Scotland’s political framework is more democratic and representative than Westminster’s but there is room for improvement. Upgrade Holyrood aims to facilitate discussions on upgrading Scotland’s democracy and ultimately help bring about change at the Scottish Parliament.
Launched on 8 April 2021, Upgrade Holyrood is a brand-new political blog and resource dedicated to improving Scotland’s representative politics while delivering relevant political analysis and commentary.
There’s a lot that Westminster can learn from Scottish politics, most notably Holyrood’s proportional voting system, the lack of an undemocratic upper chamber, electronic voting for members and the direct election of the first minister by MSPs. Scotland’s democratic processes are much more evolved than Westminster’s, and London should learn from that.
However, while Holyrood is more democratic than Westminster, there is still room for improvement.
The Alba party’s attempt to exploit a flaw in the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system and the likely return of “dual mandates” at the 2021 election have spotlighted the need for reform. And that’s where Upgrade Holyrood comes in. Scottish representative politics can learn democratic best practice from across Europe and beyond.
Guided by the principle that our democracy can and must be better, Upgrade Holyrood supports:
- Accountable representation: a return to fixed four-year parliamentary terms
- Fair and efficient representation: an end to dual mandates in Scottish politics and restrictions on second jobs for politicians
- Inclusive representation: a permanent hybrid parliament
- Local representation: more powers for local communities across Scotland
- Proportional representation a fairer voting system to elect MSPs
Upgrade Holyrood provides analysis, opinion and research on solutions to improve Scottish democracy as well as the space to discuss further advancements. Additional commentary on Scottish, British and European politics more generally will also be covered.
Read my article (published in Politics.co.uk) on the need to reform Scotland’s electoral system here.
Upgrade Holyrood was initially launched as Better Holyrood before a name change on 13 April 2021.