One of the key factors contributing to the decision of the court and Lady Dorrian to impose a previously unheard of draconian jail sentence on Craig Murray was that he was not, in the opinion of the court entitled to the same rights and privileges as a mainstream journalist. Paragraph 4 of the judgement stated in disparaging terms: “The applicant describes himself as a “journalist in new media”. Whatever that may involve, it is relevant to distinguish his position from that of the mainstream press, which is regulated, and subject to codes of practice and ethics in a way in which those writing as the applicant does are not. To the extent that the submissions for the applicant make comparisons with other press contempt’s, and the role of mainstream journalists, this is a factor which should be recognised.”
But online activity is not a devolved matter. It is reserved to the Westminster government who publicly announced 3 week before the judgement and comments of Lady Dorrian that Craig Murray was fully entitled in Law to consider himself to be a bona fide journalist. Lady Dorrian’s judgement was predicated on a misinterpretation of her powers and that of the court.
This is the position of the Westminster government, published three weeks before lady Dorrian’s sentencing of Craig Murray. Media minister John Whittingdale, speaking for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said; “citizen journalists will have the same protections for their work as professional news providers adding, “we don’t want the legislation to lead to a ‘woke web’ where legitimate journalism is censored. That’s why we’ve built in safeguards so that content from news publishers will not be in scope of new laws, including content shared on social media platforms, and media providers will need to factor in the crucial role of journalism as well as freedom of expression in their moderation decisions. A vibrant and free media is essential to our democracy and our Bill will make sure vital public interest journalism can reach its audience without interference.
Perhaps Lewis Carroll anticipated the creation of the Judge only courts in Scotland when he wrote his “Mouse’s Tale”:
“Let us both go to law and I will prosecute you. I’ll take no denial. We must have a trial. For really this morning I’ve nothing to do.” The cat said to the mouse that he met in the house.,
“Such a trial, dear Sir, With no jury or judge, would be wasting our breath” said the mouse to the cat.
“I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,” said the cunning old cat “I’ll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.”
The cunning old cat might have described Lady Dorrian’s proposals for trials in which a Judge would sit as prosecutor, judge, and jury. Certainly Carroll’s satirical doggerel starkly foreshadows a lack of procedural safeguards, including a probability of bias that a defendant accused of rape or sexual assault in the courts of Scotland should her proposals be implemented.
I am attaching a summary of a report published in the national press some years ago. It refers to England’s judiciary since comparable information is not available in Scotland. But it to be expected that there will be little variance. The incidence of misbehaviour is shocking. Thank goodness defendants are still entitled to be judged by a jury of their peers.
28 Aug 2011: Scandal of the judges who shame justice
A Record number of judges and magistrates were either fired for wrongdoing or resigned while under investigation in the last year.
A total of 29 members of the judiciary were sacked. Offences ranged from “inappropriate behaviour or comments” to professional misconduct or getting into trouble with the law themselves.
Another 25 resigned while under investigation, including two judges, and 18 magistrates.
The total of 54 who left under a cloud is up from 46 in 2009-10 and 43 in 2008-09.
There were almost 500 complaints to the Office of Judicial Complaints about inappropriate behaviour or comments, a rise of 40 per cent in two years. 28 members of the judiciary were also given reprimands by the OJC and another 24 were offered advice, warning or guidance.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman was censured after making anti-Israeli comments during a trial, including comparing the country’s actions to a Nazi regime. His comments came during the trial of defendants accused of sabotaging equipment at a factory which they claimed was making parts for Israeli warplanes. He was reprimanded after it was ruled his comments “could be seen as an expression of the judge’s personal views on a political question”.
Judge Gerald Price resigned during the disciplinary process into claims he had an affair with a male prostitute. The investigation found his actions brought the judiciary into disrepute. It had been alleged that the married QC had a nine-month affair with a £250-a-night rent boy, whom he set up in a flat. It was even said that Mr Price allowed him on the bench during trials.
Another judge was given formal advice after he criticised Britain’s “lax immigration policy” while sentencing a Jamaican drug dealer. Judge Ian Trigger had said: “People like you, and there are literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people like you, come to these shores to avail themselves of the generous welfare benefits that exist here.” He was disciplined for “intervening in the political process”.
Coroner Paul Forrest was fired from his position in Avon after being described as exhibiting “high-handed and aggressive” behaviour. Among the magistrates fired was William Stephenson, of Warley, West Midlands. He became the subject of a Police Community Resolution procedure following an allegation of assault on a member of the public. The OJC said he had “failed to display the maturity, sound temperament and judgment required of a magistrate”.
Nicola Sturgeon’s family has roots in the North East of England, highlighting the close-knit relationship the area has with its neighbours north of the border. But will the region benefit from the rise of Scotland’s first minister and the SNP or will it be overshadowed?
Arthur Street, Ryhope, Sunderland, was once home to Sturgeon’s great-grandfather, shipwright Joseph Mills. His daughter Margaret married Robert Sturgeon, a gardener from Ayr, in 1943. She went on to become the grandmother of the SNP leader and the family eventually moved back to the south west of Scotland, where the now-first minister was born in 1970.
Sunderland, like many parts of Scotland, is steeped in industrial heritage, and Nicola Sturgeon’s family roots in the north east of England simply reinforces the idea that these two parts of the UK share many cultural and historical ties.
But the rise of the Scottish National Party north of the border has left many in the North East and Cumbria questioning the region’s future relationship with Scotland. “The North East shares a lot in common with Scotland and there’s a common cause to be made with our neighbours,” says Jonathan Blackie, a visiting professor at Northumberland University. “But given the current political situation it’s difficult to see how we can thrive by working together, when there are so many things pulling us apart.” The new political situation that he refers to is to the SNP now having 56 MPs at Westminster.
David Cameron has also said he will devolve more powers to the Scottish Parliament as recommended by the Smith Commission, which makes those living on the border nervous. “Nicola Sturgeon has played a blinder, she’s put Scotland in a position where it can’t get loose,” says Rob Johnston, the chief executive of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not the number of SNP MPs, it’s the fact that Scotland is now speaking with one voice. “They can attract money and investment north of the border and that presents a real challenge for Cumbria.”
In the Scottish Independence referendum 67% of people in the Scottish Borders constituency voted to maintain the Union, making it an area that many thought the SNP would find hard to break through in at the general election.
The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency MSP, which sits North of Northumberland said: “I actually think there are many parallels between what I want for the South of Scotland to what people in the North of England want. They want their voices to be heard and they want powers to make a difference to their region. If I can build a distinctive voice for the South of Scotland, people in the North of England should support that, and in fact work with me because they will also feel the benefits.”
To the south of Calum Kerr’s constituency sits Northumberland, the English county with the highest number of castles, a lasting testament to the fractious historical relationship that the north of England has had with its Scottish neighbours. The differences on the border are no longer territorial, but the rise of the SNP is certainly creating new political and economic tensions. (BBC 2015)
Comment: Innuendo appears innocuous and the underlying intent needs only to be implied to be effective but for the life of me I cannot fathom the purpose of the article. Perhaps others can.
