Constitution of the Scottish State

The Constitution of the Scottish State

Preamble

We, the people of the sovereign, free and democratic State of Scotland, for the love of our fair nation and proud countrymen and women, do hereby express and enact our collective will through this Scottish Constitution, the supreme and fundamental law of Scotland; which holds that the founding principles of the Scottish State are popular sovereignty as the sole basis for legitimacy, human rights for all, including equality, freedom, justice, a sustainable environment and the search for happiness. This constitution hereby provides, in these detailed articles, a basis for the continual application and respect of these constitutional rights across all of Scottish governance and society, comprehensively underpinned by the most modern digital technology throughout all governing structures. All domaines of law, treaties, regulations and other laws, whether enacted past, present or future, will be void and without effect to the extent that they are incompatible with this Constitution.

Sovereignty of the Scottish People

The Scottish people, all legally living and working in Scotland, are sovereign, and shall exert digitally verifiable peaceful democratic control over the Scottish government, the legal system, and society. This sovereignty may be shared with other international institutions through treaties or conventions.

Scottish Social Contract

The Scottish Government shall, to the fullest extent compatible with Scottish and European Economic Area Law and constitutionally prescribed competences, have the principal objective of improving the lives and promoting the social mobility of all living in Scotland through the equitable provision of basic positive rights to assure individual liberty and nurture fulfilling lives. The Scottish State shall invest in public services to help provide a secure, stable and inclusive society for all which shall encourage people’s talent, enterprise, and ambition. These shall include but not be limited to the provision of clean water, healthy food, education, housing, employment, social welfare benefits, and health care adequate to lead a dignified life.

In exchange, the citizens of Scotland shall commit to benefiting from these rights by engaging in productive, harmonious, and constructive civic life at all levels of government and communities, and employing their innate talents to the further improvement of Scotland and its citizenry.

 

 

Article I – Foundational and Symbolic Principles

Section A: The City of Edinburgh shall be the capital of Scotland.

Section B: The official languages of Scotland shall be Scots, Gaelic, and English.

Section C: The national flag shall be the cross of St Andrew.

Section D: The national anthem shall be “Freedom Come All Ye”

Section E: The national animal shall be the Unicorn.

Article II – Individual Liberties, Rights, and Obligations[edit]

The following liberties, rights, and obligations shall be irrevocably held by all Scottish citizens and legal residents, both individuals and collectives. No individual or collective can be discriminated against on the basis of sex, ethnicity, origin, language, religion, beliefs, physical, mental or ideological diversity, age, genetic characteristics, membership in a national minority, sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other personal or social circumstance or characteristic. There shall be no limitation upon their exercise except to prevent or penalize acts calculated to infringe on the rights and liberties of others, or forcibly to subvert, by either physical or electronic means, the constitutional order that guarantees these rights and liberties. The rights and privileges guaranteed to persons under this Constitution and the Corpus of Scottish Law (CSL hereafter: explained in Article III) extend only to human beings and human collectives; the extent to which such rights and privileges may be extended to other legally sanctioned entities shall be determined by the CSL.

Section A: Equity of Rights

  1. All citizens and residents of Scotland, regardless of their status, shall be equally treated and protected under the CSL. Provision shall be made to assure sex parity in opportunity and pay at all levels of the public and private sector.
  2. The Scottish state is secular and pluralist, and shall not establish, favour, nor disfavour any religion, and shall work towards the appeasement of religious and sectarian conflict in all forms. All religious and religiously owned institutions shall be subject to civil law, regulation, and taxation.
  3. Social equality being the basis and essence of this Constitution and the Scottish polity, no aristocratic or noble privileges, titles and/or estates historically granted by any monarchy shall be recognized by the Scottish State for any purposes. No law which perpetuates social castes, including primogeniture law, shall be recognized, promulgated, or applied. All human beings shall be treated equally under the law.

