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A New Scottish Constitution

I am one of those who believe that it is enviable that Scotland will one day regain its full independence. The constitution below, as outlined by the Scottish National Party, is a good starting point and I request all to present their opinions on it.

See also this PDF(225k) file Raising The Standard

RAISING THE STANDARD

There shall be an independent Scottish Parliament’

St Andrew’s Day, 2005

Contents

Foreword by Alex Salmond MP

Summary

1. Introduction
2. Creating a Sovereign Parliament
3. What an Independent Parliament Can Do
4. Scotland and the World
5. Constitutional Arrangements
6. Next Steps

Appendix A

Foreword by Alex Salmond MP
Leader of the Scottish National Party

Scotland’s future is as a normal independent country. I want to see a sovereign Scotland with all the freedoms we need to make our country flourish. I believe this new settlement offers the best way forward for our country. Scotland will take full responsibility for our own future success. We will become an equal partner with the rest of the United Kingdom and a full member of the United Nations and European Union.

Westminster will no longer be responsible for those areas of policy reserved under the Scotland Act 1998. Scotland will take its own decisions on the full range of policy areas including promoting Scotland to the world, ensuring national security and growing the economy after years of relative decline. We will take full control of Scotland’s resources, levy our own taxes and conclude our own international treaties. Our nation will, after 300 years, rejoin the world as an equal nation state.

The Scottish Parliament will have all the powers it needs to make a difference to the lives of the people of Scotland. With its new responsibilities, our Parliament will be in a position to deliver vigorous sustainable growth in the Scottish economy. We will be free to make our own decisions about war and peace, and for once will ensure Scottish interests are properly represented around the world. Policies on health, welfare and education will respond more directly to Scotland’s needs. Our Parliament, free to put Scotland first, will work to protect our unique environment, develop our extensive energy resources, promote and preserve our natural and built heritage and ensure we have an infrastructure fit for the 21st century.

Like many others, I have campaigned long and hard for a Scottish Parliament. I have always believed that only a real Parliament can make a real difference. Nearly seven years of the devolved Scottish Parliament have confirmed the need for more powers and greater control. It is now time to take our Parliament and nation forward. It is, once again, time for decision. It is time to move on.

This consultation sets out in practical detail how we can move from a devolved to a fully sovereign Parliament. It creates the framework for constitutional settlement that offers the best hope and greatest opportunity for Scotland. A referendum will be held within the first term of an SNP government in Holyrood. The people of Scotland will make their choice. I am confident that there will be a resounding vote in favour of a better Parliament and a new Scotland.
ALEX SALMOND MP

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Summary: An independent Parliament
There shall be an independent Scottish Parliament.

An independent Parliament will have sovereignty over the full range of matters that affect Scotland. Current reservations in the Scotland Act will be removed and the parliament will have the power to legislate in all areas, reserved and devolved, subject only to agreed international obligations.

There will be a Scottish Government headed by a Prime Minister, which will operate in the same way as other international Governments and which will be held to account by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament and Government will be responsible for, among other things:

• The constitution including the Crown, Parliament, electoral law and the Civil Service;

• Economic policy including macroeconomic, monetary and fiscal affairs;

• Trade and industry including the law on companies and business associations, insurance, corporate insolvency and intellectual property, regulation of financial institutions and financial services, competition policy, consumer protection, international trade policy; inward investment; tourism; and European Structural Funds;

• Employment legislation including industrial relations, equal opportunities and health and safety;

• Energy including, oil, gas, coal, nuclear and renewable energy, the transmission regime and regulation;

• Social security policy and administration, including benefits and the matters for which the Benefits Agency is responsible, contributions, child support maintenance and occupational and personal pension regulation and related employment policy, services and assistance;

• Foreign policy including the ability to conclude European Union and other international agreements, relations with other States, the promotion of Scotland overseas and International Development matters;

• Defense and national security including responsibility for the armed forces; the security services, and provisions for dealing with terrorism;

• The protection of borders including designation of Scotland’s land and maritime borders and fisheries limits, immigration and nationality, extradition;
                  
• The law and home affairs including civil and criminal law and the criminal justice and prosecution system; police and prisons; fire services; civil defense and emergency planning;

• Health including the National Health Service and public and mental health;

• Education and training including pre-5, primary, secondary, further and higher education; and training policy and programmes;

• Transport including regulation of aviation and shipping, marine and air safety, rail safety and regulation road traffic regulation and the full range of road, rail, air, sea transport and inland waterways matters;

