Paisley has the opportunity to make its mark again on the constitution of a nation. Paisley Buddies are well aware that John Witherspoon, a minister based at what is now the Paisley arts centre was one of the signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. The minister had moved to New Jersey after being contacted by a number of people impressed at his intellectual capabilities.
Everyone in Scotland will now have the opportunity to have their say on the Scottish Government’s draft bill for a ‘Scottish Declaration of Independence’.
The draft Scottish Independence Bill is now open for public consultation and includes details on how an independent Scotland could prepare a permanent written constitution in a fully participative process led by the people.
The Bill also sets out immediate arrangements for independence – such as the role of government, human rights and the rule of law – and would form the interim written constitution.
The fundamental principle underpinning the Bill is that the people are sovereign – rather than Parliament, as is the case in the UK. The United Kingdom is the only country in the European Union, and the only country in the Commonwealth, which does not currently have a written constitution or Constitution Act.
The interim constitution proposes an obligation to advance towards nuclear disarmament, the strengthening of human rights protection, the safeguarding of the wellbeing of children and protection for the particular needs of local government and island communities.
Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:
‘I am privileged to represent a town which has so much history , including individuals that signed the US declaration of independence. We now have an opportunity to produce our own constitution determining the type of country we want. One without nuclear weapons, ensuring that our priorities are listened to and ensured in a written constitution, something Scotland has never had.
‘We must grasp this opportunity that millions across the globe would love to have. Making our own decisions, dealing with our priorities and ensuring that we are democratically represented by those that we vote for. I would encourage everyone to consider contributing to the type of Scotland we want for our children and future generations’.