Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Burdens Of The New Scottish Government

There has been much talk about Alex Salmond's demands from Westminster for extra powers for Scotland and his handling of the Supreme Court ruling on the Fraser case.

Unfortunately there are devotees of the SNP leader who, in their blind loyalty, think Mr Salmond is infallible but they have overstepped the mark by offending who I consider to be one of Scotland's least biased journalists. Little do they realise how much they damage the SNP's reputation by such actions. In my many years of supporting independence for my country I discovered it was persuasion not insults which gained favour for my stance.

Although I agree with Alex Salmond's desire for further powers for Scotland and I support his efforts, his criticism of the Supreme Court ruling, along with that of Kenny MacAskill's, left me shaking my head in disbelief.

Much of the result on 5 May can be credited to the leader of the SNP, but in the past week or so I've sensed an arrogance on occasion in the First Minister and it doesn't become him. The people of Scotland know what they SNP stand for and, combined with the efficient and responsible manner in which they governed during the last parliamentary term, voted for them to continue in that vain.

Alex Salmond is by far the best politician to lead Scotland to a future which could give many Scots a better quality of life and I realise he is vastly outnumbered by unionists who enjoy placing obstacles in his way, but he make a grave - and unusual - error in attacking the respected judge Lord Hope when he should have been berating the system.

My preference is the man when he's in a natural convivial mode as his passion for Scotland is quietly and firmly evident. It has carried him this far with admirable results. It's to be hoped the public see more of the 'old Alex' in the months and years to come.  Independence for Scotland doesn't have to be a numbers game as Colonel Jackson proved nearly 200 years ago.


Nikostratos said...

who are you and what have you done with Subrosa
if you do not answer i will be forced to contact the Polis forwith

0300 111 2222

what do you mean Unionist obstacles

cynicalHighlander said...

This might help explain the controversy SB.
Supreme Court row - What's it all about?

William said...

That's who Salmond is, SB.

This is the man who unilaterally decided to call his minority leadership 'the Scottish Government' showing utter contempt for the law.

True evil often lies in seemingly petty acts. A unilateral name change is not the biggest crime of the century but it reveals a lot about the personality of Salmond. The Megrahi affair and the Supreme Court row also say a lot. They show someone who is only interested in the Scottish legal process insofar as it agrees with him.

Salmond worries me, I must admit.

Jo G said...

I do hope they're reading you Subrosa. And congratulations on a very well timed article.

Kenneth Roy took a kicking in the days following the election for qualifying the result. Yes it was tremendous but the bottom line was, and Kenneth's statistics proved it, almost half of the electorate stayed home. For that many of the more rabid Nationalist sites labelled him a "traitor". Shocking.

I too have cringed over the Supreme Court affair. I have cringed listening to Salmond, a person I admire, claiming that at least Strasbourg won't "open cell doors". My position is simple: the Fraser case arose out of someone deciding certain evidence wasn't going forward in the trial. That means there wasn't a fair trial. Plus, TWO appeal courts failed to acknowledge this. Its that simple. I would like to see Salmond, and MacAskill, wanting a squeaky clean Scottish Justice system, now THAT, is something I could cope with them being arrogant about! INstead we have yet another example where they seem to wish to defend the indefensible just as they did with Megrahi's case, a case littered with political and judicial meddling like no other which in the end was described by a senior UN official as being "tantamount to the obstruction of justice".

Nikostratos said...

tis passing strange that a a party of separationists who claim to have the best interests of the Scottish people at heart.

seek to keep the Scots having a lower level of basic human rights
whilst the hated Unionists seek to raise the level comparable to the rest of progressive Europe.
But then the the separationists are idealogical committed to a vision of a Scottish society founded on fantasy and illusion
and unable to exist in a modern world.

Jo G said...