• Local government, social work and housing including local government structure and finance; social work; the voluntary sector; housing policy; area regeneration; building control; and the statutory planning framework;

• Sport and the arts including sportscotland, the Scottish Arts Council and the national institutions; media and broadcasting and the National Lottery;

• The environment including international agreements; environmental protection policy and matters relating to air, land and water pollution; the natural and built heritage; and water supplies, sewerage, flood prevention and coastal protection;

• Agriculture, fisheries and forestry

• Research, statistics and the regulation of professions


Scotland in the World
The legislation setting up an independent Scottish Parliament will specify that powers currently reserved to the UK Parliament will become the sole responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. The House of Commons and House of Lords will no longer be able to legislate in relation to Scotland.

Relations with the E.U. will become the responsibility of the Scottish Government, which will seek agreement with the European Union on representation within the Parliament, Council and Commission.

Scotland will have the right to remain a member of the European Union with all rights and responsibilities that entails and will seek membership of the United Nations and other international bodies.

Ministers of the Scottish government will participate in meetings of the Council of Ministers and the Scottish Parliament will scrutinize and implement E.U legislative proposals.


There will be a Scottish representative office in Brussels (SCOTREP) to further Scotland’s interests and a network of Scottish trade missions and embassies will be established based on Scotland’s share of current UK assets.

The new constitutional arrangements
The Act of Union 1707 will be repealed and the Scotland Act 1998 amended so that Scotland becomes a fully sovereign nation state, independent of England.

The Queen will continue to be Head of State of Scotland for as long as the Scottish people wish it.

Scotland will no longer be represented at Westminster and the post of Secretary of State for Scotland will cease to exist.

The Scottish government will work closely with the UK government and with the government of Ireland in the British Isles Council at both Ministerial and official level with the aim of furthering relations, maintaining cross-border arrangements as appropriate and ensuring continuing partnership between the peoples of these islands.

The House of Lords will cease to be a court of appeal for Scottish cases.

Financial arrangements
Scotland will be responsible for levying and collecting all its own taxes; with the Scottish government managing expenditure, revenue, investment and borrowing in accordance with Scottish needs and priorities subject to the approval of the Scottish parliament.

Electoral and parliamentary arrangements
The first independent Scottish parliament will be elected on the same basis as the devolved Scottish parliament. The parliament will be responsible for its own electoral arrangements subject to any limits set out in Scotland’s constitution.

Eligibility to vote will be based on residency.

The Scottish Parliament will have a 4-year fixed term. The Prime Minister will be appointed and Ministers approved by Parliament.

Next steps
An SNP government will ask the people of Scotland to vote in a referendum on the proposals set out in a White Paper. These will be based on the proposals outlined in this consultation.

Following a positive referendum result the Scottish Executive will begin negotiations with the government of the UK on the details of the Independence settlement.

The Scottish Parliament will issue a Declaration of Scottish Sovereignty and inform the United Nations and European Union of the decision of the Scottish people.

Legislation will be enacted in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster to put into effect the transfer of sovereignty to the Scottish Parliament.

Elections to the independent Scottish Parliament will be held and a new Scottish government established.


1. Introduction and Background

1.1 The Scottish National Party believes that the Scottish people should have full control over their own affairs. With their agreement we will improve the way Scotland is governed by legislating to create a Scottish Parliament with full powers over matters currently reserved and devolved.

This Chapter sets out the historical background and developments since the 1970s.

Historical background

1.2 Following the Union of Crowns of Scotland and England in 1603, the Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments in 1707 created a Parliament of Great Britain meeting in London. However many of Scotland’s distinct national institutions were preserved and through the generations many Scots argued for a return to full national independence.

1.3 A Secretary of State for Scotland was appointed in the first post-union Government. After 1745 however no such appointment was made; and while responsibility for Scotland during the majority of the ensuing period lay with the Home Secretary, most of the effective political power was exercised by the Lord Advocate.

This system lasted until 1885 when the office of Secretary for Scotland was created. The status of the office of Secretary for Scotland was enhanced in 1926 to that of Secretary of State. As the Secretary of State’s responsibilities gradually increased, St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh became the headquarters of The Scottish Office in 1939 and the functions of The Scottish Office in London were transferred to Edinburgh.

Over the years, further administrative devolution to The Scottish Office took place, resulting in the addition of major functions such as industrial support, training, higher education and the arts.

