September 24, 2014
One of the many unpredicted consequences rippling out of the referendum has been the renewed calls for some kind of constitutional adjustment across the rest of the UK to take account of Scotland’s existing and future devolved powers. If Scotland had voted Yes, one of the processes that would have been set in motion was to be the drafting of a constitution for the country. The logic behind having a constitution is so compelling that many believe it should happen anyway – for the whole UK and that it should be a citizen led process.
Last Thursday Scotland said no, but questions about the future of how the UK is governed remain. Before the referendum, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all made big promises on devolving more power to the Scottish Parliament. And calls have begun for further devolution to the UK nations and regions.
Whatever way these questions are resolved, what’s clear is that these decisions need to be made by the people of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and not by politicians behind closed doors.
There should be a UK-wide Constitutional Convention – a body led by citizens, with the power to suggest ideas on how we can renew our politics and improve the way the UK is governed.
Help people have their say – sign our call for a UK-wide Constitutional Convention
The referendum made politics an everyday topic of conversation and saw a huge turnout – a rare rush of engagement in politics, which is usually seen as offering people little power over the decisions that affect their lives.
A Convention would take the debate about our future to the rest of the UK. It would allow people to decide how the UK should be governed, and where the balance of power between Westminster and the rest of the country ought to lie.
And whilst sculpted to suit the particular character of the UK, its work could be guided by the recent conventions in Ireland and Iceland where citizens led the debate and generated new ideas.
Director, Electoral Reform Society Scotland