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By John Drummond
 
The SNP should start work on a constitution for an independent Scotland before the referendum or risk a shambles, says the chairman of the Constitutional Commission pressure group.

To paraphrase Justice Louis D Brandies:

"If we desire respect for the constitution, we must first make the constitution respectable."

Until the 1980s the British "constitution", despite its bizarre customs, arcane privileges and vague conventions, managed to maintain a certain respectability. Held together by cobwebs and flummery, it nevertheless carried us through the two world wars, a great depression, and the establishment of a welfare state, without collapsing into tyranny.

Written constitutions were not unknown. The UK actively supported the writing of the German Basic Law after the second world war, and was instrumental in the development of the European convention on human rights. Most countries to which Westminster gave independence were given a written constitution based on democratic principles.

But these innovations were for "lesser breeds without the law". We had no need of them. We muddled through on the "good chaps" theory of government, guided by an Oxbridge ruling class who, for all their incompetence and narrowness of outlook, at least had a strong sense of what was "not done". All very respectable.

This cosy (if stifling) arrangement was brought to an end by the Thatcher government. The British "constitution" was revealed for what it was – a flexible arrangement for the exercise of power. The unwritten constitution is whatever the prime minister of the day – with a working majority – deems it to be. This lack of a stable, fundamental, point of reference results in the triumph of expediency over principle and of prejudice over reason.

A British constitution worth respecting would require a fundamental change. It would have to reverse the principles of the state, from one where authority is vested in the crown and descends begrudgingly down to mere commoners, to one in which authority rests in the people and is exercised by their freely elected representatives and officials according to a written constitution which protects the democratic rights of citizens from the expediency of incumbent majorities.

There is no appetite for such a change. Constitutional tinkering since 1997 has been piecemeal, unprincipled and half-hearted. The result is a shambles.

Nowhere is this shambolic approach more noticeable than the attempt by the British state to solve its "nations and regions" problem. Last month, Elliot Bulmer, the Constitutional Commission's research director, took part in a meeting at the House of Commons to discuss constitutional change. Convened by a Labour MP, the group consisted of politicians from other parties as well as various luminaries including constitutional experts. After some debate, Elliot put the question:

"Are we here to discuss democratic constitutional improvements in the UK, or just trying to outflank the SNP so that the UK can hold together for another generation or so?"

"Oh, the latter, of course," was the near unanimous reply. In obvious similarity to other empires in their last dying days, the aim is simply to keep the thing hanging together, and to use any fix to do so.

One of the advantages of Scottish independence is that it provides an opportunity for a new Scottish state to break from Westminster habits and to do things very differently. There is little point in swapping rule from Westminster for rule like Westminster.

The SNP has a long-standing (if quietly voiced) commitment to a written constitution for Scotland. This constitution would express what Scotland stands for and what it will not stand for. It would place constraints on ruling majorities.

It would be wise of the SNP to make more of their constitutional policy, and to highlight the differences between being a subject of the British state and being a citizen of Scotland. This would give a firm assurance that independence would build upon the democratic advances made since devolution: enshrining proportional representation, limiting prerogative powers, strengthening parliamentary and extra-parliamentary accountability mechanisms, and reinforcing our civil liberties and human rights.

For proponents of independence, a failure to "grasp the thistle" of constitutional design, ahead of a referendum, would be a mistake. It would enable opponents to claim that independence would be hazardous, as it would hand over indeterminate power without any thought of the consequences. In short a blank cheque.

In Scotland at this time it is possible to choose between the shambles and the blank cheque. And it is important to start the process now; to facilitate this crucial discussion, the Constitutional Commission has produced a Model Constitution for Scotland, published by Luath Press, that offers a starting point for debate.

Postponement increases the danger of ending up with a poor quality constitution. This ought to be a matter of priority for the Scottish government, and for all independence supporters. It is crucial that a broad political and public consensus around an agreed constitutional text takes place before a referendum. It also ought to be important for those who oppose independence but who, if it were to happen, want to make it work.

