Monday, 28 February 2011

'You've got to win a little, Lose a little...'

You've got to win a little,
Lose a little,
Oh have the blues a little.
That's the story of,
That's the glory of the Union.

Benny Goodman could have written these words to suit the duplicity of the UK government towards the Scotland Bill.  As many know I have no legal knowledge and rely on the Peat Worrier to educate me on legal issues, but even he, surely, must see how this morning's Herald's article read to those whose only acquaintance with Scotland's legal eagles may have been buying or selling property, making our last Will and Testament dealing with personal matters.

The Scotland Bill proposes to 'give' Scotland a few more powers - not a lot because the Scots can't be trusted to handle their own affairs - but they hope enough to keep us Scots subdued. 

Yet, behind the scenes, there are moves to over-ride our justice system; the excuse being that we support the ECHR and therefore should have no qualms about the UK Supreme Court taking over the tradition of appeals being heard in Edinburgh. The amendment to the Bill has been made by liberal Jim Wallace - now Lord Wallace and Advocate General (how do these people acquire these positions?) - who secretly sent his plan to the Scottish government and to the committee in Parliament which is scrutinising the Bill.  Because it's 'secret' we have no true idea of his plan.

However the Scottish government responded with:

“We are concerned that Scots Law, which has successfully existed for hundreds of years as a separate and distinct jurisdiction, is threatened by the UK Government’s proposals in the Scotland Bill.
“These proposals threaten to undermine the role of the Lord Advocate as the head of the criminal prosecution service in Scotland and increase the involvement of the UK Advocate General and Supreme Court in criminal matters in Scotland, when they should not have any role in matters of Scots criminal law.”

That's enough for me.  But I have to be fair and put another view:

However, Paul McBride QC, a member of the working group that examined the proposals, said: “It is a very sensible move. If people do not want appeals being heard outside Scotland, then they should not support the European Convention on Human Rights. It is also important to note that Scottish judges sit on the UK Supreme Court.”

This could be a sake of giving with the right hand and taking a bigger slice with the left and I wouldn't put it past Jim Wallace to ensure that the Scotland Bill returns more power to Westminster than it bestows upon the subdued people of Scotland.  

There are a fair amount of independence supporters who have suspected the Scotland Bill was nothing to do with 'giving' more powers to the Scottish parliament but to ensuring it was more in hock to Westminster than it has been since its resurrection in 1999. I'm on that list.

Much as I feel our judiciary requires an overhaul into this century and to begin to display some transparency in their actions, I defend Scotland's legal system.  It's up to Scots to insist it's updated, not Westminster.

Now I await Peat Worrier Esq's analysis of this latest revelation - 'secret' though it may be.  Somehow I think the ECHR will feature highly. 


Mr. Mxyzptlk said...


We are all Europeans now(and the snp are in the forefront of that movement) Get used to it!

Apogee said...

Yeah, like we should get used to being mugged? When that becomes a regular occurance ,most sane and sensible folk would move to a safer and better neighborhood .

subrosa said...

Niko, as long as I live and unless radical changes are made to the EU, I won't get used to it.

subrosa said...

Where would we go though Apogee?

Lallands Peat Worrier said...

Given the "secrecy" of the plans, it is obviously difficult to take a firm view of what precisely is being proposed. Jim Wallace will be explaining himself on Newsnicht this evening. Since I now live down south, I'll have to wait for it to appear on the iplayer to chew it over. That said, on the basis of the Herald article this morning, instituting general appeals from Justiciary to Supreme Court on criminal matters would be astonishingly stupid - and runs contrary to the whole tradition of Union since 1707. For a Unionist to propose it is scandalous, frankly. Will scribble something up in due course.

DougtheDug said...

Since the UK Supreme Court currently hears all appeals in the UK apart from Scottish criminal cases I always thought that there was eventually going to be a push to, "tidy up", the legal systems in the UK and to make Scottish Law appeals end up in the UK court.

The fact that it's a Lord, a Lib-Dem and a man who was born a Scot proposing the change comes as no great surprise nor is it a surprise that it is coming in via the anti-Scotland Bill. Once the culturally colonised like the ironically surnamed Jim Wallace identify with the colonisers not their own people they are the worst of all.

As long as we continue to act like doormats and accept these insults then we'll be treated as doormats.

RMcGeddon said...

It's hard to see what the fuss is all about SR. The SNP support the right of the ECHR and EU Law to have the final say on Scots law cases so are they saying they prefer Strasbourg to London ? I'm not aware of any Scottish judges in Strasbourg but know there are two in the UK Supreme Court in London.
I suspect the ECHR are sitting giggling at us for imagining there is any independent UK justice system.

Apogee said...

Hi SR. Anywhere the EUSSR writ doesnt run.

subrosa said...

I'll never get used to it Niko. I'm completely against a foreign country making over-ruling my own country's laws.

subrosa said...

Thanks Lallands. I'll put your post in the TYP selection at the end of the week if you've managed to scribe something by then. No pressure of course. :)

subrosa said...

Very true Doug, very true. The insult to injury is the 'secrecy' of it. Very typical of a Unionist.

subrosa said...