Sep 2014: The Independence referendum – Promises Promises
Alex Salmond’s diligence in the previous parliament had been rewarded with the Party gaining an overall majority in the 2011 election and in 2012 he signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Cameron to hold an independence referendum in 2014. In the weeks leading up to the poll he inspired the pro-independence cause, steadily eroding a significant lead held by the Unionist Party’s.
In August 2014 he emerged as the clear winner of a televised debate with Labour politician Alistair Darling, the leader of “Better Together,” the multiparty campaign committed to preserving Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. In polls held shortly after the debate, 51% of those expressing an opinion favoured independence the first time since polling on the matter began that the pro-independence camp had registered a lead.
Cameron response was to promise Scottish “self rule” (published illegally in the Daily Record in the “purdah” perod as “the Vow”) which was then given major “air time” on the BBC over the final 3 days of the campaign and other news outlets’.
Purdah, which started on 21 August should have prevented the UK government from announcing the proposed new legislation as a means of gaining advantage over the “Yes” campaign. For those who might not be aware of the legislation the term means:
“Veil on government”, and refers to the pre-election campaign period and provides restrictions on how the government may act, how the Civil Service behaves and the use of government resources during that time. Like many aspects the UK’s unwritten constitution government, is a mix of convention, precedent, code of conduct and statutory requirement.
The unprecedented “pledge to the nation” brokered by former prime minister Gordon Brown and Scottish Labour, was signed by the three political leaders at Westminster offering their version of the future governance of Scotland, alternative to independence. It gave assurance to Scots wavering about complete separation confidence that, if the a “no” vote would still result in major changes and Scotland would be given a much more control over its future. It proved to be the deal of the century for the Unionists who won over many older voters who were worried sick that their would be massive reductions in their old age pensions which was only one of the many lies foisted on Scots and boasted about after the referendum by the “Better Together” campaign promises. And the delivery? Well that’s another story!!! “Not a lot” as Paul Daniels used to Quip
There were three guarantees
New powers for the Scottish Parliament. Holyrood will be strengthened with extensive new powers, on a timetable beginning on September 19, with legislation in 2015. The Scottish Parliament will be a permanent and irreversible part of the British constitution.
The guarantee of fairness to Scotland. The guarantee that the modern purpose of the Union is to ensure opportunity and security by pooling and sharing our resources equitably for our defence, prosperity and the social and economic welfare of every citizen, including through UK pensions and UK funding of healthcare.
The power to spend more on the NHS if that is Scottish people’s will. The guarantee that with the continued Barnett allocation, based on need and with the power to raise its own funds, the final decisions on spending on public services in Scotland, including on the NHS, will be made by the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament will have the last word on how much is spent on health. It will have the power to keep the NHS in public hands and the capacity to protect it.
Nov 2014: Cheated of victory by the illegal treachery of the reincarnation of a few Daniel Defoe’s at the “Daily Record” the hurt was very painful for Alex Salmond and he stood down handing control of the Party to the ambitious but, untried Nicola Sturgeon anticipating there would be much for her to do to take Scotland forward equipped with the “self rule” powers assured by “the Vow”.
But, true to form as predicted by Scottish nationalists who had campaigned day and night for nearly a year, Westminster renaged on the promises made in “the Vow” an outcome of the consequence of inept negotiating by Sweeney, (who retained his job as Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, adding the title Deputy First Minister to his CV) and his SNP team who allowed themselves to be set-up as the lesser particpants in a significant minority with Unionist political Partys’.
May 2015: In the General Election Unionist party’s were just about wiped out in Scotland. Voters were scunnered with the Westminster cabal who failed to deliver the undertakings contained in “The Vow”. Quite the reverse in a number of cases in some areas devolved powers had been taken back to Westminster.
It was expected that Nicola Sturgeon would announce that the Scottish electorate had given her Party a manadate to declare independence. But she and her close colleagues lacked the political courage or backbone to do so. This was the time Scotland badly needed a leader but Alex Salmond was out to pasture. Another opportuity for a declaration of independence missed. And the reason for accepting the status-qou became apparent early on in the new parliament when Sturgeon took her cohort of 56 MP’s to Westminster and posed with them for numerous photographs outside the House of Commonsbefore sending them into school for indoctrination to the ways and means of the Unionist political systems and etiquette, including, no clapping or name calling. By declaring her acceptance of a continuance of the Unionist political system she finally exposed herself as a “Gradualist”. Independence was placed on the “things to do when we are not busy” list. And she would be busy selling herself to the political mandarins of the USA.
31 May 2015: Sturgeon’ European and World tour
Sturgeon’s profile was greatly enhanced during the general election campaign due to her appearances on the UK wide televised leaders debates and burgeoned further with the election’s near complete destruction of the Unionist party’s in Scotland. Many media outlets hailed her as the new Angela Merkel.
A European tour was completed by Sturgeon in the first four weeks of the new parliament. Her programme included an address to the European Parliament in Brussels in which she emphasised the difference between the Scottish and UK governments’ positions on Europe. She went on to deliver a speech to the European Policy Centre, highlighting the benefits that EU membership brought to Scotland’s economy through trade and by the 171,000 people born elsewhere in the European Union but living and working in Scotland.
Her elevation to worldwide political stardom continued when she was invited to tour the USA and Canada. Her schedule in Canada included trade and cultural engagements in Ottawa and Toronto. In the USA it extended to include television appearances on talk shows and meetings in Washington DC, New York, New Jersey and other venues, with influential business leaders who had expressed interest in investing in an independent scotland as well as meetings with financial leaders of the the World Bank, IMF and an address to the Council for Foreign Relations.
9 May 2017: Sturgeon off to the USA on another jaunt
The visit was promoted as a bid to gain investment for Scotland but it transpired this was a smokescreen for other purposes since the investment claimed to have been achieved was brokered by a Scottish Quango well before the visit.
She confined her visit to meeting with representatives from America’s liberal heartlands, including, “the face of the anti-Trump movement in American State politics” California Governor Gerry Brown, with whom she signed a climate change agreement. While on the West coast she told journalists that if or when she met President Trump she would “bend his ear” and register her disagreement with his policies. A statement that endeared her to the Californians’ but alienated many Republicans’.
Her confidence boosted by success in the West she attended and addressed a meeting at the United Nations and followed this up with a speech at the “Women in the World” event in New York, The organisers billed Sturgeon as “The Queen of Scots”. The founder of the organisation went further and equated Sturgeon to former Secretary of State Mrs Clinton, the star attraction at the event. She also captioned a photograph of herself together with Sturgeon and Clinton “Backstage @womenintheworld with @HillaryClinton and First Minister @NicolaSturgeon two women I admire most anywhere”. A caption to a second photograph of Sturgeon and Clinton said “Snapshot of a real power couple.” The messiah had landed.!!!! WOKE agenda implementation on return to Scotland
20 May 2016: The Scottish General Elections returned yet another SNP minority government. Sturgeon decided to freshen-up her leadership team with the addition of new faces and Swinney, who publicly claimed he had asked for a new challenge, was removed from his comfort zone to the post of Education Secretary where he remained until 2021. In 2021 the Scottish Elections saw the SNP returned to power, again with a minority government. Sturgeon, unhappy with his performance in the Education brief, moved Swinney to the newly created post of Covid Recovery Secretary.
