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by Hazel Lewry

Not now – not ever.  Strong words from a person believing so strongly in freedom, democracy and individual rights.  This is an issue I feel most strongly about.  All of us should.

I do not state that we do not need, or should not have a constitution.

Every nation must have its own constitution else there is excuse for anarchy to reign supreme – a part of the problem in Westminster and its ongoing scandals is its lack of recognition that any such exists in a binding format, in fact any format other than at the whim of the incumbent party leadership.

“The whim of the incumbent party leadership” is a strong statement to make about a Parliament that prides itself on its traditions and histories, yet during the last administration we had David Cameron accusing Tony Blair of “tearing up 14 centuries of the British constitution” – actually DC continually appears to struggle with facts as he was obviously referring to “English” constitutional principles, and those really only stretch back to about the Magna Carta in a clearly identifiable form.

It seemed appropriate to look into a “new” Scottish constitution after so many have continually urged this inspection, or indeed formulation over the years, here and in many other places.  The party of our government has also forayed into the constitutional area, and then made a quite unannounced tactical withdrawal by simply by letting the subject languish.

The first item I have issue with is the word new.  One cannot have a new constitution unless one abandons the old.  It can be amended, upgraded, modified or many other words, but it cannot be new.  Therefore I object, most strongly, to the proposal for a “new” Scottish constitution.

What is a constitution though, that is the first thing.  Most sources define it as the guiding set of laws or principles under which a nation exists, these may be either written (codified) as in the USA or by accepted precedent and tradition (England).  Constitutional law nominally takes a far greater degree of legislation to implement or change than normal law.

For example, if government wished to change the level of fines for speeding offences, a simple vote securing 50%+ of the legislature may normally be all that is required, however if it wished to amend the voting age (in this hypothetical case a constitutional change) it may require to obtain 70% of the votes of the legislature, or secure the passing of a referendum at 60%. This is known as “passing a constitutional hurdle”.

Scotland already has a constitution – it is codified, it was codified in 1320.  It is called the declaration of Arbroath.  Who drafted it, whatever the reasoning was, the recipient, all are irrelevant excluding the fact that it was signed by the “community and realm of Scotland” and used in international relations, thereafter recognized as a valid diplomatic document originating from the Scots.

The Declaration of Arbroath set out, most clearly, the rights of the individual and of the monarch.  By any measure of international law that declaration was a constitutional document.

There is then a basis to build upon.  There have been other constitutional documents originating in Scotland since 1320, primarily these focused on sovereignty of the people and the rights of the individual.

I am opposed to a “new” constitution as I believe the work done by our forebears was not useless, vain, or does not apply to our present time.  The universal belief of freedom does not age.

I am in favour of a review, after independence, of our constitutional past, with a view to updating it.

I am in favour of a pledge by our present government, even up to passing an act, that this will take place involving the entire people of Scotland, and be put to a vote within perhaps a decade of Independence.  An act passed whereby its repeal would take the agreement of perhaps 70% of all MSPs.

I am in favour of a constitution that is brief, that is clear and that is precise, that can [and should] be able to be recited by any ten year old.

I am not in favour of documents such as that proposed by the SDA or others, documents which make it constitutionally acceptable to do things like declare martial law.  I don’t care if it’s in the fine print.  If people break the law there is a punishment decreed for each crime.  Martial law does not speak to me of free democracy; it speaks to me of dictatorship, anarchy and repression.

To me, a constitution should have no fine print – the US manage well with basically a one page document containing only seven articles and some twenty seven later amendments (like emancipation for slaves and women).  They do go much deeper in fine print, but these issues can be addressed later in our own nation.  If we are not free to do so it is moot.

I am not in favour of constitutional hurdles before we have a free nation – we ended up in a Union of dubious legality through a simple vote, that is how we should leave it – if we so choose.  The Westminster parliament of the 1970s caused that referendum to fail through instigation and invention of a constitutional hurdle.  Now some are asking that we open the path towards doing it to ourselves when Westminster no longer has the authority to inflict such upon us.

As Westminster has shown, the system they employ is worthless, a constitutional hurdle for the Scots was a historical first in Westminster, yet there was no constitutional hurdle for AV.  At Westminster constitutional hurdles are a matter of convenience and expedience.  Ditto for the crown that approves them.

To put the constitutional argument on the table in the realm of current events, a hostile media, and a Union fighting for its very survival with every iota of its entrenched and privileged power base would be foolhardy indeed.