Scotland Act 1978

1.4 Following the success of the SNP in the 1974 elections, the then Labour Government brought forward proposals to establish a Scottish Assembly. In November 1977 a Scotland Bill providing for the establishment of a Scottish Assembly was introduced; it received its Royal Assent on 31 July 1978.

The Act required that a referendum be held; but a ‘wrecking’ amendment had been included, which required, that if less than 40% of the electorate voted in favour of its provisions, an Order repealing the Act should be laid.

The referendum was held on 1 March 1979. 1,230,937 voted in favour of an Assembly - a majority in excess of 77,000 - but this represented only 32.9% of the electorate; and so the Act was repealed by Order on 26 July 1979.

                    
Scotland Act 1998

1.5 In 1988, the Scottish Constitutional Convention was established, bringing together politicians and civic Scotland on the basis of a generally agreed Claim of Right asserting the sovereignty of the Scottish people. However, the Convention quickly rejected independence as an option and brought forward instead proposals for a devolved Scottish Parliament. The Convention’s final report Scotland’s Parliament. Scotland’s Right was published on St Andrew’s Day, 1995.

The British Government elected in 1997 had a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on devolution for Scotland.

They introduced legislation to enable the people of Scotland to vote in that referendum, which was held in September 1997 on proposals set out in a White Paper ‘Scotland’s Parliament’. After a campaign which encompassed both supporters of independence and devolution, the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly for a Scottish Parliament and for tax-varying powers for that Parliament.

The referendum entrenched the sovereign will of the Scottish people and the Westminster parliament put this into effect in the Scotland Act 1998, which established the first Scottish parliament in the democratic era.

Scotland’s Parliament and Scotland’s Future

1.6 SNP MSP, Winifred Ewing, opened the first session of the Scottish Parliament on 12th May 1999 with the words: "The Scottish Parliament adjourned on the 25th day of March 1707 is hereby reconvened.”

In 1999 Labour became the largest party in terms of seats with the SNP as the main opposition party. The election of 2003 once again produced a Labour-Liberal Democrat Executive.

After almost seven years of a coalition government, an increasing number of MSPs have been arguing for more powers for the Parliament. This has led supporters in civic Scotland and the pro-Independence parties to look again at the powers of the Scottish Parliament and to convene an Independence Convention on St Andrew’s Day 2005.

1.7 This paper is the SNP’s contribution and our proposals for consultation with that Convention. It contains both a format for agreeing the steps towards independence which should be generally agreed, and also sets out some SNP proposals for what Scotland may wish to do with that independent status. On this latter aspect, other parties may quite legitimately wish to take a different view.
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2. Creating a Sovereign Parliament

2.1 An SNP government is committed to freeing the Scottish Parliament so it has enough power to deliver a better deal for Scotland. This Chapter sets out a framework for this independent Scottish Parliament and Government.

2.2 The proposed settlement reflects the experience of the first two sessions of the devolved Scottish Parliament and with Appendix A identifies the full range of policy areas where Scotland will have full control.

In many of these areas Scotland is currently held back because control remains in the hands of a government in London that too often sidelines Scottish interests and puts Britain first.

A Sovereign Scottish Parliament

2.3 The Scottish Parliament will take on sole responsibility to make laws in relation to devolved and reserved matters. It will be able to amend or repeal existing Acts of the UK Parliament and to pass new legislation of its own in relation to all matters affecting Scotland.

2.4 The reservations in the Scotland Act will cease and the Scottish Parliament will have full legislative power including over the economy, the constitution, international relations, national security and welfare.

An illustrative list can be found in Appendix A.

The Scottish Government

2.5 The Scottish Government, which will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament, will exercise executive responsibility.

The relationship between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament will be similar to the relationship between the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament at the moment.

2.6 The Government will consist of the Prime Minister plus a team of Scottish Ministers including Law Officers.

The remaining statutory powers and duties exercised by Ministers of the Crown in Scotland in relation to reserved matters will be transferred to Ministers of the Scottish Government.

Public bodies    
      
2.7 The Parliament and its committees will hold public bodies to account for their actions in Scotland and will have the power to legislate in respect of these bodies.

2.8 In certain areas where public bodies have a UK or GB remit the Scottish Parliament can come to arrangements with the UK government for a continuation of cross-border services.

2.9 These may include the BBC, Post Office and the DVLA until such times as arrangements are put in place for a distinct Scottish service

2.10 The additional powers that will be given to the Scottish Parliament will enable it to bring renewed direction, confidence and prosperity to the people of Scotland and allow Scotland to develop its own solutions while allowing for co-operation and partnership with the rest of the UK where appropriate.
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3. What an Independent Parliament Can Do

This section reflects SNP ideas, but other parties may wish to do things differently post-independence.