About Swinney and education
22 May 2016: Swinney says controversial named person legislation will be introduced
Swinney’s proposal was to appoint a “named person” who would monitor the wellbeing of each and every child in Scotland, from birth to the age of 18. The intention was for this person to be a single point of contact if a child or their parents wanted information, support or advice, and for other services if they had concerns about the child’s wellbeing. The named person would generally be a senior teacher, health visitor or midwife, depending on the age of the child. The government said this was “a good policy to support the wellbeing of children and young people”.
Swinney said the legislation making health visitors or senior teachers the point of contact for every child in Scotland was well-supported despite heavy criticism from political opponents. He said: “What I hear from teachers is that they are interested in the educational performance and the health and wellbeing of the young people. “The health and wellbeing of the children is at the heart of the named person discussion. What the named person is about is making sure whenever a child or young person need support and assistance, they have a very direct route on how to get that.
Opponents of the scheme argued that it was a “Big Brother” style “snooper’s charter”, which would undermine parents and breach privacy. And the protest came to a head in July 2016, when judges of the UK Supreme Court said the provisions breached rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights, so were “not within the legislative competency of the Scottish Parliament”. Swinney and the SNP battled on for a time but eventually backed down and abandoned the legislation.
22 Sep 2016: Plans to bring in more secondary school tests scrapped.
Scots Education Secretary John Swinney was forced to axe his proposals for mandatory assessments to ease the workload on teachers. The EIS teaching union said it was a “victory for common sense”. Pupils’ grades will now be more focused on final exams and course work that is marked externally. EIS general secretary said the decision would be welcomed by pupils and teachers, who had been under increased pressure since the new National qualifications were introduced in 2014.
22 Nov 2018: Public opinion is that Education Secretary Swinney is the class dunce and should be made to wear a dunce’s cap with a large capital “D” on the front of it for the way he has treated teachers. Swinney was forced to bin his “flagship” Education Bill but pushed ahead with the hated P1 tests and the Named Person legislation meanwhile, Already overworked teachers are, underpaid and expected to do even more.
14 Dec 2018: Council scrap controversial primary one tests.
Fife Council became the first local authority in Scotland to end mandatory P1 national testing. Schools are expected to revert to the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) system previously used. The move was welcomed by opposition MSP’s from all parties. Teachers claimed some P1 youngsters have been left crying and distressed by “unnecessary and cruel” national testing.
7 Aug 2019: Pass rates for Highers dip for 4th year in a row
Exam pass rates have fallen at every level except National 5, according to this year’s Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) results. Year-on-year pass rates are down at National 2 by 2.6%, National 3 by 3.6%, National 4 by 2.6%, highers by 2% and advanced higher by 1.1%. Highers attainment has fallen for four consecutive years but Education Secretary John Swinney defended the results, arguing if pass rates rose regularly “people would rightly question the robustness of our assessment system”.
8 Aug 2019: Exam changes ‘cost young Scots a million qualifications’.
A respected academic believes a million qualifications have been “lost” since the introduction of the new exams. Professor Jim Scott said studies suggest “complex curricular structures” slow the progress of S1 to S4 pupils and deprive them of opportunities. And he said middle ranking pupils are being inappropriately fitted into top-level classes, which contributes to the declining success rate at National 5. Swinney said: “Scotland enjoys a credible assessment system and like all high-performing education systems, year on year variation in results is expected. “Curriculum for Excellence gives pupils the broad skills and knowledge to succeed in life.”
10 Oct 2019: The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) conducted an online meeting to discuss matters arising from Swinney’s new curriculum for Scottish children.
Right from the start parents expressed anger at Swinney’s addition, of a new relationship, sexual health and parenthood programme to the curriculum, without discussion and agreement. The programme provides graphic descriptions of what is being taught to kids and a father said:
“Right from the beginning of primary school they are teaching that sex is assigned at birth and gender is a subjective factor. I think that is a very dangerous and confusing message for young people. Masturbation is being positively promoted in schools. Children as young as 6yo are getting compulsory sex education lessons on ‘self-stimulation’ and touching themselves.”
NPFS chair Joanna Murphy reminded the father that the session was being streamed online. To which the father replied:
“If what I am raising is not suitable for discussion among a group of adults how can it possibly be suitable to talk about in schools? The curriculum features links to video content directing older pupils to erogenous zones in the anus. And one lesson plan explains that in some cultures male masturbation is seen as a waste of semen, which is supposed to be about creating life. And transgender life is introduced between P5 and P7. One lesson plan encourages kids to be whatever kind of girl or boy they want to be, free from stereotypes and gender-biased expectations”.
“A lot of care has been taken to ensure that the contents of the material are truly age appropriate. That involved extensive dialogue with a number of organisations eg “Stonewall” whose confidence I have wanted to make sure are in place around these materials. It is promoting nothing. It is equipping young people with a knowledge and an understanding of what they can make their judgments about as responsible citizens. It simply deals with the world as it is and makes sure that young people will be equipped to handle that. I understand that there will be parental opinion that will not like this, and that should be a source of dialogue with schools to resolve that issue. I repeat my commendation for the materials . . . I don’t think we should allow our young people to be able, without context, to see things and experience things in our society that we have not properly equipped them for.”
21 May 2020: Covid and the excess deaths of elderly people in care homes
12 Aug 2020: Swinney, forced to declare a massive U-turn over the recent SQA grading controversy.
After widespread public outrage at the “postcode lottery”, and a menagerie of rightly angry student protests and activism, Swinney was forced to announce that more than 120 000 students are to have their exam results reassessed, with downgradings overturned.
He said: “We now accept that the risk of undermining the value of qualifications is outweighed by a concern that young people, particularly from working-class backgrounds, may lose faith in education. Pupils whose teacher estimates were upgraded by the qualifications authorities are to retain their results”.
Swinney apologised to Scottish students for the failed system, insisting his u-turn was not an attempt to quell calls for resignation. But informed opinion voiced the view that the u-turn was driven by his regard to the 2021 General Election election in which young voters might well have exacted revenge had matters not been addressed.
13 Aug 2020 exams fiasco caused by Swinney’s spectacular mismanagement.
Swinney faced a vote of no confidence over his exams fiasco volteface which resulted in a markedly increased pass rate compared to previous years. Opposition MSP’s listed his shortcomings including teacher shortages, the scrapping of his flagship Education Bill, his failure to close the attainment gap and the current exams controversy.