There is nothing that stops, or should stop private personal discussion regarding a constitution, but that is where it must stop at this time.

I personally would not vote for an Independent Scotland if I did not like the constitution I would inherently be voting for – so the vote would be split.  I would categorically vote for an independent Scotland where I knew my people, without outside interference, would decide their own fate.  I will accept their decision.

It would not only be foolhardy, it would be utmost stupidity to put a constitutional update forward at a time when we do not yet control the entirety of our own destiny.  It would be no different to the USA re-opening its constitution for review/upgrade and inviting Canada and Mexico to participate, and agreeing to be bound by their input.  Canada and Mexico are after all part of the same land mass.

The time will come, and it appears near, when our constitution should, and I agree must be revisited. It must be expanded, updated, and brought into our present time period.

That time is not now.  Until the prize is won, the winnings cannot be shared.

 

Comments  

 
# UpSpake 2011-08-25 07:32
Scotland does have a written constitution Hazel as you rightly point out, that of the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320. It is hardly though a modern document and is deficient in many ways.
By using the tenets of the 1320 provisions and modernising them to fit in with the digital/electronic and modern age is a satisfactory thing to do.
I imagine if the founding fathers of the US Constitution were creating one today it would recognise today's realities.
That others propose such a document should be treated with an open mind. Any such proposal, for after all the provision of a constitution is merely a proposal should not be met with hostility or negativity but embraced as a useful tool to further solidify and entench the rights and responsibilitie s of the citizen and the limits and responsibilitie s of the State.
It is worthwhile also looking at ourselves as citizens of a country as opposed to subjects of a State with no implied rights whatsoever.
I further propose that matters of constitutional debate be 'out there' for all to see well in advance of a referendum as opposed to being 'intorduced' thereafter much to the surprise of the population in general.
Open and up-front Hazel, it's the best way. Therefore I must respectfully disagree with your opinion here, for the first time. Hopefully, the last time !.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2011-08-25 08:11
I don't think Hazel is suggesting anything be hidden, therefore your point about being open and up front is not relevant.

The law sets out the rights and responsibilitie s of the people of a nation, not a constitution. People may draft lengthy documents purporting to be 'constitutions if they wish, as hazel points out, and they can discuss them, if they wish. I agree however with Hazel's central point, that a constitution can come after independence, and when it does it needs to be simple.

Lengthy documents carrying pages and pages of rights and wrongs (effectively diktats) completely miss the point.

Let's get independence first, because as sure as night follows day, the unionists will use 'constitutions' to thwart the restoration of Scottish independence. We want the referendum to be on independence, not the choice of words in a poorly drafted piece of paper.
 
 
# fynesider 2011-08-27 12:34
Well said RL
 
 
# Holebender 2011-08-25 08:15
And yet, oddly enough, this is one of the very few times I agree with Hazel. It's all very well having discussions "out there", but there is no way we can have any sort of agreed or finalised constitution before we have independence.

The idea of an Act of the Scottish Parliament binding us to having a written constitution within a set timeframe after independence is very attractive, and should allay any fears about surprising the population in general.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2011-08-25 08:36
Well said.
 
 
# deepwater 2011-08-25 12:16
UpSpake

One thing I'd never suggest it that anything is underhanded or "behind closed doors" - It's just not my vision of democracy or government at all.

The thrust of the article was, "there is a time and place for everything".
 
 
# Robert Louis 2011-08-25 08:02
Well said Hazel. You have clearly explained the meaning of a constitution, and its nature. It needs to be simple and straight forward, without pages and pages of text and clauses.

Scotland needs independence. It does NOT needs one more constitutional barrier put in its way in the form of cumbersome 'constitutional' documentation.


You make your case well in the following passage;


"I am not in favour of constitutional hurdles before we have a free nation – we ended up in a Union of dubious legality through a simple vote, that is how we should leave it – if we so choose. The Westminster parliament of the 1970s caused that referendum to fail through instigation and invention of a constitutional hurdle. Now some are asking that we open the path towards doing it to ourselves when Westminster no longer has the authority to inflict such upon us.

As Westminster has shown, the system they employ is worthless, a constitutional hurdle for the Scots was a historical first in Westminster, yet there was no constitutional hurdle for AV. At Westminster constitutional hurdles are a matter of convenience and expedience. Ditto for the crown that approves them."



(my bolding)


Let's get independence first. A simple constitution, which as you say can be recited by a ten year old, can come later.
 
