A Work in Progress: A Modern Constitution for an Independent Scottish Republic

Demos Scotland is pleased to engage in an ambitions project to develop a written constitution underpinning a Scottish Republic worthy of its people.

While at present there is no official independence campaign, this does not prevent citizens and people of good will and ideas from crowd-sourcing a solid, well thought out constitution worthy of ratification.

For the moment, it is a thought exercise; seeking to give Scots a vision of how the political system could work, how a non-corrupt plutocrat-free government could be constructed, what rights can be constitutionally guaranteed, as well as what citizen obligations pertain.

This Prototype Scottish Constitution has been adapted after a series of conferences, incorporating the ideas presented, followed by review and comments by lawyers, specialists, and clever people from numerous walks of life. This prototype is based heavily on Elliot Bulmer’s Model Constitution for an Independent Scotland of 2013, which in turn was based on Neil MacCormick’s Constitution for a Free Scotland of 2002. This text was derived from A Draft Constitution for an Independent Scotland proposed by the Scottish Provisional Constituent Assembly in 1964.

Given this distinguished lineage, all that is needed is collective wisdom to refine it even further. In the very near future, we will be launching a wiki platform version of this draft devoted to further development of the constitution, which members of Demos Scotland will be able to meaningfully contribute to.

While we have no control over whether or how the Scottish government would use the document we produce, we have been and will continue to seek input from anyone of good will, expertise, and insight to construct a political system that is durable, adaptable, and fair to all Scots well into the future.

At the very least, this prototype will show what an independent Scottish political system could look like. At most, if we are able to obtain sufficiently broad support and engagement in this project, it could be ratified by majority vote in a referendum after an independence referendum.

Together, let’s see what we can produce. Why not the most progressive and egalitarian constitution in existence?

We look forward to your assistance.


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3 thoughts on “A Work in Progress: A Modern Constitution for an Independent Scottish Republic

  1. Willie John

    Let’s keep any mention of a republic out of any constitution, otherwise Yes voters who support the monarchy could vote No.

    A decision for Republic/Monarchy is one for *after* self government is achieved.

    1. Sandy

      I’m a republican but I’m inclined to agree. A better suggestion would be to enshrine the concept of ‘popular sovereignty’ in the constitution, making it clear that it sit he people who decide on the head of state. That way, we can decide to change or replace the royal family with some other form of head of state as and when we see fit.

  2. Graham

    I’ve only had a quick skim through looking at the main para headings and it looks a comprehensive piece of work. However, if it is to be “modern” then I think there is room for some modern (though ancient) ideas on democratic legitimacy and citizen involvement, if we are not simply going to replicate Westminster (and Holyrood) with all its limitations and corruptions.

    For example, councils and committees comprising citizens “elected” by sortition, as part of a deliberative process feeding into the legislature and even, on occasion, creating legislation. We need to move on from professional politicians and develop citizen involvement. The history of the UK over the past 40 years has been one of politics, and hence legislation and economic policies, driven by ideology with no reference to evidence or rigorous analysis and has produced the greatest rise in inequality, the stagnation of the wages of the majority, the enrichment of the few, a lack of investment, attacks on basic freedoms and so on. We have to do better.

    For this reason, we need a better PR voting system than that offered, if we are to continue to “vote” for for members of the parliament. The emphasis on Referenda is disappointing as this is not a sensible way to decide complex issues.

    We also need to look at the Party system, for in many ways Parties are part of the problem.

    Another issue is Lobbying and the way MP’s in Westminster can have other employment including working as paid lobbyists and voting for legislation in which their companies have an interest. Being an MP should be a full-time occupation, apart from certain activities such as those required to maintain a professional qualification, or writing for the press, though in the latter case, any pay should go to charity.

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