Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Mark McNaught

In this week’s edition of the dugcast I am joined online by Mark McNaught. Mark is an Associate Professor of Law & Political Science at University of Rennes in Brittany. Being of Scots descent has had a long standing interest in Scotland’s constitutional affairs. He’s perhaps best known for drawing up a draft Scottish Constitution which can be edited and contributed to on an open platform. He’s also one of the people behind the Scottish Digital Covenant.

We have a chat about how the British Government is being perceived by people in France, about proposals for a Scottish constitution, and about the Scottish Digital Covenant.

Click here for the podcast if the embedded link does not display properly for you. https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-04-06-2020-with-mark-mcnaught

The Scottish Digital Covenant https://digitalcovenant.scot/

The crowd-sourced Scottish Constitution http://wiki.scottishconstitution.com

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34 thoughts on “Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Mark McNaught

  1. Pingback: Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Mark McNaught | speymouth

  2. I always notice when non residents of Scotland in particular talk about Scottish Independence and their amazement as to why some folk won’t vote for it nobody ever wants to address the big blue Broxi bear waving a Union flag in the room

    From the pearl necklaced leafy suburbs of the coffee mornings to the high rises of the masses, rich or poor, whether sneakily quiet or viley vocal these people will not alter their position because their position isn’t based on logic and never will be and it’s the source of the Tory vote in Scotland and what’s left of the dregs of Labour

    No policy, no financial benefit, no anything will ever entice this core of people to change even if you discredited every single argument they have their arguments only exist to buy themselves time to think up another argument that has no reason other than the one we all know about

    The posh version will nod in agreement but do the opposite when the time comes, the not posh will bear their tooth wave their arms and fist pump in favour of Trump and Johnson even if they think they’re madmen, but they’ll still support what they are

    And we all know why

    • The thing is we don’t need those folk to vote Yes. Polling has shown that they comprise no more than about 30% of the population. The 20% who are persuadable who we need to persuade and they are slowly coming to Yes, more as a result of the clusterfuck of Covid-19 and more will come when we hard Brexit.

  3. I had to double-check my memory, and indeed blockchain technology underpins what Estonia achieved in their “No Citizen Left Behind” program, and I suspect few in the 21st century have anything but admiration for it, JRM et al aside….

    When your article was initially posted, the negatives and suspicions in comments initially surprised me, but given folks’ prior experience of the British Establishment and “associated businesses” abusing personal data, the surprise was legitimately down to my own naivety.

    I do hope the project and Covenant can resolve these issues of trust and move the project on, what is desperately needed in society is a means by which opinions take force in an age where lies and deceptions have become the norm. It’s is a racing certainty the status-quo drones will be deployed in full force to exasperate change to what they already control…

    Superb podcast, bravo Paul, and Mark..

  4. Anyone just watched the latest Trump news conference?

    “Hopefully George (Floyd) is looking down right now and saying ‘this is a great thing that’s happening for our country’. It’s a great day for him and a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

    Can someone in Aberdeenshire let Michael Forbes know that if he takes his tractor and plough over Trump’s golf course tonight, I’ll deposit £500 into his account tomorrow. If the clubhouse mysteriously burns down too, then I’ll throw in that case of Ardbeg Vey Young for good measure.

    Please email the photos, Michael.

  5. I hope the Scottish Covenant takes off. Blockchain is secure. The issue of acceptance is trust. Trust that non technical people can trust blockchain and that the information that needs to be loaded to prove identity is destroyed once verification is complete.

  6. A major rethink of the presentation is needed.
    A total separation between crypto currency and block chain security is needed the following three things have different meanings to different people,
    Block chain Security – Crypto Currency – Personal Details – The plook that stands out is Crypto Currency , connotations of banking and your personal money just to emulate a voting preference , and a voting system for all its faults is easy to understand ,
    If it was presented as a very secure voting system without any other confusing additions it might fly , eh personally right now it is a Wright Brothers Plane using hope as a selling point ,
    I like Mark but sometimes he tends to get a bit over excited when trying to describe things and glosses over relevant details the idea is there but not quite perfected yet , work in progress would be my best comment .

