Tales From the Backside – Lies Spies and Naked Thighs – News and Current Affairs Through the Medium That is the Most Corrupt Corporation in the World – The BBC






20 Sep 2017: BBC News and Current Affairs Scotland Staff and Presenters Are Guilty of Presenting Information Biased Against Scotland

Eleven years after exposure to the public that blatant bias is doctored into news bulletins and documentary reports the BBC News & Current Affairs Division of the corporation still actively embraces the policy despite a barrage of criticism from Scottish viewers / listeners, before, during and after the 2014 Independence referendum.

Balanced reporting and impartial presentation, (a requirement of the BBC charter) was abandoned and the Corporation silently decided upon implementing a programme of unqualified support for the “Better Together” Campaign.

Additional finance (£5m) was allocated, to the Scottish BBC News and Current Affairs team, in Glasgow many months before the referendum so that a restructuring programme could be put in place.






“The presenters, including BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor, are shown attacking the fairness of the SNP’s proposed referendum question and claiming that Alex Salmond is ‘not impregnable’.

He also said Alex Salmon wished to include a devo-max option on the ballot paper in order to give him a ‘parachute’ should Scots fail to back independence.

In the presentation, Scotland is described as being in financial deficit and requiring subsidy.

Claims are also made that the SNP are ‘changing policy in order not to frighten the horses’.

Brian Taylor is shown claiming that Alex Salmond wants to delay the referendum in order to ‘sow dissent’ amongst Unionist parties, and saying “He [Salmond] wants a contest as close as possible to the next UK general election because he believes that by then his Unionist opponents will be fighting each other rather than fighting independence and Alex Salmond.

He wants to sow dissent among them”.

Taylor also claimed that the Scottish government’s proposed referendum question was not straightforward and simple.

The BBC Scotland man suggested it was designed to elicit a positive response.

On the proposed question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

Taylor said “Straight forward, simple – except it’s not.

The word ‘agree’ according to psephologists is a welcoming word, it draws people in.
People like to agree, they don’t like to disagree so the word there is good.

He added “Why does Alex Salmond favour a second question, devo max, and devo plus, why not just go for independence, which is the one he has the mandate for?

He wants a fall-back, he wants a parachute should independence fail to win”.

Also featured on the videos is BBC TV political commentator, Andrew Neil, a former editor of The Scotsman and the Sunday Times, BBC TV’s UK political editor, Nick Robinson. and BBC TV’s economics editor, Stephanie Flanders.





21 Oct 2006: A Look Back – We are biased, admit the stars of BBC News

It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years.

The BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.

At a secret meeting in London, hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

A leaked account of an ‘impartiality summit’ called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.

A veteran BBC executive said, “There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.

Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC’s culture, that it is very hard to change it.”

In one of a series of discussions, executives were asked to rule on how they would react if the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, (known for his offensive characters Ali G and Borat) was a guest on the programme Room 101.

On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran.

Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show’s actual producer and the BBC’s head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.

Debating whether the BBC should interview Osama Bin Laden if he approached them, it was decided the Al Qaeda leader would be given a platform to explain his views.

Senior BBC figures queued up to lambaste the corporation for allowing TV newsreader Fiona Bruce, to wear, on air, a necklace with a cross.

The BBC’s ‘diversity tsar’, Mary Fitzpatrick, said Muslim women newsreaders should be able to wear whatever they wanted while on TV, including veils.

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a ‘very senior news executive’, about the BBC’s pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: “The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.”

Randall also told how he once wore Union Jack cufflinks to work but was rebuked with: ‘You can’t do that, that’s like the National Front!

Quoting a George Orwell observation, Randall said that the BBC was full of intellectuals who: “would rather steal from a poor box than stand to attention during God Save The King”.

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to “correct”, it in his reports.

Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it “no moral weight”.

A lot of heat was generated when the debate addressed whether the BBC was too sensitive about criticising black families for failing to take responsibility for their children.

Head of news, Helen Boaden (1) disclosed that a Radio 4 programme blaming black youths at a young offenders’, institution for bullying white inmates faced the axe until she stepped in.

But Ms Fitzpatrick, who has said that the BBC should not use white reporters in non-white countries, argued it had a duty to ‘contextualise’ why black youngsters behaved in such a way.


(1) Helen Boaden was the BBC director of news who was the subject of heavy criticism for her poor handling of the Jimmy Saville debacle, and offered the job of running radio, with no loss of pay, instead.






14 Jun 2014; BBC Scotland in breach of its editorial and commercial guidelines for allowing “Better Together” to use its headquarters, crews and other facilities to produce promotional cinema advertising

The BBC has denied there was any breach of its guidelines and said that political parties can use facilities on a commercial basis, but concerns have been raised by former BBC broadcaster Derek Batemen that the BBC is operating in a “grey zone”.

Better Together commissioned creative agency BD Network to make the ad, The Scotsman newspaper reported.

The agency sub-contracted work to production firm Early, a company co-founded by former executive producer at BBC Entertainment, Martyn Smith.

The advert was shown in cinemas last month, but cinema chains including Odeon, Cineworld and Vue later decided to ban all referendum advertising from outlets.

BBC guidelines state: “Any activity involving a third party that could potentially undermine the BBC’s editorial integrity must be referred, in advance to the editorial policy department.

Examples of such organisations include: political parties, government departments and foreign government; lobbying organisations.”

Guidelines also state that the: “value and reputation of the BBC brand may be damaged if any part of the BBC is seen to be associated with inappropriate third parties”.

The revelations will fuel speculation over the state broadcaster’s impartiality in Scotland ahead of the independence referendum.





11 Sep 2014: Nick Robinson hijacks conference to berate Alec Salmond

Nick Robinson BBC reporter was provided with fully comprehensive answers to a number of rambling questions by an always patient Alex Salmond.

Robinson acknowledged answers by nodding his head in agreement at the end. Video length 6 mins 52 seconds.





11 Sep 2014; Same conference different approach by “Better Together supporting media” – Alex Salmond goes to war with BBC over RBS ‘leak’

Daily Telegraph article together with a heavily edited video, (2 min 02 secs).

An irate Alex Salmond today declared war on the BBC after the Corporation disclosed Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to move its headquarters to England if there is a Yes vote.

The First Minster accused Nick Robinson of heckling him and demanded the Corporation cooperate with a leaks inquiry over RBS’s announcement.





11 Sep 2014; Same conference Robinson’s take on events – BBC bias and propaganda at it’s finest

Nick Robinson caught Lying about Alex Salmond not answering a question.





12 Sep 2014; Balance failure in BBC Scottish independence referendum coverage ‘wrong and unacceptable’ says Channel 4’s Stuart Cosgrove

Stuart Cosgrove, has slammed the lack of journalistic scrutiny of Scottish independence referendum ‘scare headlines’ and called for a re-think at the BBC on the nature of balance and due impartiality.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Cosgrove said misreporting over claims the Royal Bank of Scotland would move jobs to England in the event of a Yes vote had been shown to be lacking substance and scrutiny after RBS issued a clarification to the media confirming any move would be relevant to “operations, not people”.

He told BBC presenter John Beattie:

“I think elsewhere in the media and elsewhere within this organisation, the last 24 hours have allowed people to assume that this is about job losses in Scotland and the loss of great, significant investment.

It’s clearly now is not, and yet another story when investigated the day after is proved to not have anything like the substance [it seemed].

The lack of scrutiny of this and the idea that people just wanted scare headlines I think is an outrage, particularly at this stage in the referendum when there’s so much to talk about and where journalism should be coming alive.

Let’s just take the BP example; we are being told that BP are moving to London.

Really?  What exactly are they going to do given the £200m they’ve recently invested in offshore drilling technology – where are they going to be drilling? Hemel Hempstead? Of course they’re not.”

He added that following the referendum there should be an examination of how the BBC measured balance and impartiality in its coverage, saying that applying election coverage models to the referendum when the main parties are unionist could limit time given to voices from the Yes side.

“One of the things I’d like to challenge, and I think it’s something we’ll need to talk about once the referendum’s over – and I think it has a significant impact on this institution, the BBC – is the nature of balance and due impartiality,” he said.

“Yesterday, I was watching the rolling BBC News very closely and it was clear that notions of balance were being predicated on a party political basis.

The camera panned from Cameron to Miliband to Clegg and back.throughout the programme.

