WHILE securing independence is the mission of the SNP and some of the people of Scotland, defining the nature of independence is a matter for the constitution and all of the people of this country. In Scotland, sovereignty is held by the people not by the Parliament.

The governance of a nation is not about specific political parties or politicians; it is about the structures and systems of government that deliver for the people and the trust that those people have in their government in all its forms and levels.

Independence will provide the opportunity to make the changes needed to enable improvements in our economy, pensions, public, social and care services, national infrastructure, environment, defence and general wellbeing.

READ MORE: How to play your part in shaping our independent Scotland with CfS

Last month in The National, you might have read the first regular column introducing Constitution for Scotland – CfS – the digital consultation. I hope you’ve visited our website and have been pleasantly surprised to find that it’s not the usual bland government website which passes for a public consultation – this is something else; something you can call your own.

Of course, not everyone will wish to participate in compiling a constitution – even one with all sorts of new ideas and ways of delivering government, but many are enjoying the opportunity to have their say and provided that opportunity is a genuinely free choice and open to all, then popular democracy can really happen.

CfS is no-one else’s constitution. Sure, there are bits you will find elsewhere but there are some very progressive ideas being floated which will infuriate some of the cosy establishments. Some may be too radical for your taste – or insufficiently so – but that’s what it’s all about. Have your say, comment, amend, vote for or against and visit when you like as events unfold and the debate develops.

CfS is independent of any governing authority and the consultation welcomes one and all. It is set up as a non-partisan Scottish charity with its primary and declared purpose being (take a breath) … “facilitating and managing an interactive online public consultation on a draft written constitution for the governance of a parliamentary democracy based on the sovereignty of the people tailored specifically for Scotland, as part of an ongoing process extending to the physical adoption of a written constitution”.

Opening up the www.constitutionforscotland.scot website allows you to enter the interactive debating platform – where you can move seamlessly around after you register and sign in.

You can return to the site again and again to see the latest vote counts and rankings, or to update your own input and vote.

As we leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, there is a need to clearly establish the rights of Scottish citizens and the extent of our national territories. These issues are addressed in Articles 1 and 2.

Article 1 outlines the right of the people of Scotland to govern themselves as a constitutional democracy whereby members of parliament remain at all times primarily accountable to the electorate and the terms of a written constitution, that has been agreed and thus authorised by the people.

The land, sea and air territories of Scotland are defined as those established under international law prior to 1999 and all usage is to be determined by Scots law. This article also specifies who can be citizens of Scotland, how residency visas will apply and that immigrants will be issued with a categorised entry pass.

Article 2 establishes the intent to adopt the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as a foundation stone for human rights in Scotland. Several rights are defined including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, free healthcare and privacy. This is one of the more prescriptive articles and certainly merits your engagement. Additional rights will also be identified for debate and for inclusion based on a majority vote decision.

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A current hot topic on the website is a debate about taxation in Article 8.6. It has taken an interesting turn with comments about the potential methods on funding government. These include comparing annual ground rent paid directly to the treasury, with the previous feudal annual feu payments system paid to feudal superiors. Perhaps a modernised form of annual rent payments, to replace council tax, could combine the best of both systems for the benefit of the majority.

In the next instalment in the series, we will examine the position regarding the head of state, and we also look at the nature and organisation of the parliament and how the electorate would be represented.

There is a need for people to realise that drafting the constitution now is their opportunity to consider the reforms required to provide greater equality and opportunity in our reborn nation. So, get involved in taking these first steps in developing a written constitution for the modern and progressive Scotland!

Robert Ingram is chair of Constitution for Scotland