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Civil society in Scotland

Lindsay, Isobel (2006) Civil society in Scotland. In: Civil Society in Wales. University of Wales Press, Wales. ISBN 10-0-7083-1850-9

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Abstract

The outcome of the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections brings to mind the civil society equivalent of the patients taking over the asylum! 'Taking over' is an exaggeration but there has certainly been a minor invasion of groups who have been more commonly associated with campaigning than legislating. The Greens won seven seats, the far-left Scottish Socialist Party won six, the recently-formed Scottish Senior Citizens' Party gained one as did a campaigner against a local hospital closure. Two independents rejected by their parties also won. The interface between the Executive and the institutions of civil society has settled into a conventional pattern of formal consultation exercises and lobbying. But the Parliament has had a more innovative relationship with developments like the Petitions Committee and the growing number of Cross-Party Groups with non-parliamentary participants. The success of minority parties with strong links to campaigning organisations has also created more fluid boundaries.