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Active CitizenshipWhat Could it Achieve and How?$
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Bernard Crick and Andrew Lockyer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638666

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638666.001.0001

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Active Citizenship and Sharing Power in Scotland: the Need to Go Beyond Devolution

Active Citizenship and Sharing Power in Scotland: the Need to Go Beyond Devolution

Chapter:
(p.171) 12 Active Citizenship and Sharing Power in Scotland: the Need to Go Beyond Devolution
Source:
Active Citizenship
Author(s):

Kevin Francis

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638666.003.0013

Drawing on the perspective of democratic theory, this chapter argues that the prospect of Scottish independence provides a realistic opportunity for radical political innovation. It insists that the hoped-for levels of civic engagement, delivering the fourth principle of power sharing with the people, have not been achieved in Scotland. It also pursues the ideas of popular sovereignty and democratic participation found in the writings of John Stuart Mill and developed by modern theorists of deliberative democracy. The chapter proposes a form of direct political decision-making by citizens akin to that derived from classical Athenian democracy. It also suggests various ways in which bills, after parliamentary deliberation and vote, might be put to randomly selected juries of 10,000 or 20,000 for ‘popular assent’ or rejection. The central idea is that when citizens act as jurors they are trusted to exercise real power on behalf of their fellow citizens; arguably they act above and beyond sectional, party or local interests. In this role, civic duty carries a collective responsibility which transcends partiality and particular identity.

Keywords:   Scotland, independence, civic engagement, power sharing, popular sovereignty, democratic participation, John Stuart Mill, deliberative democracy, civic duty

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