Constitution for Scotland Public Consultation Hub

Section 4.1. Subject to the rights of the People, the supreme legislative power is entrusted to a unicameral Parliament.

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Original Version

  • Avatar admin
    Administrator #1  •  2020-08-16 22:18:11

    Section 4.1. Section 4.1. Subject to the rights of the People, the supreme legislative power is entrusted to a unicameral Parliament.

      • Caledonialan

        Section 4.1. It is true that the current Scottish Parliament functions well, and that the pre-1707 parliament was also unicameral, but I believe consideration should be given to the possibility of a revising chamber in some form, to be constituted in such a way as to minimise the constraints of party politics and maximise the contribution of expertise and unbiased assessment of draft legislation - possibly only with the power to recommend changes.

          • worstludditeever

            Section 4.1. Strong agreement with this. Even with elected members (elections held at different time points) would be better than no revising house.

              • Marilyn Sangster

                Section 4.1. Sorry this is in the wrong place but I find it hard to locate both my comments. Anyway I referred to candidates for any local or national election to pay all their taxes in Scotland. I’m obviously far from knowing much about taxation conditions and law. However the sentiment I expressed was to prevent situations eg. the fact that Rees-Mogg’s company accounts show that I. The last 5 years the company made £103 million in profit yet paid zero tax to the UK since the company is registered I. The Caymen Islands. It is exactly this behaviour which I suggest should prevent anyone doing similar tax evading methods from having say in how the tax paid by people to the Scottish Government, is spent.

                  • Admin/CfS6

                    Section 4.1. Marilyn - you can always find your previous input - click My Comments in the blue header at top of any Hub page..

                    No responses
          • Bennachie

            Section 4.1. I was thinking that a form of People's Assembly might be developed to function in this capacity. With membership serving for only a limited time this could provide a continuing source of fresh ideas from members more in touch with grassroots thinking than career politicians.

              • Arfem

                Section 4.1. There is an informative article on this subject at
                https://www.politico.eu/article/the-myth-of-the-citizens-assembly-democracy/
                which will save us from reinventing this wheel here. The constitution being more about principles than specifics, we could usefully concentrate upon the constitution providing funding for such extra governmental democratic organisations and ensuring that the sections empowering citizen initiated referendums are sufficiently robust to oblige the executive to pay attention to the outcome of their deliberations.

                  • Admin/CfS6

                    Section 4.1. This is good debate - exchange ideas, then consider and only then propose an amendment...

                      • Caledonialan

                        Section 4.1. Difficult to propose an amendment. It would require a rewriting of (at least) the whole article, which is not possible under the current rules here. But it is indeed a good debate, and the idea of a revising chamber seems to find favour with several commentators. If these are the rules under which we are to operate, I suggest the administrators wait until sufficient ideas have been put forward, then propose their own rewriting of the whole article, after due thought and consideration.

                          • Admin/CfS6

                            Section 4.1. Suggestion: there are 22 Sections in Article 4. Apart from Section1, the remainder refer to the structure and conduct of Parliament. It should be possible to propose several replacements for Section 1 which can be voted. Once a lead proposal emerges new Sections may be proposed & voted to refine & define whatever popular preference emerges. This can then compete for votes with the unicameral proposal.

                            No responses
          • kenny321

            Section 4.1. Could be just like the House of Lords. There are a lot of experts of their field in there, but is it effective? Can the 'impartial Head of State' not have the power to recommend changes? Politics just now does cost a lot of money: Local Councillors, Regional Councillors, MPs, MSPs, MEPs (although no longer) staff. Mayors? The list goes on and where are these funded from?

              • Caledonialan

                Section 4.1. Not "just" like, I think, because the House of Lords is riddled with cronyism. But it does also have a fair number of experienced men and women who can contribute usefully to rational debate. I think one condition for nomination and election would have to be independence from any political party, of at least a certain duration. There might also be seats reserved for certain broad fields of experience. As for elections, one possibility might be a sort of electoral college, whose ballot would not be secret and whose members would have to give reasons for their vote. I think it would also be a good idea for only a proportion of membership to be renewed every so many years - perhaps a third every two years?

                No responses
          • finlay1980

            Section 4.1. I broadly agree with the sentiments expressed here, but a revising chamber (properly empowered, and properly elected) could have a real impact - particularly during times of changing political views in response to e.g. economic downturn. Having overlapping parliamentary chambers could provide some additional protections vs unicameral approach. My solution to the problems expressed around duplicating the main chamber, is to propose that a revising chamber have different election rules - e.g. one term only in a lifetime, and that term might last 5 - 8 years to enable elected members to focus on the real issues they care about, not a career approach. This might attract people into politics who are more independently minded, who want to pursue single issue objectives that receive popular support. Without the lure of continuing in power/careerism, it could create a genuinely community-minded body that has real power in the checks and balances of the party political main chamber.

