Those paying attention this week will have noticed two major developments in Scottish politics. Yet another UK Government promise broken by failing to address clause 11 of the brexit bill and passing it on to the Lords. This means that the integrity of the devolved settlement is now in the hands of an unelected body which has no SNP representatives. This despite the fact that the Scottish Parliament is unanimous in it’s insistence that clause 11 is unacceptable.
The other major ( because it is the first time it has happened in the Scottish Parliament) development was the debate: Offensive behaviour at football & threatening communications (repeal ) Bill. The motion was passed at first stage. This law has never been popular (if laws can ever be popular) and raises a whole lot of important questions. It is interesting that part of the argument for it’s repeal was that it was poorly drafted and rushed through when the SNP government held an overwhelming majority in parliament. Also interesting is the fact that now the SNP government does not have an overwhelming majority it is willing to make amendments.
Alex Salmond, who I believe was no fan of the House of Lords and declared that he would not accept an appointment to go there, also expressed a regret that the Scottish Parliament did not have a second chamber. Considering the latter example above then, there could be great merit in having a Scottish second chamber providing checks and balances to Parliament. Only not one constituted in the same manner as in the former example above. Imagine an independent Scotland free from the archaic Westminster model. Able to build a real democracy in which it’s people had genuine input. Time for some radical thinking.
There is some very interesting experimental work going on in other countries. Such as that being done in Bolivia by a group called Democracy in Practice. The work involves students in relation to student governments. Elections to student governments are made redundant and instead random selection of students is used to constitute the governing body. A bit like our jury selection process here. Selection is not permanent and is rotated. Again a bit like our jury service. Like everything there are pros and cons and work is ongoing. More information can be found here.
Progress is driven by those who can open up their minds, think radically and think outside the box. We Scots do not have to settle for archaic systems long past their sell by dates and administered by people hingin on tae the gress in case they faw off.