SCOTTISH PUBLIC CAN HAVE NO FAITH IN SNP’S ‘CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY’

We have written to our supporters to urge them not to participate in the Scottish Government’s ‘Citizens’ Assembly’, unless evidence emerges that the SNP is prepared to act in good faith.

Leading Nationalist Joanna Cherry QC MP has referred to the Citizens’ Assembly as ‘part of the process of preparing voters in Scotland for a second independence referendum’. She makes it clear yet again that the SNP are using the Citizens Assembly to try and further their aim of breaking up Britain. Watch below:

And SNP Cabinet Secretary Mike Russell MSP refused to confirm that the views of participants would be taken on board should they call for the Scottish Government to abandon independence.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:

“Citizens’ Assemblies are growing in popularity throughout the world, and we have remained open minded about the value of this approach in Scotland; any space where the views of the public can be examined and taken into account is to be welcomed.

“However, given the statements from senior SNP politicians, and the SNP’s consistent record of going against previous public consultations, many have expressed concern that the Citizens’ Assembly could be misused.

“If, before the assembly has been established, the SNP Government is already giving a strong signal that it will not accept the recommendations unless they happen to be in line with its own goal of breaking up the UK, then we cannot see why the Scottish public should have any faith in this process or, indeed, take part.

“If asked, unless evidence emerges that the SNP is prepared to act in good faith, we urge our supporters not to participate in the Citizens’ Assembly.”


The letter we have sent to our supporters:


Back in April, the SNP Scottish Government announced that it was to launch a Citizens’ Assembly, bringing together at least 100 people who live in Scotland for six weekends over autumn and winter 2019/20.  They will be randomly selected over this summer and will be asked to consider Scotland’s future.

Citizens’ Assemblies are growing in popularity throughout the world, as a means of gauging the views of the public on a range of timely issues, such as electoral reform in Canada and same sex marriage in Ireland.  We have remained open minded about the value of a Citizens’ Assembly in Scotland; any space where the views of the public can be examined and taken into account is to be welcomed.

However, last week Cabinet Secretary for Constitutional Relations, Mike Russell MSP, made a statement to the Scottish Parliament that has given real cause for concern.  During questioning from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP, Mr Russell refused to confirm that the views of the Assembly will be taken on board should they call for “the SNP Government to abandon independence.”  Mr Russell responded by saying “I commit myself to listening to the assembly, being public about what it says, and ensuring that whatever it says is reported.” Also, earlier in June, the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC MP was discussing the Citizens’ Assembly and referred to it as “part of the process of preparing voters in Scotland for a second independence referendum.”

This is, simply, not good enough.

Given these statements from senior SNP politicians, and the SNP’s consistent record of going against previous public consultations, many have expressed concern that the Citizens’ Assembly could be misused.

If, before the Assembly has been established, the SNP Scottish Government is already giving a strong signal that it will not accept the recommendations of the Assembly unless they happen to be in line with its own goal of breaking up the UK, then we cannot see why the Scottish public should have any faith in this process or, indeed, take part.

If asked, unless evidence emerges that the SNP is prepared to act in good faith, we urge our supporters not to participate in the Citizens’ Assembly.

Pamela Nash

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