3.1 Winning independence will enable the Scottish Government to deliver more for the people of Scotland. Ministers will have maximum flexibility and opportunity without any of the restrictions created by the reservation of some important powers to London.

3.2 The essence of Independence is that the Scottish Parliament will be free to act and able to put Scotland’s interests first.

Making Scotland richer and more competitive

3.3 At the moment the Scottish Parliament is limited in the steps it can take to make Scotland a more competitive place to do business and therefore is unable to take the most effective measures to promote economic growth and prosperity. In Let Scotland Flourish it was shown that matching the growth rates of other small European nations would mean an independence bonus of an additional £19bn in the economy by 2015, or £4000 per Scot.

3.4 Independence will give Scotland control over fiscal and monetary policy and allow a Scottish government if they so wish, to reduce taxes for business to encourage investment in Scotland. At the moment, these levers are controlled by a British Chancellor, who will do nothing to give Scotland an edge.

3.5 Analysis of Scotland’s relative budgetary position within the UK shows that for years there has been a net outflow from Scotland to the rest of the UK. In the current financial year, that amounts to some £3.55 billion.

Removing Barriers

3.6 At the moment the Scottish Parliament is hampered by policies implemented by British departments. Independence would remove these barriers.

3.7 It would allow the Scottish government to access the £20 million in Attendance Allowance kept back by the Department of Work and Pensions when free personal care was introduced in Scotland. Accessing this £20 million would allow the Scottish government to expand the number of care beds for older Scots and meet the true cost of care – benefiting thousands of elderly residents.

3.8 The UK government is considering raising the retirement age to 67. This is a policy that will hits Scots hardest and takes absolutely no account of Scotland’s lower life expectancy. It is a policy that will mean the average man in Glasgow will receive 6 times less state pension in his lifetime than the average man in the heart of London. If we had control over pensions we could block this British proposal and pay a fairer pension to older Scots.

                
Controlling Scotland’s Resources

3.9 Scotland is blessed with a range of energy resources and is best placed in Europe to develop new renewable and low carbon technologies. We have some of the best sites for offshore wave, wind and tidal power and for carbon capture and sequestration. A Scottish government would have no need to consider new nuclear power stations.

3.10 But UK control of energy policy means that Scottish producers face higher charges to connect to the electricity grid and there are huge disincentives which are preventing Scotland from taking full advantage of its energy wealth.

3.11 At the same time, Britain benefits to the tune of £1 billion a month from Scotland’s Oil. It is little wonder they are determined to keep control. In the thirty years since oil first began to flow, the British Treasury has taken over £200 billion, with very little return for Scotland.

3.12 Government and industry estimates suggest that half the oil remains in the Scottish sector of the North Sea and that there is a bright future for the industry. If Scotland gains control of its oil and gas reserves, it will be able to invest the second half of this energy windfall in a fund for future generations.

3.13 After just 10 years the revenues from the fund will match Scotland’s oil revenues ensuring that our oil wealth provides benefits for now and for years to come. A Scottish oil fund will allow us to transform Scotland’s infrastructure and tackle the structural inequalities that have left too many Scots facing poverty and reduced life expectancy.

Free to make decisions on war and peace

3.14 An independent Scottish Parliament would be free to take Scottish troops out of Iraq and would have been another voice for United Nations action to remove the threat of Saddam Hussein. As part of Britain, Scotland’s voice was sidelined and Scottish soldiers were put into danger against the wishes of the people.

3.15 Instead of engaging in illegal wars, Scotland’s armed forces would be able to contribute to international peacekeeping and disaster relief missions. We would look to work in partnership with friends and allies in Europe and elsewhere to ensure a focused and effective response to international emergencies.

3.16 An independent Scottish Parliament would never have destroyed Scotland’s regimental tradition and could restore Scotland’s historic infantry regiments.

Scotland represented internationally

3.17 A Scottish government would sit as of right at the top table of Europe and would, like Ireland, Denmark, Finland and other small European nations, have significant rights and powers in the E.U and its institutions. At the moment Scotland is sidelined by the UK and left silent or unrepresented in most E.U meetings. Our interests are repeatedly sold
out.

3.18 An independent Scotland would be entitled to membership of the United Nations and other international bodies. This would give Scotland a clout and presence it does not currently enjoy as part of the UK.

