Critically examine the view that the Scottish Parliament has met its Founding Principles.
The Scottish Parliament is the? devolved? national,? unicameral? legislature of Scotland and is located in? Holyrood which is in the Capital; Edinburgh. In 1999, the Scottish Parliament set four founding principles: to embrace equal opportunities, to power share, to be accessible and to be accountable. It is clearly evident that the Scottish Parliament has met its founding principles to a large extent and will be discussed in this essay.
The Scottish Parliament aimed to embrace Equal Opportunities. They were successful in this due to the 36% female representation rate the parliament enjoys today. This was achieved by allowing a creche on site which appeased the problem of childcare and allowed more women to be flexible with their work and children. The representation of women is also proven to be better than Westminster; 1/3 compared to 1/5. Furthermore, there is also a compulsory Equal Opportunities Committee in the parliament, convened by Mary Fee (Labour). However, despite the success in representing females, the Scottish Parliament fails to represent ethnic minorities. Within the Scottish Parliament, there are only two ethnic minority MSPs and to be in line with society, it should be around four. Also, the 36% of women in the Parliament is not near the 51% of the population; therefore it not representative. Overall, the Scottish Parliament has successfully met its aim to embrace Equal Opportunities due to the help offered to women in parliament and committees being created.
Power Sharing has been met by the Scottish Parliament in many ways. This is due to the Additional Member System; making it increasingly difficult for one party to achieve a majority. The Scottish Parliament encourages coalitions to be formed and this is when two or more political parties unite and govern the country together. For example, this was executed successfully from 1999 to 2007 by the Labour and Liberal Democrats. Also, ensuring not one party holds too much power, the Parliament maintains specific committees that have members from each political party, who then all help agree and compromise legislation together. However, the power-sharing principle could be subject to failure due to the 2007 Holyrood Election. The Scottish National Party obtained the most seats with 47, which is still not a majority. Due to this, they struggled to form a coalition with any other parties due to their manifesto vow based on Scotland becoming independent. This therefore led Alex Salmond and the SNP to run Scotland as a minority government. They held the greatest level of political power which ultimately goes against the principle of Power Sharing. This abolished the foundations of Power Sharing further as in 2011, the SNP obtained a majority with 69 MSPs; therefore not needing to consult with other parties before legislation. Overall, Power Sharing has been met to a large extent, but fails to do so in recent elections.