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 Report of People and Parliament


The People and Parliament 

Full Technical Report


New as of Dec 2012: PDFs of Report in Executive and Full Technical versions


Also, PDF of the original question/process forms (also appended to the Full Tech version)




Click Links from the Menu below to Navigate the People & Parliament Report

(The material below is now mostly archival as it is replaced as of 2012 by the PDFs above)


Summary and Contents Part 3 - Political Process Sample Participant Forms
Part 0 - Methodology Part 4 - Raw Data Related Material: The Parekh Report
Part 1- Identities Part 5 - Sources Embracing Multicultural Scotland Report
Part 2 - Vision Part 6 - Statistics Le Monde Diplomatique Article



This report is the full version of People & Parliament: Reshaping Scotland? -  The People Speak as discussed in pp. 5-6 of the Runnymede Trust's  Parekh Report, The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (Profile Books, October 2000, www.runnymedetrust.org.uk). In 1999 three members of the People & Parliament steering group made a presentation to Lord Parekh's Commission, speaking about Scottish identity (drawing especially on the work of Glasgow's GalGael Trust) and the People and Parliament process, with reference to ideas that were to result in the Embracing Multicultural Scotland study. We are therefore greatly warmed to read, in Chapter 1 of the Parekh Report, that, "[The People & Parliament findings] serve to introduce many of the themes of this report: how to reimagine English, Scottish and Welsh history so that it includes everyone; how to understand identities in transition; how to balance cohesion, difference and justice; how to deal with racism... The creation of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly and the increased prominence of Scottish and Welsh identities, have profound implications for people in England."


Summary & Contents


"Once in many generations there comes to a people the chance to take their destiny into their own hands, to say with confidence who they are and what they want, and to reshape their society in line with their vision. That time has come for Scotland."


                - Canon Kenyon Wright, Convener of People & Parliament


This report comprises about 100 printed pages, some in extensive MS Word tables. It has therefore been broken into separate files according to section numbers in the original published report. These can be read by clicking the underlined hyperlinks either in the Contents section (below) or at the head and foot of each page. Whilst the internet version of this material is initially posted to the website of one of the Steering Committee members (www.AlastairMcIntosh.com), its compilation was a group effort which belongs collectively to the People & Parliament Trust



On This Page - Scroll down or Click these Links


1. Introduction to Reshaping Scotland? The People Speak, by Canon Kenyon E Wright


2. Executive Summary


3. Contents of the Full Technical Report


4. Introduction to Full Technical Report by Canon Kenyon E Wright


5. Acknowledgments


6. Listing of Steering Committee Members





(This text by Kenyon Wright, Convener of People & Parliament, introduced the executive version of the report which was entitled Reshaping Scotland? The People Speak.


“We are acutely conscious that much of the world is watching us and wishing us well. We must not waste this opportunity. We must do all we can to get it right.”


These are the words of one of the 450 Groups, from all over Scotland, who took part in “People & Parliament” and sent in their responses. They came from cities, towns and rural areas, from highlands and lowlands, from east and west, north and south - and from most sectors of society. If there was any bias or weighting, it was the success in hearing the voices of so many groups representing those usually voiceless, marginalised or excluded - the unemployed, disabled, youth, pensioners, ethnic minorities (“the new Scots”) and others.


The words used were as variable as the participants - but a single message comes through with a compelling clarity of insight, consistency, conviction, humour, and passionate intensity.


There is deep frustration with our fragmented society, and a feeling of anger and disconnection with the present system of government and politics. Based on this, there is a profound longing for a new kind of politics and society that will listen to, care for, respect and share with, all our people - rooted in a strong sense of national identity and community, and the vision of a renewed nation in which all count and none are excluded.


This is reinforced by the recurrent theme, that the people of Scotland must now learn to take responsibility for their own destiny - and mistakes - and overcome the tendency to blame others. The strong desire for a better society and community is constantly linked with the need for greater participation and partnership in power. Improvement needs empowerment.


That is the vision by which Scotland’s Parliament will be judged. Our new political servants will ignore that message at their peril. They need to earn the respect and trust of the people, so dangerously eroded at present.


The people clearly hope and expect that the Members of our new Parliament, and others in positions of influence and power, will grasp the unique opportunity to develop a new culture of openness, accountability and participation; that their conduct will demonstrate their readiness to share power, and to encourage a participative democracy, in which the people really are partners in the development of policy.


Will it work? Will the new Parliament be, as the Government’s Consultative Steering Group said, “the central institution of a new political and community culture”, or will the high hopes of “People & Parliament” be disappointed, and turn again to cynicism?


