The UK Supreme Court – An Illegal Pseudo Body Tasked with Ensuring the Protection of Westminster – Sod the Scots and their “Claim of Right”

 

 

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Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876

The House of Lords historically has jurisdiction to hear appeals from the lower courts.

Theoretically, the appeals are to the Sovereign-in-Parliament, but the House of Commons does not participate in judicial matters.

The House of Lords does not necessarily include judges, but it was formerly attended by several judges who gave their opinions when the Lords desired.

They did not, however, have the power to vote in the House and “Lords of Appeal in Ordinary,” commonly known as Law Lords, were appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters.

To be appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary under the 1876 Act, an individual is required to have been a practicing barrister for a period of fifteen years or to have held a high judicial office (Lord Chancellor (before 2005) or judge of the Court of Appeal, High Court or Court of Session) for a period of two years.

They are required to retire from judicial office at 70 or 75 years of age, though as peers under the style of Baron they continue to serve as members of the House of Lords in its legislative capacity for life.

 

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The Constitutional Reform Bill – A duplicitous “New Labour” designed to subjugate Scots

In 2003 the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer brought forward the “Constitutional Reform Bill” which contained proposals for reforming the powers of the Lord Chancellor and the dismantling of his office.

The argument advanced in support of his initiative was that this would formally separate the powers of law makers from the judicial authorities.

A major part of the reformation was the repeal of existing legislation replacing it with a “Supreme Court.”

At that time the, “Appellgate Jurisdiction Act 1876” acted as the final court on points of law for all UK jurisdictions in civil cases (and for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in criminal cases.)

In debate the Lords perceived there to be no need for a “Supreme Court” to replace the House of Lords as the final court of appeal.

They were also discontented about a lack of adequate warning of the proposed changes to remove the Law Lords from the upper house to a new court and the absence of public debate.

Warning was also given that the legislation, as drafted threatened the independence of Scots law which was guaranteed in perpetuity by the, “Claim of Right.”

The government was defeated and the matter was remitted to the “Constitutional Affairs Committee” for discussion and amendment.

The committee interviewed a number of eminent figures from the political and judicial system, including Scotland’s most senior judge Lord Cullen.

An amended bill was finally introduced into law in 2009 (roughly 5 years after). 

From that time there has been an amount of controversy in regard to the operation of the court and the matter of the Scots “Claim of Right” , that pre-dates the 1707 “Act of Union” and dictates that the “Independence of Scots law” is guaranteed, in perpetuity and remains extant.

Afternote: On 4 July 2018, the House of Commons officially endorsed the principles of the Claim of Right, agreeing that the people of Scotland are sovereign and that they have the right to determine the best form of government for Scotland’s needs.

 

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Tuesday 9 December 2003: Constitutional Affairs Committee – Examination of Witness – Rt Hon Lord Cullen, (Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session)

Chairman: We are particularly pleased to have the head of judiciary in Scotland.

Lord Cullen: we have met before when we were carrying out our inquiry into the judicial appointments in Scotland before the Government announced its plans for England and Wales.

What we thought we might do is start by looking at the Supreme Court issue and initially looking at it in general terms before coming on to those aspects which are particular to Scotland.

Lord Cullen: It all depends what kind of Supreme Court we are talking about.

We seem to be talking about one which is simply taking over lock, stock and barrel the existing functions of the Appellate Committee and perhaps also the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, so what is happening is to happen somewhere else in a different atmosphere and I do not quite see how that takes you any further.

There may be opportunities possibly for making pronouncements which would be of use to the whole of the United Kingdom, but one has to remember that the existing civil jurisdiction as far as Scotland is concerned is that the Appellate Committee functions as a Scottish court (with a wall, as it were) between it and its functioning as an English court.

Q: Could I address my comments to you, Lord Cullen. I understand from your evidence that you are not wildly enthusiastic about the proposed changes?

Lord Cullen: That is right.

Q: Many of us were astounded that the Government could come up with proposals to reorganize our court of final appeals without consulting the outgoing Lord Chancellor, the incoming Lord Chancellor, the present members of the Judicial Committee of the Lords, and I think we would do better to discuss this in terms of a court of final appeal and leave the title to be chosen afterwards. Referring to perceptions. What would be the minimal changes that might meet the perception point?

Lord Cullen: I am not sure what you mean by “minimal changes”.

Q: Largely that the Lord Chancellor should not be able to sit as a law lord.