Another matter troubling me Subrosa is the language being used by some Nationalists to describe those who either do not support independence or haven't made up their minds. This new term, "self-loather" is for me the worst I have heard to describe another person for a long time. I do not believe it is a word the SNP, as a Party, would endorse. Salmond and his Party spent four years in government connecting with Scots across the board. They didn't make separate statements for Nationalists and Unionists, they addressed the people of Scotland. Those who are prepared to destroy the debate about independence by injecting phrases like "self-loathers" into the argument will cost the SNP possibly everything. One particular site fully endorses the use of this word and calls it appropriate. So, for them, anyone not convinced hates themselves and their country. That is grossly offensive. Not only will these people lose the SNP support of potential "yeses" in a referendum, they will also lead some who vote SNP to question whether they wish to be associated with such extremism. They are quite simply dangerous.

cynicalHighlander said...

Jo G

There is English law and Scottish law no such thing as UK law.

English lawyers can't refer cases to the supreme court they go to ECHR who cannot overturn and free prisoners.

The UK Supreme court was set up by Blair in 1998 following the devolution settlement to keep us in our place.

petem130 said...

On the day after the election my first thought was who would provide the balance. It's still a question that needs answering.

Creating a better, more vibrant and fairer Scotland will take a lot of skill and courage both of which I'm still inclined to believe Wee Eck has, but he has an overall majority and can ignore the other parties. Is it then up to the SNP themselves to create a check? How about no whip? How about a greater degree of MSPs seeking their constituents views directly about issues?

Maybe Wee Eck could consider Referism as the Good Doctor North and various other bloggers have suggested as a potential way forward for politics?

Be bold Alex. Go beyond the current political apathy and create something of value which the world may well be impressed with, but which delivers the best for the Scottish people which is what this is all about is it not?.

Jo G said...

Cynical, yeah yeah.

Allan said...


True, but Scots law has been found wanting (and not for the first time) yet Salmond has decided to defend a system which has been shown to be out of date and not condusive to fair trials. That is the true issue here.

Jo G said...

"...but he has an overall majority and can ignore the other parties."

Actually Pete, he can't. He has an overall majority for now. This is Scotland and the next election could be very different, especially when nearly half of the electorate stayed home last time.

Kenneth Roy produced figures which more or less suggested that while the SNP had fabulous wins in places like Lanarkshire and Glasgow, nationally, the drop in the Lib-Dem vote had gone largely to them. When Gray claimed the Labour vote hadn't dropped that much, I laughed out loud. Kenneth Roy's figures proved Gray was correct when it came to the Labour vote nationally.

Jo G said...

Allan, in the Fraser case it turned out the PF's office KNEW about those Police precognition statements but had decided NOT to include them in the information given to the prosecution because, under Scot's Law, anything the prosecution has which would have a bearing on the defendent's case has to be rleased to the defence. The PF didn't want Fraser's defence knowing that the Police Officers had seen those rings at the beginning of the investigation. Their angle on the rings could have been destroyed. This case had the PF's office attempting to pervert the course of justice. THAT is why Fraser even had a case. And that is why, when I hear First Ministers saying cell doors cannot be opened I want to throw up. The Scottish system is, once again, in the dock here. Their corrupt practices created this very situation but Salmond won't say it. It is deeply worrying.

subrosa said...

Auch Niko, I knew you'd jump on this post with some delight. Obstacles like that? Naw, the unionist obstacles are petty and the people are beginning to see them for what they are.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link CH. I do understand the concerns about the SC, but Alex Salmond's handling of it has been dreadful.

subrosa said...

No William, that's not who he is. Why shouldn't the Scottish Parliament be called a government? Don't you want some dignity in Scotland or are you happy to be always submissive to London?

As I've said the SC business has been badly handled and it's very unusual for Alex Salmond to act with so much haste. I'm sure he's learned from his error.

He doesn't worry me in the least. There is no one better in the whole of UK politics to take Scotland forward.

subrosa said...

No William, that's not who he is. Why shouldn't the Scottish Parliament be called a government? Don't you want some dignity in Scotland or are you happy to be always submissive to London?

As I've said the SC business has been badly handled and it's very unusual for Alex Salmond to act with so much haste. I'm sure he's learned from his error.

He doesn't worry me in the least. There is no one better in the whole of UK politics to take Scotland forward.

subrosa said...

Some read me these days Jo but because I don't agree with every action of the SNP they call me all sorts. Pity they can't look out of the box at times.