 
# Caadfael 2011-08-25 08:14
A modernised constitution, now that I would like to see, in clear simple language that everyone can understand .. as you say, even a 10year old or of equivalent reading age.
As we used to say in the Army "short sharp and shiddot"!
Yes Upspake, we do need to see what we're going for, even if it's only one article from the Dec, per week/ month/whatever. Out in the open where it can be discussed and eventually "set in stone".
 
 
# Scottish republic 2011-08-25 08:38
Quote:
That time is not now. Until the prize is won, the winnings cannot be shared



You're right Hazel, I had thought it was something to do now but better after indepednence. No point in shooting oneself in the foot.

How's Irene doing?
 
 
# deepwater 2011-08-25 12:13
She paid a brief visit.
 
 
# Scottish republic 2011-08-25 13:30
A friend of mine has an apartment on the beach in the Bahamas, he had to run for cover inland.
 
 
# mrbfaethedee 2011-08-25 09:25
The Icelanders are in the process of 'crowdsourcing' their constitution.
wired.co.uk/.../...

Perhaps a first step would be for some organisation to begin gathering all the relevant constitutional information in one place online, with clear annotations provided by people who know the subject.

Then any debate on the evolution of a Scottish Constitution would be grounded in the context of a clear understanding of what already exists.

If we decide that we want to follow the example of the Icelanders and have the people decide directly on changes to a Scottish constitution, we would have a good starting point, if we leave it to the 'experts' instead then at least we'd be in a position to be better informed, and accept or reject proposals from a position of knowledge.
 
 
# Barontorc 2011-08-25 11:34
Hazel - as always your spot on and regarding opening up a source for confusion, endless debate, shanghaied politics, and downright cynical sabotage, only a simpleton would believe that none of it would happen.

I am sure our sturdy MSM agent provocateurs and EBC unionist place-men are visibly salivating at the prospect of getting stuck in.

The SDA model is no more than that and it should be tossed into the melting pot after we are in a position to action it, unhindered by "helpful advice", and with no doubt many other inputs, as an independent Scottish nation.
 
 
# Holdtrue 2011-08-25 11:51
Hazel, I am normally a strong supporter of your views but on the topic of a constitution I find that I do not fully support your viewpoint.

I have just re-read my copy of The Declaration of Arbroath. The principles contained therein are still valid today but it is not not what is today considered to be a Constitution. It was written in a different time for a different purpose.

I agree with you that we should not commit ourselves to a Constitution until we are a sovereign state once more. I consider however that it is important the facts for a constitution document should be assembled, discussed and openly debated prior to resuming sovereignty.

The SDA constitution proposals are being developed, scrutinised and amended with that process in mind. A process which has included two reviews carried out by the Scottish Constitution Commission who recently advised that the latest SDA proposal was a significant improvement on their initial draft but still left a number of unresolved issues to be clarified.

It is my understanding that the latest SDA draft is an evolution from six previous drafts with each being improved following reviews from individuals from within and outwith the SDA.

A wider net of experience is required to develop a workable and concise version which can be understood and debated by the electorate prior to signing up for a sovereign state. The SDA welcome constructive criticism of their discussion paper and would appreciate hearing from all who could assist in the formulation of this discussion paper which could be the basis of a future Constitution.

As any tradesman of professional will tell you it is the quality of the preparation and pre-planning which ensures a quality product. The time for planning and preparation for a Constitution for sovereign Scotland is NOW so that the Scots know what they will be voting for.
 
 
# Barontorc 2011-08-25 12:16
I'm sorry to bring this up again - but who the hell set-up the SDA as the power it wishes to be?

Was it the SNP, who's main purpose is to attain independence and with it would require said constitution to govern and develop as a nation apart?

If not the SNP - then who?

Am I being parcelled up so to speak as a citizen of a country, who has to operate to a constitution, wrought by others, from which agenda and purpose, I haven't a clue, apart from the fact that the architects of the constitution, were not democratically charged with doing it.
 
 
# Caadfael 2011-08-25 12:28
Altruists?
 
 
# pa_broon74 2011-08-25 12:48
Which is what I think.

What mandate do the SDA have, ok, as a think tank fair enough but I'm not comfortable having an organisation like the SDA having an input, I don't care how qualified its members are we/I didn't choose them either directly or indirectly through the politicians we/I voted for.

Also, the idea of clouding an already well-clouded topic seems daft to me. If people can't be bothered to understand GERS or what the CEC does, if they're turned off by chat about oil and 6000 sq miles of ex-Scottish seabed etc etc etc, starting in on a constitution is going to send them way over the edge.

