I AGREE with John Drummond’s article (Seven Days, May 19) on the need for Scotland to begin open discussions on the formation of a Scottish constitution. Indeed, this should be a prime leader in Scotland setting out its stall for a future independent state, and a way to persuade those who are still not convinced that independence is the only way forward.

I have looked at the Common Weal’s white paper on the foundations for freedom, published in May 2018. But the question is, where are the public and political discussion that should have fed from that paper as a matter of public discourse? The answer of course has only been in occasional articles like John Drummond’s. What is missing is an ongoing inclusive public debate.

There has been a constant barrage of articles and letters in The National and Sunday National denigrating the United Kingdom’s various Unionist institutions including the BBC, Tory and Labour politicians etc etc, which has been unwavering following the independence defeat in 2014. Personally I don’t know why we should be surprised that those Unionist institutions and individuals should not stick to their guns. The BBC is, after all, the British Broadcasting Corporation and as such sticks like glue to the very reason it was set up in 1922, which was and still is to promulgate the British state, in whatever form it takes now and in the future. We need to let all that negativity go and concentrate on what a Scottish state could be.

So, in the context of both a constitution and the need to persuade people to recognise the benefits of a future independent Scotland, a continuous debate is demanded well before a date is set for another independence referendum. This should include, in my opinion, a Bill of Rights, how Scotland aims to be more equal, and lastly but far from least, how we become truly democratic.

A Bill of Rights should be at the head of a future constitution and as such should concern itself with the various human rights that many have fought for since their inclusion in the United Nations Declaration and various other so-called binding conventions which as history shows have not been that binding. This Bill of Rights should ensure, by legal means, that all other articles enshrined within a new constitution have to adhere to it.We should not forget that the American Bill Of rights was an afterthought to the American constitution and has not applied to everyone in reality.

On my second point, the need for more equality, I’m not sure how we manage that in a neo-liberal world but it would seem self-evident that we need a new kind of economics, not just to ensure a more equal spread of wealth but also to delay the ever encroaching fear of global catastrophe. National cooperatives maybe? Possibly within the guise of a national transport cooperative network, a nationalised cooperative energy network and so on.

My third point, the need for a true democracy, should be easier, particularly given the growing information technology now available. Some people know about the e-submissions the Scottish Government use, but what percentage of the people actually use it? So this system should be expanded and could be called The National Suggestion Box. There is a vast wealth of creativity within the populace which mostly goes untapped. Imagine a system which starts at school, perhaps in social studies, within which children can start to engage in both local and national projects by submitting suggestions to a national suggestion box. The carry over into adulthood could be enormous.

So, are the above suggestions off the wall? I would like to think not, if that is we are to build a truly unique democratic state. If not, as John Drummond states, we could go from bad to worse.

Alan Hind
Old Kilpatrick