Courtesy of the Guardian newspaper - http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/scotland-blog

Next Thursday 28th June, a distinguished panel including Lesley Riddoch, Patrick Harvie, Gerry Hassan, Elliot Bulmer and Mike Small will hold a discussion on what a future reconstituted Scottish state might look like.  This event, to be held in the Scottish Parliament in front of an audience of 100 people, will be filmed and a video will be made available to Newsnet Scotland and other outlets a few days later.

Comments  

 
# fynesider 2012-06-21 23:10
Totally agree... I would have thought (hoped) that this was already 'in hand' within the Scottish Government.
 
 
# johnp 2012-06-22 19:49
Quoting fynesider:
Totally agree... I would have thought (hoped) that this was already 'in hand' within the Scottish Government.


The SNP have a constitution which is available (somewhere) on their website. But it would be easier going to Wikipedia and searching for Scottish constitution or something similar to find it. But beware, it is a pile of unmitigated politically correct tripe with a lot of Westminster processes shoveled in.
 
 
# expat67 2012-06-21 23:51
Great article!
O/T Why can't this "discussion" with the "distinguished panel" in the Scottish Parliament be streamed live on the net somehow rather than filmed and shown later on newsnet, not unlike how we can see debates, FMQ etc live?
This is the kind of thing that needs to be publicised,(pai d adverts even?)in MSM and online in order to circumvent the bias of the BBC and media in Scotland. Just a thought!
 
 
# exel 2012-06-22 00:02
“The SNP should start work on a constitution for an independent Scotland before the referendum or risk a shambles, says the chairman of the Constitutional Commission pressure group.”

Mark the 28th. June in your diaries “ START OF THE YES CAMPAIGN”
 
 
# Louperdowg 2012-06-22 00:40
Date marked!

I will be travelling home from foreign pairts on that day but look forward to seeing the video.

Onwards and upwards.
 
 
# Macart 2012-06-22 06:56
That's almost spooky exel. Only the other day we were chatting along similar lines. Consider the date marked.

I think they may have the panel balance slightly wrong. I would have preferred Ian Bell to Gerry Hassan. Gerry has a fine mind, but tends to overthink and sometimes over complicate an issue, Ian's comments would, I think, be more incisive and to the point. Basically far more easily digested by average folks like masel'.

But definitely looking forward to it.
 
 
# Ben Power 2012-06-22 06:35
In a modern world of mobile populations, the rights of inclusion for Scots who move out of Scotland needs to be enshrined in any written constitution or other arrangement.
Scots may move temporarily or permanently, but eventually they or a descendant will return home and as Scots should not be dispossessed the same way that 40+ million Diaspora Scots are currently dispossessed by successive London written UK laws or processes.

Our economic, social and cultural future depends on Scots being committed to Scotland and Scotland being committed to them.
If we cannot demonstrate a sincere commitment to redressing the inhumanely vicious activities of previous administrations that forced Scots to leave the country in the recent and not so recent past we probably do not even deserve independence.

No committed ethical Scot today would leave Scotland and relinquish their rights to return or their descendants’ right to return. The ancestors of the Scots Diaspora did not relinquish those rights either. Successive UK governments whittled away those rights and continue to do so today.

We rely on Tourism, Investment, and consumption to fuel our economy.
A reliable source for that is the Scots Diaspora, with their various resources of influence, wealth, time, education, skills and intellectual property.
Scots Diaspora with those resources exist who would relocate here now and be able to support themselves without ever being a burden on social services here. Their return would benefit Scotland’s economy and employment right now and into the future.

The vast majority of the Diaspora would never move back here but view Scotland as a place to visit regularly and invest in. They view it as “home” of sorts..
But we need to ask ourselves, why they would want to spend their wealth, efforts, resources or time in a country that dispossessed them. They were wronged.
Currently they can blame it on previous English or Scots elites, and visit or invest as support for their homeland and their desire to belong to their culture, their “homeland”.