The minimal change is the Lord Chancellor saying “I will not sit as a law lord” rather than throwing the whole system in the air.

People argue that having the law lords meeting in the House of Lords is somehow the executive interfering, forgetting of course that Parliament is not the executive and that any arrangements are likely to be more expensive. Could they be cheaper than the present arrangements?

Lord Cullen: I cannot say because I do not sit as a Lord of Appeal but my impression is that it would be cheaper to leave things as they are than to create something free-standing outside, and there also is the advantage at the moment, as I understand it, that the Appellate Committee is funded through the House of Lords whereas if it is to be exported to some other place it would then be funded by the Department of Constitutional Affairs, hence you get a closer association or greater association with the executive which did not previously exist. Now that itself raises a problem of independence.

Chairman: Turning, Lord Cullen, to the Scottish aspects of this, are the Government’s proposals compatible with the Act of Union, Article 19 and the “Claim of Right” and, if not, what would have to be done to them to make them compatible?

Article 19 of the Act of Union states “… that the Court of Justiciary do also after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof, remain in all time coming within Scotland, as it is now constituted by the Laws of that Kingdom, and with the same Authority and Privileges as before the Union, subject nevertheless to such Regulations as shall be made by the Parliament of Great Britain, and without Prejudice of other Rights of Justiciary…”

Lord Cullen: I venture this matter in my response really in order to make the point that this aspect ought to be considered by the Government.

Before the “Act of Union” there is the “Claim of Right”, which was a Scottish provision at the time when the monarchy was returning to Scotland in 1689 and there was then a declaration by the Scottish Parliament as to the right of subjects to protest for remede of law to the King and Parliament and that is the ancestor, so far as Scotland is concerned, of the hearing of civil appeals from the Court of Session to the House of Lords.

The “Act of Union” was silent on the question of appeal from the “Court of Session” or, indeed, the “High Court of Justiciary” but it was later, much later, interpreted in such a way as to indicate that the “Court of Session” and its decisions should be subject to review whereas the “High Court”, the criminal court, would sit its decisions to be regarded as final and conclusive, so what you have, firstly, is an interpretation of the “Act of Union.”

The second point is that, until now, it has been recognized that there are some situations, not easy to define, where certain elements in our constitution may be unalterable – that is a possible view.

It arises from time to time, most recently in the case involving Lord Gray’s Motion where certain members of the “Committee for Privileges” reserved their view on that matter.

So however strange it may seem there is an argument that Parliament might not be able to alter or undo certain elements of a constitutional nature. That is a sketch of the argument: whether it is good or not I do not propose to advance, but simply say it is there to be considered.

Chairman: Are you proposing any way in which the Government’s proposals might be modified to avoid collision with that argument?

Lord Cullen: I am inclined to think that it may very well be that so far as civil appeals are concerned there is not a problem, but it is simply something that ought to be looked at. Therefore my answer to that is probably that no alteration is, in fact, required.

Chairman: Do you agree that legislative competence so far as any changes to leave to appeal and things of that kind are concerned does not lie with Westminster under the devolution settlement but with the Scottish Parliament?

Lord Cullen: That is quite a difficult matter. If you look at the Scotland Act you will find that what is reserved is the continued existence of the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary.

The way that the Scotland Act is constructed certain matters are specifically reserved: the rest is not, and therefore it appears on the face of it that matters other than the continued existence of these courts is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

Nobody is entirely clear as to that being the case but that seems to be the position, in which case there seems to be a role here for the Scottish Parliament.

Now I would hope that the matter was not, so to speak, nodded through in Scotland but given serious consideration, but that is the position, as I understand it.

Chairman: Lord Hope expressed the view that the Scottish Parliament would need time to deal with this matter before it proceeded at Westminster?

Lord Cullen: I would agree with that and the consultation paper, whereas it makes clear what the executive’s attitude is and we have seen the executive’s response since then, so far as I know as yet there has not been a considered discussion in the Scottish Parliament.

Chairman: There is a phrase which I think you may have challenged already which the Government use in respect of constitutional issues where they say that the establishment of the new court “accordingly gives us the opportunity to restore a single apex to the United Kingdom’s judicial system where all the constitutional issues can be considered”.

That is in the consultation paper. Is it your view that, leaving aside the devolution issues, there ever was or should be a single apex which combines the judicial systems of England and Scotland?

Lord Cullen: I do not think that is correct. The position until now is that the Appellate Committee functions sometimes as an English court and sometimes as a Scottish court, and I say that because what is binding in England is not binding in Scotland.

