Party Constitution: The Scottish Libertarians
The official name of the Party shall be the Scottish Libertarian Party, both publicly and legally, and simply as “the Scottish Libertarians” in common speech and media, hereinafter referred to as “the Party”.
2.1 The principal aim of the Party is to promote, disseminate, and represent the political philosophy known historically as Classical Liberalism, and known more recently as Libertarianism as its modern manifestation in the political life of Scotland in all levels of society and government . The party holds a long term view towards achieving public office to create and affect legislation according to the general principles of Libertarianism as described in Section 3, hereafter referred to as “the General Principles”.
2.2 The Party will develop and promote a full range of domestic and foreign policies in keeping with the General Principles and current social and political realities.
2.3 The Party will be guided in its activities by the General Principles.
2.4 The Party will oppose any political or government policy, proposal, legislation, or media campaign not in keeping with the General Principles and support those that do, regardless of the political party or the political orientation from which it originated.
3. THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LIBERTARIANISM
3.1 The party holds that the purpose of Government is to uphold the Natural Rights of the individual.
3.1.1 This is to be accomplished through civil defence (police), national defence (military), and through the courts which handle disputes and address issues of rights violations.
3.1.2 This shall not preclude non-governmental solutions being reached voluntarily, nor shall it prescribe a government monopoly of the institutions outlined in 3.1.1.
3.1.3 The party acknowledges that in order to achieve these aims, it may be necessary for government to levy taxes. However we hold that taxes should only be levied for these purposes, and it’s use for any other purposes constrained to that purpose. Once those objectives are achieved, the specified tax shall be abolished.
3.1.4 Given the choice between one policy and the other, the one that is most in keeping with the general principles will be chosen.
3.1.5 Any actions of government out-with these defined purposes are to be opposed. However, it must be recognised that at present, given the current size and scope of government, the complete abolition of these activities is not practicable until a suitable replacement for government involvement in these activities is available.
3.2 Nature of Rights:
Libertarianism is based upon the principles of self-ownership and self-responsibility. It posits that all individuals have the right to control their own lives, bodies, and property acquired by honest means. Furthermore, individuals must also recognise, accept, respect, and tolerate the rights of others.
All rights are inherent to each individual by virtue of their existence and every human being has equal claim to these rights. These Natural Rights cannot be morally infringed upon. Rights are not to be confused with privileges and entitlements bestowed by governments and wrongly labelled as “rights”.
3.3 The Natural Rights are as follows:
3.3.1 Right to Life: Each individual has the right to their existence and their body. No one can rightfully lay claim to the lives of others without their consent.
3.3.2 Right to Liberty: Each individual has the right to think, speak, act, and associate as they choose provided that in doing so they do not infringe on the rights of others to do the same.
3.3.3 Right to Property: Each individual has the right to their justly earned, purchased, or created property and may use or dispose of it as they choose, provided that in doing so they do not violate the rights of others.
3.3.4 Right to the Pursuit of Happiness: Each individual has the right to pursue whatever purposes they believe will bring them happiness or to flourish as individuals provided that in doing so they do not violate the rights of others.
3.4 An Implied Right is:
3.4.1 Right to Defence: The individual has the right to defend the life, liberty, or property of themselves and others with reasonable force against force, theft, fraud, and trespass perpetrated by other individuals or groups and the right to the means for that defence.
4. STATUTORY OFFICERS
4.1 The statutory officers shall be the: Leader, Treasurer, Deputy Leader and Nominating Officer.
4.2 The Leader and Deputy Leader are elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
4.3 The Treasurer is appointed by the Leader.
4.4 The Nominating Officer is appointed by the Constitutional Committee.
4.5 Statutory Officers are required to sign any legal Electoral Commission forms at beginning of office, end of office and if required on the change of another officer.
4.6 Statutory Officers take office on the date of legal notification with the Electoral Commission.
4.7 The Leader can resign by informing the Deputy leader in writing. The Deputy Leader will become Leader, and will complete the term of office.
4.8 The Deputy Leader or Nominating Officer can resign by informing each member of the Constitutional Committee in writing.
4.9 On the vacancy of the Deputy Leader or Nominating Officer position, the Constitutional Committee within 30 days will appoint a new officer for the vacant position. The appointed officer completes the term of the office vacated.
4.10 The statutory officer shall carry out responsibilities as highlighted in this constitution and legally under the law.
5.1 The Leader on gaining office will select a Treasurer.
5.2 The Treasurer shall receive, expend and account for the funds of the Party under the supervision and direction of the Party Leader and members of the constitutional committee. The Treasurer shall make an annual financial report to the Leadership and constitutional committee and shall perform all duties required of the office by the Legislation. The Treasurer is responsible for oversight of all financial functions, including, but not limited to receipts, disbursements, and internal and external reporting. The Treasurer shall report to the Leader both the financial situation of the Party and the results of its activities. The Accounts and Financial Report to year-end is given to the Leadership, Constitutional Committee and a business Special General Meeting (SGM) is to be held within ninety days of the year-end of 31st December. Where Party finances require external auditing in order to comply with the Legislation, the Treasurer shall ensure that an independent audit is undertaken.