If we gain independence or vote against independence and do not redress that dispossession wrong graciously without quibble then we as the current crop of Scots will be the ones blamed for continuing the wrong of dispossession. With resulting long term negative effect from our gigantic Scots Diaspora.
Do we really want a growing 40+ million Scots Diaspora off side with us and can we even afford that.

We should be stating loud and clear right now that any of the Scots Diaspora who can return and support themselves without being an undue burden on our social support systems will be welcomed back to resettle in Scotland without any quibbles. The UK govt led injustice has to stop.

Other major countries in Europe are already recognising the vital economic, social and moral need for representation of their various Diasporas in their political systems. Scotland has to plan for this as well.
 
 
# Galen10 2012-06-22 07:16
Ben,

Speaking as part of the diaspora, I'd say your "plan", whilst well meaning, is slightly over the top.

I've lived in England for 20 years, and although most of my immediate family still live in Scotland, it is possible I may never come back.

I will however want a Scottish passport post independence, and it's possible that my daughter would also want one as she was born in Scotland.

I'm not sure that it is necessary for any post independence government to do more than say that any non resident who was born in Scotland, or has a Scottish born parent or possibly grandparent, has the right to apply for a Scottish passport.

Of course it is important to reach out to the diaspora, and descendants of Scots who emigrated. They are a potentially valuable resevoir of support and finance; however the chance of a sudden flood of people descending upon the mother country, whose distant ancestors left these shores decades ago, seems somewhat overdone!
 
 
# Aplinal 2012-06-22 08:09
I raised a similar question with the SNP last year, or even the year before. I have a Scottish mother, and both her parents were 100% Scots. My father is English - so although I have always been a Scot in my heart and soul, I have no "anti-English" feelings at all. [well maybe only on the football field! I seem to recall jumping off my chair when Wolfgang Weber scored the equaliser in 1966, but never mind!]

I have a son born overseas who has a UK passport. I asked the question if I and he (plus eventually my wife) would be eligible for a Scottish passport (i.e. citizenship) post independence, and the answer was "Certainly".
 
 
# Ben Power 2012-06-22 15:32
Hi Galen, hi Aplinal

I have no particular plan about all this. I am just flagging that the feelings of the Diaspora exist are real and do count in their interactions of tourism and investment decisions and in our future as Scotland.

We should all remember the Scots family tradition of four generations backwards and forwards from an existing member being family (some call it derbfine), not just this grandparent construct currently touted and even that is now reduced to only children under 21 being family by UK laws to reduce our notion of family even more.

That you and your immediate families are secure as Scots should be vitally important to all Scots and anyone of us should be happy for your positions.
However there are many Scots Diaspora who are not as secure. Many of them empathise with the degradation fear and abject misery suffered by their mothers widowed granny evicted and “encouraged” to emigrate just to keep her family alive. Many remember poignantly how their grandparents were evicted violently from their croft, and many many similar histories. These things left permanent scars, injuries on Scots Diaspora families that bear a great influence on them today.

That push to remove Scots in Diaspora times has been glossed over by some Scots and historians and indeed by some of the Diaspora with descriptions that the removal was aspirational choice, or they were better off or there was no other choice for the good of everyone.
My point is that Independence is a time when ordinary Scots should be standing up for those Scots forced out of Scotland and recognising the atrocity.
They were the indigenous people of Scotland and they were forced out. There is no getting away from that glaring point.
Recognising it and welcoming the descendants back is a healing thing (also appropriate per UN indigenous rights concepts as well by the way)

And yes you are right Galen, there will be no rush of Diaspora returning home, many very skilled Scots would return though.
Knowing they can return if they can support themselves will engender into the future confidence in the Diaspora identifying as Scots with continuing favourable tourism and investment decisions towards Scotland.