You have two completely separate jurisdictions so that whatever decision the House of Lords reaches in regard to a civil matter it does not bind in Scotland, and vice versa, so you really have two apices rather than one apex and, if the position is that that is to be taken over by the Supreme Court, it will have those two high points, whereas the paper tends to talk as if this is the opportunity for the United Kingdom court.

Well, I say that is obscuring the point: that you have two separate jurisdictions each with its own head happening to be administered under one device, namely the Appellate Committee.

That is what we have: it is a result of the separate growth of two legal systems, and it is preserved, of course, by the Act of Union.

 

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1 October 2009: The Introduction of the UK Supreme Court

A new United Kingdom Supreme Court, separating the judicial function from Parliament (those who make the law from those who interpret it in courts).

It will be based in the Middlesex Guildhall, (opposite the Houses of Parliament in Parliament Square.)

From 1 October 2009, the Supreme Court of the UK assumed jurisdiction on points of law for all civil law cases in the UK and all criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The 12 Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (the Law Lords) are the first justices of the 12-member Supreme Court and are disqualified from sitting or voting in the House of Lords.

When they retire from the Supreme Court they can return to the House of Lords as full Members but newly-appointed Justices of the Supreme Court will not have seats in the House of Lords.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/1603/contents/made

 

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15 April 2015: Lord Carloway attacks Supreme Court and its ‘depressing influence’ on the Scottish legal system

The lord justice clerk has attacked the UK Supreme Court, calling it remote and “far removed” from the realities of Scots law.

Lord Carloway said the court had a “depressing influence” on the legal system in Scotland.

The remarks came in a speech made by the judge at a conference of Commonwealth Law Reform Agencies in Edinburgh.

He said: “The Supreme Court, which has hitherto sat only in London, may be deemed to exercise greater autonomy in the selection of topics for the reform of Scots civil law than the Scottish Law Commission itself.

While the criminal law court hierarchy in Scotland ends with the High Court of Justiciary, the Supreme Court can deal with particular questions relating to devolution and arising from civil or criminal proceedings.

In some respects, the oversight of Scots Law from a position that is relatively remote, far removed from the practical realities of operating the Scottish legal system and of Scots society as a whole, is apt to have a depressing influence on the efforts of those operating positively within the jurisdiction.”

http://www.scottishlegal.com/2015/04/15/lord-carloway-attacks-supreme-court-as-having-depressing-influence-on-scottish-legal-system/

 

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Lord Carloway Blasted Supreme Court Interference in Scottish law

 

28 November 2015: UK Supreme Court overrules Scottish judges on two human rights cases

The UK Supreme Court has today over-ruled Scotland’s highest appeal court in two important human rights cases.

In both, judgements passed in Edinburgh were unanimously overruled by a five-judge panel sitting in London on fundamental legal issues.

Their decisions raise the possibility of another judicial and political cross-border row.

Senior political figures such as First Minister Alex Salmond and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill have already raised concerns about what they see as the Supreme Court interfering in Scottish legal affairs.

The Supreme Court bench in both cases was headed by Lord Hope, deputy president of the London-based court and former Lord President of the Court of Session in Edinburgh who has previously spoken out against the “corrosive anti-English sentiment” in Scotland’s courts, describing it as an obstacle to legal progress, and has been the subject of biting criticism by Mr Salmond, who accused Lord Hope of allowing “some of the vilest people on the planet” to win compensation from the taxpayer.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13082711.UK_Supreme_Court_overrules_Scottish_judges_on_two_human_rights_cases/

 

Supreme Court judgement

UK Supreme Court in London

 

8 November 2016: Scotland applies to join Brexit triggers court battle

Scotland is to apply to the Supreme Court to be allowed to table a legal challenge at the Court on 5 December 2016, against the UK Government as it tries to overturn a Brexit court ruling.

The attempt is to make sure MPs and Scotland’s parliament have a say on triggering Article 50.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “it simply cannot be right” that European Union membership “can be removed by the UK Government on the say-so of a Prime Minister without parliamentary debate, scrutiny or consent”.

She added: “So legislation should be required at Westminster and the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before Article 50 is triggered.

Let me be clear – I recognize and respect the right of England and Wales to leave the European Union. This is not an attempt to veto that process.