5 Apr 2021: Education mismanagement and political catastrophe
The previous year’s exams chaos saw Swinney come close to losing his job. The epic fail meant pupils in more deprived areas of Scotland were unfairly marked down – a situation which was ultimately reversed with teachers given the job of deciding grades. Pupils and parents were assured lessons would be learned but it appears the new way of working just moved a problem. Pupils in 2021 are facing a postcode lottery when it comes to their final grade. Some schools are allowing continuous assessment via coursework to decide the mark while others are arranging what are effectively individual exams. Parents are rightly worried – again – that their children are being unfairly treated, discriminated against and not being given a fair chance. This is another scandal in the making. But it’s one that everyone can see coming. The Scottish Government needs to take heed of the warnings and concerns of those on the frontline and stop this impending train wreck. The future prospects of Scotland’s young people is at stake. They can’t go another year with the fear, uncertainty and worry about their grades.
14 May 2021: Education Secretary, Swinney under the cosh
Swinney faced questions about mounting concerns over reports of stress on pupils who had been told exams were cancelled, but who now faced weeks of daily assessments. An MSP wrote to Swinney saying:
“The alternative arrangements imposed by the SQA for this year’s exams are clearly and indisputably causing harm to young people and their teachers. Few would have thought it possible to see a system do more damage than last year. But reports from constituents make it clear that there is every likelihood this year’s arrangements could be worse, in terms of equality, fairness and mental health. Pupils who were told exams were off are now finding lots of them crammed into a short period of time, at short notice. One reported that a pupil has 40 assessments in eight weeks, which averages at one a day for eight weeks. A constituent described this as “the worst outcome that could ever possibly have happened”. Teachers and pupils are exhausted. I’m told many are unable to sleep because of stress, and that anxiety is on the increase”.
Whitehall mandarins, Unionist politicians and their Luddite supporters will tell you it will be a long and torturous process over many years and it must be this way because the relationship Scotland has with the rest of the UK is too complex to untangle in a shorter period.
But if Czechoslovakia could be split up in six months in 1992, why should the process of establishing an independent Scotland be such a hardship?
The Velvet Revolution
World War I lasted four years, World War II lasted six. So is it easier to conquer then lose an entire continent than to separate two jurisdictions peacefully?
Czechoslovakia, not only transformed from a socialist republic and a Soviet satellite to liberal democracy, but it also successfully split peacefully into two nations.
The pivotal elections that took place in 1992 saw an even split of voters in both of the constituent parts of Czechoslovakia. Tension arose and the leaders of both constituent regions agreed the federation should be split. An agreement was signed on 26th August 1992.
By 13th November 1992, a law had been enacted as to how the federal assets were going to be divided and twelve days later, an act was passed that set the dissolution date on 31st December 1992.
Complex matters such as the continuity of government, continuity of laws, arrangements for courts and so on were all swiftly determined by December 1992.
A new Czech Constitution was passed on 16th December 1992.
Czechoslovakia was dissolved at midnight on 31 December 1992.
When the people woke up on 01 January 1993, they had new nationalities.
Within a mere six months, a comprehensive settlement had been agreed and activated.
Immobile assets were distributed to the country where they sat, mobile assets and assets abroad were distributed according to the rough population ratio
Amendments to international treaties signed by Czechoslovakia were negotiated and signed very quickly by both new republics, confirming the continuation of such treaties.
In 1996, the two countries signed a protocol specifying the distribution of duties enshrined by treaties signed as Czechoslovakia.
All of this happened whilst Czechoslovakia and its constituent countries were undergoing a massive economic transformation.
Czechoslovakia was privatizing on an unprecedented scale and at an unprecedented pace.
In a way, it was like Brexit and the UK’s 1980s privatizations combined, only a lot more complicated.
Whereas the 1980s UK privatized two companies a year, the early 1990s Czechoslovakia privatized two companies an hour.
Taken together, these companies’ accounting value was a big share of GDP. The voucher privatization alone (there were other methods of privatization) privatized companies worth one-third of Czechoslovak GDP.
And let us not forget the fact that Czechoslovakia was also a currency union.
The original idea was that the currency would continue after the separation, but the Czechoslovak koruna outlived Czechoslovakia by a mere six weeks.
All of this was taking place at the exact same time the republics were being separated. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Two things made this possible:
The leaders’ insistence that it must happen fast before organized business interests and/or government could mount a successful defence of the status quo.
Then the fact that the two newly-created governments, for all the tension between them, successfully worked together to apply current or previous arrangements in good faith.
Wherever questions or differences arose, they sought an amicable solution where none of the parties would score a win for their side but rather one where future cooperation would be maintained.
Nobody was proposing divorce bills or ridiculous notions of planes not flying, trucks stuck at the border, licenses not being recognized, or one country continuing to have jurisdiction over the other for the next 100 years.
Time and good faith were of the essence.
If Czechs and Slovaks were able to separate in six months, surely Westminster and Holyrood can find a way to extract one the other in a similar time period?
Credit this article (paraphrased a wee bit here and there) to Martin Pánek, Director of the Prague-based Liberal Institute.
He was born on in Edinburgh on 13 April 1964. He attended the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated with an MA Honours degree in politics in 1986.
He married work colleague Lorna in 1991. They had two children. The marriage ended in 1998 (annulled in 2000) after he discovered she was cheating on him with a married school-teacher. She retained the family home and the children and he moved into rented accomodation nearby.
In July 2003, he married BBC journalist Elizabeth Quigley. The wedding was was overshadowed by his decision to have his first marriage annulled by the Roman Catholic authorities. He was a “practising member of the Church of Scotland”, but his wife was a Roman Catholic and the only way for them to marry in a Roman Catholic church was for him to obtain an annulment of his first marriage – a declaration that it had no legal existence and any children he might have with his new wife, would be brought up as Catholics.
Swinney was a research officer for the Scottish Coal Project (1987–1988), a senior management consultant with Development Options (1988–1992), and a strategic planning principal with Scottish Amicable (1992–1997).
Early Party and political Career 1979-1997
He joined the SNP aged only 15 and was an active member of the youth wing, progressing over the years to the post of Assistant National Secretary then, in 1986, at the early age of 22, National Secretary until 1992, when he was promoted to the post of Vice Convenor, then Senior Vice Convenor (Deputy Party Leader) holding the position until 1997. He was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) in 1997, for the Tayside North constituency, and in 1999 he became an MSP for the same area in the Scottish Parliament. He gave up the “dual mandate” as a Westminster MP at the 2001 general election in order reducing his time away from home. He supported Margaret Ewing in her 1990 bid to become SNP leader, but transferred his allegiance to Alex Salmond who won it.
2000 to date: The Holyrood years – MSP Tayside North 1999-2011)-MSP Perthshire North
Alex Salmond resigned the Party leadership in 2000 and Swinney was elected Leader in the ensuing election. His leadership was ineffectual, with the Party losing an MP in 2001 and a disastrous loss of 27 MSPs in 2003 despite all the political advantages being with the party. His role as leader was challenged in 2003, but he was stubborn and held on to office only to be forced to step down following a disappointing 2004 European Parliament election in which the Party lost further ground.
16 Jun 2002: Swinney’s Chief of Staff departs
Stuart Borrowman walked out because of savage in-fighting just eight months after becoming the party’s top official. His decision to quit came as senior members of the party fought a bloody battle for re-selection as candidates for the Holyrood elections. Borrowman was one of Swinney’s vital strategists and was in charge of parliamentary staff and the Holyrood group budget and was the key to building an effective opposition to the Labour-led Executive.
