The second CBINS meeting was another sell out, held in the beautiful new Kelty Community Centre on Saturday 28th January. A central focus was Fife Council’s intention to carry out a local pilot in a small central/West Fife village in the next three years. One of the aims of this meeting was to open up discussion early on, to flag up perceived benefits and potential pitfalls. It felt like a real treat to be sitting listening to political philosopher Professor Karl Widerquist as he set the scene so passionately. We are the only species alive he said, who don’t have direct access to the resources to fulfil our basic needs of food, shelter and connection. They are all currently ‘owned’ in a non-reciprocal arrangement. Citizens Income can be framed as compensation for that incapacitating lack, from a system which both profits from our exertions and locks us in to dependence on it. Beautiful.
Paul Vaughn, Head of Community and Corporate Development at Fife Council, got us up to speed with the pilot . It’s an idea that was enthusiastically embraced by area committees from the Fairer Fife consultation. It’s early days, but the thinking was that this pilot would involve everyone in a small community. In our round table discussion a wise one raised the issue of a control group. How could that be done? Karl’s response was that we could have two communities – in the control group community, benefiteers would continue to get means tested, conditional benefits but topped up to the level of the Citizen’s Income. In the other community everyone would get unconditional Citizen’s Income. Here was the power of collective thinking, guided by a good hearted expert. Excellent!
Maggie Chapman for the Greens was one of a cross party panel supporting the Fife initiative. I came away with her words singing in my ears – Citizen’s Income would give us as humans freedom to do what we are good at – creativity and caring. In a nutshell. And Ronnie Cowan, SNP MP is the Citizens Income champion at Westminster. I was lucky enough to be on his table at the Govan meeting. Afterwards when I googled him, I wasn’t surprised to learn he was the son of footballer Jimmy Cowan, goalkeeper for Morton and Scotland. Ronnie would be a winger though, if he had followed in his father’s footsteps. He is fast, sure footed and quick witted, taking advantage of every opportunity to set up and score Citizens Income goals 🙂