But the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national Parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside as if they do not matter.”

http://news.sky.com/story/scotland-will-apply-to-supreme-court-to-overturn-brexit-court-ruling-10649998

 

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13 Dec 2018: Brexit Legislation – UK Supreme Court Upholds  Scottish Parliament – But its ruling is thwarted by the Westminster Government’s Introduction of Counter Legislation, (with Royal Assent) before the Supreme Court Judged the Westminster Government Appeal.

 

Preamble:

Brexit legislation was drafted as an alternative to Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill, which MSPs refused to give their consent to following a row over how powers currently exercised from Brussels will be used after Brexit.

Holyrood Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh wrote an official memo saying the bill was “not within the legislative competence of the parliament”.

His assertions were denied by the Scottish government’s legal advisers.

But the delay paved the way for UK law officers to apply to the Supreme Court to provide “legal certainty” about whether the Holyrood vote was valid. A two-day hearing was held in London in July, with the UK government arguing that the bill should be struck down.

“On 4 July 2018, the House of Commons officially endorsed the principles of the Claim of Right, agreeing that the people of Scotland are sovereign and that they have the right to determine the best form of government for Scotland’s needs.”

 

Lord Keen

Lord Keen Advocate General argued the case for the Westminster government.

 

The Supreme Court judgement

Lady Hale said the judges had unanimously rejected all but one section of the UK government’s arguments.

She said “the whole of the Scottish bill would not be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”, but that one section – relating to MSPs having to give consent for UK Brexit laws – was not within Holyrood’s remit.

The judges explained in their ruling that changes had been made to the UK legislation, (before the appeal hearing) adding a special schedule of protected legislation which MSPs could not modify , returning to Westminster authority over 21 previously devolved provisions.

This meant that the bill was entirely competent when it was passed by MSPs in March 2018.

 

Lady Hale

Lady Hale Supreme Court Judge

 

 

Review the disgraceful series of events, from March-December 2018

The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill – known as the “continuity bill” – was passed under emergency procedures

Only the Tory’s and a single Lib Dem MSP voted against it.

 

Lord Advocate James Wolffe

Lord Advocate James Wolffe

 

 

What will happen now?

The ruling means that the EU Withdrawal Act remains the basis on which Scotland’s statute book will be prepared for Brexit.

MSPs could potentially bring the continuity bill back for reconsideration at Holyrood, provided they take action on the areas highlighted by the Supreme Court.

Lord Advocate, Mr James Wolffe said ministers would seek talks with all opposition parties about “whether that’s the right way forward”.

 

Supreme Court

 

 

Teddy Bear Supporters Embraced the Unionist Fear Campaign in the 2014 Referendum – The Tory Party is Hi-Jacking the Club to Its Cause – Rangers Fans Beware

 

 

 

 

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2014 Scottish Independence Referendum Analysis

An academic study into the independence referendum was conducted by Professor Ailsa Henderson of the University of Edinburgh. The research, which surveyed 4,849 voters, examined how voting linked to demographics, risk aversion, national identity, and attitudes to change. It interviewed people before and after the referendum result and assessed why people voted the way they did. Findings:

* The typical “yes” voter was male, Roman Catholic, and living in social housing.

* The typical “no” voter was more likely to be female, Presbyterian and more well-off.

* The gender gap played out with 53% of men voting yes, and 56% of women voting no.

* Religion was a factor, most Roman Catholics supporting independence and most of those identifying with Church of Scotland favouring the union.

* A narrow majority of native Scots were yes voters.

* Voters qualified through residence in Scotland but born elsewhere in the UK overwhelmingly backed the union.
The analysis indicated that a minority of Presbyterian voters supported an Independent Scotland. This was attributed to the influence of the “Orange Order and “Rangers Football Club” supporters.

Assuming there will be another referendum it is crucial that “Yes” campaigners work hard to get the Rangers support onside. Failure to achieve this might well bring about a similar result. What follows is an informed treatise on the Rangers Football Club.

 

 

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Glasgow Rangers: How an illustrious football club became the emblem of a faltering belief in the United Kingdom and lost its identity. The Start of  the Downfall – Rangers V Maribor

Rangers FC, the Scottish club that is one of the most famous names in world football, were 15 minutes away from being knocked out of Europe by the champions of Slovenia. The team needed one more goal to take the game into extra time. This was the moment that, traditionally, a home team would be rallied by its fans bellowing, baying, singing a rousing song. Instead, the Glasgow crowd struck up a weary chorus of the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”. Rangers failed to score.

