A Call to Scottish Constitutional Arms

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by Dr. Mark McNaught.

Scotland sits at a perilous crossroads in its history. Starting at midnight on the 29th of March 2019, the Westminster government will begin to take steps to abolish the Scottish Parliament, or at least wrest the few powers it has to Westminster and administer Scotland through David Mundell and a privatized UK civil service. Freed from any regulatory constraints imposed by EU law, US multinationals will be unleashed to privatize and monetize what is left of the UK public sector, eliminating any meaningful safety and consumer protection standards, with Scotland squarely in its sights. Scotland is faced with a stark choice: either be made an adjunct cash-cow to America’s newly-formed 51st state and be decimated as a people and culture, or adopt a written constitution and become an independent nation-state with full control over our own resources. 

Fortunately, we have a written constitution in place to deal with this scenario, and establish a Constitutional Scottish nation-state worthy of its people. However, for this Constitution to be more than words on a computer screen, we urgently need your help.

In addition to the increasingly vile UK state, we are also up against a lack of knowledge about how a written constitution can provide for a modern, functioning democracy, and assure basic human rights. This is not surprising, because precious little civic education is provided to Scots. Growing up in the US, I learned about the constitution at a very early age, and classes in government were mandatory in High School and University. Scots are given little or no civic education, because to do so would expose them to arguably the most feudal, dysfunctional constitution on Earth: the uncodified UK constitution. Scots might get the idea that a better constitutional future is possible upon independence. 

Think of a constitution like the operating system on your computer, and the legal system as the applications. For the governing operating system of the UK, the only real constitutional ‘software’ is the supremacy of Parliamentary sovereignty improbably continuing to be based on divine right. In essence, this means that God chose the “royal” family to rule over the UK and Scotland forever, and this divine “legitimacy” allows the government in power to make up the constitution as it goes along, and pass any law it wants. 

Nothing has demonstrated the dangers of running the UK governing system on Windows 1691 (year of the adoption of the English Bill of Rights after the “glorious revolution”) than the Brexit clusterburach. Just to give a few examples:

  • Theresa May using ‘Henry VIII’ powers to eviscerate the devolution settlement and enable US multinationals to take over the totality of Scottish public services, and sell off Scotland’s brand.
  • The archaic parliamentary procedure which allows the May government to withdraw the vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement without consent of the Parliament. 
  • The constitutional conditions under which Rupert Murdoch has more influence over the future of Scotland than the totality of the Scottish people, given the predominant role of his papers in UK politics.  
  • The very fact that Scotland is being taken out of the EU against our will, and our family, friends and neighbours from the EU face deportation. 
  • Don’t get me started on the House of “Lords” and the “Monarchy”. 

I could go on, but this irrefutably demonstrates that Scotland faces an existential threat from Brexit, and must now further develop and adopt the Clyde-Built Constitution for the Scottish State if we wish to remain a political and cultural entity after March 29th.  

Having strongly advocated a written constitution for Scotland since 2012, I am baffled by the lack of urgency exhibited by many in the movement and Scottish Government. Many very prominent elected officials, leaders and columnists I have spoken with are oblivious to the existential necessity of having a written constitution in place on day one after a ‘yes’ vote. For them, a constitution is an afterthought after independence; basically ‘we’ll get to it at some point later’. 

The existential danger of this complacency is that you can’t build a nation-state without a constitution, any more than you can paint a picture without a canvas. You can have beautiful colors mixed on the pallet and the talent of Leonardo Da Vinci, but without a canvas the paint has nothing to adhere to. Analogously, you can have all the policies you want from advocates and think tanks as building blocks for an Independent Scotland. However, they are worthless if they are applied on weak foundations of the Scottish State, rather than a written constitution to effectively structure and enact them.

A yes vote will unleash the unmitigated rage and wrath of the UK state, and we must be able to constitutionally defend ourselves and create the egalitarian, democratic nation we all desire. The alternative is to permanently and irretrievably descend into corporate oligarchic plutocracy.

Therefore: I hereby issue a Call to Scottish Constitutional Arms. This battle will be fought through education, empiricism, and enlightenment rather than weapons, but it will be no less intense. We have to show the world that Scotland is ready and worthy of reclaiming its status as an independent nation-state.

The strategy of this battle is simply to become a user on the scottishconstitution.com website, educate yourself about the constitution, contribute to the discussion and refinement, and talk to your friends and neighbors about it.

We need as many articulate advocates as we can. I don’t care what level of formal education you have, everyone has worthy ideas to contribute. All that is required is good-will and a willingness to learn, acquire the necessary constitutional vocabulary, and eloquently advocate. We deeply appreciate any financial contributions, but it is not at all a barrier to participation. 

Scotland has the potential to develop the most advanced, developed, and renewable constitution on earth, based uniquely on science and empiricism, rather than Westminster politics. 

Please avail yourself of this historical opportunity and help. We need all the collective wisdom and enlightened advocacy we can get.