5.3 The Treasurer is allowed to accept donations from any source with the following provisos:
5.3.1 That the donation is legal in terms of the prevailing electoral law.
5.3.2 That the donor may direct where the funds should be spent, but not have any influence on policy whatsoever.
5.4 The Treasurer is required to work within the “financial standard order” as approved by the Constitutional Committee.
5.5 The Treasurer may resign by notifying the electoral commission and the Leader in writing. The Leader becomes acting Treasurer until a new Treasurer is appointed by the Leader.
6. CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITTEE
6.1 The Constitutional Committee shall be composed of the Deputy Leader and up to five constitutional committee members.
6.2 No member of the Leadership team (see 11) or the nominating Officer may be a member of the Constitutional Committee. The members of the Constitutional Committee shall select the Chair of the Constitutional Committee. The Constitutional Committee shall take office immediately upon the close of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which it was elected and shall serve until the final adjournment of the next AGM.
6.3 Any constitutional committee decision is to be made in writing and to be signed by a simple majority of the constitutional committee members.
6.4 Election of the Constitutional Committee members and Deputy Leader will be open to any non-suspended Party member at each AGM.
6.5 Should fewer than 5 Party members seek election to the Committee at any AGM, Committee numbers will be made up through direct appointment by the Deputy Leader.
6.6 The subject matter jurisdiction of the Constitutional Committee is limited to consideration of only those matters expressly identified as follows:
6.6.1 Recognition of affiliate organisations.
6.6.2 Selecting and Recognition of Nominating Officer.
6.6.3 Calling a SGM for termination of Party Leader.
6.6.4 Calling a SGM for termination of Deputy Leader.
6.6.5 Termination of officers.
6.6.6 Termination of members.
6.6.7 Termination of affiliate organisations or branches.
6.6.8 Termination of constitutional committee members.
6.7 In the case of the non-existence of a Constitutional Committee the Leader will act as the Constitutional Committee until its existence.
6.8 The Constitutional Committee is responsible for publishing “rules of conduct”, which shall be available to all members.
6.9 The Constitutional Committee may, by a two thirds majority vote, call an SGM (to be held within 30 days) for the suspension of the leader or the deputy leader. On the suspension of the leader, the deputy leader will become the acting leader of the party pending the next AGM.
7.1 Membership is open to Scottish residents or citizens over the age of 16 years who share its aims and who are not members of any other political party or organisation membership of which the Constitutional Committee has declared is incompatible with membership of the Party.
7.2 If a member of the Party subsequently joins such a party or organisation which the Constitutional Committee has declared to be incompatible with membership of the Party, or if the member is found to be a member of such a party or organisation then their membership of the Party will be automatically revoked.
7.3 Members must maintain their subscriptions.
7.4 Members shall accept the Party’s constitution and rules made in accordance with this constitution and do nothing to undermine the reputation of the Party or to bring the Party into public disrepute. Nor shall they act in a manner intended to cause, or actually causing, damage to the Party’s interests including by breaching confidentiality.
7.5 Where local branches are not established, membership shall be of the national party.
7.6 A member may stand for election under the Scottish Libertarian brand under the agreement of Nominating officer. The Member agrees to vacate the electoral seat on the suspension of membership of the Scottish Libertarians.
8. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM)
8.1 The power to make and change policy shall be vested in the Annual General Meeting, but the Leadership may deal with urgent matters arising between AGM’s in line with the general aims and policies of the Party.
8.2 The AGM of the Party shall be held at least once every year and not more than sixteen months shall elapse between one AGM and the next.
8.3 Attendance at the AGM shall be open to all Party members, affiliated Organisations and the media, excluding those Party members or affiliated organisations that are suspended from the Party at the time of the AGM.
8.4 Each affiliated organisation may be represented at a AGM with a delegation not exceeding two persons in number.
8.5 The Leader shall:
8.5.1 Give notice of the date and place of the AGM to members and affiliated organisations at least three months before the intended date.
8.5.2 Make standing orders governing the conduct of the AGM.
8.5.3 Place before the AGM its comments and recommendations.
8.5.4 Nominate an AGM chairperson, who shall not be the leader or the deputy leader.
8.6 Party members may submit resolutions to the AGM for debate through the AGM Chairman. Such resolutions shall be:
8.6.1 Made in writing and signed by at least two non-suspended Party members.
8.6.2 Submitted to the Conference Chairman 28 days prior to the date of the Conference.
8.7 All Leadership recommendations and membership resolutions will be subject to voter approval:
8.7.1 Only attending Party members will be entitled to vote.
8.7.2 A two-thirds majority of those voting will be required for a vote to be carried.
8.8 For the election of Party Leader, Deputy Leader and membership of the Constitutional Committee:
8.8.1 Existing post holders may seek re-nomination without condition.
8.8.2 Party member seeking nomination must secure the backing, in writing, of two non-suspended Party members and submit such nomination to the AGM chairman 28 days prior to the AGM.