Soon, the whole club was in need of divine intervention. Without the funds from lucrative European cup competition, years of hubris and inept leadership caught up with Rangers. In February 2012, it entered administration. Four months later, it was liquidated. Following votes by other clubs, a new incarnation of the club that had been champions a record 54 times started the 2012/13 season in Scottish football’s fourth tier.

Three years on, the sense of crisis persisted. Administration left a void in the boardroom, through which passed a procession of businessmen, many claiming to be “Rangers men”. No one ever took full control of the club, which remained in desperate, monthly need of cash to pay its high wage bill. According to Harry Reid, an author of books on Scottish football and religion, “Rangers became a magnet for every chancer in town.”

Many football fans like to think that their team is “more than a club”. In Rangers’ case, the claim was true. For much of its 143-year history, its successes were a source of pride for fans throughout Scotland, if not for supporters of Celtic, Glasgow’s other big club. “Rangers were the unofficial sporting champions of a different Scotland,” said Alasdair McKillop, the co-editor of “Born Under a Union Flag”, an anthology about the club’s place in the UK.

The club, like the nation, had a comfortable dual identity as both Scottish and British. At its most famous game, the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup victory over FC Dynamo Moscow, fans sporting kilts and Robert Burns T-shirts waved the Union Jack alongside the Lion Rampant, Scotland’s royal flag. “There was then an unquestioning acceptance of a strong Scotland within an overarching Britishness,” said Graham Walker, a renowned historian of politics in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as a life-long Rangers fan.

Off the pitch, Rangers was run in unspectacular fashion. It exemplified traditional Scottish Protestant virtues such as “strength, solidity, pride, decency and probity”, said Harry Reid. “This was turned on its head.”

For many fans, it was the European game against Maribor which foreshadowed the subsequent decline. Only three years previously, Rangers had reached the final of the same competition, but it wasn’t just the bad result that stayed in people’s minds.

Rangers drew much of its support from working-class fans in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, many of whom identified themselves as Protestant unionists. Graham Walker, who saw the game that night, said: “It seemed to me that too many fans are more concerned about defending Britishness than supporting Rangers.”

Today Rangers is a faded emblem of a faltering belief in the UK: a Scottish institution in Britain and a British institution in Scotland. Its rise and fall reflects not only how a football club lost sense of financial reality but much of its identity, too. Its story represents an imperfect microcosm of contemporary Scottish and British history.

 

 

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Success – Arrogance and – Unionism – The modern transformation of Rangers was dominated by two men

* Graeme Souness, the cocksure, moustachioed Scottish football legend who was appointed player-manager in 1986 after the club had gone eight years without a league title.
* Sir David Murray, an industrialist who in 1988, encouraged by Souness, bought a controlling stake in the club for £6m.

Rangers — and Scottish football — would never be the same again. Murray’s money bought star players on high wages, including the England midfielder Paul Gascoigne and Mo Johnston, the first openly Roman Catholic player signed by Rangers since the end of the first world war. Between 1989 and 1997, Rangers won nine league titles in a row. Sustained success on the pitch set the club apart, and the arrogance that accompanies serial winning undoubtedly alienated other football fans in Scotland.

But changes in society also threatened the sense of a dual Scottish and British identity that Rangers represented. Memories of the British empire and the second world war — both of which encouraged a pro-union sentiment — were growing distant. And falling church attendances, especially Protestant, spoke of Scotland’s rising secularism. According to the historian Sir Tom Devine, the “centralising drive of Margaret Thatcher eroded Scotland’s distinctiveness”, too, and provoked today’s left-wing Scottish nationalism.

Partly in response, a growing minority of Rangers fans displayed a more defiant type of Britishness. Religious sectarianism ran through the clubs fierce rivalry with its city neighbours Celtic, formed by an Irish Catholic priest in 1887. And, influenced by the deepening “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, fans sung “Rule Britannia” alongside rejoicing in the deaths of popes. The strident unionism that Rangers fans displayed was anomalous.” It wasn’t that Britishness was dead .. . …… but the kind of flag-waving unionism that some Rangers fans indulged in was exposed as a minority taste in contemporary Scotland, and it robbed [the club] of a lot of sympathy in the country.

 

 

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Financial Disaster

Yet the ordinary Rangers fan was deserving of sympathy. “Rangers suffered from every financial calamity imaginable,” said Henry McLeish, Scotland’s former first minister, who in 2009 conducted a review into the state of the country’s football. “It is the longest running business saga in football history.”