People expect and long for, something different. There will never be a time of greater opportunity than now. The task of creating a new level of democracy, and finding practical ways in which people can really participate, will not be easy. No task could be more important, more worthwhile, or more likely to give Scotland a distinctive role in the Europe of the new Millennium.


One youth group ended their response like this...


“We don’t believe any of these comments will make a difference - so please prove us wrong”


Will we? Can we?






With the publication of this Report and its presentation to the people of Scotland the “People & Parliament” process is complete.


The hopes and expectations it reveals so strongly and consistently, remain!


These will be met only if there is real change both in politics and in civil society, in the parliament and the people!


1) The high expectations for the Members of Scotland’s Parliament, and for a new kind of politics, seem to demand a new attitude of service and accountability, probably defined by a positive and distinctive Code of Conduct and Job Description.



2) The universal demand for participation and sharing in power, can only be met by the development of new institutions, or the strengthening and redefinition of existing ones, in Scottish civil society at all levels; local, regional and national, which will have the authority to monitor how Scotland’s Parliament lives up to the expectations of the people.



Whether these can be achieved is the central question facing us now. The answers we give will determine whether Scotland’s new Parliament belongs to the people, and is the central political institution of a renewed democracy for a new era.


 (Canon) Kenyon Wright,



on behalf of the “People & Parliament” Steering Group.



Executive Summary


The People & Parliament project started when a small group of citizens came together with common passion to deepen and broaden the debate in Scotland about who we are, what we care about and how we think the new Parliament should work. The project was convened by Canon Kenyon Wright, chair of the executive of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, the body that steered the consensual political process that led to the setting up of Scotland’s new Parliament. Canon Wright maintains that he learned about liberation theology from Indians whilst working in India. Several other members of the steering committee were also theologically informed. One came from a Muslim family background.


The first stage in the process was to circulate a simple leaflet widely across Scotland. Some 30,000 were printed. This encouraged ordinary people to get together in neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces, churches and interest groups. After a warm up question in which each person was invited to share with other group members one experience of what living in Scotland means for them, they were asked, collectively, to complete three paragraphs beginning:









Process: Relationship with Parliament


Over 450 groups met to discuss these questions. Local conferences were held and attended by Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). Results were analysed to select indicative statements - ones that made a clear impact. These were sorted according to type. Drawing from both Jesuit and Quaker principles of spiritual discernment, effort was made to search for the taproot of groups’ feelings rather than getting tangled in the mass of grassroots data. Reports were produced and sent to participants and MSPs to help them better understand the values, aspirations and expectations of the nation. There is evidence that this had a direct effect on the nature of national political debate. Many participants remarked that the process helped them understand themselves, Scotland and participative democracy more deeply. There was wonderful diversity in the responses, but key themes, which emerged consistently and passionately, were:


·      Great pride in and a strong sense of identification with the Scottish environment. People called for land reform and sustainable development in both rural areas and cities.

·      People expressed a strong sense of belonging, wishing their communities to be inclusive, supportive and nurturing, where “children are celebrated, not ignored,” and “the generation coming behind us has something to look forward to in their old age.”

·      There was recognition of shortcomings and a lack of confidence in Scottish people. Many saw the reality of conscious and unconscious racism and called for a Scottishness based on civic, not ethnic identity.

·      People disliked trends in modern society that fragment society and break up community, leading to poverty and stigmatisation of those with, for example, mental illness.

·      Many were passionate about health services and the education system as a way for individuals to realise their potential and build “a broad economy based on a diversity of skills.”

·      People expressed considerable disillusionment with power politics. They wanted accessibility and accountability, with meaningful local ability to engage participatively. A group of primary school children looked towards a Parliament that “does not take away our freedoms, but adds to our lives.” A group of people living in urban poverty urged politicians to remember, “All power is a service.”

·      Practical ideas for a more effective politics included: MSPs “listening to us first and foremost” rather than always toeing the party line, citizenship education, devolution of power to local levels wherever possible, parliamentary committees meeting in the regions, use of electronic communications and voting technology, training MSPs in techniques of listening and participation, and crèche facilities at political gatherings and in the Parliament.


(This summary was originally prepared by Alastair McIntosh for Land, Power & National Identity, a presentation on the vocation of nationhood to the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is published in pp. 90-92 of the book, Healing Nationhood. It draws heavily on a summary originally produced by fellow Steering Committee member, Peter Ritchie.)





                Convener’s Introduction, Acknowledgements, etc.     


