The Fourth Principle: Sharing Power with the People of Scotland

George Reid

in Active Citizenship

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638666
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671939 | DOI:
The Fourth Principle: Sharing Power with the People of Scotland

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This chapter reflects upon what the Scottish Parliament has achieved in its first two terms, and what remains to be done to fulfil the aspiration of those who set it up — ‘the Scottish Parliament should embody and reflect the sharing of power between the people of Scotland, the legislators and the Scottish Executive’. It claims that in the eight years of devolution Holyrood had delivered well on three of its principles — accessibility, accountability and equal opportunities — but achieving the fourth principle, sharing power between government, people and Parliament, ‘has proved elusive’. It advocates ‘a new way of doing politics…more participative, more creative, less needlessly confrontational’. It also speaks of encouraging citizens ‘to participate in the policy making process’ and of ‘negotiated governance’. Evidence of the latter is found in the extensive use of government consultations and of the system of petitions. Nevertheless, it remains an open question as to whether Scottish independence would make a difference to active citizenship.

Keywords: Scottish Parliament; active citizenship; Scotland; legislators; Scottish Executive; sharing of power; devolution; negotiated governance; policy making; petitions

Chapter.  7175 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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