    • Can only agree with your point about bitcoin, has to be mentioned but as a source about the security of the Blockchain method.
      The only negative story I have heard about bitcoin is the Canadian account where the password holder died and it’s impossible to access the account without the passcode.
      Like any system it may be possible to break into but at present it’s too secure.

      • Dave tewart,

        I mentioned this bitcoin/Blockchain link in the previous thread on the Digital Convention and highlighted a Guardian article which showed the dangers od such an approach.

        I’m happy that we now have a clearer picture of who is behind the Digital Convention, but I expect we will need a tightening of security issues and a more readiness to supply written info and guarantees on the various websites.

        Good luck!

  7. I took the time to read the draft constitution for Scotland today. I’m certainly no expert in any legal or constitutional issues but I think the block chain idea of voting in elections and parliament has merit and would show Scotland as being an innovative and truly modern democracy assuming that the technology is ironclad and impossible to corrupt or be used for any nefarious actions that may arise in the future.

    One area did stand out and that is the proposal for head of state or the president. The document assumes that Scotland will be a republic when independent and that suits me fine being no fan of royalty and deference to a monarch who sits as head of state by virtue of birth. I would certainly vote for a republic in any referendum. Alex Salmond always said that an independent Scotland would retain the monarch as head of state. I believe he said this not so much to show affection to the Queen but through pragmatic thinking in the knowledge that asking the Scots in 2014 to vote for independence was one thing but to ask them to also vote on becoming a republic would have been a bridge too far and was certain to be defeated. Independence first then a discussion leading to a referendum on a republic second.

    The draft constitution lacks detail around the codification of the powers available to a president. Many republics around the world the office of president is purely ceremonial just like a monarch in a constitutional monarchy such as the UK and some Commonwealth countries who retained the monarch as head of state…Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Other republics such as an he USA and Brazil and many others the office of president is very powerful often due to the constitution of that country. That power also has endorsement through popular elections therefore the office of president becomes an arm of government over and above the elected parliament. For my mind this form of government should be avoided at all costs. I suggest that the writers of the draft take a lot more time to clearly outline and codify limits on what the president can and cannot do or say. The popular election model is not in my mind necessary to install a president. This can be done by appointment of a respected eminent person from the community the legal profession the arts or science and medicine maybe military service could be a category worth examining but definitely no religious people of any persuasion, elected by a two thirds majority of a joint sitting of MPs and senators (I could write more about the need for a second elected chamber of review, a senate which the draft constitution does not mention but I’ll leave that for another time….perhaps).

    There also needs a lot more clarity around the personal ID card. This needs to be future proofed to make sure it can’t be modified to incorporate real time proximity monitoring or tracking. Having said that I’m sure that the state and private companies like google and apple already have this ability through our phones.

    To my non legal mind the draft is a good start but needs a lot of work and full endorsement in a convention of the people.

    • The Crown and the people of Scotland’s ownership of it is one our best cards, and we have a lot of them, at the negotiating table. Removing the current holder, her actions over the last six years more than justify it, and her brood replaced by an elected Guardian, an ancient office in Scotland, would send shockwaves round the world. Scotland is the oldest surviving Kingdom in Europe and in my view should remain so. If you wanted an office directly responsible for the COPFS, that’s it right there.

      • Total ahistorical nonsense, Golfnut. The office of Guardian was only a temporary expedient when we didn’t have a “main man or woman” (i.e. king or queen) able to exercise their powers due to being underage, or when there was no monarch. And no head of state should be responsible for COPFS, that’s a job for the minister for justice (as it should already clearly be so just now). We need an elected, ceremonial, non-executive, non-partisan president with limited powers, such as referring laws that they think are unconstitutional to the supreme court. No more nonsense about monarchs or kingdoms for Scotland, we need a democratic republic where the people are sovereign.

        • In your opinion of course. Guardian’s were normally elected and your right were normally short term, eh like Presidents.
          Don’t get the ahistorical nonsense bit, since you admit they actually existed.

