DEMOCRACY is a concept that can be applied across several forms of government. A state normally incorporates the forms of authority acceptable for its society into a national constitution.

Our neighbours, such as Denmark and Norway, operate under constitutions that ensure authority is shared and empowers various levels across society whilst other states operate under more centralised systems with little autonomous authority at community level.

As we are currently experiencing, both here in the UK and abroad, centralised systems can lead to abuse of authority, generally to the detriment of the least well-off.

It should be a warning to the people of Scotland as we move to regain our independence that we must have in place the means to limit and hold accountable all those that we elect to govern us – a written constitution.

A constitution establishes the operating structures and institutions, together with the rules and principles, necessary for the functioning of the state, and is non-political. It is the basis of, but separate from, the political management and governance of the state.

Thinking that Scottish politicians will not abuse their powers is only fooling ourselves. Just read a history of Scotland if you think otherwise.

Although most elected representatives at both national and local authority levels are generally capable and conscientious in serving their constituents there are always some who fail to meet the desired standards.

Power can corrupt or change people differently and under our current political system there are very few ways to hold our elected representatives to account if they abuse their authority, break promises or fail to perform adequately.

Human nature being as it is, there is a need for a rule book and that is where a written constitution comes into play. A constitution, that is written by, agreed and authorised by the general population, to set the rules about how Scotland will be run together with the scope of the powers of those whom we elect to govern us.

In most European and Scandinavian democracies, power is shared between national, regional, area and community levels of government. This enables decision-making to be carried out more effectively closer to the point of need for the general well-being of all the population.

In contrast, the current system of governance in Scotland is too remote from the day to day needs of ordinary folks. All too frequently the rules are too bureaucratic and unrealistic, often generating results that are inadequate, and excessively expensive, whilst failing those most at need.

Disillusionment with local government can also lead to a lack of candidates and we have several places across the country where there is no contest and party placemen/women from out with the ward will be appointed by default.

Many of our current professional elected representatives appear to be out of touch with the realities that ordinary citizens must face on a daily basis. They appear to be listening more to lobbying groups catering for select elites.

Remember the lines from Abba’s song: “It’s a rich man’s world.”

Many of the representatives we elect currently appear to be more concerned with complying with their party policies and pleasing their party leader than meeting the aspirations of their constituents.

This loss of political integrity is resulting in a lack of respect, confidence, and trust in politicians generally. Perhaps it is time to consider including in a written constitution, the limiting of Holyrood politicians to two consecutive terms of office? See our draft at Local authorities are at the front line of our democracy. They are the closest level of government to our communities and deal with many of the bread-and-butter issues that affect people in their day to day lives in the places where they live.

But for too long local democracy has suffered at the hands of an over-centralised system where the ‘centre-knows-best’ mentality has left local democracy to wither – and councillors without the power to adequately respond to the needs of their local community – all too often being undemocratically over-ruled by central government, leaving communities and councillors feeling that their wishes and priorities are likely to be ignored.

Local government requires to be re-organised and provided with autonomous powers to better serve their communities. Excluding party-aligned politics from local government could eliminate much time-wasting, political posturing.

Most of us are required to meet specific levels of work performance, so why don’t we hold our representatives accountable to, for example, Constituency Citizens Panels? is a registered Scottish Charity with the aim of advancing participative democracy within the community of Scotland.

You can join over 15,000 visitors, read over a thousand comments, 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 offer a “guest speaker” introduction, demonstration and Q&A session within your own Zoom meeting. Please contact to arrange.