We want to engage people about things that matter now, not bored them to death with things that (hopefully) will happen in the future.

People know what they're voting for, giving them a massively long boring document (because that is what it'll be once all 'interested' parties have had their input) will just drive them away and confuse the issue.
 
 
# James 2011-10-14 18:20
What mandate does anyone on this thread have to express an opinion? The SDA is not legislating; it is putting forward proposals for the future governance of Scotland, because the moment of independence is far too late to start thinking about it. Putting off consideration of how Scotland is to be run post-independence until after that has been agreed is a recipe for chaos. The SDA is doing neither more nor less than all the other think tanks that are listed on the ReformScotland website.
 
 
# mrbfaethedee 2011-08-25 12:49
Quoting Barontorc:
I'm sorry to bring this up again - but who the hell set-up the SDA as the power it wishes to be?

Oh, the SDA!
Why not? The SDA are the ones who as an organisation have worked tirelessly since the 1930's as the political force behind the movement for Scottish Independence. Aren't they?
The SDA put their position and reputation on the line across the full spectrum elections haven't they? Ensuring that their credentials and policies are exposed to the fullest extent. Haven't they?

Oh, ... no ... erm...
Oh well, it least it isn't just political and constitutional opportunism. Is it?
 
 
# James 2011-10-14 18:47
Are you suggesting that the founding of the SDA in 2009 was an illegitimate act on the part of the Electoral Commission?

Are you suggesting that the SNP has the right to run a one-party state in Scotland for ever and ever? Remember where that got Labour.

Nobody is denigrating the SNP. I recently talked with Alex Salmond and several other members of his Cabinet, when I assured them of the SDA's 100% support up to and including independence. We are planning for what comes afterwards. The SNP has more than enough on its hands just now with running the country and preparing for the referendum. It is a perfectly reasonable division of labour.

Incidentally, it was the Scotland-UN Committee, consisting of SNP members and supporters, including myself, that induced the Council of Europe (the CoE, NOT the EU) to force devolution on the UK under threat of international sanctions. You can read about it in the S-UN papers at www.realmofscotland.com
 
 
# exel 2011-08-25 14:05
Barontorc 2011-08-25 13:16
“Am I being parcelled up so to speak as a citizen of a country, who has to operate to a constitution, wrought by others, from which agenda and purpose, I haven't a clue, apart from the fact that the architects of the constitution, were not democratically charged with doing it.”

I am with you, that is what happens when you read the manifesto before you read, the party philosophy.
 
 
# deepwater 2011-08-25 12:41
Holdtrue:

Please understand I was not denegrating the SDA, others and their work - I simply believe it is too cumbersome and has aspects I do not agree with - in time I doubt if I will agree with all aspects of some future set constitution.

I will live with it however, but I must have the freedom to disagree. As indicated in your own your support of these articles or otherwise it's called free speech, something from which we all benefit immensely and the one thing above all of which I believe Newsnet can take pride in.

It is with free speech that we will get to the end of the road. Any nation needing a blanket "oficial secrets act" has lost me.

In my opinion the current constitution only begins with the DOA - there is much more since, and more yet to come. The SDA and others certainly can add value here.

Then comes the work of condensation.

Make the eventual constitution as large as you wish - so long as that 10 year old can recite all its base tenets it in under a minute.
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2011-08-25 12:47
There are two key documents, enshrined in Scots Law, that define and establish the most important and core right of the people of Scotland - that sovereignty lies with the people and not the crown or parliament.

The Declaration of Arbroath which was recognised internationally by the head of the 'UN' of the day - the Pope. To claim this document is no longer valid, effective or appropriate is to turn your back on a document which shaped Scotland's destiny over 4 centuries and and is the foundation stone for not only Scots Law but the society that developed.

It is unlikely that the 'Thrie Estaites' would have ever come into being without the Declaration of Arbroath. The norm of the 14th century was absolute ruler anointed by 'God' - yet Scotland had, by 1320, an effective representative democracy which gave the key spiritual, military and economic centres an equal say - including who was to be 'King'. A tradition of government style that pre-dated Kenneth McAlpin and the rotating kingships of the Picts and Scots.

The 'Thrie Estaites' for much of its existence was not simply a rubber stamping organisation like the English Parliament of the period but was active in ensuring the sovereign people of Scotland's best interests were served.