 

Section B: Fundamental Individual Liberties: The Scottish government shall pass no law infringing upon the following liberties, and shall structure the CSL and corresponding Scottish State institutions to guarantee the following:

  1. The freedom of press, speech, writing, publication, and of the expression of opinion.
  2. The freedom of thought, of conscience, and of religious practice; including to not believe or participate in any religion.
  3. Autonomy of all persons over their bodies, including but not limited to the right to terminate pregnancy and euthanasia.
  4. All human beings have the right to marry and to found a family in accordance with their beliefs and sexual orientation.
  5. All human beings have the right to peacefully assemble and form associations.
  6. No law or government policy shall abridge the right of every person to freely form or join a union in their place of work, collectively bargain with their employer, to strike without state opposition, and the CSL shall penalize any infringement of this right. Every person has the right to conditions of work which are fair, healthy, and which respect the dignity of the person. A living wage and a guaranteed minimum income shall be established by the CSL, to assure that no person will live in poverty, which shall be continuously adjusted according to economic criteria established in the CSL.
  7. The right to privacy in his or her personal affairs, family life, home, and correspondence. Consistent with technological advancement, provision shall be made in the CSL to safeguard personal data and information, and preserve privacy and security in communications and transactions conducted through electronic media with the highest level of security and encryption possible. No restrictions shall be made other than by a modification of the CSL, and must respond to a compelling social need, be limited in duration, and be proportionate to the purpose.
  8. The right to hold private property, and to the enjoyment of his or her property. Nothing in this clause shall invalidate any tax, duty or custom levied in accordance with the CSL, or an environmental regulation imposed on the development or use of land or natural resources.
  9. The obligation of the Scottish government to take action to achieve a healthful environment, including clean air and water and a climate hospitable to life and agriculture. Provision shall be made in the CSL for the protection of the environment, the re-appropriation of land formerly held by the UK aristocracy, and for restrictions on the development of land and natural resources in furtherance of this clause.
  10. Every person shall have access to governmental information, all government reports shall be published upon completion, and the state shall exercise transparency in all functions, except as determined necessary by the CSL to protect the privacy of citizens and the security of the state.
  11. Every person shall have the right to physical safety. All arms and weapons for those who are not on-duty police and military personnel are banned, with very limited exceptions granted for single-shot hunting rifles to be regularly licensed and stored according to the CSL.
  12. The CSL shall not criminalize drug and alcohol use by individuals for personal use, which shall be treated uniquely within the sphere of public health.

Section C: Positive Social and Economic Rights: The Scottish Government shall be constitutionally bound to progressively assure for all, regardless of income, that:

  1. Every person has the right to have access to housing adequate to lead a dignified life.
  2. Every person shall be entitled to a universal basic income and pension adequate for their dignity and well-being during their lifetimes.
  3. Every person shall have sufficient state-funded physical and mental health care to lead a dignified life.
  4. Every person shall have access to a state-funded education which allows them to reach their potential.
  5. Every person from the age of 12 shall be provided with a Scottish Citizen Card, using the most modern distributed ledger and secure identity technology available, whose functions shall include but not limited to the following:
  6. From the age of 16, voting in all elections and referenda
  7. Access to a personal Scottish Citizen bank account, into which all social benefits can be deposited, including retirement, Scottish NHS transactions, universal basic income, and any others established in the CSL.
  8. All personal and medical information included on each person’s card account shall be strictly guarded according to the rigorous data protection law included in the CSL.

Section D: Civic Obligations

  1. All citizens and legal residents of Scotland, regardless of domiciliation status, shall be automatically registered to vote at 16 years of age through their digital self-sovereign identity, which may only be temporarily suspended during incarceration. Voting shall be conducted using the most modern distributed ledger technology available to facilitate 100% participation, and all citizens and legal residents shall be able to participate on all electoral levels. Given the will to achieve 100% participation using modern technologies and electronic voting, internet access for all citizens shall be ensured. By these means, internet access will be granted the status of public good, and completely free to ensure everyone can vote. If the access to internet for all cannot be effective, local internet devices must be accessible for citizens for the duration of the voting period.
  2. All citizens and legal residents of Scotland not in detention shall be required to serve on digital juries, with reasons for discharge to be prescribed by the CSL. Employers shall be required to accommodate those serving on juries.

