Thursday, December 06, 2007

Who develops and decides?

I don't envy the Leader of the Opposition's job today ... I would not be looking forward to FMQ's at 12noon this lunchtime :-(

... and, personally, I think it's almost inevitable that Party funding is going to overshadow any debate on the 'next constitutional steps' for Scotland. I know ... that's politics ... and I'm not complaining. But, it is pretty certain that on the morning that the constitutional future of Scotland will get significant debating time in the Chamber it will get less than significant time in the press.

Not good ... because, for me, there is a very important point behind almost all of the current 'Political' debate about the future of the constitution - and it is: "who develops and decides?".

All the current models of progress on offer centre around 'elites' developing a scheme - whether it's the National Conversation or the proposed Scottish Constitutional Commission.

I accept that the former could lead to a referendum, but it will be a referendum to decide on a scheme developed by Politicians and Civil Servants - much like 1997 in fact. And, I accept that the latter could be independently chaired and take evidence from others, but it would lead to a scheme of change being primarily proposed by Politicians - again, much like 1997.

There is another way - a way that, I believe, would lead to a more long-lasting acceptance of any settlement ... I'm not saying it would never, thereafter, change but that the model of development - once used - would be hard to ignore for future constitutional proposals.

It's called a Citizens' Convention, and it has been tried in other parts of the world - notably British Columbia in Canada. I'm not convinced that the 1980's-1990's Scottish Constitutional Convention was a true Citizens' Convention - it too was led by Politicians and elites, and not Citizens.

There's a very simple Citizens' Convention Bill gaining significant support in Westminster right now - it would be easy to amend the Bill to Scotland's needs and lodge it through Holyrood.

Problem is, the 'process of development and decision' LEAVES Politician's hands under this model ... maybe, just maybe, that's why so few Politicians are willing to promote it :-((


Anonymous said...

Andrew - please stop posting such sensible stuff; not at all in keeping with the usual standards of a Labour Party Cooncillor!

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment.

Not sure how I should take that :-(

In defence of "Cooncillors" everywhere, and from every Party, I do feel obliged to respond that the vast, vast majority are hard-working, dilligent and reasonably sensible!

Of course, there are a few who may not live up to that description ... but I'd bet that's the same in your workplace as well??