Dear Mr McGill etc. etc.
The Scottish Government shares your views on the importance of
Sovereignty of The People of Scotland. In an Independent Scotland,
Sovereignty would mean that the people Scotland were the final authority
and all state power and authority would be accountable to them as
opposed to the current arrangements where Sovereignty - supreme
authority - in the UK lies with the Crown in Parliament, rather than the
people, giving Westminster The Parliament ultimate power to do anything
it decides, including to overrule the Scottish Parliament on any matter.
I also note your enthusiasm for the re-introduction of constitutionalism
towards the governance of an independent Scotland. A permanent written
constitution will be drawn up post independence, a constitutional
platform for Scotland will be prepared. It will have effect from the
date of Independence and will continue until the permanent written
constitution has been agreed and come into effect. Scotland's written
constitution could only then be amended according to the provisions of
the constitution itself, therefore protecting the peoples rights and
In the UK at present, the constitution consists of various pieces of
legislation, and constitutional rules and principles make up the
constitution. The UK is the only member of the European Union and the
Commonwealth that does not have a written constitution or a Constitution
Act. That is a democratic deficit which the Scottish Government intends
At the heart of Scotland's constitutional tradition is the fundamental
principle that the people of Scotland are Sovereign and have the right
to determine the form of government best suited to their needs.
The UKs constitutional position is particularly complex and one of the
advantages of moving to a written constitution is to make information
about government structures more accessible to the people of Scotland
Thank you etc. etc. signed Simon Elder. SNP. St Andrew House Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Jim, for God's sake and for Scotland's sake would you please write to
these guys at once, please, before they chuck the Referendum down the
proverbial tubes? I've tried but they ignore my letters and come back
with this Westminster osmosis crap.
Help Scotland now Jim, PLEASE.
John McGill has sent me a copy of your mail to him of 8 June with the
request that I reply to it. We were, as you know, the two central
figures in the Scotland-UN Committee that initiated the action by the
Council of Europe that brought about the restoration of the present
Scottish Parliament and Government. In the course of the 18 years it
took us to force the issue on devolution (and thereby to present the SNP
with the key to the door of its present independence project) we had
access to, and were advised by, some of the world's leading
constitutional specialists, and not least because my own work for the
Austrian Government brought me into daily contact with the experts of
the international law section of the Foreign Ministry.
Scotland-UN was very accurately informed on all the relevant issues - a
good deal better informed, I may add, than the SNP Government appears to
be at the moment. My colleague John McGill is very uneasy about the
SNP's conduct of the campaign, which is causing alarm in a number of
respects. The people of Scotland, as you state, have the right to
determine the kind of government best suited to their needs, but they
also have the right to determine what that government does with the
power it is given for a limited time. There is no question of its having
carte blanche to do as it likes while it holds office.
If the Government is so insistent on the sovereignty of the Scottish
people, why is it so insistent about railroading them into membership of
the European Union, a step that would involve a massive abrogation of
sovereignty far above what is demanded by any other international
institution in the world. So the Scots are sovereign but are not to be
given the choice of exercising their sovereignty? A parliamentary
decision could suffice in the case of any other international
institutions, since all of them are run on a basis of intergovernmental
consensus, but not in the case of the EU, which has plans to take over
the sovereignty of its member states. I have spent over 40 years working
in European integration (inter alia I have a doctorate in the subject),
and this is one area above all where I happen to know what I am talking
about, especially since I have worked in it on special duties at top
government level and have known some of the main actors concerned.
I am of course in total agreement with the basic political philosophy of
the Scottish Government you have stated. The Scottish people are indeed
sovereign in their own land, and in respect of their own affairs abroad,
except in so far as they have delegated part of that sovereignty
elsewhere. I am in complete agreement with what you write in that
respect. What I dislike about it is a certain uncritical acceptance of
the UK's so-called "unwritten" constitution, and in particular of an
assumed right to interfere in any and all aspects of the government of
Scotland. That may indeed apply in respect of certain stated functions,
but I would certainly not accept it as a general principle.
From my observation the Scottish Government has been far too supine in
respect of a number of basic principles, especially as regards the 1999
Order that purported to alter the line of the Scotland/England marine
border that for centuries had remained unaltered along a line of
latitude and has even been archived at the United Nations in that form.
The again purported restriction to fisheries was clearly only a ruse and
is already being treated as a general shift of the border. Why is this
not being actively opposed?
The procedure you mention for a temporary national constitution pending
the adoption of a permanent one is practical and correct, but who is to
draft the temporary or permanent constitution? It can hardly have
escaped the SNP's notice that some very competent experts have been
working on the constitution project for years, not least the Scottish
Constitutional Commission under John Drummond. Are they going to be
drawn in here, or is the SNP going to dictate a draft of its own? Just
I could go on at some length, but I will make do with the few remarks
above. You may also be interested in one or two of the Scotland-UN
documents that will shortly be appearing on a new Devolution section of
the Electric Scotland website. The Memorandum to the Council of Europe
Summit Meeting was what cracked the home rule nut for the first time in
300 years and resulted in the present Scottish Parliament and
Government. Other hitherto unpublished documents will also be put onto
the web, and might have some effect in the run-up to the referendum.
Quite a number of us have spent our whole lives working for this day,
and we want to see the result in our lifetime.
With kindest regards,
(Dr. James Wilkie)
attached to the email are...
Willie McRae and the Scotland-UN Committee
and the Labour Myth
CoE Memorandum – the Decisive Breakthrough
The Stone of Destiny at the