Despite its footballing success, spending on star players in the absence of stellar revenues meant that, by 2002, Rangers were £80m in debt. Murray appeared to have adopted the right strategy in the wrong country. Satellite television had turned the English Premier League into a big business. Rangers indicated a wish to join the English league but the entity enthusiastically embraced by the Rangers supporters rejected the approach. The United Kingdom was disunited when it came to soccer. The inevitable result was that the club became over-leveraged within the smaller market of Scottish football. By 2006, Murray was ready to sell. A situation which became critical when the financial crisis hit in 2008. when Murray International Holdings (MIH), suffered severe losses to its property portfolio.

Rangers had indeed spent beyond its means in a time of easy credit — and fans paid the price. “As far as I’m concerned, the bank is running Rangers,” Walter Smith, then the club’s manager, said in 2009. Two years later it was revealed that Rangers had used Employee Benefit Trusts, a tax avoidance vehicle, to reward staff. HMRC launched an investigation which is still not fully resolved at 2016.

In May 2011, Murray sold Rangers to Craig Whyte, another Scottish businessman, for the sum of £1. At first, Whyte appeared to be like Murray but with even more money. Yet promises of investment proved hollow and worse was to follow. Whyte failed to comply with tax obligations, ran the club without proper reference to the board, and caused the club to effectively fund the purchase of its own shares, according to a UK court verdict in 2014.

Under Whyte’s ownership, the club ran up a tax bill of £9m. This was the direct cause of Rangers entering administration in February 2012. Four months later, the club’s creditors, owed £124m, voted to liquidate the old company. That same day in June 2012, a consortium bought Rangers ’ remaining assets for £5.5m. But this new incarnation of the club has, said Henry McLeish, “been unable to attract stable finance backed by stable personalities”. In April 2013, yet another consortium leader Charles Green resigned as chief executive and the two men that followed him lasted only a combined total of 18 months.

The most recent power struggle featured Mike Ashley, a retail billionaire who owns English Premier League club Newcastle United, as well as a 9 per cent shareholding in Rangers. In 2012, the enigmatic sportswear mogul entered a joint venture to sell the team’s merchandise. It was a deal that led to a boycott of official gear by some fans, who claimed that the club only received 75p from every £10 spent on kit. Ashley wielded power disproportionate to his holding by acting as Rangers’s short-term creditor. He reportedly offered the club a further £10m loan, in exchange for taking Ibrox and Rangers’ training ground as security. The Scottish FA prevented him from increasing his stake in the club, citing rules on dual ownership

Sandy Easdale, a businessman convicted of non-payment of VAT in 1997, controlled 26 per cent of the shares in Rangers, mostly via the proxies of mysterious institutional investors. In December he loaned the club £500,000 to avoid a winding-up order by HMRC, an amount repaid after Rangers sold its best player to an English Championship club. Dougie Wright of the website Rangers Media forum, puts it this way: “Twenty years ago we were buying players from Barcelona, now we’re selling them to Brentford!”

At the start of 2015, several groups emerged as potential opponents to the combined control of Ashley and Easdale. These included:

* Dave King, a businessman, guilty of contravening South African tax laws.

* Robert Sarver, an Arizona billionaire who also owned the Phoenix Suns basketball team.

* A trio of rich Rangers fans who go by the name of the “Three Bears” (one of Rangers’ nicknames is the “Teddy Bears”).

The “Three Bears and Dave King emerged the winners after a corporate goalmouth scramble, but the question “why are we still in crisis? remained on the lips of many Rangers fans.

 

 

 

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The 2014 Independence Referendum and Rangers Supporters

In the course of the 2014 independence referendum campaign in Scotland “Better Together” campaigners used the term “silent majority” to describe pragmatic voters who cared little for romantic Britishness but ultimately saved the union, which was preserved by a 55 to 45 per cent vote.

In consequence parallels are drawn between the referendum vote and the club’s supporters continued state of angst. This was manifest in the unacceptable anti-social behaviour of some Rangers fans (witnessed throughout the referendum campaign) who repeatedly taunted other fans by singing, “You can shove your independence up your arse.”

But Glasgow was one of the few Scottish cities where a majority voted “Yes.” Given the class divide in votes (the poor are more likely to vote “Yes”), pollsters said, it would be surprising if an institution in Govan, a large working-class area, did not reflect that in some way. It follows that some Rangers fans must have voted “yes.”