The run-up to the series of Nationalist hustings was a bruising internal battle with spin and smear campaigns being waged against some of the most senior MSPs in the party. Informed sources advised that Party members, fed up with the dithering gradualists wished to appoint fundamentalist candidates and senior MSPs could end up well down the list – endangering their Holyrood seats.
Aug 2003: Swinney’s Leadership challenged
West of Scotland List MSP, Campbell Martin became the first MSP to publicly back Bill Wilson in his leadership challenge and Swinney’s supporters feared his breaking ranks might spark an open revolt amongst the other 27 MSP’s. Speaking to the press Martin exposed deep divisions in the SNP saying his position reflected growing grassroots opposition to Swinney’s lack of commitment to independence. He said:
“The SNP is supposed to be the party of independence but under the current leader we have started to walk away from our core belief. Instead, we have argued to be allowed to form the Scottish Executive and manage devolution within the United Kingdom. I am sure the leadership of the party still believes in independence, it’s just that, to them, it has become an eventual aim that would be nice if it happened but no longer the main priority”.
Martin claimed Swinney was losing support of large swathes of the SNP because of the “New Labourisation” of the party and that he had surrounded himself with a clique of MSPs and unelected advisers who were shifting the party to the right. He continued saying:
“The clique that surrounds Swinney believes that if you are not with them, then you are against them and you are fair game to be attacked – even if your “crime” is nothing more than simply disagreeing with them. In the years of his leadership a number of SNP MSPs have complained about their treatment by the clique around the leader”.
Although Dr Bill Wilson stood little chance of winning, it was the hope of Swinney’s critics that a “stalking horse” bid would provoke a serious challenge to a leader whose standing with Party members had been damaged further by the loss of 8 MSP’s in the last election. Critics blamed the losses on the Swinney’s style and his lack of charisma. But Swinney’s dictatorial style of leadership had alienated a number of MSP’s including former MSP, Dorothy-Grace Elder and legendary SNP, figure Margo McDonald both of whom had resigned from the Party. A senior Party activist commented: “This shows the widespread frustration among the grass roots. This was Labour’s worst election performance, but we could not capitalise on it – in fact we lost eight seats. And to add insult to injury, we had John Swinney and others claiming that it was a good campaign.”
10 Sep 2003: Swinney wins leadership battle
In a result marked by a low turnout and many abstentions an unhappy membership confirmed Swinney as Party Leader. Speaking just after the result was announced a relieved Swinney said: “This has been an uncomfortable summer for the SNP. But we have emerged stronger. I have made it clear that I have listened to members concerns and I will continue to listen. But the row between the gradualist side of the party and those who are in favour of an independence referendum, and the fundamentalist wing, who want all or nothing, should now end. The door is shut on these arguments”.
MSP Campbell Martin, the most prominent of Dr Wilson’s supporters, said: “John will be pleased with the result. But he must now look over his shoulder. Bill took almost 20 per cent of the vote which means Swiiney is effectively on probation until next year’s conference. Any danger to his leadership could now surface from people within his own leadership clique, who could now see an opportunity for themselves.”
21 Sep 2003: Swinney talks to other Party leaders about an independence referendum
Swinney hoped the prospect of a referendum would quell rebellion in the Party after he discussed his proposals with the Green Party and other independence supporting MSP’s But Senior SNP figures, who believe victory at the ballot box is all that is needed for independence, say that Swinney’s failure to grasp the nettle of independence by fudging the issue only confused voters. One senior fundamentalist said: “What we want is independence not indecision”.
Swinney commented: “the choice for the SNP now is to follow a route into government and deliver independence through a referendum, or go into the political wilderness as we did in the 1980s, and that wasn’t a nice place for us. I’m prepared to talk to any political Party who supports independence”.
But a senior party figure questioned the wisdom of his plans to build such a coalition, saying: “This smacks of desperation. Swinney wants to reform the party believing a referendum on independence is the way forward. But to announce a week before the leadership vote that he wants to do that along with the Greens and SSP makes us look like a fantasy party. If this is a ploy to silence the fundamentalists it won’t work. All it does is show that we don’t have full confidence in winning a majority in the Scottish Parliament”.
27 Jun 2004: Swinney blames Alex Salmond for his downfall.
Furious Swinney bowed out from the Party leadership with an angry swipe at internal back-stabbing in the SNP. In a veiled attack on the fundamentalists he said: “You know who they are, I know who they are. Let’s make sure they don’t corrode the SNP and thwart our campaign for independence. The small and vocal minority must understand this – our leader is democratically elected and once elected should be supported by every single member.”
The distancing between Swinney and Sturgeon came after Sturgeon and Roseanna Cunningham locked horns over over their ages. Sturgeon, 33, said that she would “relatively have youth on my side”. But Cunningham, 51, fired back that her remarks were “cheeky” and “a tad ageist”. The bitching convinced Swinney to back Cunningham in the leadership contest. He had thought Sturgeon to be his ally but was “raging” to hear that she had been briefing against him. He told friends he blamed Alex Salmond, the man he replaced, for turning Sturgeon and much of the party against him.
He later visited Cunningham at her home and told her he would be backing her bid for the leadership. His support would tip the balance in Cunningham’s favour and she would be almost certain to lead Scotland’s official opposition. A senior Party member said: “As the knives came out, Swinney was astonished to hear Sturgeon was briefing against him. He thought it a poor show after everything he’d done for her. He’s been destroyed by back-stabbing and is convinced Alex Salmond orchestrated a whispering campaign against him. It’s one member one vote and his move will gift 1,000 votes to Roseanna out of the 8,000 up for grabs. That will swing it for her and Sturgeon has only got herself to blame. She was Alex Salmond’s star girl then Swinney took her under his wing when he took over. Now he finds out that she’s been stitching him up at what he thinks is Alex Salmond’s instruction.
2004: Alex Salmond returns to the role of Party leader in the 2004 leadership contest.
2007: The Party went on to win the highest number of seats, (just short of a majority) in the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election and he was appointed First Minister. As the head of a minority administration, however, he was unable to secure the approval of Scotland’s Parliament for a referendum on independence.
Salmond, who studied economics at the University of St. Andrews and had worked as an economist for the Royal Bank of Scotland Salmond emphasized his priority would be issues such as as sustainable economic growth, fairer taxes, education, and environmental awareness and he quickly implemented a number of popular measures, such as freezing council tax rates. He also maintained a close watch over Swinney whom he appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth. A post in which he served until 2014.
2011: Alex Salmond’s diligence in the previous parliament was rewarded with the Party gaining an overall majority in the 2011 election and in 2012 he signed an agreement with British Prime Minister Cameron to hold an independence referendum in 2014.
In the weeks leading up to the referendum, he inspired the pro-independence cause, steadily eroding a significant lead held by the Unionist Party’s. In August 2014 he emerged as the clear winner of a televised debate with Labour politician Alistair Darling, the leader of “Better Together,” the multiparty campaign committed to preserving Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.