That healing and the favourable treatment of Scotland by our Diaspora is what we should be aiming for in our collective futures. Compare 40+million Diaspora Scots to 5 million resident Scots, we need them and cannot afford to offend or hurt them anymore.
 
 
# Galen10 2012-06-22 07:47
I agree that a written constiution is necessary. I'd even agree that the groundwork can be laid over the next few years in the run up to the referendum. It could, if presented properly, be a stick to beat the Unionist parties with by highlighting what the differences would be between the two alternative "visions".

Surely however a written constitution, to have any validity in the eyes of the Scottish people, needs to have the broadest possible support? The time to discuss, negotiate and enact such a document is AFTER independence is achieved.

The SNP as a party and a Holyrood government can of course give us their views as to what a written constitution should contain, but it isn't in their gift.

The correct vehicle for drafting a written constitution is some form of convention elected or appointed specifically for that purpose.

By all means let's encourage a debate, or even invite all the interested parties to give their views about how to construct and enact a constitution; however, let us avoid the constitution being seen as merely a creature of the SNP or current Scottish government.

Unionist parties are unlikely to engage until they know the Union is a dead letter in any case, so let's concentrate on planning the PROCESS for writing a constitution, not sharpening our pencils to actually write it just yet!
 
 
# Jake62 2012-06-22 08:24
"Surely however a written constitution, to have any validity in the eyes of the Scottish people, needs to have the broadest possible support? The time to discuss, negotiate and enact such a document is AFTER independence is achieved."

I agree.

What worries me most about preparing a constitution now is that it wouldn't include the views of the c40% who currently support a 'no' vote, and obviously thus regard discussing a constitution as irrelevant. Once the 'yes' vote wins, they'll then all want to be involved in hammering out the fine details.
 
 
# snowthistle 2012-06-22 11:56
That's a great point Jake62.
When we get Independence we must build our society as an inclusive society. We must involve as many sectors of society as we can.
We have to take as big a majority of the people with us otherwise Independence makes no sense. The whole point of it is to build a better country for the people.
 
 
# exel 2012-06-22 09:06
Macart 2012-06-22 07:56
"That's almost spooky exel. Only the other day we were chatting along similar lines. Consider the date marked."

“Spooky” certainly Macart: but as a long time follower of the constitutional debate not very surprising.

As to the actual composition of the panel I do not think it has been published yet.
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-06-22 09:50
The SNP already have a constitution drafted. It is on their web site if you wish to read it.
 
 
# Lini 2012-06-22 11:12
I can't understand why this blog is being presented as fact. Why would anyone assume the SNP have not prepared a written constitution?
 
 
# flyingscotsman 2012-06-22 11:51
Poor research for the writer of the article. There have been 3 constitutions, one in 1964, one in 2002 and there is current one by the Constitutional Commission created last year!

constitutionalcommission.org/.../
Spread it wide, spread it far
 
 
# exel 2012-06-22 13:35
flyingscotsman 2012-06-22 12:51
“Poor research for the writer of the article. There have been 3 constitutions, one in 1964, one in 2002 and there is current one by the Constitutional Commission created last year!”

I am sure John Drummond, Convenor, Constitutional Commission knows about the SNP “Drafts”
 
 
# flyingscotsman 2012-06-22 14:48
I was referring to the sentence "The SNP should start work on a constitution for an independent Scotland before the referendum or risk a shambles, says the chairman of the Constitutional Commission pressure group."

There exists publications of draft constitutions so the word "start" makes no sense. It gives the initial impression nothing has been created.
 
 
# exel 2012-06-22 12:39
Lini 2012-06-22 12:12
“I can't understand why this blog is being presented as fact. Why would anyone assume the SNP have not prepared a written constitution?”

No one is assuming that the SNP have not prepared a written constitution. But they insist that we vote YES for independence, before they will discuss a written constitution.

