The poetry of the constitutional reform movement
Author: Zoe Stavri
Published on Sep 26, 2012
Since August, a poem has been popping up all over Scotland, seen in diverse places from a studio in the Outer Hebrides, to the wall of a shoe shop in Dunbar, to the inside of Scottish Parliament.
The poem is Angus Reid’s Call For A Constitution, which can be read in full here. The poem is its author’s attempt to address what sort of Scotland he would like to live in, outlining principles he would like to see enshrined in a Scottish constitution. Beside the poems, readers are invited to leave a handprint if they agree with the sentiments.
The project has been embraced, with MSPs among those who have left handprints by the poem. It shows the demand of the citizens and politicians of Scotland to see a written constitution, a contract between the people and their government.
Scotland, like the rest of the UK, lacks a written constitution. The matter is perhaps more prominent in Scotland at present, due to the possibility of it becoming independent. However, devolution of power among the countries in the UK provides an ideal opportunity to start talking about constitutions for all devolved governments, and for the UK as a whole.
We may have gone for years without a written constitution, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need one. Angus Reid’s poetry strikes a chord across the UK, reminding us of exactly how a constitution could help us.
Carwyn Jones's lecture for Unlock Democracy: A constitutional convention for the UK?
Special thanks to Danny Zinkus for taking the photograph of the installation at Holyrood.