View site in Scots

Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

National Conversation translated into Scots

29th August 2007

Colin Wilson, a Scots language campaigner from Aberdeen has translated the summary of the Scottish government's National Conversation (on the way Scotland should be governed) in to Scots. Wilson, the author of the Luath Scots Language Learner was unhappy when he discovered that summaries of the paper were available in English, Gaelic, Polish, Urdu and a number of other languages but not in Scots. Wilson set about translating the document and sent it to a number of people he thought might be interested in seeing it, including First Minister, Alex Slamond, Culture Minister, Linda Fabiani and the Scots Language Centre. Wilson also passed his translation to the Scottish Executive's civil servants suggesting that they might want to use it on their web site. Until now he has not received any response from them. Wilson said he was disappointed that no Scots translation had appeared on the Executive site and told SLC that he hoped the government would make use of the translation he had sent them. National Conversation in Scots Wylin Scotland's Future / a National Conversation / Independence & Responsibility in the Modren Warld Forewird The Richt Honourable Alex Salmond MSP MP First Meinister o Scotland In the Scots Government, we'v heich hopes for the future o Scotland. Forby thon, we threap that sovereignty in oor kintrie belangs wi its fowk. As a sovereign fowk, the fowk o Scotland - an us oor lane - his the richt tae decide the wey we'r govern't. Thon's whit wey oor manifesto for the Scots Paurliament elections promise't tae gie the fowk the chance tae think ower the idea o Scots independence, in a referendum tae be haudit in this term o the Paurliament. In thon election, it wis clear that fowk votit tae haud forrit wi the wey we govern wirsels in Scotland. In the Government, we threap that independence wad be the best thing for the kintrie. Ither fowk is for mair devolution, or for mair responsibility for taxes an spendin, or for federalism. Whitivver the differ atween the political pairties, the message fae the election wis patent: Scotland's constitutional position his tae be taen forrit. Latelie, there's been ither historic constitutional developments in Northren Ireland and Wales as weel, wi new pairties comin tae government, an new responsibilities bein devolved. Nou the UK Government itsel his publish't a discussion paper, on the governance o Britain. As First Meinister o Scotland, it's my responsibility tae explore an tae lead discussion on the choices for constitutional cheinge. A'm leadin the first SNP Government that's been electit in a devolved Scotland, sae A'm gaun tae pit the case for independence, its benefits an opportunities. Still an on, A can see there's a reenge o ither views in the kintrie, an representit in the Paurliament. Scotland's lang-staundin union wi the ither nations o the UK is foondit on the Union o the Crouns o 1603, an the Acts o Union o 1707 and 1801. The 1801 Union wi Ireland his awreadie gaen throu a guid meisure o cheenge. The political debate in Scotland nou is regairds the 1707 political Union, that the amendment or repeal o 't wad aye leave the Union o the Crouns the wey it is. On that grund, A'm wantin us tae haud a national conversation on oor future, sae's tae allou the fowk o Scotland tae debate, reflect, an syne decide aboot the kin o government that gies us the best fithaud for the future. This paper is meant tae be the stairtin pynt an inspiration for thon conversation. It luiks intae areas whaur Scotland micht tak on mair responsibilities - the like o employment, national finances, or law-makkin an public safety, the like o fireairms - as weel as the idea o independence, an braider constitutional developments in Britain. It's ten year nou fae the referendum tae foond the Scots Paurliament. We'v seen whit potential it his, tae answer tae the wants an the needs o the fowk o this kintrie. Bit forby, we'v seen whit limits its responsibilities his. I wad threap it's time for us, the fowk o Scotland, nou tae think on an tae wyle wir ain future in the modren warld. Summary The foondin o the Scots Paurliament inalow the Scotland Act 1998 gied the fowk o Scotland a democratic vyce straucht intae decisions ootower a braid reenge o government activities that wis admeinister't in Scotland awready. The devolution settlement recognised, open-like, that the responsibilities gien tae the Scots Paurliament and Scots Government in 1999 micht be cheenged; an important mechanisms wis brocht inby the Act tae allou for mair devolution. Monie important pouers is aye hained yet tae the UK Paurliament an the UK Government. Mair devolution on thir important maitters wad allou the Scots Paurliament an Scots Government tae tak their ain decisions on thir maitters for the guid o Scotland, foondit on the views o the fowk o Scotland. In some maitters, mair devolution micht haud separate decisions tae the same feerin, an gie mair democratic accoontabilitie for delivery o policy. Tae gang ayont mair an better devolution, on tae independence, wad mean bringin tae an end the UK Paurliament's pouers tae mak law for Scotland, an the richt o UK Meinisters tae wield executive pouers wi regaird tae Scotland. The lave o the reservations in the Scotland Act wad hae nae mair effect, an the Scots Paurliament an Scots Government wad tak on responsibility for aw hameland and owerseas policy, gey like the responsibilities o independent states aw-wey, subject tae the provisions o the EU Treaties an ither treaty obligations haundit doun. The nature o the UK's constitution is cheengin. There's been historic developments in Wales an Northren Ireland, an the UK Government his brocht oot proposals tae caw forrit the governance o the UK. Scotland, whuther we'r in the UK or independent, shid cairry on takkin a leadin role thegither wi oor neibours, takkin this chance tae better the mechanisms for governments tae wirk thegither, ower aw the current UK and wi the Republic o Ireland. Mair an better devolution, or independence, wad need new laws, likelie baith at Westminster an Holyrood. Muckle mair devolution wad likelie - an independence wad certainlie - need the consent o Scots fowk throu a referendum. Sicna vote michtna be constitutionalie bindin, bit for aw that, it's been acceptit as the richt wey tae decide Scotland's constitutional future. On that grund there maun be fair consideration o the richt an fittin forms o legislation for sicna vote, an o the question o hou the Scots Paurliament micht set a referendum gaun. In the Scots Government's view there's three realistic choices. First, tae keep the devolution scheme laid doun in the Scotland Act 1998, wi the possibility o mair evolution in pouers, braidenin thir pouers individual-like whan there's a need for 't. Saicant, tae design devolution ower agane by takkin on a set reenge o extensions tae the pouers of the Scots Paurliament and Scots Government aenou, aiblins bringin in fiscal autonomy, bit stoppin short o haudin forrit tae richt independence. Third, an the Scots Government likes this ane best, tae braiden oot the pouers of the Scots Paurliament and Scots Government tae the pynt o independence. Thir possibilities is described mair in this paper. This paper is the first step in a braid-reengin national conversation aboot the future o Scotland. This conversation wull allou the fowk o Scotland tae consider aw the options for the future o the kintrie, an tae mak informed decisions. This paper bids the fowk o Scotland sign up for the national conversation, an suggests whit wey the conversation shid be designed, tae mak shuir as monie fowk as can, is gaun tae tak pairt.