“If you look at it as a different premise – it’s a yes/no question – then Patrick Harvie of the Greens, who is not the leader but is a significant political person within the Yes campaign, should have had exactly the same coverage as Ed Miliband.

Do you think for a second he got that? Of course he didn’t.

I think there’s been a failure of the understanding of the nature of balance and due impartiality. It’s simply wrong and not acceptable.”




14 September 2014: BBC insists independence campaign coverage was ‘rigorously impartial’ as campaigners protest outside Pacific Quay offices

As a crowd demonstrated outside of the headquarters of BBC Scotland on the afternoon of Sunday 13 September, with a banner being used to call for the sacking of the corporation’s political editor, Nick Robinson, the BBC released a statement to deny the accusations that its coverage was biased.

A BBC spokesperson told The Drum: “We believe our coverage of the referendum has been rigorously impartial and in line with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality.”

The Yes campaign reacted following a clash between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Robinson earlier in the week during a press conference where Salmond demanded an inquiry into who leaked the decision by the Royal Bank of Scotland to relocate its headquarters to England in the event of Scottish independence.

Robinson had attempted to push Salmond for a response on the economic significance of such a decision by the bank, which led to Salmond accusing him of ‘heckling’.

Speaking afterwards to BBC Radio Scotland, Salmond said of the leak: “What concerned me is not the impact on jobs because there will be none…what really concerns me is how this information was released to the BBC.”

BBC reporters have also faced further accusations of bias in their reporting directly through social media.







What you need to know about Richard Leonard- Nice Guy – Wrong Job Choice -The SNP is the Real Labour Party of Scotland Delivering for the People




Richard Leonard




Family Background – Richard Leonard – Labour Party (List) Member of Scottish Parliament

Born in 1962, in Buckrose, Yorkshire he was an intelligent boy who was fortunate to gain a local authority scholarship providing the finance needed to ensure his education  at the well regarded, Pocklington School, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, from 1973-80.

The end of his time at school came just as Thatcher’s policies were beginning to bite in the North East of England. His father lost his job and was forced to move south to gain work, forcing Richard to decide where his future would be. He chose to move to Scotland, taking up an offer from Stirling University, to study for a degree in politics.

At university he first joined the Labour Party then took on the role of president of the Students’ Association,   and actively engaged in the many protests against Thatcher’s right wing policies which were decimating Scotland. His future was decided by his choices.





Personal life

He married Kathryn in 1989. They had one son, b1995 in Paisley. They divorced in 2000.

He married divorcee, Karen in 2011. The couple reside in Paisley together with his son and Karen’s daughter from her previous marriage.

Karen is a senior office holder with the GMB which helps Richard keep his finger on the pulse of Union politics.





Trades Union Activist

After university he was employed, for 6 years, by the left wing Labour politician,  Alex Falconer (MEP) as a UK Treasury financed Research Assistant.

He then took up the post of Assistant Secretary of the S.T.U.C. where he was responsible for economic affairs.

In 1996 he left the S.T.U.C. taking on the role of  “Political Officer”  for the G.M.B. union, representing workers in manufacturing, commercial and public services across Scotland.

He was elected to the Labour Party Scottish Executive Committee, in 1997, a duty which also ensured his appointment to the role of Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party between 2002 and 2003.

He campaigned for Tony Blair, but became disillusioned and drifted away from the “New Labour” government (but retained his position on the Scottish Executive Committee) after Blair took the party to the “right” of politics and the country into war with Iraq.





Politics as a career

The failure to win another term of office at Westminster in the 2010 General Election brought with it a left-right wing battle for control of the Party in Scotland and sparked his interest in getting into mainstream politics.

But although he had 25 years experience of Trades Union business his exposure to politics was very limited and in his first attempt at getting into Holyrood he was the unsuccessful candidate for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election. He had not been included on the Labour Party list and that option was also denied him, much to the chagrin of the GMB.

Beyond 2011, the Labour Party in Scotland retained its UK unionist policies including many failed pig-headed campaigns against the SNP government allowing their real opponents, the Tory party to overtake it as the official opposition at Holyrood. A once great party reduced to an afterthought destined for the dustbin of history.

Against this scenario he decided to seek office once more, but with built in assurances he would be elected to Holyrood.

His bid for election was endorsed by the all powerful “Unite” union, which, using its influence had forced through a change in the candidate selection process which meant that sitting MSP’s were no longer guaranteed top spots on the regional list.  He subsequently took first place on the Central Scotland regional list, bypassing all incumbent Labour MSP.s. In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election he gained a seat in Holyrood as a List MSP. The left wing had regained control of the party.


Leonard is a member of CND. Yet he supports the retention of Trident




Party leadership

By August 2017 the authority of Keiza Dugdale, as leader of the party had been eroded beyond repair (largely due to the abuse of her position) and she resigned sparking a war of words over claims  of dirty tricks.

She had told the BBC there had been a “lot of internal problems” in the party ahead of her sudden resignation.

Her allies also claimed there was a “plot” against her after interim leader Alex Rowley had been caught on tape backing the leadership candidate Richard Leonard.

Adding smoke to the fires of unrest, on the very day of her resignation Jeremy Corbyn, at the Brighton conference, in a speech, thanked Dugdale for her work then said: “Labour is on the way back in Scotland”.





Rowley the king-maker

Alec Rowley (interim party leader) was accused of plotting to get rid of Dugdale with fellow left-winger Leonard.

The interim leader,  who had vowed not to endorse either candidate in the leadership race, had been caught on tape, (unaware he was being recorded) prior to a Brighton Conference fringe event saying that Mr Leonard was “the best candidate”. Overheard speaking to a student who had recognized him, he said:

“Although I’m neutral in the leadership I also believe that Richard Leonard has everything that we need to win in 2021. I really do. So when, to our surprise, the job became vacant, it just seemed to me that from a Left perspective, the person that was most suited to do that job would be Richard Leonard.”

The student then said he had read in newspapers that Neil Findlay – another pro-Corbyn MSP – had been the favoured candidate of lefties.

Rowley said: “No, no – for some time now I’ve thought he (Leonard) was the best candidate. And most people within the left in Scotland I think thought likewise.”

Asked by the student what made Leonard the best man for the job, Rowley said:

“I think, erm, I think he’s, his solid grounding in the Labour Party. His views have never changed over many years in terms of coming from the Left. He agrees that we need to develop an industrial strategy – we need a vision for Scotland that sets out the jobs and investment.”

Rowley then talked about how Leonard had the “intellectual” ability for the job. And he then said Sarwar would “last maybe four years or whatever” if he won.

Rowley – whose daughter Danielle, a Labour MP, is running Leonard’s campaign – also said party figures “privately didn’t believe Kezia would be there” for the next Holyrood election in 2021, saying that “our view was that Richard was the best person and therefore we should go with that plan”.

He also said he had been a backer of Leonard “for some time now”, but stressed that “we certainly weren’t putting any pressure on it”.





The Labour right- wing hits out

Describing Rowley’s statement as “hypocrisy” and “incredibly disappointing” Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP, a backer of Jeremy Corbyn critic Sarwar, said there was “evidence of a plot going on behind the scenes for months” against Dugdale’s leadership, calling it “a complete betrayal of the membership and every value we hold dear”.

She later told BBC Scotland: “Richard Leonard may deny this, but there are people within his campaign team who have clearly been involved. I think he would want to distance himself from them.”

This was echoed by another Sarwar-backing MSP, Daniel Johnson, who said that the “admission of a plot is shocking and unacceptable”.

The party’s MPs were also drawn into the row, with Martin Whitfield saying Leonard had “questions to answer” over the affair, while Ms Rowley insisted that her father had “always been very supportive” of  Dugdale.






The Labour left wing wing hits back

A spokesman for Leonard’s campaign team said: “If there were any attempts to undermine Kezia – they did not involve Richard and he knew nothing of them. Any statements that he did are completely false.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Alex was having what he believed to be a private conversation with a student and a political activist. He has not and will not publicly back a candidate.

Baillie’s comments were decried by Leonard-supporting Neil Findlay MSP , as “barrel-scraping desperation”. (the sun)




Campaign for Socialism dictates party policy – lets fix things with an away day

Divisions within the party emerged as Labour MSPs met for an “away day” excursion at the Holyrood MacDonald hotel, in the shadow of Holyrood. An event arranged before Dugdale quit but before the battle to succeed her dominated discussions.

