Scotland in Union has launched its Charter of Holyrood ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.
On May 5th, a new group of MSPs will be elected to represent all of us in the Scottish Parliament. This is a fresh opportunity to tackle the economic and social challenges that face our country and to build a strong, successful society for the future.
We propose five principles to allow a new focus on what’s best for Scotland. We would ask all parties and candidates to pledge to:
1 - Move on from the referendum together.
Both sides agreed the 2014 referendum on independence would deliver a fair test and a decisive expression of the views of the people of Scotland.
Political leaders affirmed that the referendum would be a once in a lifetime or once in a generation decision. Efforts to re-run the vote disrespect the views of the Scottish people, divert attention from the real daily problems faced by Scots, and threaten the political and economic stability of the country.
We urge all candidates and parties to rule out campaigning for a new referendum in the forthcoming Parliament.
2 - Work together with the rest of the UK.
Before the referendum, Alex Salmond and David Cameron signed the ‘Edinburgh Agreement’ which not only pledged a fair and decisive vote, but committed both sides to “work together on matters of mutual interest” and committed themselves to “continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”
We urge all candidates and parties to respect this promise and to pledge to work in good faith with the UK Government in the interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK.
3 - Use the powers Holyrood now has.
Since the first Scottish election in 1999, major powers have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament over the delivery of public services, the economy and many other important matters. The Parliament now holds most of the powers needed to improve the lives of Scots and it should use them.
We urge all candidates and parties to focus the debate on how we best use the powers Holyrood has, rather than forever debating how to acquire new powers.
4 - Respect our great Scottish institutions.
There is a growing danger that the intense nature of political debate in Scotland is politicising civic Scotland. The Scottish Parliament is not the only forum for civic life in Scotland. Many historic and new institutions make up the fabric of our country that have remained quite separate from the political arena. These include the legal system, the universities, the police, the schools, the church, the civil service, local government, sporting clubs, charities and voluntary societies.
We urge all candidates and parties to respect the integrity and independence of our great Scottish institutions.
5 - Uphold decency in politics.
With the 2014 referendum, Scottish politics has become particularly intensely fought and divisive.
At times activists and candidates have acted inappropriately, threatening, insulting or seeking to intimidate opponents or even our fellow citizens from elsewhere in the UK.
We urge all candidates and parties to renew their commitment to unity, tolerance and decency in political discourse. We urge them to respect each other’s views, including on how Scottish nationhood and patriotism is expressed, and to condemn the politics of division, insult and intimidation.