A Scottish Constitution

Author: Professor Alf Baird

The Scottish Constitution

Scots are all too often left uncertain and confused when considering the critical matter of their sovereignty, and intentionally so; for any colonial power will naturally seek to diminish notions of native or national sovereignty that would interfere with it’s ongoing economic plunder and exploitation.

Ignorance of Scotland’s constitutional reality really hits the high notes when we get to the Claim of Right. The Claim of Right represents Scotland’s forgotten constitution, intentionally pushed out of sight and out of mind and hence denied us by our colonial oppressor.

The imposed sovereignty of a Westminster Parliament on Scotland’s people does not and never has corresponded with our true constitutional rights, namely, the rights conferred by the sovereignty of the people. In this is evident the cultural uniqueness of Scotland’s constitutional reality amidst the imposition of an alien English constitutional principle, the latter unlawful and in clear violation of the Treaty of Union itself.

This is because the Treaty itself is conditional on Scotland retaining its own distinctive constitution, contained and described in the Claim of Right Act of 1689. It means that the Scottish people retain the right to prohibit government actions or legislation which compromise their civil rights and freedoms. This is part of the ‘right’ referred to in the Claim of Right and enshrined in Scots law by the Act ‘salvo jure cujuslibet’ of 1663, which allowed any Scot to challenge parliamentary legislation which infringed their civil liberties – and how refreshing is that kind of thinking even today, never mind the seventeenth century.

It means, above all, that the Scots retain the right, even today, to remove a governing authority when it no longer functions in the interest of the Scottish people, this being the main purpose of the Convention of the Estates (the assemblies of the communities). Hence, constitutionally, it is the Claim of Right whit maks us Scots unalik maist ither naitions! Our constitutional reality is therefore diametrically opposed to the English doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the latter underpinning England’s constitution, but never Scotland’s.

The Scottish Claim of Right was never extinguished by the Treaty of Union; rather, the treaty was and remains conditional upon the continuance of the Claim of Right in Scotland.

Westminster continues to pay lip service to the reality of Scottish sovereignty, while treating Scotland as subject to England’s constitutional parliamentary sovereignty, dismissing Scotland as a distinct sovereign entity with its own constitutional rights. England, and it has to be said also the Scottish elites, has disregarded the Claim of Right as enshrined in the treaty and ignores the fact that ultimate power in Scotland rests with the sovereign Scottish people, a power which they have the right to exercise through the Convention of the Estates as the assembly of all the communities of Scotland.

Professor Alf Baird

Professor Alf Baird

Alf Baird was, prior to his retirement in 2016, Professor of Maritime Business and Director of the Maritime Research Group at Edinburgh Napier University. He has a PhD in Strategic Management in Global Shipping. His specialist area of research and teaching is strategic management in maritime transport. His research activities encompass most of the world’s main shipping markets in Europe, Asia, Mid-East and North and Latin America, and Australasia. He has published more than 200 research articles and delivered over 150 conference papers.