It is accepted that Scots reluctantly affirmed the union. But it is a different sort of unionism to that of the past. For the majority a quieter, contingent belief in the UK has replaced the default bellicose Britishness of the past and it is expected (not with confidence) that the public behaviour of Rangers supporters will reflect the new reality. Extracted from:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/cfbddcce-9c12-11e4-a6b6-00144feabdc0.html

 

 

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Westminster Behind the On-Going Gerrymandering of the Scottish Parliamentary Electoral System – The SNP needs to Wise Up and Sort Them Out

 

 

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The first parliament

 

 

 

 

Gerrymandering the Newly devolved Scottish Parliamentary Electoral System

In recent times Unionist party MSP and activists have been constantly bleating about the unfair electoral system in Scotland which they allege has allowed the establishment of an SNP one party state. But they had been hoisted on their own petard plotting and scheming for many months under cover of the Calman Commission, working in secret designing a voting system which (they delightfully assured themselves) would prevent the election to office of an SNP majority. Having guaranteed their supporters a Labour/ Lib/Dem government would be elected in Scotland in perpetuity they committed their efforts to backing the successful devolution process.

 

 

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The 1999 Election

Predictably, as planned, the election of the first devolved government to Holyrood in 1999 returned a Labour/LibDem  government.  A secret, secure future, free of the influence of the SNP had been delivered. Self satisfied and smug, members of the new government went about their business with breathtaking incompetence. Scandals, graft, nepotism, fraud and in fighting were prevalent. All the vices of unaccountable, dismissive despotic governance were deployed to the detriment of Scots.

 

 

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The 2003 Election

Reflecting increasing dis-satisfaction with the Labour/LibDem government a number of new parties, Greens, SSP and Independent candidates were elected reducing the number of SNP and Unionist supporting parties. The timely warning from the electorate was ignored by the government and the level of largesse, waste and incompetence increased.

The SSP imploded with the leader and membership bickering endlessly. The Greens appeared to be overwhelmed by the election of MSP’s which required them to give up protesting, substituting the loss with constructive dialogue, which did not suit the agenda of the Party.

The SNP completed a root and branch analysis of the party which had not gained the seats projected in the campaign period. This brought about a party reorganisation. Senior officers were appointed to posts more complimenting their abilities. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon took on leadership roles together with John Swinney. The fightback had begun.

 

 

 

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2007/2011 elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2007 Election

Attempts at gerrymandering the 2007 election in favour of the Labour party were made by the Labour Party Secretary of State for Scotland, Douglas Alexander who employed the most complicated set of voting papers ever presented to an electorate combining two totally different elections on the same day.

The resulting debacle exposed the weakness of an electoral system put in place by Westminster civil servants and the Labour/ Lib Dem leaders to thwart the electorate. Scots, (fed up with the incompetence) returned SNP MSP’s in a majority.

With no overall control the SNP Party formed a minority government which (if defeat in parliament was to be avoided) would require the employment of first class political skills. Alex Salmond and his leadership team were up to the challenge and provided effective government in Scotland despite the odds being stacked in the favour of the unionist parties who resorted to spoiling tactics throughout the duration of the parliament.

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, believing he had all the power refused to acknowledge or meet with Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond in any capacity whilst enjoying friendly relationships with the leaders of other devolved governments. Hardly the behaviour of a statesman.

 

 

 

 

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2011 Election

 

 

 

 

The 2011 Election

The 2011 election delivered the first majority government since the opening of Holyrood, which was truly remarkable since the “mixed member proportional representation system” used to elect MSPs had been implemented by Westminster with the purpose of preventing the SNP achieving an overall parliamentary majority.

 

 

 

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2016 election

 

 

 

 

 

The 2016 Election

The outcome of the election was manipulated by the Unionist Press and Media who in the course of the campaign, relentlessly promoted the concept of “tactical voting” seeking to persuade the electorate to give their votes to the new girl on the block: Ruthie (put in place by MI6) Davidson (no mention of the Tory Party).

The tactics worked and the Tory alternate vote increased at the expense of the Labour and Lib/Dem vote which was significantly reduced but not transferred to the SNP.

The SNP was still returned to government in another landslide victory. but an increase in the Green Party vote meant that the SNP did not enjoy an overall majority in parliament.

This was construed by the Unionist Tory Party to be a signal from the electorate that their manifesto had been approved by Scots and the days of the SNP in government in Scotland were numbered.