In polls held shortly after the debate, 51 percent of those expressing an opinion favoured independence. This marked the first time since polling on the matter began that the pro-independence camp had registered a lead, and Cameron response was to promise through “the Vow” (published in the Daily Record illegally, within the pugatory period) greater autonomy for Scotland.
On September 18, 2014, Scots went to the polls in unprecedented numbers, with turnout approaching 85 percent, and 55 percent voted to reject independence.
In his concession speech, Salmond declared that Scotland had “decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country,” a statement that raised the possibility of another referendum on the matter at some point in the future.
The day after the referendum, he announced that he would resign as first minister and SNP leader, a move that became official at the SNP’s national conference in November 2014, when he was replaced by Nicola Sturgeon.
Nov 2014: Sturgeon succeeded Alex Salmond. Swinney retained his job as Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth adding the title Deputy First Minister to his CV.
May 2016: Sturgeon decided to freshen-up her government with the addition of new faces and Swinney, who publicly claimed he had asked for a new challenge, was removed from his comfort zone to the post of Education Secretary where he remained until 2021.
2021: Scottish Elections saw the SNP returned to power. Sturgeon, unhappy with Swinney’s performance in the Education brief, removed him from office to a new post as Covid Recovery Secretary.
Honest John under the cosh 2000-2021 – Notable events Swinney would prefer not to be recorded on his CV. But I will include them anyway.
19 Aug 2011: Scottish Finance Secretary makes a profit at taxpayers’ expense
Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, has made a large profit on his taxpayer-funded apartment. The two-storey terraced property was recently sold for £430,000, after being bought for £355,000 in December 2003, while he was Leader of the SNP. After capital gains tax, his total profit was around £57,000. But between the purchase and the sale, Swinney claimed more than £60,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for the interest on his RBS mortgage. Swinney is overseeing the implication of the UK chancellor’s austerity spending cuts and a public sector pay freeze, but saw no problem in claiming this huge sum of money from taxpayers. It should not be forgotten that Swinney already earns a six-figure taxpayer-funded salary, which makes his claims and profit another kick in the teeth for hard-working families. The way politicians are able to make a profit from taxpayer-funded homes is a scandal. (taxpayers alliance)
For those seeking sources I gleaned most of the content from Scottish newspapers and other columnistsDependant on response it is my intention to publish Part 2 of this article which will include further events of note.
The Tory Party has not been shouting from the rooftops about its views on WOKE rights which is not surprising since its policies are decided on by the Tory Central Office in England.
The most powerful lobbying group in the Party is the “Cornerstone Group” and its influence and demands will prevail over weaker opposition and be the deciding factor in any policy pertaining to WOKE activists.
2005: The Cornerstone Group Website Launch.
In his opening address Chairman Edward Leigh MP wrote about the aims and aspirations of the Group:
“We represent traditional Tory themes of nation, family, enterprise and compassion, founded on Judaeo-Christian ethics. We keep the flame burning because we believe that a vigorous discussion about Conservative ideas can be of immense value to our party”
“We applaud David Cameron’s decision to speak up in favour of marriage.”
The Tory Party Cornerstone Group
A large and influential group of Tory MP’s dedicated to maintaining the traditional values which have shaped the British way of life throughout the country’s history.
It believes in the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, its culture and its nations sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state.
It stands for the Monarchy; traditional marriage; family and community duties; proper pride in the nations distinctive qualities; quality of life over soulless utility; social responsibility over personal selfishness; social justice as a civic duty, not state dependency; compassion for those in need; reducing government waste; lower taxation and deregulation; protection of ancient liberties against politically correct censorship and a commitment to a democratically elected parliament.
It is opposed to gay marriage and is generally fairly homophobic.
Abortion should be banned.
Sexual abstinence should be taught in schools.
Contraceptives should be discouraged.
Immigration should be strictly controlled.
Liberalism is a disease.
Tory Party Insider Comments:
The group is mono-ethnic, mono-cultural, anti-diversity and anti-homosexual and it commands a major swathe of the parliamentary Tory Party and its membership.
It is a good development. The policies they advocate are very sensible. Those who brush them off as reactionaries betray their own bigotry in a way.
The Group’s views are held by many Northern voters and there are many more who would like to see extra emphasis on some of the Cornerstone principles. Lurching hard to the right wins more voters in the North.
The Cornerstone Group are an important lobbying group who will make sure the Party remains focused on its full policy agenda.
Jan 2016: Ultra right wing Tory Cornerstone founder member Mundell Comes Out the Closet as Gay
Mundell married Lynda Carmichael in 1987. The couple separated in 2010 and divorced in 2012. They have 3 children: Oliver, 28 (elected to Holyrood), Eve 26 and Lewis 25.
He wrote on his personal website:
“it is time to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am. I hope that coming out will not change anything about how I am treated.”
In another online post he wrote:
“New Year, new start! I have already set out my political priorities for the year and now I am setting out my personal one: Having taken one of the most important decisions of my life and came out as gay I just want to get on with it, and now, just like that, I have said it. I still cannot rationalise my feelings, but they are not uncommon, particularly in men of my age.” He added:
“Of course, everybody who gets to this point, has have their own journey. I have certainly been on mine, conflicting emotions, of doubts and fears, but ultimately positive and uplifting, with an unstoppable direction of travel. Over time, I have come to understand that, for me, the only way to be truly happy on a personal level is to acknowledge in public as well as in private, who I am.”
Comment: Living a lie is never easy but being a founder member of the Cornerstone Group takes the biscuit.
An American teacher warns about the invasion of WOKE orthodoxy in the education sector
I have been a teacher for nearly two decades. My awareness of WOKE ideology started about five years ago when our schools began to be consumed by “WOKE ideology”.
The schools became obsessed with sophomoric and divisive notions of diversity, equality, and justice; increasingly hostile to freedom of expression; addicted to cancelling anything that offended the WOKE movement and prioritised activism over understanding as the goal of education.
The purpose of this letter is to alert the “sleep-wokers”. A sleep-woker is one who has not taken the WOKE creed to heart, but tacitly complies with the linguistic, pedagogical, political, and moral imperatives of wokeness.
Sleep-wokers go through the motions; they are like religious folk who say prayers without thinking, attend worship services without engaging, and perpetuate dogmas without believing. I was a sleep-woker. In some ways, due to a combination of timidity and tiredness, I still am.
Sleep-woking, like sleepwalking, is very dangerous. While sleep-woking, an English teacher can unwittingly help cancel Chaucer, Keats and Conrad in the name of decolonisation. A biology teacher might find herself obliged to deny important differences between the sexes. A football coach will not be able to cheer on a player after a strong tackle, as strength and physical violence smack of toxic masculinity.
Wokeness has proven to be oppressive and totalitarian rather than inclusive and liberating
Most of my sleep-woking colleagues are good people. Like me, they were lulled into complacency by a WOKE take-over that was slow and subtle.
What’s more, some changes were initially promising and even corrective — of course we should pay more attention to marginalised voices and overlooked narratives, and I am glad that we now do.