3.19 An independent Scotland would automatically have its own Olympic team and Scotland would once again be represented in the full range of world sporting championships. As part of Britain fewer Scots get a chance of success on the world stage. Every other nation of similar size to Scotland sends more competitors to the Olympics.

Contributing to a better world

3.20 An independent Scotland would be a nuclear free Scotland. The UK’s nuclear submarines would have to be removed from Scottish waters, encouraging the UK, we hope, to end its dangerous reliance on an outdated nuclear deterrent.

3.21 After thirty years of broken British promises a Scottish government would have the ability to finally deliver on the UN target of 0.7% international aid.

Ensuring a fairer, better Scotland

3.22 With control over Asylum policy a Scottish government would be able to end the appalling practice of dawn raids to remove failed asylum seekers and their young families.

3.23 Scotland’s Parliament would be able to demand better labeling on food and drink so parents know exactly what is being put into their children’s food, but at the moment these powers are held by London and Scotland can only take this important step if Britain agrees. Scotland is held back by the decisions of others.

3.24 At the moment Scottish ministers are responsible for landfill, but not for the packaging that creates much of the landfill in this country. The Executive is being asked to deal with the growing problem of waste disposal with one hand tied behind its back. More powers would allow a joined up approach and mean a cleaner environment.

3.25 Scotland produces eight times more gas than we need. There is no good reason Scots should be facing high energy prices or the threat of winter shortages.
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4. Scotland and the World

This chapter sets out Scotland’s inherited position in the international community and how an SNP government would seek to engage Scotland fully in the world.

4.1 With independence the UK Parliament will no longer be able to legislate in relation to Scotland. Scotland will become a state in its own right and will be recognized as such by the international community.

4.2 The Scottish government will be able to develop and implement its own foreign policy and promote Scotland’s national interests at home and abroad.

4.3 Scotland will be an outward looking nation and will seek to engage fully with the international community. It will inherit a range of rights and responsibilities in international law as a successor State to the United Kingdom.

4.4 As Scotland’s nearest neighbor, the United Kingdom will be a close friend and ally and remain a partner in a range of policy initiatives and the provision of some cross-border services.

4.5 A Scottish government will also look to build on the current close working relationships within the British Isles and will maintain partnership and co-operation through an effective British Isles Council.

4.6 Scotland will remain a member of the European Union with all rights and responsibilities that entails. Scottish independence will create two new member states out of one. They would have equal status with each other and the other member states. Relations with the E.U will become the responsibility of the Scottish Government, which will seek agreement with the European Union on representation within the Parliament, Council and Commission.

4.7 Ministers of the Scottish government will participate in meetings of the Council of Ministers and the Scottish Parliament will scrutinize and implement E.U legislative proposals. There will be a Scottish representative office in Brussels (SCOTREP) to further Scotland’s interests.

4.8 The Scottish government will also ensure the promotion of Scotland’s interests internationally with a network of embassies and trade missions. Initially these will be funded and provided from Scotland’s share of existing UK expenditure and overseas assets.

4.9 Scotland will seek recognition by the United Nations and full membership as an independent State. The government will appoint a Scottish Ambassador to the UN.

4.10 Scotland will remain a member of the Commonwealth and will inherit membership of a range of international organizations. Scotland’s government will be able to continue membership as appropriate to ensure full representation of the national interest.
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5. Constitutional Arrangements

5.1 This Chapter has four key elements: the creation of a new constitution for Scotland; the principles of the new constitutional arrangements; the transition from devolution to independence; and the structure of a Scottish government.

The creation of a new constitution for Scotland

5.2 A draft of a new constitution shall be drawn up by a constitutional convention established under the direction of the independent Scottish Parliament.

5.3 The convention will be representative of Scottish society and shall include Scots of various origins and backgrounds.

5.4 The proceedings of the convention must be organized so as to ensure the fullest possible participation of citizens in all regions of Scotland, including through the creation of regional sub-committees, if necessary.

5.5 The convention will table the draft constitution before the Scottish Parliament, which will approve the final text. The draft constitution will be submitted to a referendum and will, once approved, become the fundamental law of Scotland.

The principles of the new constitutional arrangements

5.6 Under these proposals, the UK Parliament will cease to have any legislative powers in relation to Scotland. Scotland will become a fully sovereign State. The parliament of Scotland will be a continuation of the parliament established by the Scotland Act 1998, with full sovereign powers over all matters reserved and devolved in that Act.