May well be that the “SNP Draft” will be completely acceptable to the Scottish electorate, let us find out before we commit.
 
 
# Jamieson 2012-06-22 13:42
Totally disagree with this idea. There are enough complex questions that need to be answered before the Referendum without adding a very complicated debate about a written contribution to the mix. The anti people would have a field day(s).
 
 
# Juteman 2012-06-22 14:06
I'm with Jamieson.
Going down this road would just add more FUD.
Some folk are well meaning, but i can't help but think that others that promote this are more interested in muddying the waters.
 
 
# paulmahon 2012-06-22 15:09
The constitution and independence are the same thing. The problem with not having a constitution is that we're asking people to sign a contract (by voting yes) that they have not read. We risk creating a massive disadvantage for ourselves. The no groups can spout any tripe they can make up about the detrimental social impact of independence, but we cannot mention any social benifits, even if they are undeniable, because that would be confusing the question. An approach that infers a false dichotomy between social and constitutional matters will always fail because it fails to address the socio-constitutional problems that face Scotland. If there is no constitution detaiing the social advantages of independence, or some proxy thereof universally distributed, the result of the referendum will be no.
 
 
# paulmahon 2012-06-22 13:44
I think a framework of a constitution expressing general values as subheadings should be published by the political class, then individuals and interest groups should be invited to write clauses detailing the main body under each subheading. Sensible contributions could be then incorporated into the final constitution to be distributed prior to the referendum. This will have the effect of activating civic scotland (if it exists) and allow people to be agents of history. I think that such an approach will lead to a Yes vote of around 65%.
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-06-22 14:12
The start point for any Scottish Constitution written to update the Treaty of Arbroath, the solemn covenant of 1660 and the Claim of Right of 1689 will have to start from the understood and clear position in Scots Law that the people of Scotland are sovereign.

In the AXA et al vs the Scottish Parliament case, brought under Section 5 and 30 of the Scotland Act 1998, the Supreme Court stated, in ruling in favour of the Scottish Parliament, '....acts and bills of the Scottish Parliament were the expressed will of the Scottish People and could not be set aside by this court'. Without using the word 'sovereign' the UK Supreme Court was agreeing the people of Scotland remain sovereign. If the sovereignty of the people of Scotland lay with Westminster and the UK's assumed parliamentary democracy the Supreme Court had to block the bill under section 5 and 30 of the Scotland Act 1998. This was the wide spread legal opinion in England - even Lallands Peatworrier argued this had to be the case - and the bill of the Scottish Parliament on 'asbestostosis plaques' would be repealed.

As the people of Scotland are sovereign, and the Scottish Parliament is a defacto representative democracy then the Scottish Parliament can not impose any act, bill or statutory legislation on the people of Scotland that threatens or over turns our rights as a sovereign people.

In real terms any change, adaptation or new constitutional settlement that goes outside the current legally defined constitutional practice in Scotland can only become law with the agreement of the people of Scotland.

For Scotland to join the EU - there has to be a referendum; Euro, the same; a new constitution, the same - that is the point of being a representative democracy, with the people being sovereign, in the 21st Century. If the majority of Scots want to keep the Windsors as monarchs then that is what will happen. If the MacGregors can convice enough Scots of their long standing claim to the Scottish Throne then that will happen and we will have the monarchical family MacGregor :-D . If enough Scots agree with the Scottish Coronation Coronach then Scotland will be a republic.

The 'but' and the big 'but' is none of this can happen until Scotland is once again an independent nation state - the need is to keep that goal clear and central otherwise we will remain constrained by the bullying parliamentary democracy of Westminster and Excel et all can forget any chance of a written constitution for the UK let alone Scotland.
 
 
# GrassyKnollington 2012-06-22 15:02
Quote:
none of this can happen until Scotland is once again an independent nation state


indeed. If I could I would actually like to get that phrase subliminally flashed across Gerry Hassan's computer screen until it sinks in and he desists with his persistent fog of "whataboutery".