Alex Salmond says he wants sectarianism stopped on the internet. He really ought to be talking to some of his members about the way in which they're damaging the party.

Yes the SC business was poor and he should have apologised. He had an excellent opportunity in Newsnicht to say he'd been rather strong. Shame.

subrosa said...

Niko, once we're independent we'll have to fit in with human rights law the same as the rest of Europe.

Why this wasn't dealt with years ago I don't know. The SNP couldn't do everything in the past 4 years. Why didn't the unionists sort it?

subrosa said...

I haven't heard that one Jo and if I read it somewhere I'd get in touch with the SNP and let them know about it.

It is grossly offensive. I wonder if any were brave enough to put a name to their abusive emails to Kenneth Roy?

subrosa said...

The issue of human rights in our courts should have been resolved when the SC was set up CH. It's not the SG's fault it's caught up now but they should be willing to adjust to suit Europe. After all the SNP are very pro the EU, no?

subrosa said...

It's a shame petem, but in some way I can understand Eck feeling frustrated when he looks at his opposition. Now that Annabel's going there is nobody to challenge him.

It's quite pathetic the other parties in Scotland are unable to provide solid opposition.

Now that's a good idea petem. I'm all for Referism. I wonder if anyone close to him has picked up on it?

hector said...

i agree some of the language used by alex salmond and in particular kenny macaskill could have been better re the supreme court.although the principles of their argument i thought correct.i am sure they will learn from this.
re a sense of arrogance.he just won a big majority let him enjoy it for a wee while. i am sure he will get over it.or do we only like our footballers to show arrogance.

strapworld said...

I have written on your excellent blog, dear Subrosa, many times that Salmond is a particularly dynamic politician. Indeed I would say as a communicator he is the best in the UNITED Kingdom at the moment.

That said. Be careful what you wish for. The SNP, like all nationalist parties, are facist when you cut through the smiles and jokes.

Of course they do not like the court's decision, nor any criticism of their excellent election results. Both reactions are a mirror to the actual makeup of this party.

To attack the messenger will only antagonise the press and that could lead to a very difficult time ahead.

To attack the courts is foolhardy indeed, this shows an arrogance and a worrying sign that he intends to rule with a rod of iron should he get what he, and you Subrosa, dearly wants. Independence.

Be careful what you wish for!

petem130 said...

Jo G
"Actually Pete, he can't. He has an overall majority for now. This is Scotland and the next election could be very different, especially when nearly half of the electorate stayed home last time."

The next election is 5 years away. yes 5 years. That's a long time and a lot will happen. Alex may well borrow the best bits from the other parties although there seems to be precious little of value.

Surely achieving independence requires a lot of issues to be addressed and careful planning and delivery. Just being independent isn't an option. Becoming independent and building a country we will be proud of with politicians who can be trusted, who listen and who do not follow the party or the popular line will be central to it's delivery.

Derek said...

I am perplexed at Scotland's desires to be separate from whatever else it is they want to be separate from, as as soon as such happens, you'll end up like Ireland - EU fodder.

What make ye of this braw Lads and Lassies - are we not all Britons?

Sleeping it may be. Deceased it is not.

subrosa said...

Hector, this post arose from a conversation with friends, some who only voted SNP for the first time in May. Most were extremely disappointed by the way in which Mr Salmond (and MacAskill) came over on the media about the SC ruling.

These are voters the SNP can't afford to lose. True, they voted for John Swinney (my MSP) but their vote is fragile enough for them to be influenced by the FM's behaviour.

Hopefully a lesson learnt by Mr Salmond. I'm sure he realises that.

subrosa said...

Strapworld, I should have said the UK in the post because yes, I agree, he's the best there is. That's why his reaction appeared so out of character.

I've had no contact with the SNP for some years now strapworld, but I do feel some members are rather 'enthusiastic'. Insulting people isn't the way to win a listening ear.

Maybe Peter Murrell needs to send a round robin pointing out the disadvantages of such behaviour. Most I met in the SNP were genuinely honest, caring and courteous people. It only takes a few doesn't it.

subrosa said...