            No responses
          • worstludditeever

            Section 4.1. Suggestion: have a second house that is something like 2/3 elected (on a seperate rotation to the main parliament elections), and 1/3 from people who fill positions in organisations that have a degree of representiveness of the people of Scotland, e.g. SNHS, teaching bodies, Churches, Universities, third sector organisations, Unions and similar. Have these bodies reviewed for the level of representation on a regular (say 10 yearly) basis and rebalance accordingly. The selected participants might then be a 5 year term, providing a degree of expertise in their individual fields.

            No responses
      • Jim Osborne

        Section 4.1. I agree with other commentators who have argued that there should be a "second chamber". It should be an elected chamber and preferably its members should be independent of any political party, although I would concede that this might be hard to enforce. I don't think citizens assembly/ies are the answer although they have an important role to play in a participatory democracy. However it is done it is important to build in effective checks and balances to combat an excessively strong executive. On the other hand we need to avoid the stalemate scenarios that the Congress/Senate set up creates in the USA.

        No responses
      • George McQ

        Section 4.1. Section 4.1. Agree with what others have written here, that a unicameral legislature allows to much power for a single party to dominate, pass only ‘their legislation’ and to not seek consensus. A second revising chamber might be the answer, but it should also be elected and have additional powers (to be determined). Most important that second chamber members do not have party affiliation. To be elected a member must write a statement about his/her background, reasons for running for election, and what he/she hopes to achieve. Terms of office should be staggered, no more than six years, and the position needn’t be full time and be paid accordingly.

          • Admin/CfS6

            Section 4.1. This debate is likely to generate a host of ideas which we can develop with comment, however in due course it will also require several alternative formal proposals to vote on. Please keep in mind that this consultation is exploring “principles” in plain language. Crossing the Ts and dotting the Is is for the lawyers at a future Constitutional Convention. Our task here is to make clear the will of the majority.

              • Arfem

                Section 4.1. Parliament in Scotland will represent the People, but the Constitution needs to provide Popular Democracy with an edge over political ambition and self-interest. A vote once every four or five years does not provide adequate accountability. We could achieve that by formally empowering a non-Party representative group of electors in each Constituency with meaningful ties to their representatives in Parliament. Such Constituency Groups could also recruit local talent and expertise to populate a Second Chamber should this be advocated.

                  • Arfem

                    Section 4.1. Half the world’s countries including all the Scandinavians, have a Unicameral Parliament.. Reflecting the mood elsewhere for closer ties and more accountability between MPs and their Constituents, we might formally establish a non-party Association within each Parliamentary Constituency. This would be a Forum where voters could collectively keep their MP informed of their wishes, but could also call upon local expertise to advise on proposed legislation. So we might have a local ‘second chamber’ for each Constituency?

                    No responses
              • Arfem

                Section 4.1. Half the world’s countries including all the Scandinavians, have a Unicameral Parliament.. Reflecting the mood elsewhere for closer ties and more accountability between MPs and their Constituents, we might formally establish a non-party Association within each Parliamentary Constituency. This would be a Forum where voters could collectively keep their MP informed of their wishes, but could also call upon local expertise to advise on proposed legislation. So we might have a local ‘second chamber’ for each Constituency?
                Incidentally, a Citizens’ Assembly is already at Section 7.16

                No responses
      • Miles

        Section 4.1. If the emphasis is on power residing with the people rather than political parties and their leaders, ensuring the peoples of Scotland have regular frequent means to powerfully represent themselves becomes the objective. To do this, suggest a directly democratically elected quad parliament:
        General Assembly; members elected (every 4 years) to seats at a pan Scotland level, the constituency being Scotland. Voted using proportional representation.
        House of Regions; members elected (every 4 years) to this on a regional constituency level using the same method as currently for the Scottish Parliament.
        First Minister; directly elected (every 4 years) by the peoples of Scotland using a form of proportional representation.
        Supreme Court; directly elected (every 4 years) by the peoples of Scotland using a form of proportional representation.

          • Caledonialan

            Section 4.1. I do not believe that judicial bodies should be elected in any way, although I agree that there has to be a means of transparent and accountable appointment. The idea of proportional representation in that context presupposes a vote on party political lines, which cannot be acceptable for the appointment of neutral judges. We do not want to go down the US rabbit-hole.

            No responses
      • echr8

        Section 4.1. Camerality should not be fixed in the constitution. As other posts illustrate, adaptations to the camerality have many potential ways to grow organically.

        No responses

Proposed Amendment to Section 4.1.


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