A source said: “it’s now clear elected politicians are moving behind Central list MSP Leonard. I am resigned to seeing trade union votes move solidly behind Englishman Leonard, thanks to his 20 years’ service as a GMB official.

The recently formed group has members at just about every control level of the party. De-selection beckons for any councillor, MSP or MP not onside as left wingers within constituencies assert their authority. A Sarwar supporter said: “It’s a coup. They know they will face deselection and a Corbynite candidate could easily be moved up the list at the next election.

They want to save their jobs and that means we’re looking at an Englishman nobody outside the union movement has heard of leading Scottish Labour.

Leonard was at the peak of his powers in the Labour Party in Scotland, in the period 1996-2004. His inner circle of like minded colleagues included Jack McConnnell, Alex Rowley, Neil Lindsay and Gordon Brown.  Events have gone full circle and it appears his time has come again.


Richard Leonard and wife Karen




8 Feb 1997: Blair’s wild bunch. The Scottish Labour Party

In most of Britain, politicians were obsessed by the general election.  Many Scottish Labour politicians had their minds on another election at least two years away: the election to the Scottish parliament which Labour had promised if it won power at Westminster.

Many senior Labour figures were seriously worried by a growing power struggle in the party north of the border. If unchecked, it could imperil devolution rekindling calls for full Scottish independence.

Intent on dealing with the potential trouble a new committee was formed with a remit to draw up new rules for choosing candidates for the Scottish parliament. It would be these rules that would determine which Labour activists would be elected to Holyrood. The policy back-fired badly with the growth of the left-wing in and “New Labour” no longer rules.





4 Jul 1998: Donald Dewar and the Scottish Labour Party faced a challenge from the Scottish National Party

In Blair’s impending cabinet reshuffle, one unexpected problem loomed large. What to do about Donald Dewar, the Scottish secretary. Unexpected, because a few months ago, no minister’s stock was higher. He had delivered an emphatic “Yes” in the referendum on the Scottish parliament and had been skillful steering  the highly complicated set-up bill  through Westminster. But, in Scotland, everything was falling apart. Disgruntled Labour Party members who had failed to be selected as potential Labour candidates for the Scottish elections were in revolt.




10 Feb 2002: As Blair battled with Labour’s oldest allies, Jack McConnell faced a choice in Scotland: follow the UK way or nail his colours to the traditional mast.

The case for Scottish home rule was based on the idea that the nation was different. Yet, less than two years after devolution, it was England that was turning into a foreign land. With Tony Blair leading the charge for reformers against wreckers, the dominant part of the UK was changing fast while Scotland was becoming a bastion of  stagnation.

The period found Blair doing what he did best: taking on the movement he nominally led. Hostilities were meant to be opened with the speech he was supposed to make to the TUC  that could have gone down as a watershed in British politics but ended up taking on far greater symbolism.  Instead it will be seen as the day that defined Blair’s second term.





30 Sep 2002: Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour Party Chairman Signals Split With Blair Policies

Leonard, chairman of Scottish Labour  called for socialism to become the party’s rallying-call during next year’s Holyrood elections – signalling a deep and damaging split with Blair and the party in England he, an ally of Jack McConnell, has said the party needed to go to the polls being “less apologetic and less defensive about socialism”. It needed to “rediscover its soul”.

His comments infuriated Blair, who vowed to press ahead with controversial public sector reforms – despite damning criticism from union leaders. Blair also faced embarrassment at the party conference over the issue, he and Alan Milburn, the Health Secretary, signalled their determination to continue with changes including extension of Private Finance Initiatives.





22 Apr 2014: Leonard on the wrong side of supporting the Labour campaign against independence

Nation-wide branch “Skills Development Scotland” held a Yes/No debate.

Leonard, GMB’s political officer represented the “No” campaign, United for Labour, and went head-to-head with Richie Venton of Trade Unionists for Independence. “Yes” emerged the popular choice of the night.

Branch Secretary, Derek Cheyne, said: “It was a really good debate – I think a lot of people really engaged and we had a great turn out as well. I’ve got to say, I think that most of the questions from the floor were very pro-yes.  We’ve not canvassed on whether our members are yes or no, but I got the feeling tonight Yes was dominant.  I hope it has energized our members, that they become more involved whether it’s yes or no – that’s entirely up to them, because my union has taken a more neutral stance, adding, But as I said – tonight seemed to be quite positively on the Yes side.”

Richie Venton said: “It was an excellent debate – there were some forceful arguments, but very respectful. For me, probably the most significant factor is that trade unionists spelt out that the struggle for “Yes” is driving towards the conclusion that we need radical change in society and that will build the basis for a future shaping of Scotland in an entirely different direction – to favour the working class.”





Trident – Scottish Labour Party Decide the Policy or does it?

Conference voted 70% to 30% in favour of “not seeking a replacement for Trident and abandoning plans to spend billions on a new generation of nuclear weapons.”

Note: The Labour Party’s current policy is to support Trident, backed by its party conference. Corbyn has said that the policy would be reviewed by any future Labour government. Leonard supports the GMB position which is to retain Trident.





17 Sep 2017: Leonard vows to rediscover Socialism

Leonard is an internationalist who believes in a labour movement built on the principles of solidarity and collectivism. His goal in life is to actively participate in the reconstruction of Scottish society based on the values of democratic socialism. Labour would never form a pact with the SNP nor back a second independence referendum under his leadership

He vowed a Labour government,  under his leadership would redistribute power, introducing an industrial strategy for full employment, tough rent controls, a workers’ right to buy their companies and the nationalizing of public services such as Scot Rail and Royal Mail.

He also backed the UK Labour leadership’s policy on Brexit, for a long-term transition period with Britain in the single market.  (highbeam)


As a member of the Labour party Leonard is expected to take and abide by the instructions of the party whip.  This means he can never support nor devise policies that are not agreed by his UK masters. His leadership will only realize his aspiration to be the branch manager for Labour in Scotland.

Economic policies that benefit voters in England are the only ones he will be allowed to promote. Policies designed to meet Scottish needs and circumstances can only be committed to by a party answerable to Scottish voters and he isn’t a member of such a party.





Westminster Confirms Scottish Agricultural Policy Will be Decided in London and Imposed on Scotland Post Brexit – Tory Supporting National Farmers Union of Scotland Delighted – Wonder Why?






28/11/13: Scotland’s Farming and rural Constitution and democracy

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, outlined some of the benefits of independence for Scottish farming including the EU rule that by 2019 no member state would receive farm payments of less than €196 per hectare – approximately £175, an extra €1 billion of funding – Scotland’s billion euro boost. He said:

“The money would have benefited our farmers and the Scottish economy as a whole – including our rural communities and the whole farming supply chain.

Agriculture is comparatively around a third more important to the Scottish economy than to the UK’s as a whole, and it is distinctive.

Indeed with every £1 of output from the agricultural sector generating an additional 80 pence in other parts of the Scottish economy, the whole country loses out.

We would also have had the opportunity to join 16 other EU countries in negotiating hundreds of millions of euros more in rural development funding – funding that we could invest in rural tourism, environmental protection, broadband, renewables, and start-up assistance for young farmers.

Instead, the UK Government negotiated a worse deal for Scotland – taking Scotland to the very bottom of the European funding league tables.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the UK qualified for a €223 million uplift because of Scotland’s low payments – but instead of that funding coming to Scottish farmers, in line with the wishes of the European Union and Scottish Parliament, it was divvied up across the whole of the UK.

Only with the powers of independence, and direct representation in Europe, we can empower our rural communities to secure and grow rural Scotland’s place in our society and economy.”





A Successful Farmer Speaks Out

Jim Brown, of Gaindykehead Farm near Airdrie, one of Scotland’s most successful beef farmers, said:

“The UK Government’s actions over the recent debacle of CAP convergence funding shows they do not have Scottish farming’s interests at heart, and indeed are taking decisions which remove vital funding from Scotland.

These actions destroy any remaining faith farmers such as myself may have had in the ability of the UK to do what is best for Scottish farming.

I want Scotland to be independent so our farmers are represented in Europe by a Government that always prioritises the Scottish interest, and which has a track record of delivering for farming.

After decades of being represented by the UK in Europe, Scotland is now bottom of the league tables of CAP funding.