0.             An Exploration of National Values

0.1           Why People & Parliament                                                                 

0.2           The Public’s Response                                                                      

0.3           Method of Data Analysis                                                                  

0.4           Stratified Sample Study, and Presentation                                                                      

0.5           Attribution of Statements                                                                  


1.             Question 1: “We are a people who...”

1.1           Sense of Environment and Place                                                      

1.2           Sense of Community and Belonging                                               

1.3           Sense of Identity (including Ethnic Minorities)             

1.3.1                        Ethnic Scots and English People                                      

1.3.2                        Indigenous Ethnic Groups                                                

1.3.3                        Non-Indigenous Ethnic Groups                                       

1.4           Values and Characteristics                                                

1.5           Public Sector                                                                                        

1.6           Private Sector                                                                                      

1.7           Social Exclusion                                                                                  

1.8           Political Process                                                                                  

1.9           National Stature                                                                                  


2.             Question 2: “By the year 2020 we would like to see a Scotland in which...”

2.1           Sense of Environment and Place                                                      

2.2           Sense of Community and Belonging                                               

2.3           Sense of Identity (including Ethnic Minorities)                             

2.3.1                        Ethnic Scots and English People                                      

2.3.2                        Indigenous Ethnic Groups                                                

2.3.3                        Non-Indigenous Ethnic Groups                                       

2.4           Values and Characteristics                                                

2.5           Public Sector                                                                                        

2.5.1                        Education (including the Arts and Research)

2.5.2                        Health                                                                                   

2.5.3                        Housing & Transport and Utilities                                  

2.5.4                        Law & Order and Defence                                                 

2.6           Private Sector                                                                                      

2.7           Social Exclusion                                                                                  

2.8           Political Process                                                                                  

2.9           National Stature                                                                                  


3.             Question 3: “We therefore expect our Parliament to work

                                         with the people in ways which...”

3.1           Values                                                                                                   

3.2           Conduct                                                                                                

3.3           Participation                                                                                         

3.4           Representation                                                                                    

3.5           Political Education                                                                              

3.6           Communication                                                                                   

3.7           Sectors (Public and Private)                                                              

3.8           Local Governance                                                                               

3.9           International Relations                                                                       


4.             Table of Indicative Statements  

                (i.e. data classified by coding frames in form that can be re-sorted for further analysis)


5.             Table of Origins

                (i.e. brief details of groups that participated)

6.             Statistical Analysis & Response Forms

                (i.e. according to gender, postcode, etc.)



Introduction by Canon Kenyon E Wright, Convener



The “Executive Report” of People & Parliament, which has been widely distributed, sets out the most frequent points made by hundreds of groups who took the time to debate the questions, and send in their considered responses. To a remarkable degree, these were consistent, clear, and often passionate and humorous.


This “Technical Report” provides the more detailed background material for any who wish to study the responses, or the methods used, more intensively. In particular, it includes a Table of indicative Statements and a Table of Origins, covering all responses received.


While all members of the Steering Group were fully involved in the process, we are particularly grateful to Alastair McIntosh for the detailed work of analysis, and for producing the comprehensive Tables in this Report. We also thank the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for making it possible for Alastair McIntosh to spend much of his time working on the analysis of the responses to the “People & Parliament” process.


(Canon) Kenyon E Wright

Convener, People & Parliament

10 March 1999




The “People and Parliament” Trust is grateful for support from:



The Scottish Churches “Vision 21” Group for initial funding


The Network for Social Change for initial funding


The City and District Councils of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, and Perth & Kinross for conference facilities


British Petroleum (BP) for communication equipment


British Telecom (BT) for leaflet reprint and finance for Freephone


The Allen Lane Foundation, for funds for administration


The National Lottery Charities Board, towards presentation and conferences


The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), for leaflet reprint


UNISON Scotland, for general expenses


Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden KT



... and many others who have contributed in diverse ways.



Steering Committee Members



Christine Anderson            Director, Craighead Institute, Glasgow


*Alasdair Hogg                   Education


Elizabeth Hogg                    Consultancy


*Hanna Maan                       A recent graduate in psychology


Alastair McIntosh               Social activist - human ecology & land reform


Vérène Nicolas                    Adult and community education


Anne O’Donnell                  Social policy officer


Peter Ritchie                       Director of an Edinburgh-based training company


Ninian Crichton Stuart     Landowner and community worker


Betty Wright                        Voluntary sector and church work


Kenyon Wright                    Scottish Constitutional Convention &

                                                Consultative Steering Group


* indicates members of the registered People and Parliament Trust



  A reference copy of this report, a shorter executive version and the original raw data is lodged in the National Library of Scotland.



Back up to This Page's Contents List


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Summary and Contents Part 3 - Political Process Sample Participant Forms
Part 0 - Methodology Part 4 - Raw Data Related Material: The Parekh Report
Part 1- Identities Part 5 - Sources Embracing Multicultural Scotland Report
Part 2 - Vision Part 6 - Statistics Le Monde Diplomatique Article







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