After Scotland's Indyref: Proposals for better democracy

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Sat Dec 6 15:05:06 GMT 2014 logo <>

    The Scottish independence referendum during 2012 to 2014 attracted
    huge interest across the world, from Canada to Spain, from China to
    the USA. For the procedure, regulation, quality of public
    information, enthusiasm and civility of debate, came high praise
    from many commentators and countries. The referendum made a major
    contribution to the reputation of democracy in its literal meaning,
    rule by the people.

    Two months after the September ballot, people are expressing
    interest in finding ways to carry forward this gain in quality of
    democracy. There are calls for further referenda and wider use of
    direct democracy:

    *Why not introduce direct democracy for a wider range of public
    decisions in Scotland (Ed: maybe the UK would follow the example!)*
    "if it is appropriate to use direst democracy to determine the
    independence question why not use it for other major decisions which
    Scots will make in the future?" Professor of constitutional law,
    University of Edinburgh.

    *Hold another Scottish referendum on proposals for further devolution?*
    An expert on politics and public opinion has suggested that a second
    Scottish referendum should be held on the new proposals for further
    devolution, to be worked out by the Smith commission. "The timetable
    forces the parties to come up with a proposal before the general
    election; it does not lay out the process for after May 2015. It
    would still be perfectly possible to have a public debate and a
    referendum on the proposals and I think that is something the Smith
    commission should be thinking very seriously about and actually
    create time and space for this." Prof. John Curtice quoted in the
    Sunday Times, 19 October 2014.

    *Right to call a referendum could be given to Scotland*
    Nicola Sturgeon called for powers over a future referendum to be
    handed to the Scottish Parliament.
    Scotland's incoming first minister has said the Scottish Parliament
    should have the power to call any future independence referendum.
    Holyrood gained temporary powers from Westminster for September's
    vote, but Nicola Sturgeon said it should have explicit
    responsibility to do so again.
    However, she told the BBC she would still prefer to act by agreement
    between Scottish and UK ministers.

    *Nicola Sturgeon apparently calls for Scottish, Welsh and N. Irish
    people's veto on EU "in or out" referendum*
    "Incoming first minister says it would be 'democratically
    indefensible' for Scotland to be taken out of EU against its will."
    "Should a bill be tabled in the House of Commons for a referendum on
    European Union membership, my party will table an amendment. That
    amendment will require that for the UK to leave the EU, each of the
    four constituent nations -- England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
    Ireland -- would have to vote to do so, not just the UK as a whole."
    Ed: This would be a federal-style process a bit like the Swiss
    "Doppelmehr". Deciding to leave the EU would need not only a
    majority of UK voters but also majorities in each country of the Union.

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