With independence we can’t possibly do worse, and I believe we can do much, much better.”





2 Jul 2017: It’s Hall over now

Not long after the referendum on continued European membership became known the Scottish Government and the National Farmers Union agreed to work together towards the development of post-Brexit devolved agriculture policies in Scotland.

Given the history of the intransigence of the NFUS towards the SNP government it was an unexpected and in some ways groundbreaking relationship.

But the brief union between NFU Scotland’s policy guru Jonnie Hall and ScotGov’s agri-policy unit ended without bearing fruit.

Hall’s secondment to ScotGov was formally brought to a close, the official reason offered was that, in the absence of even the barest outline of the Westminster government approach to farm policy after Brexit to chew on, neither he nor his ScotGov counterparts had a starting point to work from.

Commenting, NFUS chief executive Scott Walker said:

“Jonnie Hall’s secondment to the Scottish Government was a new approach for both sides to help formulate the right agricultural policy for Scotland in a post-Brexit future.

Given the eventual Brexit negotiation timetable that has emerged since December 2016, both sides were ahead of the curve, with discussions still firmly focussed on Brexit options rather than the detail of Scottish agricultural policy.

As Jonnie’s skills and knowledge were not being fully utilised, both parties felt it was appropriate to bring the secondment to an end after six months, rather than taking up the option to extend it beyond that time.”

He went on. “Scottish Government now has a number of specialist groups to look at future agricultural policy and we look forward to engaging with them in the months ahead.

This summer, NFUS will roll out its discussion document ‘Change – A New Agricultural Policy for Scotland Post-Brexit’, with office holders attending more than 30 agricultural shows.”

Adding: “We will also be meeting with Defra on a monthly basis, attending the Conservative party conference in the autumn and focussing on future policy at NFU Scotland’s Autumn conference in October.”
(The Scottish Farmer)


Comment: The National Farmers Union of Scotland, in consequence of their withdrawal from the partnership approach to designing future agricultural policies together with the Scottish Government abandoned any pretence of a constructive dialogue with the Scottish Government and through it the people of Scotland.

A “divide and rule” tactic the outcome of which, they are confident, will be the full support of the Westminster Government, taking forward the agricultural policies of Scotland. History proves otherwise.





21 Jul 2017: Agricultual policy within the UK will be decided by Westminster Post Brexit .

The Westminster Government

Michael Gove announced he wanted a green Brexit and farmers will no longer be “handed out” farm subsidies. These will have to be “earned”.

He stated that whilst a payments regime will remain place until 2022, the current Common Agricultural Policy’s Basic Payment Scheme will be scrapped.

In this period government advisors and farmers’ leaders will decide the future distribution of finance, including the environment, infrastructure, and promotion of British food.

Mr Gove added: “There are very good reasons why we should provide support for agriculture. “Seventy per cent of our land is farmed – beautiful landscape has not happened by accident but has been actively managed.

Agriculture is an industry more susceptible to outside shocks and unpredictable events – whether it’s the weather or disease.

So financial assistance and mechanisms which can smooth out the vicissitudes farmers face make sense.”

He also added that he wished to help farmers in Britain’s highlands, as farming there without subsidies is “impossible”.




The National Farmers Union of Scotland

The National Farmers Union Scotland responded to Mr Gove’s statement, and claimed that it was in line with its discussion document, titled Change – A New Agricultural Policy for Scotland Post-Brexit. A spokesman said:

“The union’s vision for the next decade is a managed transition from 2017 to 2027 to an action-based support system. “It wants to capitalise on new market opportunities, coupled with a new domestic agricultural policy, that will move our farmers and crofters to a position where market returns are the primary driver of profitability.”

Director of policy at NFUS, Jonnie Hall, added that while there was much reference to green Brexit, there was a “significant amount” of agricultural content within Mr Gove’s speech, which was complementary of NFUS’ wishes for Scottish agriculture. He said:

“The Secretary of State’s statement that support must be earned chimes with our thoughts. “We would want to see a properly-funded policy, supported by science-led decision making, that builds on our animal health and welfare record and is focused on productivity and profitability gains. “That means, in the future, there is a justifiable case for Scottish agriculture to receive the same levels of funding it currently receives, ring-fenced and spent in new and more effective ways to improve productivity, efficiency and resilience. “That is a central plank of the discussions we will be having with Westminster politicians and their officials in the weeks and months ahead.”

He further commented: “Mr Gove also recognised in his speech the importance of support to those living and working in our hills and uplands. “That is an issue we were able to raise with the minister when we met at the Highland Show, and we have extended an invite to the minister and his team to visit Scotland soon and view the unique and diverse agricultural systems found north of the border.”





The Scottish Government

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, commented that Brexit is the “biggest” threat to rural Scotland, and that is why the Scottish Government wanted to remain within the EU, as it believed doing so was the best option for the future of Scotland.

Adding that decisions about agriculture should be left in the hands of the Scottish government, he explained:

“We have repeatedly made clear that Brexit should not be used as cover for a power grab, and that powers in areas such as agriculture, fisheries and environmental protection should return to Scotland – not Westminster.

“No one is suggesting we cut ourselves off from collaboration, but this must be done on the basis of respect for the devolved administrations.

We are prepared to agree any UK-wide approach that is necessary on withdrawal from the EU, but this must be negotiated between the governments, not imposed by the UK Government.”

He went on to say that it is “concerning” that the UK government is looking to change financial support within agriculture, without consulting the devolved governments, particularly Scotland, and added: “Scottish farming is more reliant on CAP funds than the rest of the UK due to issues of remoteness and land abandonment, and any attempt to cut support will be strongly opposed by the Scottish Government.”

He agreed that the current system does not always work well, but this period should be used as a time to improve it, concluding: “The current CAP is not perfect, but the EU is already looking at CAP reform, so we have an opportunity to improve  it.

That is why we have already insisted that the UK should not disengage from the CAP reform process – but they did it regardless of right.” (The Scottish Farmer)





Twins of Distrust – The Tory Party and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Leadership – Their Self Imposed Selective Amnesia – Selling Out Those They Purport to Support





22 Sep 2017: Fishermen of Shetland Press Lord Duncan for answers on Brexit plans and get the usual waffle

Shetland fishermen reiterated their desire to see the UK take control of its waters post-Brexit after meeting with Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan.

The Association chairman said Brexit presented an opportunity for significant growth in Shetland’s single most important industry but there were concerns that fishing may be used is a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations as the UK looks ahead to leaving the EU. He went on:

“Right back to the days when I was regularly at sea, fishermen have felt left behind by a system that allowed overseas boats to fish often very close to our shores at times when we were unable to. That can now be rectified, and we hope and expect ministers in the Brexit negotiations to stand up for our industry, restore control and let us negotiate any access as a fishing nation in the annual coastal states talks like Norway does.”

Lord Duncan said it would be a “disgrace” to see fisheries access traded away in EU negotiations and added that the UK government would be happy to liaise with the Scottish Government on the allocation of fishing quotas. He added:

“Fishermen up and down the land are hopeful that there will be more quota. That makes perfect sense – the bulk of the fish is caught in our waters. The question then comes – how shall that quota be allocated? If you were to allocate it, as the previous quota was allocated, based on a track record which had been historically determined, then a large amount of that would go to England, if you devolved it right down to that level. At the moment, they probably couldn’t catch it, and don’t have the vessels to catch it. So if you devolve the quota right down to that level you’re going to create a problem potentially for a quota that remains uncaught, and for Scottish vessels not getting as they would argue entitlement to which they legitimately expect.  So should there be a common British quota approach, or not? We’ve suggested to the Scottish Government to talk about that, and they’re suggesting that’s a power grab.”  Full article here:

Shetland fishermen should cast their thoughts to the track record of the Tory Party. See below.




SECRET papers, reveal how the Scottish fishing fleet was betrayed by the Tory government 30 years ago to enable Britain to sign up to the controversial Common Fisheries Policy.

Prime Minister Edward Heath’s officials estimated that up to half the fishermen in Scottish waters – then 4,000 men – could lose their jobs, but the decision was taken to go ahead with plans to sign up because it was believed that the benefits to English and Welsh fishermen would outweigh the disadvantages in Scotland.

Three decades on, with the same policy now threatening the very survival of the Scottish whitefish fleet, the new revelations are certain to fan the flames of deepening unrest in Scotland’s coastal communities.

