A Constitution for the Common Good: Strengthening Scottish Democracy After 2014
By (author) W. Elliot Bulmer
If Scotland has voted YES on 18 September, how can a written Constitution be good for the people of Scotland?If Scotland has voted NO, how could a new Constitution protect and enhance Scottish democracy within a restructured UK?Whether YES or NO, a reconstituted Scotland is possible and good for all its citizens.Nearly every democracy in the world is built upon a written constitution, and constitutions have been at the core of citizens’ demands for better governance in places as disparate as Kenya, Tunisia and Ukraine. With the Scottish National Party promising a written constitution in the event of a YES vote and other parties suggesting other possible options for constitutional change in the event of a NO vote, constitutional change looks certain to remain central to the political agenda in Scotland for some time to come.But what is a constitution for? Is it a defensive charter to protect the basic structures of democratic government, or is it a transformative covenant for a better society? How can the Constitution sustain democracy and promote ethical politics while at the same time recognising and accommodating differences in society? What difference would a good Constitution make to the poor? How can the Constitution help ensure that the common good of the citizenry prevails over private vested interests?In addressing these questions, this book sets out a vision for how Scotland could reconstitute itself. It emphasises the connection between the constitution, democracy and the common good, arguing that democratic self-government is the true prize, regardless of the relationship of Scotland to the rest of the UK.This book not only makes a vital contribution to Scotland’s current and on-going constitutional debate, whatever the outcome in September 2014, but also engages with fundamental questions of constitutionalism and democracy that are of enduring relevance to both citizens and scholars around the world.
W. Elliot Bulmer
ELLIOT BULMER graduated with an ma in Arabic and Politics from the University of Edinburgh. He was commissioned as a Logistics Officer in the Royal Navy, where he saw service in Iraq as part of a psyops unit. After leaving the Navy, he completed a phd in Politics at the University of Glasgow while serving as Research Director of the Constitutional Commission, a Scottish charitable organisation for constitutional education and research. He now works for the Constitution Building Programme of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in The Hague, Netherlands. He is the author of A Model Constitution for Scotland: Making Democracy Work in an Independent State (Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2011) and several articles in peer-reviewed academic journal articles on constitutional subjects, as well as being a frequent contributor to Scotland’s constitutional debate in the print and online media.