PROVOST Les Millar has suggested that the time may be right for a return to more grass roots government.
His comments at the Merchant Company Bussin came just a week after the convener of Scottish Borders Council, Graham Garvie, made a personal call for the restoration of the Border Burghs Convention which disappeared along with town and county councils at the 1975 reform of local government.
He talked of how the Craft Guilds and the Merchant Company had once shared authority in the town, regulating prices and competition, for the benefit of the town and their members.
He said: “They were responsible for almost all matters and affairs of the Royal Burgh, and they knew that if changes or improvement were to happen, it was down to them to ensure they did.”
He went on: “This attitude has, to a great extent, been lost in the mists of time as decision-making in most matters has long been devolved to regional, national and even European and international levels, leaving a general feeling among ordinary folk that there is little or nothing they can do to make changes that effect their lives.
“Perhaps, especially in the current economic climate, the methods used to administer the affairs of a town by these ancient guilds should be looked at.
“Maybe some of that independence and responsibility should be returned to local hands, which I am sure would create a stronger feeling amongst the community that they do have a say, and that they can take steps to improve things.