In a memo dated 11 December 1970, on the negotiations to sign up to the CFP, the department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland conceded that the policy would lead to a “weaker and less efficient national fleet”.

A DAFS briefing note warned: “In short, at present it is much easier to see the drawbacks for our fishermen likely to be involved in the Common Fisheries Policy than to be at all positive that there will be benefits to offset, let alone outweigh them.”

Another DAFS paper in July 1970 warned that the small boat section of the Scottish industry would be damaged and the benefits might not outweigh the disadvantages.

It said the small boats were more likely to be affected because they were “less enterprising and less mobile”.

Alex Smith, the president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said that the release of the secret papers had only served to confirm what Scottish fishermen had always suspected – the Scottish fleet was expendable.

He said: “I have never doubted that that was what happened. No-one seemed to care about the Scottish fishing industry and at one time there wasn’t even going to be even a three mile limit for Scottish boats.

“I was a skipper in Arbroath at the time we joined the Common Market. There was no such thing as a fishermen’s federation in those days and it was fishermen in Arbroath who began opposing the plan.

“I was on our committee and we organised a big meeting, attended by 200 fishermen from the north and west and all over. And it was out of that we managed to negotiate the ten year 12-mile limit.”   (The.Scotsman)



The Unionist Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Leadership Are Spreading the Mists of Uncertainty Over Fishery Policies Post Brexit – This Should Clear the Air a Bit








The Laws of the Sea Convention

The Convention allows countries to establish an exclusive economic zone up to 200 nautical miles from the coast.

When UK leaves the EU it will have control of all fish within this zone.

But, there are “riders”, the laws place a commitment on countries to ensure fish stocks are conserved and allowable catches are specified and where applicable shared with other countries.

Norway which is not a member of the EU, maintains a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone, but it has agreements in place with a number of countries, both outwith and within EU allowing fishing in its waters.





The EU Common Fisheries Policy – How it Works

All member countries of the EU, with a fishing industry are allocated an annual fishing quota, being a share of the “total allowable catch” (TAC) within EU waters, for each type of fish, set by the European Council of ministers.

Quota’s are necessary to ensure fishing is sustainable and EU waters are not overfished.

In the case of non EU countries where fishing resources are shared E.G. Norway, similar quotas are put in place.

The quota system evolved through discussion over many years is now relatively stable and fair and is unlikely to change in the near future.

The UK was disadvantaged at the time it joined the EU since quota’s were allocated against the fishing patterns of member countries and the UK fishing fleet mainly operated in Icelandic waters, until 1976 and the introduction of the 200 mile exclusion zone which required the UK to give up fishing in Icelandic waters.

The quota system does not give licence to EU countries to fish anywhere within UK waters.

It is for each member state to permit or deny fishing rights and quotas up to 100 miles, for fleets that have traditionally operated in the area.

The laws applicable to this quirk time out in 2022 and it is doubtful they would be renewed after Brexit.





UK Fishing Catch 2004-2015

The UK catch has increased year on year between 2004 and 2014.

Total fish landed in 2004 was approximately 650,000 tonnes.

Annual increases in quota’s have increased the catch to the present day 775,000 tonnes.

The largest catch of any country in the EU.

The UK (TAC) is estimated to be just over 30% of catchable fish in EU waters.

Discussions are on-going and it is expected the UK quota will be increased further in respect of cod stocks of which are increasing.





4 Dec 2015: Fish quota boost after Norway and EU talks

Significant increases in fishing quotas for Scottish fishermen have been agreed for key stocks in 2016.

The deal followed talks between the EU and Norway.

It was agreed that the total allowable catch (TAC) for cod could increase by 15% and North Sea herring by 16%.

Haddock catches were given a 30% boost with an extra 17% for vessels affected by the discard ban, taking the total increase to 47%.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “These significant increases for both haddock and cod, in line with scientific advice, are good news for the fishing industry.

Following a year which saw landings up by nearly a fifth and revenues worth over £500m these increases in quota mean fishermen can further boost catch and profits and could be worth over £15m.

This will also help the fleet manage the discard ban, which will stop dead haddock being thrown back into the sea, which will in turn improve the stocks of fish.”

Conservative MEP for Scotland Ian Duncan said decisions for every species have yet to be taken, but he voiced his delight with the outcome reached on Friday.

He said: “Let me be clear, on the whole this is a fantastic result for the Scottish fishing industry and I pay tribute to them and all the hard work and pain they have endured over the last decade or so to be in a position today that sees cod TAC increase by 15% to 27,930 tonnes in EU waters.

Considering where we were not that long ago, this in itself would be incredible.

But the news for haddock; an increase of almost 50% and north sea herring; an increase of 16% on top of the cod figures leaves the industry in very good heart this evening.”

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “This agreement reflects the healthy nature of our stocks and will bring some welcome relief to our hard-working fishermen who are committed to a sustainable future.

Challenges remain, and while the quota uplift for haddock and other stocks to cope with the discard ban will be welcomed, only time and a great deal of effort from fisheries managers, the Scottish fleet and the supply chain as whole will help ensure the discard ban scheme works when it is phased in from 1 January 2016.




16 August 2016: The Repeal Bill – Regaining Control of Scottish waters – Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Statement

Brexit provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore normality and give our industry a real chance to prosper once again.

But what do I mean by restoring normality? Well, leaving the EU returns us to a position enjoyed by coastal states around the world in giving us control of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around our coast.

Control of our fishing was traded away when we joined the European Economic Community in 1973. Our waters became “common grazing”.

Just look to Norway to see how its seafood industry has prospered outside the EU whilst ours suffered from being within.

The central point is that on Brexit the UK will be in charge of its own EEZ.

We will have the critical mass to control the bulk of fishing on the northern continental shelf, with some of the best fishing grounds in the world.

Nobody will suggest that we should overfish, ignore the science, immediately refuse access to other countries or suddenly abandon cooperation, but we will at last be a normal coastal state under international law, forging regulation, access and opportunity to fit our newly recovered rights.

In other words, we will be the managing partner of our EEZ and will be able to lead the way in developing fit-for-purpose management that will enable fishing to sustainably develop.

It has the potential to deliver a fishing management structure in our EEZ that supports communities, jobs, sustainable fishing and proper environmental protection.

It also gives us the chance to deliver fairer shares of catching opportunities in UK waters; our fish, our rights. That surely is a prize worth pursuing.

The kindest thing we can be say about the Common Fisheries Policy, given 28 Member States, the existence of the European Parliament of 751 MEPs and the decision-making processes of the European Union, is that if a least-worse option is achieved on any issue affecting the Scottish fleet, then it’s a matter for celebration.

Over the past 40 years the management of our fisheries through the (CFP) has been lamentable with this distant, centralised and monumentally inefficient management regime producing an endless stream of largely dysfunctional rules and regulations.

There is no doubt that the Brexit negotiations will be a difficult process, and the transition process will prove challenging.

Indeed, we have real fears that during the complex negotiations that a ‘conciliatory’ settlement will be made on fisheries with the aim of securing concessions elsewhere.

Such form of double jeopardy would be unacceptable – having been seriously damaged in the cause of EU entry, the fishing industry must not be damaged at EU exit, especially when there is so much potential to deliver economic benefit to the UK.

But make no mistake, the size of the prize is enormous, and if the right deal is reached on Brexit, it will turn us back into a world-class seafood harvesting and exporting country. (SFF)





18 Apr 2017: EU to contest UK efforts to ‘take back control’ of fisheries

The British government’s plan to “take back control” of its waters after leaving the EU is to be challenged by a claim from eight fishing states that their fishermen have a historical right to access to the seas around Britain dating back to the 1400s.

They are insisting that any Brexit deal recognises the right of their fleets to continue to exploit many shared stocks of species including cod, herring, mackerel, plaice and sand eel.

The development suggests that leaving the EU will not reap all of the dividends to Britain promised by prominent leave campaigners.

EU Officials said that 40% of their fishermen’s annual take is from waters within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone around Britain and in consequence their coastal fishing communities are almost entirely economically dependent on access to UK waters.

They estimate that a loss of access to British waters would lead to a reduction of about 50% in European fleets’ net profit and the loss of 6,000 full-time jobs.

