Short Life Working Group on Facilitating Peaceful Assemblies: report

The Short Life Working Group on Peaceful Processions in Scotland has reviewed processions in Scotland. The report uses the comparison between Northern Ireland and Scotland as a basis to discuss how well the legislative framework and related processes are working in Scotland.

13. 'One size fits all'?

13.1 Our short-term review of the environment in which processions and protests are facilitated and regulated in Scotland has been limited in scope. We have undertaken this in 5 months and spoken to a small number of key groups and individuals. However, one thing that is very clear is that whilst there are considerable tensions over the facilitation of processions in some areas, most particularly Glasgow, there are other areas where there are few if any problems. This has suggested to us that there is no immediate need for wholesale change in the regulation of processions across Scotland. But there are some very significant issues in Glasgow and surrounding areas that arise from long-standing issues around sectarianism and a football sub-culture in the city into which issues of the future of Scotland and Brexit have fed. We have made it clear that divisions that exist in Scotland are not the same, not as deep, as those in Northern Ireland but there are some indications of increased political antagonism damaging social cohesion.

13.2 The Working Group has suggested a range of measures that could be acted upon in areas that they are needed. As such, we have avoided suggesting a 'one size fits all' model but instead suggested increasing capacity in particular areas to deal with the range of issues. So, for example, it could be that Glasgow City Council could work on some of these changes with the possibility of a review process after 3 or 5 years. If the review deems the changes successful, they could then be looked at by other Local Authorities as required.



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