesting and provocative thoughts.

Yes, it is long. Too long for me. And it’s more than a little hippy. But if it begs a serious question it is: how do you match all the energy, vision and imagination of this distributed campaign to practical positive action in government?

And just as importantly can such new Civic practices serve the needs of those who deliberately choose not to opt in?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty