WORLDWIDE, the concept of democracy is being challenged and the rule of law is under threat, not only from extremists but all too often by those elected to govern. In Scotland, democracy must be for everyone and should provide for real change, facing up to and dealing with poverty, inequality and social justice.

A critical step in protecting democracy is the provision of a constitution that has been debated and agreed by the general population.

A constitution is a collection of higher law that cannot be changed by an ordinary Act of Parliament; it sets out the basic principles of the state, the structures and processes of government and the fundamental rights of the people; it defines the limits within which our politicians, at all levels, must operate, and regulates the conduct of persons at all levels of public life.

Constitution for Scotland (CfS) is a Scottish charity, registered number SCO49192. Its purpose is to conduct an internet-based interactive debate in order to enable you to express your opinions on the content of a constitution suitable for independent Scotland. The charity is not affiliated to any political party and is based on a model constitution provided for guidance only.

Visitors to the website are invited to propose amendments, additions and vote for their preferences at

If you agree with the principle of a written constitution but do not have the time to read it all, read the summary, then click on the quick vote where you can register and vote to indicate your support. You can always go back later when you have more time.

It disnae matter whether you are for or against self-governance: we should all work together to prepare for a positive outcome to a referendum that would enable Scotland to be a normal self-governing country again.

Article 5 of the model constitution lays down the procedures and extent of the law-making powers of Parliament. It proposes that new bills can be initiated by the government, an individual Member of Parliament or by a public petition.

It outlines the procedures for the scrutiny and enactment of all legislation, including the levying of public revenues and the fiscal budget. It proposes terms for appointing commissions of enquiry and their powers to summon evidence, as well as the terms for access by the public and the media.

There are proposals for the conduct of parliamentarians, as well as the procedures for votes of no confidence and the disciplinary authority of the parliamentary bureau.

Article 6 proposes that constituents can initiate a two-tier procedure leading to the recall of an MP, stage one being initiated by at least 1% of the registered electorate, followed by the second stage that requires 10% or more to respond within a defined period of time.

This article also proposes the protocol for the initiation and management of a public petition to the Government.

At several of the CfS Q&A sessions that we have been running around the country, the question of professional politicians has been raised.

There appears to be a growing awareness that they are too remote from the effects of everyday issues and lack appreciation of the degree that grassroots issues, such as properly waged jobs, housing, food and realistic pensions, concern the rest of us ordinary mortals.

It has been suggested there needs to be a limit set to the number of terms that can be served consecutively. The objective is to get the politicians to reconnect to ordinary life where they can experience the ongoing pressures to earn a decent living and provide for the wellbeing of family members.

The current poverty, lack of affordable homes, and drug problems are symptoms of the reality gap between those who govern and those who are governed.

In the next instalment in the series, we will look at Article 7: The organisation of the Government, Citizens Assemblies and Long-term Planning; and at Article 8: Public Finances, Central Bank and Funding.

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.

Robert Ingram is chair of Constitution for Scotland