5.7 Sovereignty will rest with the Scottish people: and it will be exercised by the Scottish Parliament and Government for and on behalf of the Scottish people.

5.8 The new constitution will affirm the rule of law and include a charter of human rights and freedoms. It will also affirm that citizens have responsibilities towards their fellow citizens.

5.9 The new constitution will remove any barriers or impediments to the succession based on religion or gender and ensure protection for all against discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, age, gender, faith or religion, social background or sexual orientation.

5.10 The new constitution will affirm the principle of de-centralization with power exercised at the most appropriate level and special recognition given to Scotland’s island and linguistic communities.

The transition from Devolution to Independence

5.11 The Parliament of Scotland will adopt the text of an interim constitution. This will be in force from the date Scotland becomes a sovereign State until the new constitution of Scotland comes into force.

5.12 The interim constitution must ensure the continuity of the democratic institutions of Scotland and of the constitutional rights existing on the date Scotland becomes independent. These include human rights and freedoms and the rule of law.

5.13 Until the interim constitution comes into force, the laws, rules and conventions for the internal governance and constitution of Scotland shall remain in force.

5.14 Scotland shall retain its boundaries as they exist within the United Kingdom on the date Scotland becomes a sovereign State. It shall exercise its jurisdiction over the areas adjacent to its coast, and over the land, air and water forming its territory, in accordance with the rules of international law.

5.15 Every person domiciled in Scotland on the date Scotland becomes independent acquires Scottish citizenship.

5.16 Every person born in Scotland who is domiciled outside Scotland on the date Scotland becomes independent, and who claims Scottish citizenship also acquires Scottish citizenship.

5.17 On independence Scottish citizenship will be obtainable as determined by law. In particular and at least, Scottish citizenship shall be granted to every person born in Scotland, or born outside Scotland to a father or mother holding Scottish citizenship.

5.18 Scottish citizenship may be held alongside British citizenship or that of any other country.

5.19 The Queen shall continue to be Head of State of Scotland. Any move to change that position will require a referendum.

5.20 The Scottish Parliament shall be responsible for the rules governing the exercise of the royal prerogative and for the laws of succession.

5.21 The currency shall continue to be sterling until such times as Parliament decides to change that position. Any move to adopt the Euro will require the sanction of the people in a referendum.

5.22 In accordance with the rules of international law, Scotland shall assume the obligations and enjoy the rights set forth in the relevant treaties and international conventions and agreements to which the United Kingdom is a party on the date Scotland becomes an independent country, including continued membership of the European Union and application of the acquis communitaire.

5.23 The Government will apply for the admission of Scotland to the United Nations. It shall take the necessary steps to ensure the participation of Scotland in the World Trade Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Commonwealth and other international organizations and conferences.

5.22 The Government shall take the necessary steps to ensure the continuing participation of Scotland in defence alliances of which the United Kingdom is a member. It would be the policy of the SNP only to maintain membership of non-nuclear defence alliances, including partnership through the WEU/European Common Defence and


Security Policy.

5.23 Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and the regulations of that Parliament that apply in Scotland on the date Scotland becomes an independent country, shall be deemed to be laws and regulations of Scotland. Such legislative and regulatory provisions shall be maintained in force until they are amended, replaced or repealed.

5.24 The Government shall take steps to ensure the continuity of the social security and tax credit programs and guarantee the payment of benefits currently paid by the government of the United Kingdom to individuals domiciled in Scotland when Scotland becomes an independent country.

5.25 Pensions and other supplements payable to the elderly shall continue to be paid by the government of Scotland at least according to the same terms and conditions.

5.26 The House of Lords shall cease to be the final court of appeal in Scottish civil cases. Cases pending before the House of Lords shall be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Court of Session.

5.27 Civil servants and other government employees in United Kingdom departments, agencies and organisations, who are domiciled in Scotland will become, if they so wish, public servants or employees of the government of Scotland. This will include members of the United Kingdom armed forces.

5.28 The government will be authorized to conclude any other agreement with the Government of the United Kingdom to facilitate the transition to Independence. This will include the equitable apportionment of the assets and liabilities of the United Kingdom.

5.29 In the event of dispute between the Scottish government and the government of the United Kingdom, the Scottish government will seek international arbitration through the European Union or the United Nations.

The structure of government in Scotland

5.30 The Scottish Parliament will have a 4-year fixed term and eligibility to vote will be based on residency. The Prime Minister will be appointed and Ministers approved by Parliament. As outlined in Chapter 2, executive power will be exercised by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Parliament will hold the executive to account for its actions.