The strength of the EU “claim of right” is supported by the UN convention on the, “law of the sea”, to which the UK and EU countries are signatories, which instructs states to respect the “traditional fishing rights” of adjacent countries within sovereign waters.

The quota system currently in place within the EU is evidence of a historical right of access since they are firmly based on fishing patterns in place well before the existence of the EU.

A senior EU fishing policy negotiator said: “We have a common sea basin where we can fish. We have always had that.

The British claim of getting back their waters is a nonsense, because they never had them in the first place.

The waters might well be British but fish are transient and belong to no-one. (The Guardian)





10 May 2017: Tory duplicity on Fishing policy post brexit

The Tory policy on fishing, post Brexit is becoming clear.

In a letter to British fishermen’s leaders the Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom suggested Tories were: “committed to ongoing cooperation with other countries over the management of shared stocks “.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “The cat is now out of the bag – while Ruth Davidson was recently in the North-east maintaining the pretence that the Tories were the Scottish fishermen’s friends, her Westminster bosses were plotting a gigantic sell-out.” (The Express)





“Fishing for Freedom: Lessons for Britain from Iceland’s fisheries experience”,

the analysis of an Icelandic expert based on his country’s experiences right back to the Cod Wars of the 1970s indicates that the UK should follow the example of its northern neighbours Iceland and Norway when it comes to managing fisheries – because they have been far more successful than the EU at conserving stocks and sustaining coastal communities.

Extracted comments from the analysis:

“The experience of Iceland and Norway emphasises the importance of having full authority over the fishing sector, the importance of sustainable and responsible management and of keeping the domestic fishing grounds, as a general rule for local fishermen for the benefit of the whole country”.

“Britain, post Brexit, as a sovereign country, will have an absolute and undisputed right to a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or the median line under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)”.

“Traditional fishing rights, real or purported, of other countries cannot override the Convention, otherwise no country would ever risk allowing fishing vessels from other countries to fish its waters.”

“Consequently, the EU and its member states have no legal arguments for demands to continue fishing in British waters as before. And they are very well aware of that”.

The British people both have strong conservation arguments on their side, like Iceland during the Cod Wars in the latter half of the 20th century, due to the failures of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) but also the sovereign right to a 200-mile EEZ which is today guaranteed by international law”.

“Leaving the EU offers the British government a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fundamentally rethink the way British fisheries are managed, with a long-term view of how the sector may prosper in the future, taking note of the best practices of other countries and ensuring sustainability and the creation of valuable British jobs.”

A Scottish Fishermen’s Federation spokesman said: “These are exactly the arguments we have been making to our governments, and what better validation of them than the experience of those fisheries nations outside the EU and its disastrous CFP. Iceland and Norway have different but successful fisheries management regimes and a much better record for sustainability – that is what we must insist upon for our indigenous industry.” (SFF)





2 Jul 2017: UK to ‘take back control’ of waters after exiting fishing convention

Michael Gove announced withdrawal from the 1964 “London Fisheries Convention” which allows vessels from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands to fish within six nautical miles of each other’s coastlines. Interviewed by Andrew Barr he said:

“When we leave the European Union we will become an independent political state and that means that we can then extend control of our waters up to 200 miles or the median line between Britain and France, and Britain and Ireland.

One critical thing about the common fisheries policy is that it has been an environmental disaster.

And one of the reasons we want to change it is that we want to ensure that we can have sustainable fish stocks for the future … I think it’s important that we recognise that leaving the European Union is going to help the environment.” (SFF)





2 Jul 2017: The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace Offer a View

The head of campaigns at WWF, said:

“Achieving sustainable fishing is about much more than which country fishes where. It is about ensuring that fishermen use the right fishing gear, that fishing takes place at levels that maintain sustainable stocks and that we pioneer ways to monitor what is happening at sea in order to understand the impacts of fishing.

Leaving the EU means we could get these things right, but we will still need to cooperate with our neighbours, as fish do not recognise lines on a map.” (SFF)

Greenpeace UK’s head of oceans, said:

“For years, successive UK governments have blamed Brussels for their own failure to support the small-scale, sustainable fishers who are the backbone of our fishing fleet.

If Brexit is to herald a better future for our fishers, the Conservative party manifesto must honour the commitment to rebalance fishing quotas in favour of ‘small-scale, specific locally-based fishing communities’.”

A consultant at the environmental law firm ClientEarth, describing the move as a negotiating tactic, said:

“As a country outside the EU, we need to consider how we can best cooperate with our neighbours rather than unilaterally withdrawing from all agreements in the hope that standing alone will make us better.

Many fish stocks in UK waters are shared with our neighbours and so need cooperation and shared management.” (SFF)





3 Aug 2017: EU fishing boats can still operate in UK waters after Brexit

Gove, who was made environment secretary after June’s election, told the Danish fishing industry that Britain does not have the capacity to catch and process all the fish in British waters and thus boats from EU nations would be allowed continued access post-Brexit.

His comments prompted complaints from the Lib Dems and SNP that the government’s stance on the issue was confused.

Gove had previously said Britain was “taking back control” of its fisheries by departing from the EU common fisheries policy, which lets member states fish between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the UK’s coastline.

He also announced Britain’s withdrawal from the London fisheries convention, signed before the Britain joined the EU, which lets vessels from Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands fish within between six and 12 nautical miles of each other’s coasts.

A Defra spokeswoman said the issue was that the UK would be able to control which foreign ships fished within its territory. “Leaving the EU means we will take back control of our territorial waters,” she said. “As we have always said, other countries will be able to access our waters – but for the first time in 50 years it will be on our terms and under our control. “We will allocate quotas on the basis of what is scientifically sustainable, making sure we have a healthy marine environment and profitable fishing industry in the UK.”





Friday 15 September 2017: Overfishing in the North Sea to be curtailed by EU

The European parliament has voted on a series of measures reducing overfishing in the North Sea. The vote imposes limits to fishing quotas so that they cannot exceed levels regarded as sustainable by scientists. The North Sea is one of Europe’s biggest fishing grounds, especially for key commercial species such as cod and haddock.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Britain welcomes the vote on the North Sea Multi-Annual Plan which aims to secure the long-term sustainability of North Sea fish stocks and provide stability for fishermen in the region.

As we leave the European Union, we will continue to work closely with our neighbours to champion sustainable fishing.

Once we have taken back control of our waters, we will be able to ensure our fish stocks are managed more sustainably while also helping the UK fishing industry to thrive.

The multi-annual plan has the potential to end overfishing in the North Sea and provide healthy stocks and productive fisheries.

It is now the responsibility of EU fisheries ministers to make urgent progress in delivering it.





15 September 2017: The Multi-Annual Fishery Plan

The plan, recently approved by the EU, at last curtails damaging political interference, introducing from 2018, scientific management of EU fishing stocks.

At present, more than 40% of fish stocks in the North Sea – the most productive sea in Europe – are overfished.

Scientists estimate that if managed sustainably, stocks could produce an additional 1.45m tonnes of fish a year within the next 10 years.

Key species could fare well under a stock protection programme, meaning catches of cod and haddock could be increased fourfold within a decade.

Britain leaving the (CFP) could bring with it increased pressure on fish stocks as sustainability targets agreed by the EU would no longer be binding on Britain, and EU fisheries ministers would come under pressure from their domestic fishing fleets to allow greater catches in order to compete with the UK.

Environmental groups fear that the steady progress towards recovering fisheries stocks, hard won over the last two decades, could be wiped out in such a scenario. (The Guardian)







If wise council prevails Britain will retain full membership of the EU common fisheries policy (CFP).

Seas are sub-divided simply by drawing a line on a map but fish belong to no-one.

Reflecting on personal experience a while back, in the North Sea we identified a potential catch near to the Scottish-Norwegian sea boundary.

Unwilling to give up the chase the skipper pursued and caught up with the target.

We returned home happy and well paid for our time away.

The primary catch was completed 20 miles inside Norwegian waters, which was legal. The EU has an agreement in place with Norway. A tangible benefit of the (CFP)

The Scottish fishermen’s leadership is comprised of very rich individuals whose political allegiance is tied to the Tory party regardless of any adverse effects which could be visited upon 5000 Scottish fishermen and their dependents should Britain divorce itself completely from the (CFP)

An uncertain future, without or with at best, a much restricted access to the EU market would bring great hardship to the Scottish Fishery, without any guarantee of new markets in the long term.

