YOU may or may not be aware that your right to vote, your right to strike, your right to demonstrate, your right to food meeting current standards, and factors that could effectively curtail or end the free NHS are among the subjects in recent legislation or treaties being considered by the UK Government.

You have the opportunity to ensure these and many other important issues would be protected and could not be changed by the Government without the specific permission of the people of Scotland.

In the UK, none of these rights are protected because the UK has no written constitution and the UK Government is free to make these decisions. Such matters could be protected in an independent Scotland if included in a written constitution, otherwise known as a codified constitution.

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Many people won’t know what a nation’s constitution is or how critical it can be to the people of that nation. I was ignorant of it until introduced to it some years ago by Bob Ingram, one of the founders of Constitution for Scotland.

A codified constitution lays down the basic principles of the state, the structures and processes of government – and, crucially, defines the limits within which our politicians at all levels must operate, and the fundamental rights of citizens in a higher law that cannot be unilaterally changed by an ordinary legislative act.

In modern democracies, the people’s will is, in theory, sovereign, ie, a government can’t change anything covered in the constitution unless the people specifically agree to that proposed change.

Without being a legal expert or having to read through a full proposed constitution, you have an opportunity to have your say on subjects which could possibly be included and protected in a constitution for an independent Scotland.

Don’t assume a particular matter that interests you can’t be in a constitution, as there is potentially a very large range of subjects which could be included. Take the opportunity to look at and participate in

This includes a model constitution which is deliberately not in legalese but in easily-understood language. It was set up not as a proposed constitution for Scotland but as a basis on which you can participate.

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You can register and use “The Quick Poll” to indicate you support the principle of citizen participation in drafting the constitution. You can read the original version of individual sections and any amendments proposed by others and vote for your preferred version.

If you have a specific subject in mind, an easy way to start on the website is to go to the “browse” box and click on “get started”.

In the box headed “Search the Model Constitution”, you can type in a word or short phrase. This will bring up a dropdown list of different “sources” for that word or phrase.

Click on the source options you think are most relevant. This will take you to the list of “articles” in the model constitution. Your word or phrase will be highlighted in yellow in all the articles in which it is mentioned.

Click the “article number” heading of one of these and it will open the full version of that article, which has sections. Your word or phrase is again highlighted in yellow in all the sections in which it is included.

Click on one of these sections to see the “original version”, highlighted in blue, in the model constitution and also any “proposed amendment to the section …” highlighted in pink, and any responses to these. You can then vote on the original or any proposed amendment.

You can also add your own proposed amendment or response – but before doing this it is essential you read and comply with the relevant guidance, viewable by clicking “guidance” at the top of the screen.

Once you have read the guidance you can click the arrow at the top left to go back to the section you are working on. When finished with this section, to go back to the article to see the other sections within it which have your word or phrase highlighted click at the top of the screen on the tag “Constitution – Constitution for Scotland”. You can then click on another of these sections to vote on it or take other actions.

It is important to realise that the more people who participate in this consultation, the more likely it is that this people’s consultation on our website might be used as an important democratic source by a body, perhaps a constitutional convention or citizens’ assembly, set up to discuss and prepare the constitution for Scotland following a vote for independence. So please participate and encourage others to do so too.

  • is a registered Scottish charity with the aim of advancing participative democracy within the community of Scotland. On the website, you can read more than 1000 comments across 15 articles and participate in preparing a Scottish Constitution. So why not join in and have your say in how you think an independent Scotland should be governed?
  • To interested groups, the Constitution for Scotland team offers a “guest speaker” introduction, demonstration and Q&A session within your own Zoom meeting. Contact to arrange