Salvo is not campaigning for independence on just any terms. It will not accept a free Scottish state that only mirrors the broken, feudal model of the current British state. We are campaigning for our independence from a system that deprives us of the right to anything except hand over our power – and to any say in the decisions that affect our lives. A system that requires us to trust our lives to a powerful minority who are immune from reprisal, or even accountability, for corruption, oppression or betrayal. And we can see all too clearly today, in the lies and betrayals of government after government, in the poverty crisis and in the desperation of our people, where such unaccountable use of power leads.
An Independent State of Scotland
Independence by permission of the British establishment will never happen. But sovereignty restored to the people is a route to independence. The independent authority of the people, also known as self-determination, and the independence of their state are very closely connected. Because an independent, sovereign people has both the power and the right to declare an independent state. A subject people has not! So how do we become again a sovereign and independent people with the authority to declare an independent Scottish state?
In theory, as Christine Graham MSP said in 2015, we could all walk outside and shout that Scotland is an independent state and that would be that! In practice, as we know, that will not happen. In practice this is going to be first a matter of profoundly changing public perception and awareness and then a ‘numbers game’.
Power depends on two things: a shared, public perception of its valid authority and on a sufficient majority of the people who share that perception. In other words, it depends on our belief in its lawful and moral authority.
Westminster’s power in Scotland depends on a ‘self-referring’ claim to that authority. Westminster is sovereign in the UK, (it is the final and absolute authority), because Westminster has declared itself sovereign and this self-appointed authority is largely accepted by the legal establishment and the public. Westminster has conferred on itself the autocratic, unaccountable and absolute power of a feudal monarch and it calls this democracy. But any authority which is answerable only to itself has no fundamental basis in justice, fixed principle or the democratic process.
The Claim of Right campaign has the power to destroy the illusion of valid authority and the hold of that illusion on public perception. We say that no such absolute authority by any government exists either in principle or lawfully in Scotland, however many laws Westminster may pass to say otherwise. This is a declaration of truth, not of law as it exists now. But as the past shows us, accepted law may be unlawful [not sure I understand ].
We assert that the absolute authority of a government over the people of Scotland and any authority to act against their wellbeing, their interests and their wishes will always be unlawful in Scotland.
Our constitution may have been discarded as soon as the ink was dry on the Acts of (ratification) of the Union. But it is still our constitution, developed over at least 900 years, and no law passed by Westminster has the authority to take it from us. How can it? In Scotland, the people, and not government or parliament, were, are and will remain sovereign under our own laws, our own constitution, our own heritage. (Even Westminster acknowledged Scottish popular sovereignty by vote in 1989, 2012 and 2018.)
When this truth dawns on people in sufficient numbers, the hold of the powerful, British establishment’s lawful authority over the people Scotland will break. So how do we do this? We use the Claim of Right to break the spell! We show the people of Scotland what passes for lawful authority today and contrast that to what, rightfully, constitutes lawful authority in Scotland.
3. A Vision
Sovereignty is meaningless without any practical application. One application exemplified, by the Claim of Right Act 1689, enacted by a non-parliamentary body is the Convention of the Estates, a kind of ‘ombudsman’ for the nation. It is expanded by practices and provisions that had developed in Scotland by 1707 ? and which translate readily and appropriately into a modern context through the creation of:
- External, public oversight of those in power through a public body, (tribunal or jury), with authority to veto any clear breach of civil rights and liberties by government, including the failure to consult the nation on matters of national importance;
- A clear understanding by government and regulatory bodies that the principles underpinning the common good, (the rights, liberties, welfare and dignity of the people), their protection and promotion are their primary directive and only legitimate mandate;
- Mechanisms for determining the clear will of the nation on matters of national importance;
- Direct consultation with the public on all matters of national importance;
- Mechanisms of establishing both informed consent to government proposals and public participation in the process of policy making. The system had developed in Scotland, prior to the Union, where participation was assisted by numerous committees and assemblies, particularly those of the burghs, which held public hearings and whose central ‘Convention of the Burghs’ often drafted legislation for parliament to consider. Modern assemblies, based on this old model could both inform the public and help the policy making and legislative bodies to deliver best policies, practices and solutions drawn from the expertise, experience, imagination, creativity and insight of the greatest resource in Scotland, the people.
This is Salvo’s vision for a future, independent Scotland which sets a new standard in social and political justice and yet stands firmly on the values, ideals and principles that are the legacy of our past.
This is the return of hope and our unique Scottish identity.
This is decolonisation and self-determination.
This is our Claim of Right. Now we proclaim it far and wide!