All of the foregoing coupled with the added disadvantage that control of their destiny is still dependent on Westminster governments whose support of Scottish Fisheries has been so appalling for so long.

If Scottish Fishermen really wish to establish control of their own destiny they should abandon any policy which ties their future to Westminster whose first commitment is always to protect the English fishing market.

Scottish independence is the way forward for Scottish Fisheries. Independence will ensure decisions about fishing policy will always be arrived at with the full support    of and in the interests of Scottish fishermen.







The Once Proud and Powerful Scottish Liberal Democratic Party Membership Should Exercise Its Right and Get Shot of Willie Rennie as leader if It Is to Survive



The remorseless decline of the Liberal-Democratic Party in Scotland


In the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections, the party won one fewer seat than in the two previous Scottish elections.

The experience led to criticism of the party’s election strategy.

Although it was arithmetically possible to form a majority coalition with the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party, the party refused to participate in coalition negotiations because of a disagreement over the SNP’s policy of a referendum on Scottish independence, and sat as an opposition party in the Parliament.

The Tories, stepped forward and agreed to support the SNP minority subject to agreement to implement a number of measures, in the Tory manifesto.


On 2 July 2008, Party Leader, Nicol Stephen was dumped.

The former deputy leader Michael Moore MP served as acting leader of the party until Tavish Scott MSP was elected party leader on 26 August 2008.


At the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, the party lost all its mainland constituencies, retaining only the two constituencies of Orkney and Shetland.

It also secured three List MSPs.

This was by far the party’s worst electoral performance since the re-establishment of a Scottish parliament in 1999.

Tavish Scott was dumped. Willie Rennie stepped forward and was elected leader unopposed.


At the 2014 European Parliament elections, under the leadership of Willie Rennie, the party lost its only MEP.


At the 2015 general election, under the leadership of Willie Rennie, the party lost 10 of its 11 MPs with only Alistair Carmichael narrowly retaining Orkney and Shetland with a 3.6% majority.


At the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, again under Willie Rennie’s leadership, the Party had 5 MSPs elected but was pushed into last place in Holyrood by the Scottish Greens.

While it gained the 2 constituency seats of Edinburgh Western and North East Fife from the SNP, its vote share was reduced further.



The Decline appears to be Terminal


1999: Share of seats: 13%

2003: Share of seats: 13%

2007: Share of seats: 13%  Nicol Stephen dumped following disastrous performance. Tavish Scott took over.

2011: Share of seats: 4% Tavish Scott dumped following disastrous performance. Willie Rennie took over.

2016: Share of seats:  4% Wee Willie produced another disastrous performance but hangs on, no-one interested.




The European Referendum outcome – The Scottish Lib-Dem Party public statement

In the early hours of the morning of June 24th, everything we understood about the UK’s relationship with the rest of Europe changed.

The European Union and our belief in its goals of peace and economic prosperity is an enormous part of what it is to be a Liberal Democrat.

We are internationalist, co-operative, tolerant. And as that reality sank in we realised there was another consequence: What did this mean for our relationship with the rest of the UK?

And that is why Liberal Scotland in Europe has put forward a motion to this autumn’s Scottish Conference which aims to keep the party’s, and Scotland’s, options open.

Other parties may only be about unionism or nationalism, but the Liberal Democrats are about more than that. Our policies are decided by the membership, and as a membership we need to live up to our radical traditions and take on the challenge of finding a creative way forward for Scotland.

We want to encourage our leadership to explore all possibilities, with all parties, to pursue the best possible outcome for Scotland.

This period of political history may prove to be the most significant for our constitution in 300 of years.

It is for the Scottish Liberal Democrats membership to decide what role the party will play and what route we will choose.

But if we are to secure the best future for Scotland and the strongest relationship with both the UK and EU, we will need to leave no possibility unexplored.




Willie Rennie – a disastrous party leader and tediously boring speaker in Holyrood needs to give up the reins of leadership to a better qualified person

Witness his cynical manipulation of the Scottish Lib-Dem conference, (poorly attended by approximately 120 Delegates)

The afore-stated motion, proposed by Party members was not put to the wider party membership for discussion and likely implementation in the Party manifesto and was not excluded from discussion at the conference agenda.

The under-noted substitute proposal was included, with the full support of Willie Rennie

This substitute motion was placed before the conference by MSP for Edinburgh Western, Alex Cole-Hamilton encouraging the party to:

* seek to win support for a public vote across the whole UK on the final EU deal;

* persuade the rest of the EU to be pragmatic in response to such demands;

* work with colleagues across the UK to be the UK-wide rallying point for all those who are pro-EU;

* and campaign for re-entry in the event of EU withdrawal.

The motion was carried by conference and included in the Lib-Dem party manifesto – but conference votes are not binding on the Party membership.






Westminster Debate Israel-Palestine – Tory MP for Aberdeen South – Ross Thomson – seizes his chance to donate his own weird and wonderful interpretation of recent historical events






Westminster Debate Israel-Palestine – Tory MP for Aberdeen South – Ross Thomson – seizes his chance to donate his own weird and wonderful interpretation of historical events

In yesterday’s General Debate on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, Conservative MP Ross Thomson said that his visit to Israel and the West Bank last year with CFI provided him with “the greatest insight possible into the issues” after “being able to speak to people on the ground, on both sides of the conflict”.

He described Israel as “a country that celebrates diversity”, where “you will find churches, mosques and synagogues standing almost side by side, and see Jews, Muslims and Christians living alongside each other in peaceful coexistence”.

He added that Israel is “truly is a beacon of democracy and hope in a troubled region”.

The MP for Aberdeen South expressed his deep concern over Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protests in his constituency, where anti-Israel activists have tried to drive an Israeli cosmetics company out of business, displaying “poisonous and divisive banners stating: ‘Anti-Semitism is a crime, Anti-Zionism is a duty'”.

He joined Conservative parliamentarians in calling for the Home Secretary to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety, stating that “Hezbollah cannot be forgiven for its criminal, terrorist, or militant pursuits simply because it engages in political or humanitarian ones”.

The Conservative MP outlined the main obstacles to the advancement of peace, which include “Hamas’s rearmament drive in Gaza and internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah”, but underlined that as we “proudly mark the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration, we are presented with a unique opportunity to renew the Middle East Peace Process”.




But, “he walks on water” Ross rarely gives voice in public, except to advance his own agenda, in this case protests by Aberdonian’s about trade links with Israel. His contribution to the debate distorts facts, to his benefit and his colleagues, pertaining to the Tory Party delegation working holiday to Israel. And I have added a correcting record of events below.





Tory MSP’s enjoy an all expenses paid trip to Israel

The Electoral Commission released figures detailing expenses totalling £12,000 paid to six Conservative MSPs by the lobby group, Conservatives for Israel (CFI).

Data confirmed that the MSPs were each given £2,000 by the group, financed through Jewish sources, who support the maintaining of business, social and security connections between the UK and Israel in the political arena.

The financial gift fully funded the working holiday to Israel by the MSPs.

The group included:

The director of the Scottish Conservatives, Mark McInnes

The Scottish Conservative chief whip, John Lamont.

The shadow justice secretary, Douglas Ross.

The shadow economy, jobs and fair work cabinet secretary, Dean Lockhart.

The shadow environment secretary, Maurice Golden.

The tourism and small businesses spokeswoman, Rachel Hamilton>

The community safety spokesman, Oliver Mundell.

The digital economy spokesman, Jamie Greene.

The further education, higher education and science spokesman, Ross Thompson

The welfare, reform and equalities spokeswoman, Annie Wells.




November 2016: High-Level, Scottish Tory Party pro-Israel lobby group visit to Golan Heights

The UN, in 1981, issued a resolution saying that Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights was illegal.

The strategic ridge was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War and formally annexed in 1981.

Since then, every year the UN passes a General Assembly resolution titled “The Occupied Syrian Golan” which reaffirms the illegality of the Israeli occupation and annexation.

A high-powered group of ten Scottish Tories visited an Israeli settlement in the occupied Golan Heights.

Called ‘Building Bridges with Israel’, the group was recently set up in a bid by the Tory Party to oppose anti-Semitism and offer an ‘alternative viewpoint’ to what it says is a pro-Palestinian stance that has been dominant since the Scottish Parliament’s inception in 1999.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, (formally given the support of the Holyrood parliament) strongly opposed the Scottish Tory Party pro-Israel lobby group’s message.

