AS the dysfunctional Westminster Government drives us towards independence by contemptuously ignoring our needs and aspirations, more people in Scotland are moving towards a realisation that we could do a better job of governing ourselves. Similar sized successful, countries such as Denmark and Norway gives us confidence.

During the 2014 independence referendum campaign, two issues had the greatest impact. One was the lack of a realistic currency policy (compatible with the rules of the European Central Bank) and the second was a lack of any clear picture of what an independent Scotland could be.

Today, in 2019, we are still waiting on our political leaders to provide answers. So why don’t we tell them what sort of Scotland we want to see and then mandate them to administer?

For that, we need a written constitution. Brexit is an example of the unbridled power of a parliamentary system that has no written constitution to provide structured accountability to the people.

Governments require authority to operate in a flexible manner to deal with a wide range of situations but must also be held accountable under a structured system of fundamental laws that are set out in a codified written constitution authorised by the people.

The SNP has made it clear that it regards the preparation of a constitution as something to be tackled only after a successful referendum. That is not in the interests of popular sovereignty as the incumbent Scottish Government will then be in a powerful position to influence the content, as will many vested financial and business interests which will be lining up their lobbyists from day one of independence.

A constitution is not a set of guidelines for the self-regulation of Parliament. It is a statement of the conditions under which the people of a democracy grant Parliament the authority to govern them.

Therefore, it is the fundamental law of the land by decree of the people and enacted into formal legislation by Parliament.

READ MORE: How you can help make a constitution for an independent Scotland

If we are to avoid a constitution that is by default little more than a set of self-regulating guidelines for political parties and big business, then there are several conditions to be met before the referendum is voted upon.

Every citizen of voting age has the right and should have the opportunity to initiate, amend and vote for this constitution.

The draft constitution must be presented such that literally every citizen is encouraged to have his or her say. That means it must be in simple language and on a purpose made platform accessible to all.

The software must encourage intuitive participation in discussion and proposals to amend, discuss and delete.

All of this with the provision to vote meaningfully on every clause with absolute security and guarantee against manipulation.

Public participation must be in numbers sufficient to oblige government to adopt the document unamended as the will of the people.

When Scotland votes to regain her independence, we will require the rebuilding of a range of government institutions, many that we have not had for 312 years. We thus have the opportunity to create the structure for a forward-looking and aspirational society.

The guidance provided by draft constitutions needs to be used to provide Scotland with an authorised provisional constitution prior to becoming independent.

By participating in the development of the provisional constitution, every Scot can have awareness and claim ownership of the nature of the country that we are voting for.
Robert P Ingram Chair, Centre for Scottish Constitutional Studies