The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

It rained and rained and then it rained, our weather is coming out of the east all the way from Russia, but alas without much love.

I do not believe that anyone can be in any doubt by now that the coronavirus pandemic could have been handled better, both here at home and worldwide. Now that we do have a vaccine programme up and running things may soon get better – but better for who?

Many have lost jobs, jobs that will never come back. Many now have mounting debt because they have not been able to go to work or have been working reduced hours from home, or self employed, or on zero hours contracts. Many (over one million) now find themselves in arrears with their fuel bills, according to the energy companies. They are responding by increasing (from the 1st of April) the coast of fuel to recoup their losses, an increase they say that is necessary, costumers will be asked for a further, £90.00 to 1,200.00 per annum.

As the vaccine roll-out picks up pace, already the Tory MPs are demanding that restrictions are lifted, and we all want that, but not at any cost.

I am not sure that this is not that ‘different way’ of doing government, that change that would have to happen, after this crisis was over. What happened to all the talk of a New Jerusalem?

Amos 8:5

…Hear this, you who trample the needy, who do away with the poor of the land, asking, “when will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? When will the Sabbath end, that we may market wheat? Let us reduce the ephah and increase the shekel; let us cheat with dishonest scales, Let us buy the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the chaff with the wheat!”…

With the Tories in charge at Westminster, nothing will ever change in Scotland and why Scotland needs independence now.

Today Friday 5th February 2021

Update on Peoples Action on Section 30

The Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood.

As we expected in this first round, the ruling of Lady Carmichael did not go in our favour. But neither was it a silver spike through the heart. It is a highly appealable judgement.

While she may have dismissed the case on the hypothetical, academic, premature, it is clearly done on a neutral basis, and indeed in keeping with other cases of this nature.

As I have said many times before – it is very unusual in this type of litigation to get an opinion in the outer house and it almost always ends up in the inner house.

I note that she rejected pleas 3, 6 and 7 of the Lord Advocate. Pleas 3 and 7 was the contention of the Lord Advocate that this case should have been brought by Judicial Review, and even if it had been brought by Judicial review, it would then have been incompetent. She repelled both of those suggestions. Meaning that our methodology in this case is the correct one.

The 6th plea in law was also repelled, namely that granting the declarators we asked for would have been “inconsistent with the constitutional structures established by the Scotland Act 1998. Again, thumbs up for the procedure.

So the Lord Advocates arguments have taken a serious bruising as well. So not all bad news.

It is interesting to note that in no less than two places in her opinion she mentions allegations of “unlawfulness” (141) and “unlawfulness or abuse of power” (25/2).

It is also interesting to note that there is no mention of the announcement of the 11 point plan from the SNP the day after the hearing, which for all intents and purposes rendered all of the pleas in law for the defenders, meaningless.

This means, that as a matter of course, it appears she believed she had no choice but to dismiss because she didn’t have all of the necessary information to move it from one column (hypothetical, premature, academic) to the other column (not hypothetical, not premature, not academic). This is purely a technical issue, which would not have been an issue if the Scottish Ministers had been more forthcoming in terms of the 11 point plan, lending weight to the fact that its release less than 24 hours was not done under the purest of intentions.

But Lady Carmichael cannot be held responsible for something which was not divulged to her. She can only opine on what she sees in front of her, and you will all recall that I have already raised the issue of the 11 point plan released a day after the hearings and whether the Lord Advocate of SGLD already knew about that plan before arguing at the hearings during the two previous days.

All-round one has done, is to show the public that the uncodified constitution of the UK is a bit like waving your open hand in front of your face. You can blur things in the short term, but eventually, you realise that there are still gaping holes that you can see daylight through it.

The Advocate General and Lord Advocate have done everything they can to blur the lines in this case but the gaping holes in the constitution are there for everyone to see, and now they are on public display.

The institutions of parliament which are supposed to represent the people are in fact deeply flawed when the electorate is deliberately blocked from trying to ask a reasonable question about their own constitutional future.

It was, for all intents and purposes a neutral ruling because she did not have available to her, all the information she required to rule, and from first glance the ruling is highly appealable, especially considering the release of the 11 point plan, conveniently delivered to the public after the hearings.

What we need now is a referral to a higher authority and that comes in the form of the inner house of the court of session, and as I told you before this was the expected next step – we’re in better shape than we thought we would be.

So, I’ve (Keatings) already instructed that process to commence and it’s off to the inner house, we go.

This is the reply to this ruling from Wings Over Scotland.

Keatings was opposed by an alliance of the Advocate General for Scotland (despite his title, a representative of the UK government) and the Lord Advocate OF Scotland, who is a minister in Nicola Sturgeon’s government.

It was, therefore, the Scottish Government, alongside the one in Westminster, who were opposing the court even attempting to establish whether Scotland has the right to determine its own constitutional future.

We don’t believe that’s what a million people voted SNP for in 2016, nor 1.2 million in the UK election just over a year ago. We believe the Scottish Government’s actions in the case have been a shameful dereliction of their promises to pursue Scotland’s right to choose. Indeed, worse than a mere dereliction – an active betrayal.

This is a matter that should have been an urgent priority for the First Minister from the day after the Brexit vote. It being clearly in the interests of the Scottish people – on both sides of the constitutional divide – to determine the legal position with clarity and certainty, it should have been a task undertaken with the full resources of government, not left to a member of the public funded by the grassroots Yes movement.

Instead, the supposed party of Scottish independence threw obstacle after obstacle (and no small amount of abuse) in Keatings’ path, gobbling up time and money that could have been better spent. Its courtroom alliance with the UK government against the independence movement is no less shaming than that of Labour and the Tories in the 2014 referendum.

Today’s decision was widely anticipated, and it’s unlikely to be the end of the matter. There will, we’re sure, be an appeal, and the whole argument will continue to consume both time and money long into the future, whereas if it had been started years ago by a government which had a crystal-clear electoral mandate to do so – as this site urged – it would have been long settled by now. Instead of which, the prospects of a second independence referendum have once more receded into the distance, almost certainly for a significant number of years. The Scottish Government have stabbed the people of Scotland in the back.

The man did not mince his words, but many that flocked to the SNP banner following the 2014 referendum must now be wondering – is Nicola Sturgeon taking the piss?

There are many within the SNP (including MPs and MSP) that are unhappy with the way the SNP party is run. This all seems to be happening at a bad time, the run-up to the May elections. Maybe it is not too late for those dissident to join with the SIP for it would only take a few big hitters to come over and a million or more voters I’m sure would rally to their flag and guarantee a pro-independence, majority at Holyrood after the May elections. Looks to me like the Yes campaigners have put too much trust in Nicola Sturgeon, who, if allowed to do so, will continue to kick the can down the road, Only when the SNP membership starts to desert the party will she resign. At this point, I would not rule out Boris giving her a Knighthood for services to the Union.   

Keep safe

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