Nethermains, Ayrshire, Scotland

Dave Watson: Trade Unionist

I was born in Liverpool, although most of my life has been spent in Scotland, where I was the Head of Policy at UNISON, Scotland’s largest trade union. My recent work has focused on the economics of place, including papers for the Reid Foundation on building stronger communities. I am also a contributing author to ‘A New Scotland’, published this April, in which I make a case for building a fairer Scotland from the bottom up. I have worked in government and the third sector, and I was an expert advisor to the Christie Commission on the future delivery of public services.

My place is in North Ayrshire, just up the coast from where I live. North Ayrshire Council is the champion of Community Wealth Building in Scotland, creating a new approach to the local economy centred on wellbeing and inclusion. Working in partnership with local people, businesses and organisations, they aim to enhance local wealth and the creation of fair jobs. Just one example is a solar photovoltaics farm here at a former landfill site in Nethermains that will generate power for local projects, not big energy firms. I have long argued that there needs to be a decentralisation of power to local government and communities. The solutions to our many challenges cannot be dictated from the centre; they must be developed and organised from communities of place. My place is starting to do just that.