At the time of James the VIIth the 'Thrie Estaites' did not - as did the English Parliament - buy James VIIth off. The 1689 Claim of Right, based wholly on the content of the Declaration of Arbroath, told James he was being booted off the Scottish throne for his betrayal of the Scottish sovereign people by his assumption of powers, rights and privileges that were not his to take or to hold. Equally the 'Claim of Right' also makes clear that if William of Orange or his successors tried the same nonsense as James VIIth their feet would not touch the floor on the way out.

The Claim of Right (1689) remains 'unaltered in law' and is in effect to this current day.

We already possess a clear written constitution which has stated since 1320 that the people of Scotland are sovereign and there is plenty of historical evidence that those who tried to usurp this centre point of the Scottish Constitution have been harshly dealt with.

My Scottish Constitution would start:

We, the people of Scotland, are sovereign and as such are governed by the system of representative democracy.

We, the people of Scotland, by right, law and privilege continue to express our long standing rights to choose who we make King or Queen of this nation, their succession or their removal.

We, the people of Scotland, will continue to uphold, improve and adapt our historic Scots Law and the rights of the sovereign people which Scots Law seeks to protect by authorising our parliament to act in the sovereign people's best interests in the creation, adaptation or repeal of such laws and statutes.

We, the people of Scotland, will hold our parliament to account by the ballot box and exercise of our vote every four years or by public referenda in which the majority vote will be binding on Parliament.

Ten year old proof?
 
 
# Holebender 2011-08-25 13:13
I would change "King or Queen" to "Head of State". It would save a rewrite when Scotland becomes a republic. ;)
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2011-08-25 13:38
Fair point ..... it would work just as well......
 
 
# deepwater 2011-08-25 15:52
smile
 
 
# exel 2011-08-25 13:08
From the Article:
“The first item I have issue with is the word new. One cannot have a new constitution unless one abandons the old. It can be amended, upgraded, modified or many other words, but it cannot be new. Therefore I object, most strongly, to the proposal for a “new” Scottish constitution.”

I can se no reason for your strong objection, other than your opinion that the declaration of Arbroath was in fact a written codified constitution. You do not offer any constitutional law to support that opinion.

Others have a different opinion. That is why I among others who are of the opinion that A Scottish written codified constitution does not exist, feel that use the word “NEW” is appropriate.

Further more, if it was (the declaration) enshrined in Scottish Constitutional Law in 1320 then the time for amendment, upgrade, modification was 1707.
 
 
# Mad Jock McMad 2011-08-25 13:53
Exel - the key constitutional issue established by the Declaration of Arbroath is that we, the people, are sovereign.

This was codified further by the 1689 Claim of Right which is still 'unaltered in law' and 'in effect' - viz the people of Scotland are sovereign.

The question I ask is how could any proposed constitution be 'new' as it will have to contain the key constitutional right of the people of Scotland being sovereign and be based on Scots Law which itself was codified by the Declaration of Arbroath and has as its main purpose the protection of the rights of the sovereign people.

The crux is that because the people of Scotland are sovereign, they choose where to invest their sovereignty and by Scots Law and tradition that'll be the reconvened parliament at Holyrood.

The reality is that Westminster's 'constitutional lawyers' can make any claim they wish about the UK constitution and practice but with reference to Scotland they have not a leg to stand on.

Hence why Lord Forsyth is constantly pointing out to the talking heads at Westminster all the SNP has to do is win a majority vote for independence at Holyrood and Westminster would be forced to concede.

The 'why' is because the people of Scotland's sovereignty lies as a gift to Holyrood and not with the 'Scottish Grand Committee' and its Westminster hangers on.

It would appear that we Scots do have a binding, written constitution that has substance in law otherwise Forsyth would not be as worried as he is.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-25 13:48
From the article:
“I am in favour of a review, after independence, of our constitutional past, with a view to updating it.”

“I am in favour of a pledge by our present government, even up to passing an act, that this will take place involving the entire people of Scotland, and be put to a vote within perhaps a decade of Independence. An act passed whereby its repeal would take the agreement of perhaps 70% of all MSPs.”


The trouble with that approach Hazel is as I keep repeating. Independence can only be gained with the acceptance of such an act by a settled majority of the electorate, or are you suggesting it should be left solely to parliament. Who as you acknowledge are free to repeal it at their leisure.

I have always insisted that the people of Scotland will only be persuaded to vote for Independence if they are offered a new way of governing this nation.