What kind of society will we live in? What kind of chuffing narrative will we tell ourselves?

Who knows Gerry?

We don't even know who the Government will be until we have a post independence General Election.

This "gie us a formal written codified constitution, describe the fairer society we will live in, the alignment of the planets, recipe for post independence profriteroles, weather forecast, weight of babies who look like Johann Lamont, the price of a Chinese carry out, the colour and style of tank top Willie Rennie will wear in an independent Scotland" is getting tiresome.

Let's get there first.
 
 
# exel 2012-06-22 16:57
Fine you want to wake up one morning in autumn 2014, The voters of Scotland have said YES, “wee eck” is off to the united nations to negotiate secession from that last agreement we made in 1707 (or was it at 17:07 last night), who cares he is a great guy he will see us alright.

What exactly did we agree to anyway "Gies a clue jimmy"?
 
 
# brusque 2012-06-22 22:42
Quoting exel:
Fine you want to wake up one morning in autumn 2014, The voters of Scotland have said YES, “wee eck” is off to the united nations to negotiate secession from that last agreement we made in 1707 (or was it at 17:07 last night), who cares he is a great guy he will see us alright.

What exactly did we agree to anyway "Gies a clue jimmy"?



Independence? just a guess mind you:-), that is what I will be voting for, I'm happy to wait a wee while for the rest.
 
 
# Robabody 2012-06-22 19:14
One of the recognised sabotage techniques of any change programme is to demand more and more information on selected aspects of the change. This “drilling” technique will continue despite the supply of answers to the previously asked questions. It continues until the change authors are sapped of energy and grind to a halt. Job done by the agents against change – they never wanted the answers in the first place; they only wanted to stop the process. So in that aspect I’m with you GK.
Following the close of the American war of independence in 1783 it took until 1789 before the constitution came in to force. In short, what’s the rush? We need to take into account a number of things in our new constitution post independence; studied reflection after the great day would be my preference.
PS on that autumn day in 2014 when the Scottish people vote yes, I will adopt the worst aspects of a Scotsman of my age: I’ll be half chowed, I’ll have a wee greet, I’ll hang a Saltire out the window, I’ll kiss my little Afro Scot granddaughter and her mum, I’ll shake the hand of everybody I can and I’ll ask if people if they have had their tea (well I’m an Edinburgher now) before I give them a dram. A few days later I might be on here bumping my fingertips about the constitution. At this stage, a commitment to the sovereignty of the Scottish people and words like “we the people” will do fine.
 
 
# Proadge 2012-06-22 20:37
Quoting GrassyKnollingt on:
Quote:
none of this can happen until Scotland is once again an independent nation state


indeed. If I could I would actually like to get that phrase subliminally flashed across Gerry Hassan's computer screen until it sinks in and he desists with his persistent fog of "whataboutery".

What kind of society will we live in? What kind of chuffing narrative will we tell ourselves?

Who knows Gerry?

We don't even know who the Government will be until we have a post independence General Election.

This "gie us a formal written codified constitution, describe the fairer society we will live in, the alignment of the planets, recipe for post independence profriteroles, weather forecast, weight of babies who look like Johann Lamont, the price of a Chinese carry out, the colour and style of tank top Willie Rennie will wear in an independent Scotland" is getting tiresome.

Let's get there first.


Absolutely spot on (and very funny). Gerry, it's really not complicated; as Eck said: 'Scotland is a country and countries are better when they govern themselves'. What Scotland looks like after independence will be up to the people of Scotland and the governments they elect. What we can say right now is there are plenty reasons to be positive about how Scotland will develop after independence. And plenty evidence of how disastrous it has been for Scotland - economically, socially, demographically , medically and above all psychologically - to have had all the key decisions governing our lives made for us by another country for generation after generation.
 