To bemoan an expanded curriculum is simple chauvinism. In the end, however, wokeness has proven to be oppressive and totalitarian rather than inclusive and liberating.
My objection is to the effect of WOKE ideology on education, not to liberal politics. My grievance is that teachers are increasingly under pressure to adopt the WOKE agenda or be ostracised.
I empathise with the difficult situation that top school officials find themselves in. As wokeness takes over culture, schools face enormous pressure to follow suit.
That said, those with the power to stop the degradation of education have a special responsibility to do so, and those of us with less power have a responsibility to remind our superiors of their duty.
Here is some of what wokeness introduces:
Offence in is the Eye of the Offended
Schools are required to teach that if one feels offended, one has been offended. For example, if a student or colleague claims to have been offended by your words or actions, it does not matter if you intended no offence. More troubling is the fact that it does not matter if your words and actions were not those that a rational person should find offensive — you are an offender merely by virtue of the fact that someone claims to have been offended.
Since legal norms follow ethical norms, if schools (and societies) succeed in changing the ethical norms of speech and offence, they will eventually have a basis upon which to change the legal norms.
As soon as they can show that a normal or typical person is offended by certain language or certain ideas, they will be able to argue that a person presenting such language and ideas is failing to abide by the reasonable ethical cultural expectations.
In essence, we are training students how to be offended so that their perceived offence can be used to eliminate anti-woke expression.
Elimination of Non-Woke Student Clubs
Any student group that resists WOKE orthodoxy is forcibly disbanded or prevented from forming with the outcome that free thinking students have trouble officially meeting and inviting speakers.
If a non-woke speaker is invited, the wokes mobilise to deny them a platform and they feel righteous for doing so.
Few free thinking students openly identify as such because they are afraid of repercussions from teachers and other students. Not only is this unfair, but it is also dangerous.
Alienated free thinking students are being pushed away from moderate disagreement towards political extremism.
No Resisting WOKE Slogans
Opposing WOKE slogans or voicing contrary slogans is not tolerated.
Since opposing wokeness is thought to be motivated by hate, voicing opposition to WOKE slogans is tantamount to hate speech.
A student who challenges a WOKE slogan is bullied and harassed by the WOKE majority.
Meanwhile, WOKE slogans and images are hung in school buildings and cannot be removed.
White or Western students are told not to participate in cultural traditions of non-white, non-Western people — the oppressors cannot participate in the culture of the oppressed.
For example, several white students who wore shirts with African designs were reprimanded and forced to change their clothes. The fact that the shirts were a gift from their teacher, a black African man, made no difference. The students wore the shirts to show affection for their teacher and to honour his gift, but that was still cultural appropriation.
In another instance, a musician was reprimanded for blending a western and non-western musical style into a new artistic expression. The musician was accused of cultural imperialism.
Shakespeare, Homer and other canonical authors are being eliminated from the curriculum. In some cases, schools and teachers boast about cancelling these patriarchal racists. Even at schools that do not officially cancel canonical Western texts, the texts are subtly replaced in the name of anti-racism.
The result is that many students move on to university never having read Homer or Shakespeare, though they will have been required to read many texts and attend many lectures on intersectionality and gender identity.
They can speak at length about toxic masculinity and a panoply of so-called phobias, but they would not recognise the terms “iambic pentameter” and “dactylic hexameter”, let alone recognise actual examples of the meter.
Ad hominem attacks are presented as the cornerstone of critical thinking rather than as a fallacious form of argumentation. Teachers educate students to evaluate texts and arguments by primarily attending to the author’s race, gender, and sexuality.
Students attend mandatory training sessions in which experts teach them how to identify and report microaggressions. And since to a student with a hammer everything looks like a nail, the students begin informing on each other and on their teachers.
White teachers are told to attend racial-political re-education workshops in which they strive to overcome their whiteness in the classroom. (It has long been accepted that “whiteness” is a meaningful category.)
Teachers who claim to not be a racist are seen as the worst, most unredeemable kind of racist and labelled heretics who will not admit heresy. Suffering from something called “white fragility”.
Before introducing any new activity teachers are required to compile lists of trigger warnings for it. The warnings which are shared with students alert them to any and all things in the subject that could cause them stress, frustration, anger, or sadness.
Manners and Dress Codes
A side-effect of the WOKE attacks on tradition, authority, and hierarchy has been the revocation of dress codes. So long as their genitals are covered and no profane words are visible, students can and do wear anything they like.
Many students eat meals with headphones in their ears while watching videos on their phones. The less respectful students don’t bother with headphones. “Sir” and “Ma’am” have long since disappeared as too authoritarian and gendered. The terms “master” and “headmaster” cannot be used as master might connote slavery.
Elimination of Objective Assessments
Exams are being eliminated for two reasons: first, because exams are apparently inherently racist, sexist, classist, heteronormative, or otherwise unfair; second, because exams cause students stress, and stress makes students feel bad, and feeling bad negatively impacts their well-being.
Additionally, some students do poorly on exams, and this has the potential to result in a situation that is inequitable.
Schools are increasingly pressured to identify their pronouns.
Failure to identify one’s pronouns is seen as transphobic or cis-centric or both. Students can reassign their own pronouns at will.
If a teacher mistakenly does not use the student’s preferred pronoun, the teacher is accused of misgendering.
Misgendering a serious offence, even a kind of violence.
The unchecked advance of wokeness results in two major failures.
First, teachers and students lose the ability to freely read, write and speak as pupils and teachers.
Second, the education provided becomes unrecognisably impoverished.
The second effect is probably the hardest to accept. In place of free-thinking young scholars, the education system churns out generations of woke activists who believe that feelings matter more than facts, that perception is reality, and that it is more important to judge a text than to understand it — where “judging” means anachronistically interpreting the author’s words in light of the most recent WOKE orthodoxy.
Students claim to be proud practitioners of social justice yet they have only an elementary command of grammar and geography.
They struggle to write complete sentences and are unable to locate Turkey on a map.
Some question the need to take maths seriously given that maths is apparently grounded in Western patriarchal rationalism.
Wokeness has been achieved at the expense of education.
Reason has been subordinated to passion.
Plato’s charioteer has been replaced by the horses he was meant to reign in.
To not be woke is to be asleep: unconscious or ignorant of what is really going on.
Perhaps some of you are disturbed by some of the woke excesses at your schools and in your communities, even if, like me, you readily support appeals for greater diversity, genuine inclusion, and a multicultural curriculum.
There are some who instinctively to dismiss the excesses as isolated incidents with sayings like “The pendulum will swing back” or “That will never happen at my school.”
But the pendulum will not swing back because the WOKE movement is not a pendulum; it is a steamroller.
One of the canniest bits of WOKE linguistic manipulation has been appropriation of the term “WOKE” itself.
To not be WOKE is to be asleep: unconscious or ignorant of what is really going on.
Either one is Woke or one is not aware of reality.
Or, as in the words of a WOKE student “if you are not WOKE, it must be because you are uneducated or hateful — or both.