The first step the present government should take is inform and convince the electorate. The first document should be the one (or one like it) that I have often offered on this forum.
“WHY WE NEED A NEW WRITTEN CONSTITUTION FOR SCOTLAND”
The second would be to set up a constitutional convention, to construct an acceptable constitution to be presented to the electorate for agreement
 
 
# Holebender 2011-08-25 14:11
Not only do you have your priorities wrong (constitution before independence) you even have the order of going about it wrong! You think we should have a constitution and then set up a constitutional convention to discuss it.

Are you Benjamin Button by any chance? You certainly seem to be living your life backwards!
 
 
# exel 2011-08-25 14:40
In September 2002, the Scottish National Party (SNP) published a document, entitled "A Constitution for a Free Scotland", which details their policy for the Constitution of a future independent Scotland. This Constitution, which would come into effect following Scotland's transition to independence, would set out the rights of citizens of an independent Scotland, and define the powers and responsibilitie s of government and parliament.
 
 
# zedeeyen 2011-08-25 14:01
The lack of a codified constitution is practically the only thing I like about the Westminster system, but I agree that getting bogged down in this argument now would be a complete distraction.
 
 
# 1314 2011-08-25 23:58
Hazel - first some points of agreement/disagreement before I get on my preferred soap box (why soap?).

A new/improved /altered constitution cannot be effected until after independence and must be approved in a referendum. I don’t see how it could be otherwise.

The shorter, the better – within reason.

There is nothing that stops, or should stop private personal discussion regarding a constitution” – how would you stop them?

but that is where it must stop at this time.” - how could anybody impose their proposal?

A bit of tilting at windmills here (and they’re getting bigger by the day – so take care).


Soap box time

The Declaration of Arbroath, going by my very limited knowledge of history, was a document ahead of it’s time.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King

That was a powerful statement which transferred sovereignty from an individual to a group of individuals – it was a big step on the way but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that the people who sent this had in their sights the sovereignty of the common population.

It’s up to us, the people (i.e. as many as we can muster) to finish the job. It cannot properly be done by politicians who will allow us to have a referendum.

There is no reason why we as a population should not raise, by individual donation, the required amount of money to run a referendum.

If we did this it would be an extraordinary step (the final step?) on the road to democracy – achieved without violence or trying to impose ourselves on others.

As a way of gaining independence – it doesn’t get any better.

It get’s my blood up Hazel – how about yours?

If you would like to correspond in more detail Newsnet has my email address.

But for now, I’m off to Shetland for a week where, according to recent reports, things are even worse than in the Western Isles. Not only are there no roads, running water, or electricity but they have no trees! It will be tough, I know - but I feel that, as long as I can avoid contact with banished rioters, I should be alright.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 09:34
1314 2011-08-26 00:58
“That was a powerful statement which transferred sovereignty from an individual to a group of individuals – it was a big step on the way but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that the people who sent this had in their sights the sovereignty of the common population.”

I would say it is very unlikely that the group of individuals, you mention, even understood the text of the letter. It was in Latin was it not?
 
 
# GerrySNP 2011-08-26 01:04
The declaration of Arbroath was not a constitution - it was a letter to the Pope, the 14th century equivalent of the UN General Secretary.
The 2002 Snp document is the basis for discussion and acceptance by a wide range of Scottish opinion - but some would like to discuss and amend it - for it should not be adopted as the founding document of a newly emergent Scottish nation on a 51% vote of the people, any more than it should be amendable by a simple vote of an elected Parliament.
 
 
# Barontorc 2011-08-26 01:42
GerrySNP - What's this talk of 51% being unacceptable? It's going to be each and every vote that counts. There will be the mother and father of pressures to vote, even if your a long time dead, that is unless we get rid of the ridiculous postal vote scam.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 09:50
GerrySNP 2011-08-26 02:04
“The 2002 Snp document is the basis for discussion and acceptance by a wide range of Scottish opinion - but some would like to discuss and amend it - for it should not be adopted as the founding document of a newly emergent Scottish nation on a 51% vote of the people, any more than it should be amendable by a simple vote of an elected Parliament.”



What about: RAISING THE STANDARD 2005

Foreword by Alex Salmond MP
Summary
1. Introduction
2. Creating a Sovereign Parliament
3. What an Independent Parliament Can Do
4. Scotland and the World
5. Constitutional Arrangements
6. Next Steps

Why do the SNP not revisit this document for public scrutiny.
 
