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Chances for direct democracy in Scotland: The parties

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:24 pm    Post subject: Chances for direct democracy in Scotland: The parties  Reply with quote

Chances for direct democracy in Scotland

The scottish political parties approaching a Holyrood election 2011

We present a sketch, a rapid survey, drawn from manifestos and other sources.

We appeal for factual corrections and comments.

Statement of our aims in this rapid survey.
As a campaign we of I&R ~ GB at iniref.org advocate the introduction of citizen-led direct democracy (CDD) at all levels of government. We regard a combination of direct democracy with existing forms of indirect, "representative" democracy to be the best known realistically achievable system of legislation and government. So we measure the promises and apparent intentions of political parties against this "gold" standard which, although probably not perfect, is "state of the art" governance.

An "authority-imposed" referendum or plebiscite is not regarded as belonging to citizen-led direct democracy. Provided that the result of the ballot is legally binding then this form of referendum may be classified as direct democracy. If the result is non-binding then the procedure should be considered to be a sort of consultation.

Scottish Conservative Party
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD. The manifesto mentions that citizens of some Scottish cities may be allowed to vote in a referendum on the question of elected mayors.

Greens Scotland
Their manifesto does *not* explicitly promise to introduce CDD.
They write "Local community empowerment is an agenda" but do not explain how this will be organised. Further they write, "We’ll argue for a multi-option referendum with choices including the status quo, a stronger Scottish Parliament with powers defined through a participative process, and full independence based on a written constitution, and we will back this third option. We’ll also put the case for the decentralisation of power from Holyrood and local authorities."

Scottish Liberal Democratic Party
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD.

Scottish Labour
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD. There is a commitment to consult the electorate more about local planning issues.

Scottish National Party
No promise of citizen-led democracy CDD in the manifesto.
They propose to hold an authority-imposed plebiscite: "We think the people of Scotland should decide our nation’s future in a democratic referendum and opinion polls suggest that most Scots agree. We will, therefore, bring forward our Referendum Bill in this next Parliament."
A. In 2010 Unlock Democracy (formerly Charter88) surveyed political parties, asking,
"Direct Democracy - does the SNP have policy on increasing direct democracy - eg. Petitions committees, people's bills, referendums"
REPLY FROM SNP: "The SNP would like to see direct democracy initiatives that would see the sharing of power with people, giving them real power and a direct say over the most important issues affecting their communities. This would include the triggering of referendums on any national or local issue once a requisite percentage of the electorate had signed a petition on the matter, as undertaken in the likes of Switzerland, the US and New Zealand. We also support a new Petitions Committee in the House of Commons, much like that of the Scottish Parliament, which encourages active involvement in the proceedings of Parliament." Source Alexandra Runswick www.votefordemocracy.org.uk
B. At a recent SNP party conference a motion to introduce CDD by Alex Orr from Edinburgh received overwhelming support.

United Kingdom Independence Party
They promise to introduce citizen-led direct democracy CDD. To quote the manifesto, "UKIP alone trusts Scottish and British people to exercise a new right to demand a
legislative referendum on any law, present or proposed. The result of any referendum will be binding on those we elect."
I&R ~ GB Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain

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