If voters choose independence in a referendum, Scotland will need a constitution. Elliot Bulmer argues here that there are advantages to creating and debating a new constitutional document before trying to navigate the choppy waters of becoming a separate nation.
Scotland and a written constitution
Despite being rejected in the 2014 referendum, Scottish independence has not disappeared from the political agenda. With a series of recent polls showing clear majorities in favour of independence, the question is sure to be revisited.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has long had a policy of adopting a written constitution for Scotland. The party’s substantive proposals have remained remarkably consistent since the publication of a first draft constitution in 1977: a written constitution with an enforceable bill of rights largely based on the European convention, a unicameral parliament elected for fixed terms by proportional representation, and a parliamentary executive operating under a trimmed-down constitutional monarchy. In a nod to Harshan Kumarasingham’s description of India and Ceylon (as it then was) as ‘Eastminsters’, I have previously described the SNP’s constitutional plans for Scotland as a kind of ‘Northminster’ system: a Nordic-wannabe proportional variation of the Westminster Model that is infused by a desire to ‘keep up with the Johansens’, or Westminster-on-Forth, twinned with Oslo.Continue reading