 
# mealer 2011-08-26 06:29
No need to be discussing constitutions.The people know what they'll be voting for in the referendum.However the wording on the ballot paper appears,the choice is simple.Should we,the Scots,govern ourselves or be governed from London.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 09:56
mealer 2011-08-26 07:29
“No need to be discussing constitutions.The people know what they'll be voting for in the referendum.However the wording on the ballot paper appears,the choice is simple.Should we,the Scots,govern ourselves or be governed from London.”

You still do not get it do you? The purpose of a constitution is to define, how we are governed and by whom.
 
 
# pa_broon74 2011-08-26 10:48
I think I now get where you're coming from with this.

You never wanted a constitition for an independant Scotland at all, for us to have that, we'd first need an indepenedent Scotland.

Instead, you want a constitution for Scotland (perhaps) in a federal UK? A constitutional discussion for you now would be right for two reasons; it would undermine the independence referendum (which you know) and help bring about the federal UK you seek.

Have I or have I not uncovered your dastardly plan?

;-)
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 11:07
pa_broon74 2011-08-26 11:48
No is the simple answer to your question. Whoever you are.

I have nothing to hide, no hidden agenda and nothing to gain whichever way the Scottish electorate decide to vote.

I have an opinion on the desirability of Independence for Scotland, which I articulate (some say ad nausium)

Alex Sloan
 
 
# pa_broon74 2011-08-26 11:23
Mmm...

How could we have a constitutional discussion now when it would be faced with continual unrelenting hurdles put in place by politicians and talking heads who are in favour of the UK?

It's just not practical to have it before the referendum, I mean there should definitely be one but every (wo)man and their dog would be involved in it's authoring; it would be a massive conflicted talking shop.

But listen, as you say, we have differing opinions and probably won't be changing our minds.

What is your desire re. Scotland and independence if you don't mind my asking? Personally, I'd like Scotland to exists as an equal partner in the UK but I realise this is not possible with the way westminster works, I favour full independence with a good neighbourly relationship with the English people.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 12:29
pa_broon74 2011-08-26 12:23
“How could we have a constitutional discussion now when it would be faced with continual unrelenting hurdles put in place by politicians and talking heads who are in favour of the UK?”

It's just not practical to have it before the referendum, I mean there should definitely be one but every (wo)man and their dog would be involved in it's authoring; it would be a massive conflicted talking shop.

There are over 4 years left of this parliament, “GOD only” knows when the question will be asked. Convene the constitutional convention now, at least the electorate will be aware of the pros and cons before the important decision is made.

It is good to talk, bring on the discussion.
 
 
# pa_broon74 2011-08-26 13:04
The thing is though...

You know what'll happen, we'll have a groups of politicians from Holyrood from all parties only one of which wants an independent Scotland for the constitution to apply. They'll call academics and worldly people to give opinions & advice on the topic, meanwhile the papers will go mental with hypothetical (at best) stories about what those develish SNP MSP's have up their sleeves for Scotland should it become independent.

People glaze over when you talk about the simple stuff, if they're not glazing over they're so conflicted with all the different versions of the 'truth' that the real issues become so clouded they panic and run for the apparent safety of the status quo. The current crop of pro's & con's are hard neough to get across without adding to them.

I imagine the question will be asked when we have an independent country for any constitution to apply to.

I was reading on wiki that the Irish constitution took less than a year to write and get approved, with the way our politicians work (and no small amount of obfuscation by unionists) I doubt ours would happen this side of independence anything like as quickly.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 19:11
pa_broon74 2011-08-26 12:23
“What is your desire re. Scotland and independence if you don't mind my asking? Personally, I'd like Scotland to exists as an equal partner in the UK but I realise this is not possible with the way westminster works, I favour full independence with a good neighbourly relationship with the English people.”

No I do not mind you asking Pa. What I do mind is, from your remarks @ pa_broon74 2011-08-26 11:48, it is obvious you have read my posts on the subject. Nor do I need another anonymous poster deepwater 2011-08-26 13:27 answering for me as he/she does for Hazel Lewry.
I am quite capable of answering for myself.

I have been posting here since before the 2010 GE on the subject.

The present system of government for the UK is not fit for purpose. In my opinion the primary reason for this is the high jacking of the unwritten and uncodified constitution of the British State by the political parties. In the past 300 years the system has evolved from being a passable limited democracy to a democracy which embraced the majority of the electorate and then downhill to the elective dictatorship we have to-day.

When the result of the 2010 GE returned no majority from the political party system, the electorate trusted none of them, I had high hopes that penny had dropped for the UK electorate, consensus might break out.

When the unequal coalition was formed, I realised the parties had won again.