8.9 The AGM chairman reserves the right to defray organisational costs by making a modest charge for Conference attendance.
9. SPECIAL GENERAL MEETINGS
9.1 The Leader, or the Constitutional Committee, may at any time call a Special General Meeting; hereafter referred to as a “SGM”.
9.2 The party calling the SGM (Leader/CCM) shall:
9.2.1 Give notice of the date and place of the SGM to members at least 14 days before the intended date.
9.2.2 Set the entire agenda for the SGM.
9.3 At a SGM:
9.3.1 Only attending Party members will be entitled to vote.
9.3.2 A two-thirds majority of those voting will be required for a vote to be carried out.
10. LOCAL BRANCHES AND ASSOCIATIONS
10.1 A Party branch can be set up with the permission of the Constitutional Committee.
10.2 Branches will be responsible for fulfilling the party aims in their area.
10.3 Each branch will be led by a convener answerable to the Constitutional Committee, who will be appointed by the Constitutional Committee until the membership of the local branch reaches twenty members, at such time elections will be held for the positions of convener, treasurer, and events coordinator.
10.4 The Constitutional Committee will provide guidance to Local Branches upon the conduct of their affairs. If proffered, such guidance shall be observed.
10.5 No organisation may claim a relationship with the Party other than those formally recognised by the party leadership team (see 11).
10.6 The Constitutional Committee shall have sole authority to vest or withdraw such recognition upon any branch at any time as it sees fit.
10.7 The branch will use the Scottish Libertarian branding which is consistent with the brand guidelines as set out by the Leadership team.
11. THE LEADER AND THE LEADERSHIP TEAM
11.1 The Leadership team shall be the: Leader, Treasurer, and up to four additional officers assigned by the Leader. Responsibilities of these additional officers will be outlined by the Leader. The leadership team should all be members of the party and not also members of the constitutional committee.
11.2 The Leadership team shall represent the membership of the Party in control and management of all the affairs, properties and funds of the Party.
11.3 The Leadership team shall establish and oversee an organisational structure to implement the aims of the Party and adopt rules of procedure for the conduct of its meetings and the execution of its duties and responsibilities.
11.4 The Leader may replace any Party officer serving on the Leadership team.
11.5 The Leadership team may, without meeting together, transact business by mail, either via the postal Service, electronically using email, teleconferencing, conference call, facsimile or any other method as technology dictates.
11.6 The leadership team may:
11.6.1 Raise funds and invite and receive contributions from any person or persons whatsoever by way of loan, subscription, donation or otherwise, within the limits established by electoral law.
11.6.2 Publish, with or without charge, any items it sees fit.
11.6.3 Employ and pay people to supervise, organise and carry out the Party’s aims.
11.6.4 Purchase, lease or rent property necessary to carry out the Party’s aims and make arrangements for the management of any property acquired.
11.6.5 Invest any monies of the Party not immediately required.
11.6.6 Do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the attainment of its ends.
11.7 The Leader and Deputy Leader are elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
11.8 The Leader can resign by informing the Deputy Leader and members of the constitutional committee in writing. The Deputy Leader will become Leader, and will complete the term of office.
12. PARTY RULES AND POLICIES
12.1 The Constitutional Committee shall establish the rules governing Local Branches; membership of standing and temporary committees; submission of motions for debate at the Party meetings, the Party AGM and SGM meetings, the conduct of these meetings, the calling and conduct of elections, disciplinary procedures and all other rules and procedures forming part of the formal management, conduct and administration of the Party save where such rules are already laid down in this constitution.
12.2 Such rules and procedures must be agreed upon by the majority of the members of the constitutional committee.
12.3 Official party polices can be put forward by the leader and agreed upon by the constitution committee. Members may put forward policies to the AGM and agreed upon by a 2/3 majority vote at the AGM.
12.4 The affairs of the Party shall at all times be undertaken in a manner consistent with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the Representation of the People Act 1983, and any other relevant or subsequently modifying legislation, hereinafter referred to as the “Legislation”. Should any conflict arise between the Legislation and this Constitution, the Legislation shall take primacy and this Constitution will be amended to incorporate the necessary changes.
13. THE CONSTITUTION: APPROVAL AND AMENDMENT
The constitution can be amended by the agreement of all statutory officers registered with the electoral commission, or by the leader with a majority vote from the Constitutional Committee.