Derek, little would change with regard to the EU. We're EU fodder now but as you know I would like to see renegotiation about the EU.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I think there will be a few more 'spats' before independence is sorted out.

The criticism Rosa has offered is valid and is caused by an attitude many supporters of independence are concerned about.

I for one would like to see Salmond allowed to adopt a less iconoclastic role as the only voice of government in Scotland. If we don't allow him this we will wear the poor bugger out. Now if I was pandying to the terracing its at this juncture I would add - and for him to be worn out is exactly what Westminster wants. - then off we'd go.

We're only a month into the new government far too early for polemics or judgements.

Jo G said...

John, I don't think it is about "allowing" Salmond to do anything: he did a lot very well during last term. He is the man. That's why his behaviour over the SC business shocked many. There was no need for it and MacAskill's behaviour was even worse. "He who pays the piper...." What was that supposed to mean. If we fund the justice system we get to make it a corrupt thing? Because that is what the Scottish Justice System undoubtedly is. Check out the history of the Megrahi case and check out the Fraser case. Bent Scottish Courts and Appeal Courts seeking to "uphold" Scottish "Justice" by simply refusing to accept it could ever make a mistake.

The other thing Salmond won't accept is that Scotland is not a member of the EU, the UK is. That is why EU Human Rights legislation cases can't be dealt with here. I wish he would focus more on the bent Scottish Justice system. Maybe then he wouldn't have to worry about people taking their cases to the SC!

My experience like Subrosa's involves people who only voted SNP for the first time in May. In at least two of those cases they consulted me beforehand as they just didn't know what to do and they formerly had voted Labour. They voted SNP in May. I know for a fact if I'd said to them, "Well if you don't vote SNP you're a self loather." I'd have cost the SNP two votes.

Yet some very ardent followers of the SNP including at least one Scottish internet publication justified the use of that phrase when I challenged them on it. I got a right kicking but I don't care. And I think I'll be right in the long run: such an approach will cost the SNP dear. Salmond has no control over them and that worries me deeply. They represent all that is ugly about "nationalism".

subrosa said...

I don't mind the spats in the least Crinkly and Alex Salmond excels at them - usually.

Someone was just saying to me today that the man must be exhausted because he never seems to stop.

He's one politician, along with J Swinney and N Sturgeon and a few others, who will deserve their summer holiday.

subrosa said...

Hopefully this panel Salmond's set up will show some light on the amendments we have to make to the Scottish justice system Jo. It's rather arcane and unfairly balanced at present. Not that I know anything about it. :)

There's always an ugly side to everything. Best thing to do is steer clear because fanatics of any kind just adore attention.

Jo G said...

Well Subrosa at last one previous Lord Advocate (Lord Fraser) has finally admitted that the main witness at Megrahi's trial was indeed bribed. That is a huge admission.

Today we have the current LA claiming we might bring Gaddafi back here to stand trial for Lockerbie.

Spot the difference.

What it means is that Scotland doesn't have a justice system where justice itself is even present. It is the plaything of the few to whom the truth matters not a jot. That is an insult to all of us. The US bribed a leading witness in Megrahi's trial and "Scots Law" knows it. A prominent figure, a former Lord Advocate at that, has now admitted it.

Lockerbie will not go away. And Lord Fraser's admission can only make the calls for a new Inquiry, and for the publication of the SCCRC findings, louder and louder.

subrosa said...

I agree the SCCRC findings should be made public Jo, but I doubt if bringing Gaddafi for trial would have any result. More of the same perhaps.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, Mulholland, the latest Lord Advocate, is a fool. There is no way we can bring Gaddafi for trial. He is simply trying to divert us away from that SCCRC report by talking absolute tosh. When the report is published, and it will be, there will be no hiding place for people like Mulholland or his predecessors. No wonder our justice system is in tatters. He is not fit to hold the post but that seems to be a necessary trait to be Lord Advocate lately.

subrosa said...

I know nothing about Mulholland Jo but I've heard from some are in connected with the system that changes do need to be made.

Our system is out-dated and favours the rich I'm told.

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