      • That is very good Golfnut. Our elected President having the title of Guardian appeals to me historically. I googled it to read about the ancient office.
        Mind you I knew already as Mel Gibson was given the title in Braveheart!! 😁

        • The role of the Guardian can include whatever we want which should include over site of our elected representatives. Being booted back to their constituents for one gets my vote.
          Draft constitutions are ok regards giving us a flavour of what it should look like, but I don’t want ours being constructed and voted on by politicians, we can see the fankle they are getting into with this GRA crap. We need to keep it simple.

          • This misses the point of a purely ceremonial role of the Guardian/president. They should hold no power or sway over the elected parliament. Power should never reside with one woman or man.

            Agree with the rest of it Golfnut

          • Guardian’s in Scotland have never been ceremonial heads of state, their prime duty of course was to act in defence of the state when required. At the very least they should be charged with defending the Constitution because as surely night follows day we will have politicians in our Parliament who will try to change that constitution for there own benefit.
            Our who lie and mislead, are as corrupt as their Westminster counterparts, they act with impunity, that must not be allowed in an independent Scotland.

          • In most countries the constitution can only be changed or amended by a referendum of the people. No politician parliament or head of state has the power to change the constitution without permission of the people.

          • Maybe check out how many changes have been made to the constitutional rights of US citizens.

  8. “Her Majesty’s government” is the heading on all legal UK government documents
    so how can the UK claim they work for a Monarch and claim to be a democracy at the same time

    Take that to court

  9. Off topic – but feel sure that you will want to know how your cousins are faring. What with YES to indy now in a majority in the latest indy poll in Scotland (see Petra’s post in last blog), things are moving in Cymru, too.

    The latest indy poll shows a large number are persuadable but not yet persuaded
    5th June 2020

    Pro-Indy @ 32% in Wales: The highest ever score (so far).

    Sizeable Labour minority also in favour of indy


    Further details and comment:

    With Welsh independence polling higher than ever it is no longer a fringe movement
    5th June 2020


    • Good news WS. Glad to see things are moving.

      I am now a member of Yes Cymru. I wonder if this is OK as I am on paper English having been born 4 miles south of the border in Berwick upon Tweed despite the fact I lived in Scotland 8 miles north of the border.

      • Diolch/ Thank you for that, andy. May there be more who join us at Yes Cymru.

        I draw your attention to the final sentence here:

        “Our group will promote independence for Wales through a range of activities, to make the case that Wales, like so many other nations throughout the world, would be better running its own affairs, as part of a wider European and international family. Our organisation is open to all who believe in independence for Wales.”

        So, regardless of your nationality, you are welcome to join Yes Cymru if you believe in independence. Heck, if I can join Yes Scotland (although currently I can’t sign the digital convention) then sure as anything you can join Yes Cymru. (Try getting members of your SNP Branch/Yes Scotland group to join, too!)


        And as I’ve been trying to preach for many a year – join Plaid Cymru as well.

  10. Paul,

    I tried to add a comment to the wiki.scottishconstitution.com site but it wouldn’t let me add any comments / make any changes. Anyone else have this problem? I wanted to suggest the following change to Mark’s proposed Scottish constitution:

    We, the people of the sovereign, free and democratic State of Scotland…”

    I think this should actually read:

    “We, the sovereign people of the free and democratic State of Scotland…”

    Maybe Mark could check out if there’s a problem with the site.

    • I will do that. It has been several months since I have processed any proposed changes. Will get it set up.

      • Hi Mark, tried to add my proposed change to your wiki constitution site. Still getting nowhere. Normally in wiki you can post under a discussion tab without a user ID (just logs your IP) so I tried to create a user ID on your page to see if that would work and it basically told me to GTF (as we say in Glasgow). Nae working, mate. Just thought you should know.

  11. An interesting Dugcast.

    I think the key to the Digital Covenant – which I see as a good idea – is to take the necessary time to clarify the methodology and to answer the questions of security that many people will have. Much patience is going to be needed to get it right.

  12. Hi Paul, I was looking for your RSS feed to subscribe to your podcast on my phone, but couldn’t find the link. Is it set up? It’s easy to do if you need a hand …

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