The Unionist press, media and Tories, emboldened by a new found confidence that they are the next government of Scotland (in waiting) attacked the electoral system that in their view had failed, yet again to deliver the government it had been designed for. But the voting system had in fact saved the Unionist parties from electoral oblivion.

However, true to form the selective arguments they advanced in support of their whining conveniently failed to mention that, (had the election been conducted under the much vaunted “First Past the Post” voting system strongly supported by the Unionist parties in Westminster) the SNP with 42% of the overall vote would have swept the board and the unionist parties would have been wiped out. Indeed in the 2015 UK general election the Tory Party formed the next government with only 37% of the vote.

Scotland has been lumbered with an electoral system proven to favour poorly performing political parties with many more MSP’s than deserved. It is also evident that there is a democratic deficit in Scotland which needs to be urgently addressed. Wise counsel recently proposed the introduction of transferable voting and open lists, (allowing voters freedom of choice in their selection of transfer candidates) abandoning regional weighting which has been widely abused by the Unionist parties who persist in nominating questionable, poorly performing characters previously rejected by the electorate.

But the Unionist parties continue to deny Scots the benefits of progressive policy changes which would do much to improve the performance of Scottish parliamentarians, preferring to reward self interested party nobodies nominated through nepotism, with seats in Holyrood.

 

 

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Parliamentary Committees

The 2015 election brought Prof Tomkins to Holyrood (as a Tory list MSP). Proclaimed by the Unionist Media and Press to be an expert in constitutional affairs they widely broadcast to the Scottish electorate that he had a deal of input, through the Secretary of State for Scotland’s office, to the 2015 Scotland Act which delivered a limited range of newly devolved powers.

The Holyrood parliamentary committee system of political accountability, (through which the views of the electorate, media, business and opposition political parties can be fed back to government ensuring good governance) works well. But it is under attack by the Media Press and Unionist parties who constantly disrupt and frustrate the good work of committees.

The foregoing gives credence to reports that Prof Tomkin (with not at lot to do for his large salary) had been tasked to create alarm and despondency at Holyrood, undermining and discrediting the committee system so that he would be able to bring forward proposals for change which, if implemented as planned would weaken SNP control in committees, increasing the second placed opposition Tory party membership. A form of job creation for Unionist party MSP’s who would have nothing to do otherwise. This he has duly done. He doesn’t hang about this chap.

 

 

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Deputy Leader of the Tory Party in Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

28 October 2016: Tories set out proposals for Holyrood reform

A review, announced by presiding officer Ken Macintosh, follows concern that Holyrood is failing in its task of effectively holding the Government to account.

Backbenchers who represent the governing party at Holyrood should be banned from holding the key jobs on major committees, the Scottish Tories have said. The party also set out preliminary proposals that they said would ensure Scotland had a “parliament with real teeth” following the announcement that structures at Holyrood are to be reviewed.

If the measures are accepted SNP politicians such as James Dornan, convenor of the education committee and Local Government convenor Bob Doris would be stripped of their roles. The Conservatives also said that ministers should be quizzed by their opposition counterparts more regularly and that MSPs should serve on committees for the full parliamentary term.

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “The last parliament, when the SNP had a majority, exposed the flaws in our democracy. SNP MSPs toed the party line, put party before parliament, with the result that bad laws were railroaded through.”

* He conveniently forgets to refer to the Westminster, House of Commons legislative committees who’s membership also reflects the proportion of MP’s at Westminster.

He went on: “The Scottish public ended the SNP’s majority, and we now have a more balanced parliament. So we welcome the Presiding Officer’s plan to ensure we get a parliament with real teeth. We don’t need yet more politicians in Scotland. We do need a parliament with more clout which can hold this Government to account. Our proposals will help do that – and we hope they will attract cross-party support.”

* But this example of the 2015 Holyrood election reveals the inadequacies of the existing system. North East Scotland:

Tories: 85,848 votes returned 4 additional Regional member MSP’s ( 21462 votes per MSP)

Lib/Dem: 18,000 votes returned Mike Rumbles as a Regional member MSP.

SNP: 137,085 votes returned 0 additional Regional member MSP’s (effectively disenfranchising a very significant number of voters).

The Commission on Parliamentary Reform will study the role of Holyrood in scrutinising legislation, the committee system and parliament’s independence from the Scottish government. The study will be led by the outgoing Electoral Commissioner John McCormick.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/NEWS/14831047.Tories_set_out_proposals_for_Holyrood_reform/?commentSort=score

 

 

 

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