A guest post by John Souter.
Having first read then listened to the presentation of the Hugo Young lecture I think its fair to say it's one of the few speeches that come over better through the personality and commitment of the speaker than it does as two dimensional script.
One major point in its favour was, while the knee jerk comments from proponents for protecting their positions within the status quo were referred to, they were given the value and rejection they deserve as the equivalent to water off a duck's back.
Of late, and probably for the foreseeable future, we are going to be snowed under by these vacuous fictions claiming to be and paraded as facts. Unfortunately one of the downsides of this is the knee jerk reaction to make equally fatuous retorts. Both are wearisome to an extent they can create parallel negative reactions. The Hugo Young speech shows how we should react by sticking to purpose and conviction rather than the mince of rhetorical hyperbole.
That said and, while it's understandable that for the present the process of the referendum should claim priority, there are still major issues such as EU membership etc., being the democratic choice for an independent Scotland and the form of Constitution adopted by Scotland to maintain, protect and empower the sovereignty of its people. In fact so interlaced are the two issues the decision on the EU cannot be legitimately made until the constitutional model is finalised.
I've struggle with this for sometime and as a consequence of being as intellectually lazy and politically naive as the next man, it slowly dawned on me that I was also constitutionally illiterate. That I knew what I didn't want, which was the model of democracy as practised by Westminster should not be the model adopted by Scotland.
But what form should the new constitution take? And, given the wedges driven into the American Declaration of Independence by its Supreme Court, political hegemonies and corporate hijackers, was any constitution binding enough to be impregnable by short term interests in the power game?
The last question is still open, but - and here I have to declare my intent, though I have neither direct nor indirect interest in the books success - while the wearisome Machiavellian machinations of Earls and political mandarins have been rolling on, I've been reading Elliot Bulmer's "A Model Constitution For Scotland."*
While it doesn't claim to be the definitive version, it does serve as a foundation for debate and analysis on the objectives, construct and purpose a constitution should serve. In truth I found it empowering and a clear indication of just how positively comprehensive and radically democratic an independent Scotland could be.
I look forward to the debate. And in case it’s considered I'm completely uncritical of the book, it doesn't quite cover the Lobbying aspects nor the wedges being allowed to drive cracks in the American version. But that was drawn up two hundred years ago and times do change; perhaps we should incorporate in Scotland's a re-affirmation by referendum every two or three parliamentary terms?
* Elliot Bulmer 'A Model Constitution for Scotland' - ISBN is 1-908373-13-X Published by Luath Press. £10.99 inc pp.