 
# Kinghob 2012-06-22 21:18
This great Britain we hear so much about, that Gerry states "carried us through two world wars without a written constitution", this great Britain has had no written constitution in 300 years and yet the 'SNP' are urged to write one on their own?

Come on, the chance to detract from the Referendum, pick holes and give another angle for the media to exaggerate everything the no campaign, so desperate for ammunition, would be a given.

Constitutions are written by Governments with the aid of the civic side of a nation and the cooperation of opposition parties-not on the hoof by one political party.

Having ideals, common ground for a written constitution is of course a great idea, but it is a different one from some dream of a finished article before we have said YES in the first place.........
 
 
# exel 2012-06-22 22:09
Kinghob 2012-06-22 22:18
“This great Britain we hear so much about, that Gerry states "carried us through two world wars without a written constitution", this great Britain has had no written constitution in 300 years and yet the 'SNP' are urged to write one on their own?”

The article points out: “One of the advantages of Scottish independence is that it provides an opportunity for a new Scottish state to break from Westminster habits and to do things very differently. There is little point in swapping rule from Westminster for rule like Westminster.”

In my opinion this is the most persuasive argument in favour of independence available to the YES campaign.

If the Scottish electorate are to be persuaded to vote for secession (independence) they must be involved in the creation of “A new Scottish state"

As the last sentence in the above quote says “There is little point in swapping rule from Westminster for rule like Westminster.”

The SNP are not being urged to write a constitution on their own: they are being invited to participate in a discussion to define a new Scottish state.
 
 
# Kinghob 2012-06-22 23:15
I agree with your points wholeheartedly Excel.

I don't believe that it can be said that the SNP have ever looked for a westminster model of govern ship being the only political party in these Isles to look like wresting westminster control over Scotland in the near future.

It is not a given that we can use the 'swapping westminster rule for brussels rule' in this argument, I cannot see how there can be a proper constitution agreed upon (perhaps in principle yes of course) when it would be a side by side distraction from the actual referendum.........am I the only person who see an unnecessary media unionist 'extra' to confuse us all.

Independence should come first-a previously agreed constitution could not be binding in any more than a principle or starting block to base the proper constitution on.

What kind of cooperation would labour and the tories give to a constitutional debate knowing it is basically acknowledging a defeat in 2014 for the union?
 
 
# Fourfolksache 2012-06-23 08:53
A Scottish constitution could embody a different more democratic Scotland which Westminster and it's Scottish parties would and could never support. At the moment we are busy telling voters not to worry, this , that and the other won't change. That needs to be counterbalanced by a vision of what will change whoever is elected and that you are not voting for a one party SNP state!
 
 
# Hearthammer 2012-06-24 07:31
The passport question is easily solved. Just have a look at what Ireland does.

As regards a constitution, we should be going full pelt to get this to the people before 2014. Just imagine being able to say, "these are your rights and responsibilitie s. They are enshrined in law. Where is the unionist equivalent?"

We need to take the lead on this and show the Scottish people that we care about their long term rights. Look at the way that the RoI handles constitutional natters and take a leaf from their book.

We would also be able to say to the Scottish people that, as joining the EU would require a change to the constitution, a referendum will be required. Another coup for us!
 
 
# Bobelix 2012-06-24 15:52
The Constitution is a stick with which the Unionists will continue to beat us unless we make a definitive pronouncement of our intentions asap. I think, at the very least, a firm commitment to a public consultation on the Constitution to begin within 3 months of Independence should be made. At the same time, it should be more greatly publicised that the SNP (and others) have draft post-Independence Constitutions available for scrutiny, but that the final decisions will be made after the widest-possible consultation and a referendum. In any case, a firm commitment should be made to the principle that the individual will have certain inviolable rights and freedoms versus the state. In the interim between Independence being declared and the introduction of a constitution, it should be stressed that, since Scotland already has its own legal system, current law will continue to be observed and enforced.
 

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