Article III – The Corpus of Scottish Law

Section A: Purpose of the Corpus of Scottish Law

1: The CSL shall make the entire Scottish legal code transparent and readily available online to all citizens and legal residents, that all may understand and follow the law under all circumstances.

2: The CSL shall be written in the clearest, most understandable language, syntax, punctuation, and wording possible, employing the simplest most broadly understood words available, that all citizens and legal residents clearly understand the law, preventing its misapplication and exploitation, seeking to universally assure equality of access to and treatment under the law.

Section B: Structure of the Corpus of Scottish Law

  1. The Corpus of Scottish Law shall be in the form of a single unified online document which shall be the authoritative source of law and regulation for Scotland.
  2. The CSL shall be divided into spheres of law and further subdivided into domaines, and additional spheres can be developed through the constitutional and legal system.
  3. The structure of the spheres shall include the following:
  4. Antecedents to the sphere of law, including the object, purpose, and aims of the sphere of law
  5. The rights of citizens and legal residents (identical) in the sphere of law, which shall have constitutional status to amend

iii. The administration competent to apply the sphere of law, its structure, and its laws of operation

  1. Domaine I of each sphere of law shall codify the administrative law of the competent administration
  2. Domaine II and additional domaines shall codify the applicable law into specific legal categories.
  3. Each domain of applied law shall include the law, the methods, means, and resources allocated for the application of the domain of law, and the justiciability of the domain.
  4. The Bills of Rights contained within the Spheres of the CSL shall be amended in the same manner as the constitution.
  5. The CSL shall complement and be bound by this Constitution, European Union Law, mechanisms for citizen participation, and international treaties and conventions to which Scotland is signatory.
  6. Each Sphere of the CSL shall be applied by a corresponding administrative department.

Section C: Development and amendment Corpus of Scottish Law

  1. Each Sphere of the CSL shall be continuously amendable and adaptable to be maintained as fit for purpose, obviating the need for regulations.
  2. Development and amendment of the CSL in Parliament shall:
  3. Allow for submissions from Scottish Citizens for addition to or amendment of the CSL.
  4. Allow for substantial input from the various administrations for changes and adaptations of the CSL.

iii. Be conducted in full public view online with digital mechanisms for popular participation during the drafting process.

 

Article IV – Electoral integrity and Citizen Referenda

Section A: Fundamental procedural protections for elections, referenda, campaign finance, and anti-corruption

  1. All elections and referenda shall be conducted using distributed ledger technology, or future equivalent, to assure complete transparency and accuracy of electoral results.
  2. The Scottish Electoral Audit Board shall oversee and apply Electoral Law, and shall have the authority to overturn election and referendum results if sufficiently flagrant violations occur, and a new election/referendum shall be held, as specified in the CSL.
  3. The CSL shall establish an enforceable Code of Conduct for all candidates and elected officials to assure that only people of impeccable honesty and integrity are qualified to hold office to be People’s representative and to be eligible in any mandate. In addition, knowledge of this Constitution and the structure of the CSL shall be an eligibility requirement for all candidates.
  4. Civil servants have to take an oath on the Code of conduct, established by the CSL, to assure that only people of impeccable honesty and integrity to hold office. Civil servants have to prove devotion and loyalties to the Scottish State during the civil service examination, and have to serve the State for a minimum length fixed by the CSL.
  5. The CSL shall regulate fundraising of parties, campaigns, officeholders, and civil servants, to get as close to a complete absence of corruption as is humanly possible.
  6. The CSL shall regulate the duration for all elections and referendum campaigns, to assure minimal disruption to the proper functioning of government and assure equality between candidates.
  7. The CSL shall assure the methodological integrity and accuracy of all research groups, studies, polls, campaign literature, and surveys which inform campaigns.