The 1707 “Act of Union” was signed off, against the wishes of Scots, by a corrupt landowning, political elite.
It was heralded by the English as a voluntary joining of the two nations which would become a single United Kingdom. All would be equal. But that is not what transpired.
The English trap was sprung within weeks of the signing of the treaty when the Sovereign of the two states declared Westminster to be the seat of the newly formed United Kingdom.
England’s green and pleasant land would survive but Scotland would be consigned to the historical rubbish dump.
And historical evidence from that time to the present day supports many thousands of allegations that Westminster politicians have only ever acted in the best interests of England and against the wishes and needs of Scots.
Scots Are Ready for Change: Now::
Conditioned by the brutality of the first and each succeeding Westminster regime over 300+ years, the Scottish view of Westminster is far removed from that of the people of Newcastle or Leeds.
The majority of Scots perceive Westminster to be a parliament that has imposed 313+ years of murderous and dictatorial rule.
They see it as a political regime that has denied them their right to economic and political sovereignty. Westminster is not Scotland’s Parliament and never will be.
Scots, with Brexit forced upon them against their wishes, are now clear in their minds that Unionist politicians will continue to impose their will over Scots regardless of any economic, social or other hardship.
The Scottish nation is of little consequence to the political ambitions of the political elite of Westminster.
S.N.P. MP’s should no longer routinely participate in any of the political activities at Westminster, including withdrawing MP’s from all joint committees and no attendance to the House of Commons.
MP’s would, in all other respects, continue to actively represent their constituents only engaging where necessary with other political Party’s and their representatives on matters affecting their constituents.
This would ensure no financial detriment to S.N.P. MP’s. but would send a shot across the bows of the Tory dominated parliament and frighten the Labour and Liberal Party’s who would be consigned to the opposition benches forever.
18 Mar 2003: Do not rush to war with Iraq – Alex Salmond – House of Commons
Fundamentally, the debate is not about Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction or even oil, though oil is certainly a factor. The debate is about a new world order, with an unrivalled superpower adopting a doctrine of pre-emptive strike, and how we accommodate that and come to terms with that new world order.
Eighteen months ago the United States had an atrocity committed against it and it is still in a trauma. The point was made a few minutes ago, and it is undoubtedly correct. On 12 September 2001, the day after the attack on the twin towers, the United States was at its most powerful.
In its moment of greatest extremity, the United States was at its zenith. In addition to its unrivalled military might, it carried total moral authority throughout the world.
A hundred or more nations signed messages of sympathy, support or solidarity with the extremity that the United States had suffered. Now, 18 months later, that enormous world coalition has been dissipated.
I do not take the position that it was only a gang of four who gathered in the Azores. I accept that there are more countries—or at least countries’ Governments — who are signed up, but the coalition of the willing for the campaign against Iraq is very narrowly based.
Anyone who wants confirmation of that should just count the troops: 300,000 United States and British troops, and I understand that 1,000 Australians have been asked for, and 100 Poles have been offered. That is a very narrowly based coalition indeed.
The Prime Minister believes that the way to accommodate the situation is to accept that the United States will be predominant and that the rest must fall into line. They can try to restrain it, but they will have to fall into line with the views of the United States Administration.
That is a wrong-headed policy, and it is taking people into ridiculous positions.
In his undoubtedly powerful speech today, the Prime Minister argued that the weapons inspection process had never worked. He came close to saying that it had all been a waste of time.
I remember a speech on 2 October at the Labour conference in which another powerful speaker went into enormous detail to show how successful the weapons inspection process had been in the 1990s and how it had led to the destruction of chemical weapons, the chemicals used to make weapons, the armed warheads and the biological weapons facility.
He concluded that, “the inspections were working even when he (Saddam Hussein) was trying to thwart them.”
I watched that speech on television. Many hon. Members were there. The speaker was President Bill Clinton. The television was doing cutaways to Ministers, including the Prime Minister. They were all nodding vigorously last October when President Clinton said that through the 1990s that policy worked and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction than were destroyed, for example, in the Gulf war.
The Prime Minister now seems to be denying what he accepted only last October. We are told that the majority of the Security Council would have voted for the second resolution, if it had not been for the nasty French coming in at the last minute and scuppering the whole process. Let us get real. Have we listened to what other countries were saying?
The Chileans proposed an extension of three weeks, but they were told by the United States that that was not on. In the debate in the General Assembly, country after country expressed their anxieties about not letting the weapons inspectors have a chance to do their work.
They were told that the nasty French—I am not sure whether the Conservative party dislikes the French more than the Liberals, or vice versa were being extremely unreasonable, but the French position, and the Chinese position in order to become acceptable, resolution 1441 had to be amended.
Everything has been consistent in the opposition of countries that are against a rush to military action. Somebody should speak up for the French, because their position has been consistent, as has that of the Russians and the Chinese.
The Chinese, the French and the Russians issued a declaration on the passage of resolution 1441. It sets out exactly how the British and the United States ambassadors agreed that it was not a trigger for war.
The reason that those countries did not want a second resolution was not that it would be a pathway to peace I wonder who dreamed that up in Downing street. The reason was that they saw it as a passport to war, so obviously they opposed a resolution drawn in those terms.
The majority of smaller countries in the Security Council and the General Assembly countries did not want to rush to war because they saw that there remained an alternative to taking military action at this stage of the inspection process.
We are told that the Attorney General has described the war as legal. We could go into the legalities and quote professor after professor who has said the opposite, but one thing is certain: when the Secretary General of the United Nations doubts the authorisation of military action without a second resolution, people can say many things about that action, but they cannot say that it is being taken in the name of the United Nations.
The argument is that it will be a salutary lesson, that a dictator will be taught a lesson and that that will help us in dealing with other dictators.
I suspect that the cost of the action — I do not doubt the military outcome for a second will be so high in a number of ways that it will not provide a platform for an assault on North Korea or Iran, which form the rest of the “axis of evil”.
I do not think that the policy of teaching one dictator a lesson and then moving on to other dictators can work. Most of us know that it will be a breeding ground for a future generation of terrorists. That is not the case because people like Saddam Hussein.
The images that will be shown throughout the Muslim world will not feature him, although, without any question, he will be more attractive as a martyr when he is dead than he has ever been while alive. The images that will be shown are those of the innocents who will undoubtedly die in a conflict that will be a breeding ground for terrorism.
President Clinton’s address to the labour Party Conference in Blackpool October 2002, (6 months before the invasion of Iraq
Sound advice was falsely embraced by Tony Blair and his government who only six months later ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the terrible consequences have been visited upon many nations of the World, (in particular the middle East) ever since.
Bush and Blair are now retired and earning financial fortunes from speeches, advisory activities in support of many governments around the world and other business. Indeed Blair and his wife are multi-millionaires.
But thousands of our young men and women serving in the armed forces have been killed in action or returned to their families maimed through physical and or mental injury. The rest of their lives to be lived out handicapped and in permanent pain as will the many thousands of families who lost their sons and daughters.
Why did Blair not listen to President Clinton and Alex Salmond. The last 18 years future could have been so different.