5.31 Ministers of the Scottish Government will be answerable to the Scottish Parliament, and that Parliament’s committees will be able to scrutinize and report on the effectiveness of the Government’s administrative action and its use of public monies voted to it by the Parliament.

5.32 The Scottish Government will require the services of Law Officers to provide it with advice on legal matters and to represent its interests in the courts. The Lord Advocate will be responsible for the prosecution and investigation of crimes and offences. The independence of the Lord Advocate as public prosecutor will be maintained and the post of Advocate General will be abolished.


5.33 Scottish Freedom of Information legislation will apply equally to matters currently devolved and reserved.

5.34 A Parliamentary Ombudsman will be independently appointed to investigate complaints about the Government’s handling of matters and a system of financial audit will be put in place, overseen by the Scottish Parliament.

5.35 In summary, the proposals set out in this Chapter establish a clear and durable framework within which the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government can exercise their powers and discharge their responsibilities.

5.36 This Chapter also sets out how the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government will relate to local government and other public bodies in Scotland. Local government, representing as it does communities throughout Scotland, is of particular importance.

5.37 Arrangements will continue to be based on the following principles:

• the Scottish Parliament should set the national framework within which other Scottish public bodies operate;

• local authorities, non-departmental public bodies and other Scottish public bodies should be open and accountable to the Scottish people either through the Scottish Parliament and its Executive or directly through local elections.

5.38 The Scottish people will be served best by a Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government working closely with strong democratically elected local government. The Scottish Parliament and Government will determine the details of their relationships with local authorities and funding and taxation arrangements for local government in partnership with local government and following the principles of subsidiarity.

5.39 Some executive functions of government will be best delivered by public bodies stablished for the purpose provided that democratic accountability is ultimately retained by Ministers.

5.40 The Scottish Government will have responsibility for all Scottish public bodies and will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament for them. The Scottish Executive will assume the responsibilities of Ministers of the Crown in relation to reserved bodies.

5.41 Appointments to Scottish public bodies will be subject to independent scrutiny and conform to the Commissioner of Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
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6. Next Steps

6.1 Independence will happen when the people of Scotland vote for it. That principle of Scottish popular sovereignty has been well established throughout Scottish history and was recently endorsed in the Claim of Right before the passage of the Scotland Act 1998.

6.2 An SNP led government elected in 2007 will ask the people of Scotland to vote in a referendum within its first term on the proposals and principles set out in a White Paper which will be the final version of this consultation.

6.3 Everyone resident in Scotland will be entitled to vote in that referendum. The question will be:

The Scottish Parliament should negotiate a new settlement with the British government so that Scotland becomes a sovereign and independent state:

Yes, I agree

or

No, I disagree

6.4 Following a positive referendum result the Scottish Executive will begin negotiations with the government of the UK on the details of the independence settlement and on the transfer of powers to the Scottish Parliament. It shall inform the United Nations and European Union of the decision of the Scottish people.

6.5 The Scottish Parliament will issue a Declaration of Scottish Sovereignty.

6.6 The Declaration of Scottish Sovereignty

The Scottish Parliament confirms and proclaims the sovereignty of the people of Scotland and acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government suited to their needs.

This renewed claim of right for Scotland shall take effect and Scotland shall become a sovereign state; it shall acquire the sole power to pass laws in areas reserved and devolved, levy all its taxes, gain control over its natural resources and conclude all its treaties.

6.7 Legislation will be enacted in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster to put into effect the transfer of sovereignty to the Scottish Parliament and the constitutional arrangements as set out in Chapter 5 will be put in place.

6.8 Elections to the independent Scottish Parliament will be held and a new Scottish government established.
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Appendix A –
Some powers of an independent Parliament


A.1 Health

• Health generally including responsibility for the National Health Service and public and mental health; also the education and training of health professionals and the terms and conditions of service of NHS staff and general practitioners

A.2 Education and training

• School education including pre-5, primary and secondary education, inspection and teacher supply, training and conditions of service

• Further and higher education including policy, funding, and student support

• Science and research including funding

• Training policy and lifelong learning

• Vocational qualifications

• Careers advice and guidance

A.3 The Economy and Economic Development

• Fiscal, economic and monetary policy including the issue and circulation of money, taxes and excise duties, government borrowing and lending, control over public expenditure, the exchange rate and the central Bank

• The currency - coinage, legal tender and bank notes

• Financial services, including investment business, banking and deposit-taking, collective investment schemes and insurance

