Renewing democracy through independence

This paper sets out the Scottish Government’s view that people who live in Scotland have the right to choose how they should be governed and to decide if Scotland should become an independent country. It is the second in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series, focusing on independence.


The Scottish Government believes that decisions about Scotland are best made here. This paper has set out examples of Westminster decisions that are against the best interests of Scotland and have had long-term adverse impacts.

Since devolution, Scotland has had new democratic institutions and the people of Scotland have been able to choose, hold to account and dismiss devolved governments in Scotland.

Much has been achieved by Scotland with the limited powers of devolution. But in recent years, the vulnerability of those powers and increasing encroachments into devolved responsibilities by Westminster have been obvious – "devolution in Scotland has entered a new era of restrictive powers, Westminster override, and constitutional subordination".[141] In the Scottish Government's view, it is clear that the current UK constitutional system will not – and cannot – be reformed to provide guaranteed safeguards for devolved institutions and self-government in Scotland.

Scotland is already on a different democratic path from that being taken for the United Kingdom by the UK Government. The Scottish Parliament has a fairer electoral system and a wider and more representative franchise. Scotland has expressed its desire, through the ballot box, to remain in the EU. The EU referendum in 2016 has surfaced the contradictions in the devolved settlement, and the Scottish Government believes there is only one way to settle these contradictions and provide democratic certainty for Scotland – through independence.

This paper has set out the democratic case for independence. Further papers in the Building a New Scotland series will cover what Scotland could achieve with the full powers of an independent state.



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