Section B: Referenda

A referendum is a binding consultation through popular vote over issues of vital importance, or legal provisions of regional, national or international scope. Initiatives that reduce rights and guarantees shall not be the subject of a referendum proposal. Referenda may serve the following purposes:

  1. Recall elections of elected officials and civil servants, under terms established by the CSL.
  2. The Citizen Participation and Referenda section of the CSL shall establish the requirements and conditions for holding citizens’ recall initiatives.
  3. Citizen Constitutional and Legislative initiatives

The CSL shall provide mechanisms for citizens to:

  1. amend or supplement the CSL in any sphere, except the constitution and social progress. b. appeal executive decisions
  2. Conflict resolution referendum
  3. In matters of great importance to citizens, the President of the Scottish State or the Parliament may call upon the Scottish Electoral Auditor Board to hold a referendum to settle a situation of institutional conflict.
  4. The Board shall also consider other conflicts to resolve through referendum

Article 5- The Presidency

Section A: The President of Scotland shall be elected by universal popular distributed ledger technology vote, and shall exercise the following functions:

  1. Representing the liberty, independence and integrity of the Scottish nation, presiding over public ceremonies, and addressing the people on civic occasions and at times of crisis or emergency.
  2. Dissolving Parliament on the advice of the Presiding Officer.
  3. Withholding assent to legislation only in cases of legitimate demonstrable questions over its constitutionality.
  4. Appointing members of the judiciary.
  5. Granting pardons on the advice of the Minister of Justice
  6. Appointing members of independent commissions as prescribed by the CSL.
  7. Awarding civic honours in recognition of public service.

Section B: Election of the President of the Scottish State

  1. All citizens and legal residents living in Scotland over 30 years of age shall be eligible to run for President.
  2. All candidates for the office of President shall be of good moral character, and shall be required to pass the following in order for their name to be put on the ballot, with results made public:

basic literacy test,

Scottish constitutional literacy test,

Mental and physical medical evaluation, and

ethical, financial and criminal background check.

  1. The Presidential term shall last 5 years, limited to two terms.
  2. The President shall be elected in a two-round process. In the first, all party nominees qualified by the Scottish Electoral Audit Board shall be voted upon in a single ballot. If one candidate receives in excess of 50% of the vote he/she shall win the election.
  3. If no one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a second round vote between the two candidates who received the most votes shall be held two weeks after the first round. The candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote shall be elected president.
  4. The presidential and parliamentary campaigns shall be held under the same law, and limits.
  5. The President shall be sworn in one month after election.
  6. The blank vote is recognized as a vote cast.

Section C: Succession and impeachment

  1. In the case of death or incapacitating injury or disease of the President, the Presiding Officer will assume the functions of the Presidency pending a new election within 30 days.
  2. The President can be impeached with according to procedure in the CSL. Allegations deemed sufficiently grave for impeachment shall include, but not be limited to, gross violations of universally applied law and/or personal misconduct.

Section D. Impeachment shall not offer immunity from prosecution for any crimes committed.

Article VI – Parliament

Section A: Ultimate authority to amend and/or expand the Corpus of Scottish Law shall be invested in a unicameral Scottish Parliament.

  1. The Sphere of Parliamentary Law shall regulate the Scottish Parliament in the following areas.
  2. The eligibility requirements for election .
  3. The total number of Deputies, which shall not be fewer than 120 members, nor exceed 200 members.
  4. The duration of Parliamentary terms.
  5. The process whereby the Prime Minister is elected.
  6. The process of Parliamentary dissolution.
  7. How Parliamentary vacancies shall be filled.
  8. How the Presiding officer shall be chosen, who shall have the following functions during parliamentary debate:
  9. Employing fact-checkers in real-time, verifying that sources of all statistics and facts cited during debate are accurate employing valid methodology.
  10. Correcting parliamentarians if inaccurate facts or statistics are cited.
  11. The process of Parliamentary sessions and adjournments.
  12. The composition and functioning of its corporate bodies.
  13. Parliamentary voting procedure employing distributed ledger technology to amend/supplement the CSL, adopt resolutions, treaties, and any other parliamentary procedure
  14. The Scottish Commission for Constitutional Development and Harmonization shall oversee any modification and/or addition to the CSL to assure full conformity with the following criteria:

All must conform to this Constitution.