Just because there are two Scottish judges in the UK Supreme Court doesn't make it right RM. In fact it makes it worse really.

subrosa said...

I'm making the fuss RM because I don't believe in the EU telling me what to do. It irks me every day.

Anonymous said...

As an Englishman (although my surname is 'Watson', and I believe that my great-grandfather was Scottish), I find it very difficult to understand why it is that Scottish law should be different from English law. I thought that the British people (and I include Ireland in that) had arrived at a legal system which was very good. Of course, different jurisdictions will have minor variations, just as Local Authorities do, which depend upon local situations.

One wonders sometimes whether or not it might be a good thing for the British Isles to have some 12 'departments' similar to the French situation, with defined areas of responsibility, along with collective areas which we all agree are better dealt with collectively - like defence and banking.

Oh dear! Off goes my little stupid mind again!

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Who does this Wallace represent?
He's in the Lords now, representing nobody in this so called democratic process any more than I do and I can't introduce amendments to parliamentary bills?

Oh, but wait, he represents a political party. A minor one that creeps into power through the substitute bench of being the least threatening option. So perhaps its understandable, if not forgiveable, he should want to flex his power muscles occasionally.

That said, it concerned me from its conception the purpose behind behind the Supreme Court was more down to tightening Westminster's grip on the Union than to the problems created by ECHR.

Now we have pretendy judges, a pretendy parliament and a pretendy devolution.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"I'm completely against a foreign country making over-ruling my own country's laws."

But you support the SNP, which believes in "independence within Europe", whatever that oxymoron can be construed as meaning.

Madam, I detect a certain inconsistency.

RMcGeddon said...

" I'm making the fuss RM because I don't believe in the EU telling me what to do. It irks me every day."

Like WY said. It doesn't make sense SR as you support the SNP who are more pro Europe than the other parties.
And the SNP support the windmill scam with all the EU carbon credit and feed in tariff scams.
It's all crocodile tears I'm afraid and luckily for the SNP the public aren't political savvy enough to see through it.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

RMG -There's no crocodile tears involved in my opinion.

In the ranks of supporters of the SNP there are many who don't support it stance in some issues.

Membership of the EU is one, the continuation of royalty instead of republic another and their commitment to the principle of the people being sovereign has yet to be defined by them.

But, in all this the goal of independence is paramount. And to this end and as I've previously stated, while the SNP have gained the right to lead Scotland towards independence, they haven't as yet earned the right to govern an independent Scotland.

That said it would be idiotic to split the armoury it has before the major battle is won.

RMcGeddon said...


Sadly the armoury is already split. The SNP policies are broadly similar to the LibLabCon - more EU, more windmills etc, more immigration, more overseas aid, more spending and more nanny state.
Unless they've lied for the last 4 years then these are their preferred policies.
Like Ireland, an independent Scotland would be a powerless country controlled from Brussels.
We may aswell stay with London. At least it will give us someone to blame all of our troubles on if nothing else.

subrosa said...

That's not stupid junican, but the reason Scotland has a different legal system is because we're a country, not part of England. We've had our own system - and money - long before we joined forces with England, Wales and No Ireland. I see no need to change it.

subrosa said...

It concerns me too Crinkly and I think I mentioned that when this Super Court was founded. All to please the EU system of course.

subrosa said...

I know Weekend Yachtsman, I know it sounds an oxymoron, but when we get independence the SNP won't necessarily be the governing party. In fact it may well dissolve and folk go back to their 'natural' roots of left, centre and right. Many who vote for the SNP do so because they are the only party - with the exception of the Greens and Margo - so promote independence.

subrosa said...

I'd agree RM. I'm a supporter of the SNP for the reasons I've given Weekend Yachtsman but I'm not a member because I think we should draw back from the EU and get a sensible renewables policy instead of covering the land with ineffective, but expensive, windmill.

subrosa said...

Do you think the SNP will continue to exist when we get independence Crinkly? My feeling is that it will be a much smaller party as people drift to their natural 'homes'.

Lallands Peat Worrier said...

It is a heady mix of obscure legal details to bore the socks off of your average, emotionally well-adjusted citizen.

However, I've tried to set out the relevant issues here in a vaguely stimulating and accessible fashion:

Justiciary? Supreme? Hyslop's is/ought guddle...

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Well now Rosa, you're asking me if I would support a political party?

My answer for the moment - whichever one really adopts as a first principle the sovereignty of the people.

Party politics are an anathema to democracy, but we will still need competent administrators directly responsible and answerable to the people.

Now I'm off to read Llaland, who, in my dyslexic fashion I first read as a Warrior not as a Worrier.

My initial mind picture was of a scanty bikini'd individual wallowing in a bath tub of peat. However I've since learned to warm to him, and like peat he's slow to draw but quick to heat.

Lallands Peat Worrier said...

Ha! How splendid. One for my testimonials, Crinkly. I can neither confirm nor deny that I take an annual peat bath. However, being a demure fellow, naturally, I'd wear full longjohns throughout...

subrosa said...

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to explain so clearly Lallands. Very much appreciated.

subrosa said...

Crinkly I can see why Lallands enjoyed your imagery. :)

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