• Financial markets and Money Laundering, including listing and public offers of securities and investments, transfer of securities and insider dealing

• Economic development including the functions of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the local enterprise companies

• Financial assistance to industry

• Inward investment

• Promotion of trade and exports

• Promotion of tourism

A.4 The Constitution

• The Crown, including succession to the Crown and a regency

• The Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England

• Parliament, including elections and electoral law

• The Civil Service

A.5 Foreign Policy

• International relations

• The European Communities (and their institutions) and other international organisations

• International trade, including regulation

• International development assistance and co-operation

A.6 Defence and National Security

• Armed Forces, including the naval, military or air forces and reserve forces,

• International defence organisations

• The security services

• Provisions for dealing with Terrorism

• The protection of borders and matters subject to border controls including designation of Scotland’s land and maritime borders and fisheries limits

A.7 Trade and Industry

• Business associations - the creation, operation, regulation and dissolution of types of business association

• Insolvency In relation to business associations

• Competition Regulation of anti-competitive practices and agreements; abuse of dominant position; monopolies and mergers


• Intellectual property

• Import and export control

• Consumer protection

• Product standards, safety and liability - technical standards and requirements in relation to products in pursuance of an obligation under Community law

• Weights and measures Units and standards of weight and measurement.

• Telecommunications and wireless telegraphy including Internet services and Electronic encryption

• Post Office, posts and postal services including postage stamps, postal orders and postal packets and regulation of postal services

• Research Councils

• Protection of trading and economic interests

A.8 Energy

• Electricity Generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity.

• Oil and gas, including the ownership of, exploration for and exploitation of deposits of oil and natural gas; offshore installations and pipeline; the conveyance, shipping and supply of gas through pipes

• Coal including its ownership and exploitation, deep and opencast coal mining and coal mining subsidence

• Nuclear energy and nuclear installations, including nuclear safety, security and safeguards

A.9 Employment and Social Security

• Employment legislation including industrial relations, equal opportunities, health and safety and the matters for which the Employment Service is responsible

• Social security policy and administration, including benefits and the matters for which the Benefits Agency is responsible, contributions, child support maintenance and occupational and personal pension regulation and related employment policy, services and assistance

A.10 Transport

• Transport safety and regulation including regulation of aviation and shipping, marine and air safety, rail safety and regulation and road traffic regulation

• Passenger and road transport covering the Scottish road network, the promotion of road safety, the railways, bus policy, concessionary fares, cycling, taxis and minicabs, disability and transport

• Air and sea transport powers covering ports, harbours and piers, the provision of freight shipping and ferry services, planning and environmental issues relating to airports

• Inland waterways;

A.11 Local government, social work and housing

• Local government including local government finance and local domestic and non-domestic taxation

• Social work

• Voluntary sector issues

• Housing

• Area regeneration including the designation of enterprise zones

• Land-use planning and building control;


A.12 Law and home affairs

• Criminal law and procedure

• Immigration and nationality

• Extradition

• Drugs and firearms, and the regulation of drugs of misuse

• Civil law

• Electoral law

• Judicial appointments

• The criminal justice and prosecution system
             
• The civil and criminal courts including the Court of Lord Lyon

• Tribunals

• Legal aid

• Parole, the release of life sentence prisoners and alleged miscarriages of justice;

• Prisons including the functions of the Scottish Prison Service and the treatment of offenders

• The police and fire services including fire safety

• Civil defence and emergency planning

• Liquor licensing

• Protection of animals including protection against cruelty to domestic, captive and wild animals, zoo licensing, controlling dangerous wild animals and game

A.13 Environment

• The environment including environmental protection, matters relating to air, land and water pollution and the functions of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency; water supplies and sewerage; and policies designed to promote sustainable development

• The natural heritage including countryside issues

• The built heritage

• Flood prevention, coast protection and reservoir safety


A.14 Agriculture forestry and fishing

• Agriculture including responsibility for implementing measures under the Common Agricultural Policy, and for domestic agriculture including crofting, animal and plant health and animal welfare

• Food standards

• Forestry

• Fisheries

A.15 Culture and Sport
 
• Sport

• The arts including the functions of the National Library of Scotland, the National Museums of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, and support for Gaelic;

• National Lottery

• Broadcasting



Responses to this consultation should reach the Scottish National Party by 30th January 2006. Please send comments to:

 Independence Consultation
 Scottish National Party, 107 McDonald Road, Edinburgh EH7 4NW

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