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Scottish Independence and Scotland's Future
McGill Correspondence

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 liberties.

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 to address.

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.



Dear Simon,

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 asking.

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,

Saor Alba,

(Dr. James Wilkie)

Reference documents attached to the email are...

Willie McRae and the Scotland-UN Committee
Devolution and the Labour Myth
The CoE Memorandum the Decisive Breakthrough
The Stone of Destiny at the United Nations

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