This enforced my belief that the only way to save the union and give sovereignty to the people of the UK was a written codified constitution. Breaking up into smaller states was not going to solve the problem and the majority of the electorate would have to vote for it.

When the Lib/Dems gave up their principles and sold their soul for power, the option then became secession. But to convince a settled majority of Scots to vote for it, requires them to be given a reason to ditch England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That reason I believe is a written codified constitution.

I can go on, but why bother the Scottish political parties do not wish the party dictatorship to end. They simply wish to replace the Westminster system with a smaller replica, with them in power.
 
 
# deepwater 2011-08-26 12:27
In previous posts I believe exel has stated his preference would be for a workable solution within a UK framework - I don't have the exact wording, but it's paraphrased closely enough.
 
 
# Kinghob 2011-08-26 10:26
The referendum comes before the constitution when there is nobody to make or agree universally on the contents of a constitution.

Who would make up the tenets of the constitution?

The public, the public bodies, the politicians and the various social interest groups.......all of whom PRIOR to Independence will be a myriad of differing opinions and ideas, some of those involved would be against Scottish Independence and use the idea of a constitution as some sort of ant independence platform.

It is naive to believe that this wouldn't be played to the max to ensure a no vote.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 10:53
Kinghob 2011-08-26 11:26
“The public, the public bodies, the politicians and the various social interest groups.......all of whom PRIOR to Independence will be a myriad of differing opinions and ideas, some of those involved would be against Scottish Independence and use the idea of a constitution as some sort of ant independence platform.”

You have just described the sovereign people of Scotland “Kinghob”. So answer me this, why should that sovereign body say “YES” to seceding without taking part in the discussion on “what we will get as a system of government?”

That is why I suggest a constitutional convention. Of course there will be dissenters from the constitution accepted by the majority in a referendum (all the political parties I suspect) but that is democracy.
 
 
# Kinghob 2011-08-26 11:34
Getting independence is very important indeed-there will be no Scottish constitution ever otherwise.


The 'sovereign' people of scotland at this time include MSP's, groups and various other people including us Lay people-how do the sovereign people some of whom are vehemently opposed to Independence contribute meaningfully to a constitution when they won't even accept there will ever be Independence, don't even wish for a referenda, absolutely oppose the discussion via Calman etc etc until enough of us show them the inevitable by voting YES in sufficient numbers?

The time frame is too short and the unionists will boycott the discussion and get the headlines whilst making the whole thing look illegitimate.
 
 
# exel 2011-08-26 11:44
Kinghob 2011-08-26 12:34
“The 'sovereign' people of scotland at this time include MSP's, groups and various other people including us Lay people-how do the sovereign people some of whom are vehemently opposed to Independence contribute meaningfully to a constitution when they won't even accept there will ever be Independence, don't even wish for a referenda, absolutely oppose the discussion via Calman etc etc until enough of us show them the inevitable by voting YES in sufficient numbers?”

I agree they are the people who must agree, not discussing leads nowhere. Again we must agree to disagree.
 
 
# westie7 2011-08-26 12:14
Quoting Kinghob:
Getting independence is very important indeed


Unless someone grows a pair and starts to fight against the propaganda the like of which was in evidence on "Glenn's Big Debate" this lunchtime, then the MUD WILL BEGIN TO STICK. and you can kiss Independence goodbye

I mean Fiona Hyslop was calm and collected but that was a lions den and the Trams, and Uni fees were all the fault of the big bad SNP.

The idiots of this land will start to believe this soon and there are four and half years to go.

This is what I will be saying to Eck at the next local meeting
 
 
# Kinghob 2011-08-26 12:33
The unioniste raison d'être will be completely removed upon Independence-the best time to discuss our long term future and involving this disparate group....not before Independence as it will be distractive and work against the referendum.
 
 
# GerrySNP 2011-08-30 04:20
My point about wanting more than 51% is that that sort of figure would produce the argument in Westminster that the "settled will" of the Scottish people had not been established - and I dont want Westminster to have that, or any other, excuse.
What we have to face in going for a big majority in the referendum is that it is the only vote which can get that sort of support on a constitutional question. I can get very annoyed with the voters unwillingness to make logical decisions on constitutionasl matters,but being annoyed with the sovereign voters doesnt butter any bannocks.And that means, to my way of thinking, that there has to be campaign over the next three years to maximise the Yes vote, and to take out of the case any points which could reduce that vote, or encourage any division which produces a No vote
 

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