Democratic political society in Scotland

Constitutional monarchy

Inside the House of Lords with HRH the Queen and Lords
As head of state, the Queen carries out symbolic duties such as reading the Queen's Speech, which sets out the UK Government's plan for the next year.

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom (UK). The UK is a constitutional monarchy. The monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II) is the head of state but her role is largely symbolic with no real power.The Government runs the country on her behalf with Parliament having responsibility for making laws.

A constitution sets out the rules and regulations of how a country is governed. The UK does not have a straightforward written constitution like the USA. Instead our constitution is a combination of many things like the laws passed by parliament, European law, conventions based on what we did in the past and decisions taken by judges in court cases.

Representative democracy

The United Kingdom (UK) is a democracy. In the UK there are too many people to all discuss all the the decisions about how the country is run. Therefore representatives are elected to make decisions.

Representatives include Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and local councillors.

These representatives are usually members of a political party. In Scotland the main political parties are:

  • Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Scottish Green Party
  • Scottish Labour
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Scottish National Party

Decision-making in Scotland

As Scotland is part of the United Kingdom some of the decisions which decide what happens in Scotland are made at the UK Parliament at Westminster, London.

Since 1999, some decisions for Scotland have been taken at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh. In addition, councillors make local decisions in each of the 32 local councils in Scotland e.g. Glasgow City Council