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.