Why, oh why, is the Scottish Government Consultation process so awful?
The Scottish Government makes great play of its consultation process, giving the impression that everyone who wants to consider and comment about impending legislation will be able to do so. And even better, they will be listened to and their viewpoints used to formulate final policy.
The consultation process is no more than a "tick-box" exercise designed to give the impression of listening, when in truth, it is nothing more than an attempt to seek out anything that might derail the government's intended policy. In the end, very little change to intended legislation, in order to satisfy those that comment, ever occurs. It is a SHAM.
And another thing - why does the consultation hub consistently refer to responses being published on, I quote, "Citizens Space", when at no time on the consultation website will you find any page entitled "Citizens Space"? And those references to "Citizens Space" are never hyperlinked so that you can click on those two words and go there. I truly believe the deception is deliberate so that you can never easily find what you are looking for.
And even worse, promises to publish all responses (where the author's permission has been granted) are frequently broken. Take for example, the consultation on Council Tax on second and empty homes. The consultation closed on 11 July 2023, and promised to publish those responses, yet they are still not published. And this is despite the fact that newspapers are already reporting that the 100% additional levy will go ahead and that 6 local authorities in Scotland have already said they will implement it. Those authorities being Angus, The Western Isles, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and West Lothian. So there you have it, the policy is supposedly going ahead even though the public responses haven't been published (and presumably considered) as promised. A case of "we're doing it anyway whatever you the public think".
The whole hub is a dog's dinner. Sometimes, you get to see responses, sometimes you don't. The government sums up the outcomes of the consultations in a "We asked, you said, we did" section of the website. It is truly dreadful. Mostly what the government does is tell you everything you don't want to know and nothing that you do, summing up the responses in a managed way that ensures the intended outcome prior to the consultation is achieved. And, by only asking questions in the consultation that will deliver favourable responses and by avoiding asking questions that might not, the government succeeds in making every summary of consultation outcomes exactly those it set out to achieve in the first place.
Usually, the consultations themselves ask the kind of questions that presume their intended policy will go ahead anyway, and are only interested to know what you will do if you don't abide by it. A clear case of trying to close all means of legal escape from their frequently ill-thought-through policies. Open questions, where authors are able to express themselves freely, are rarely present.
Very recently, Lisa Cameron (MP) defected from the SNP to the Conservatives, citing a toxic and bullying work environment. I know what she means. SNP government policy is, in my opinion, formulated in a bullying manner against the public. A manner whereby consultations fail to change any of the intended legislation from the start to the end of the process, and whereby the Scottish Government always gets what it wants, regardless of what the public think.
Don't believe me? Look at the latest nonsense coming of of Humza Yousaf's mouth. Now, regardless of whether the majority of the Scottish public want independence, he intends to pursue it if the SNP win a majority of seats at the the next Scottish Election. That could mean pursuing independence even though far less than 50% want it.
This SNP government and its bullying ways are worse than the Mafia. They have to go. And they can take their deceitful consultation process with them.