All research which informs the CSL must be verifiably based on empirical science employing sound, valid, and coherent methodology.

All changes to the text of the CSL must conform to the linguistic and stylistic standards of the CCL (III,A,2).

Any changes must demonstrably improve individual rights, broaden participation in the democratic process, and/or improve the legal functioning of Scottish State institutions for the broadest possible social benefit

Section B: Additional Parliamentary Powers

  1. Parliament shall have the power, in time of war or public emergency, to extend its term of office for a period not exceeding 12 months, by means of a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of its members.
  2. The Parliament shall have the competence to appoint select committees to inspect and oversee the government and to scrutinize modifications or additions to the CSL.
  3. Parliament shall have the authority to form administrative agencies to regulate the various sectors of the Scottish society and economy. Appointees and administrators heading these agencies shall demonstrably have appropriate and relevant experience to lead the agency for the improvement of its efficacy and benefits for broader society.

 

  1. Parliament may appoint Commissions and Boards of Enquiry under terms of the CSL, and the composition, duration and remit shall be specified by parliamentary resolution.
  2. Parliamentary committees, Commissions and Board of Enquiry shall enjoy the authority to subpoena official documents, files and other evidence, and the power to summon Ministers and other officials for hearings where they are compelled to answer questions.
  3. Parliament, its committees and commissions, shall be open to the public and accredited press, and systematically video recorded unless a closed session is authorised, by a two-thirds majority vote, on the grounds of military secrecy, diplomatic security or public interest. A designated web site shall live-stream all proceedings and archive all footage for citizen’s access.
  4. The CSL shall specify the method for designating the Presiding Officer

Section C: All members of Parliament shall:

  1. Enjoy the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, subject to the CSL sphere of Law of Parliament.
  2. Enjoy the freedom to vote in accordance with their consciences through distributed ledger technology, free from imperative mandates, corporate and financial lobbying, binding pledges or intimidation.
  3. Be entitled to a moderate salary, and other incidental allowances which shall not exceed 50% of their annual salary, with limited legally justifiable exceptions, to be automatically and publicly disclosed. Salary shall be based on parliamentary participation criteria established in the CSL.
  4. Be subject to all of the same laws, regulations, and obligations as the rest of the population.
  5. Be majority-time resident in the constituency they represent for at least the three years previous to their election, and other eligibility requirements specified in the CSL.
  6. The CSL shall be modified over time to assure adhesion to these principles.

Presidentialism is tricky. For how long could the president dissolve parliament? He should answer to the Parliament. Power is important in a constitution and i would love to see an article that for example states; “All power emanates from the people”.

It would be worth considering term limits for elected MSPs. A maximum 3 term limit would assure continual turn over of Parliamentarians while discouraging “career politicians”. The limit should apply to both constituency and list MSPs. The terms need not be consecutive. Elected MSPs who have completed their 3 term limit may still be eligible for cabinet positions thereby utilising their experience and knowledge.

Please suggest wording to effect this. Will put it in.

Mark, I wouldn’t be confident enough to encapsulate this properly. There would be several further nuances to my term limits idea. For example, to my mind eligibility for cabinet would only be open to a) current sitting MSPs and b) MSPs who have completed 3 terms including at least 2 as a constituency candidates (not list). If you agree with my suggestion, I’m sure you know of someone who would be more than capable of writing it up in a way that is appropriate for this draft document. It’s an impressive piece of work, by the way.

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Written By: Mark McNaught

Founder of the SSRG, Mark McNaught is a Doctor of Political Science, and is a Maître de Conférences at the University of Rennes, France.