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Smith process has side-stepped citizens

22nd January 2015
22 Jan 2015
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For immediate release, 22/01/2015

Statement from the Electoral Reform Society Scotland

Smith process has side-stepped citizens

As the Command Paper devolving the powers agreed by the Smith Commission to Scotland is published, ERS Scotland remains convinced that how these powers are implemented, and where power should lie in Scotland needs to be cross-examined by citizens.

Willie Sullivan, Director ERS Scotland said:

“The vibrant citizen led debate and surge in democratic participation that we saw during the referendum campaign demonstrated what our democracy could be given the right conditions. We all have a responsibility to sustain the levels of engagement seen over the past months. If we return to business as usual, we will have failed to grasp a once in a lifetime opportunity, we will be letting down the people and we may be missing a chance to revive democracy.

We are pleased that the command paper clearly recognises the need to continue to engage citizens in the process of discussing what happens next. [1] We hope today’s announcement does not end the debate about who has power but is the start of a truly participative process rather than an old-fashioned top down consultation exercise. We claim the people are sovereign in Scotland; we need a process that shows this is true.

We also welcome the recognition that more powers should not just stop at Holyrood, but that Scotland’s communities should be involved in decision making. It is an essential first step that the planned outreach is new and means something.

The inspirational energy that rose up across Scotland during the referendum deserves and expects to be fully involved in what happens next.”

ENDS

Contact: Willie Sullivan. M: 07940 523842

E: willie.sullivan@electoral-reform.org.uk

[1] From the Command Paper:

The UK Government will organise a series of events and activities across Scotland to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have their say and to enhance their understanding of the enduring devolution settlement as we move forward to delivery of further devolution for Scotland. You can read more about this in the Next Steps section.

The Scottish Government will explore how they can transfer powers from the Scottish Parliament to empower local communities across Scotland, and the UK Government stands prepared to share their experiences to facilitate this process.