Their spokesman said: “Israel doesn’t build any bridges, it demolishes homes, farms and is demolishing Palestine.”

Al-Marsad, the only human rights organisation operating in the Golan Heights, is at loggerheads with the group after raising concern about the visit to the Golan Heights winery in Katzrin.

They say the delegation did not contact Al-Marsad or other representatives of the Syrian community in the “occupied Syrian Golan” to get a “balanced view”.

And they say they have repeatedly failed to get an explanation for the visit to the territory or any condemnation of the illegal settlement.

Al-Marsad, described as an independent, not-for-profit international human rights organisation, said it was “highly concerned” that the visit sends the message that Scotland endorses the illegal activities of such settlements.




Response by Al-Marsad, the Arab Human Rights Centre in The Golan Heights

Al-Marsad, which has previously voiced concern over what it deems Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Syrian Arab population in the Golan, say they have written two letters to Ms Davidson asking in particular about the visit of the Scottish parliamentary pro-Israel lobby group to “occupied Syrian Golan” but without response.

Dr Nizar Ayoub director, said “Given this lack of clarification, I am highly concerned that the Scottish pro-Israel lobby group (Scottish Conservative party) appears to condone the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements – illegal under international law – in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

He went on to say: “it is “highly concerning” if human rights issues, in particular, in the occupied territories should not be “not considered or trumped by business interests”.

Dr Nizar Ayoub told Ms Davidson in his letters: “As I imagine that you are aware, such settlements are illegal according to international law, and their construction and expansion at the expense of the native Syrian inhabitants have been repeatedly condemned by the international community.

I am highly concerned that the delegation has visited a winery in an illegal Israeli settlement without providing any explanation of the purpose of the visit.

In effect, this sends a message that the Scottish parliamentary pro-Israel lobby group (Scottish Conservative party) endorses the illegal activities of this settlement – built on land illegally appropriated from its original Syrian owners.

Even more worrying is the fact that the Scottish pro-Israel lobby group (Scottish Conservative party) has refused to answer questions about whether the delegation raised the broader issue of the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan during its visit.”

He was further concerned that, describing the visit, Mr Lamont said “on Israel’s northern border with Syria we witnessed first-hand the devastating civil war raging metres away from Israel”

Dr Ayoub reminded Ms Davidson that: “The only part of Syria that Israel borders is the occupied Syrian Golan. The fighting in Syria is not taking place metres away from Israel, it is taking place metres away from the occupied Syrian Golan.

From Mr Lamont’s comments, it appears that he considers that the occupied Syrian Golan is part of Israel, which it is not.”

He added: “I am highly disappointed that the delegation did not contact Al-Marsad or other representatives of the Syrian community in the occupied Syrian Golan in order to discuss the daily challenges faced by the remaining native Syrian population in the Syrian Golan due to Israel’s illegal occupation.

This would have ensured that the delegation obtained a more balanced view of the situation in the occupied Syrian Golan.”  (



Lest Ye Forget – The aftermath of the 2014 Scottish Referendum






The EU During the referendum, the Better Together website said : ‘Scotland enjoys membership of the EU because of our membership of the UK and if we no longer are members of the UK then it follows that we are no longer are part of the EU…

Ruth Davidson said “I think it is disingenuous of Patrick [Harvie] to say that No means out and Yes means in, when actually the opposite is true, No means we stay in, we are members of the European Union.”

Better Together tweeted saying: “What is process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting yes. (




Devolution – The future is for Scots to decide

In the STV referendum debate, Ruth Davidson said “It’s disingenuous to say No means out and Yes means in, when actually the opposite is true. No means we stay in.”

Now, Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will in the aftermath of the UK’s vote for Brexit. Extensive new powers

The then three Westminster party leaders promised “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament.

However what they actually legislated for left decisions about 70% of Scottish taxes and 85% of current UK welfare spending in Scotland in the hands of the Westminster government.

The STUC and numerous third sector groups expressed disappointment at the limitations of what was finally legislated for.

The cross-party Devolution (Further Powers) Committee said that the Scotland Bill “falls short” in “critical areas”. (

A YouGov poll in September 2015 found that only 9 per cent of people in Scotland believe that the promise of “extensive new powers” was delivered.




Power lies with the people of Scotland

In a joint statement of 5 August 2014 David Cameron and the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson -along with the other party leaders, signed a pledge saying: “Power lies with the Scottish people and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how Scotland is governed.” (

Yet when the very same people power supposedly lay with voted for 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs to be SNP on a platform of even more powers within the UK the Tories MPs vote against those proposals and let 1 MP of Scotland’s 59 to decide to veto them.




Before the referendum, the No campaign said jobs in shipyards would be under threat if there was a Yes vote –including a leaflet saying that ‘Separation Shuts Shipyards’ and making promises that “Govan and Scotstoun will get the order for 13 Type-26 frigates from the Royal Navy”.

Better Together tweeted saying that a No vote would “ensure the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry.” (

However, on 7 November 2015, the Scotsman reported that the programme could be slashed because funding was required to pay for Trident. (

On 23 November 2015, the UK government announced that the number of frigates that would were intended to be built had been reduced from thirteen to eight.
The UK Government then announced the number of frigates would be reduced from thirteen to eight. (

It has since been reported that the continued delays to the works are to be delayed still further risking jobs on the Clyde in the process. (





At PMQs David Cameron argued for a No vote on basis that “…when it comes to vital industries like green technology, the combination of a green investment bank sponsored by the United Kingdom Government and the many natural advantages that there are in Scotland can make this a great industry for people in Scotland—but we will do that only if we keep our country together”. (

Also on 7 April 2014 Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “The broad shoulders of the United Kingdom is unlocking the power of Scotland to take its place as one of the world’s great energy hubs -generating energy and generating jobs”. (

After the referendum on 18 June 2015 the BBC reported: “Scotland could lose £3bn in investment because of a UK government decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from a subsidy scheme a year earlier than planned, an industry body has said. (

It was reported that German company Siemens will not invest in any further renewable s projects in the UK, as a result of uncertainty caused by Brexit.




HMRC jobs

Before the referendum it was claimed that HMRC delivered a ‘jobs dividend’ in Scotland and that this would be risked by a vote for independence. The UK Government has since announced closure of HMRC offices – 2,000 Scottish jobs to go.



Carbon capture

Before the referendum, the UK Government stated that “Scotland benefits from other competitions and grants provided by the UK Government and the wider UK consumer and tax base, such as a programme to support the commercialisation of carbon capture and storage” ( (page46)

This commitment to a £1billion investment in CCS was also set out in the Conservative’s 2015 manifesto.

The UK Government cancelled this investment six months before it was due to be awarded. Peterhead was expected to be the winning project and there were financial consequences (

Canada didn’t hang about and developed the technology. ( Closing Longannet was a wilful act of destruction by a government hell bent on expanding nuclear power at the expense of new clean technology.




Social security

Before the referendum, the No campaign suggested that independence would be a threat to the welfare state –saying that “we are better placed to support the most vulnerable in Scotland ” with a No vote.

However, the July 2015 budget announced £12 billion cuts & changes to welfare and benefits. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said the budget was an attack on the poorest and most vulnerable people in communities and that the Chancellor was “demonstrating a cruel disregard for the impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of people’s lives”. The Child Poverty Action Group said the budget cuts damaged economic security of working families “with higher child poverty for millions and lower taxes for the better off”.




Civil service jobs

Before the referendum, the Scotland Office issued a press release boasting that the UK Government protects civil service jobs in Scotland. (

Information from SPICe published this year shows that between 2011 and 2015, there has been a greater fall in UK Civil Service employment in Scotland than in any other UK nation–falling by 17.5 per cent in Scotland, compared to 12.4 per cent in England, 9.3 per cent in Wales and 16.1 per
cent in Northern Ireland. (





Before the referendum, Scotland was told that we were an equal part of the UK ‘family of nations’ and were urged to ‘lead not leave’ the UK.

The morning after the referendum David Cameron announced English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) –creating two tiers of parliamentarians in the House of Commons and created the situation where Scottish MPs can’t properly consider the ‘Barnett consequentials’ on legislation branded English only.




Barnett Formula

The Vow, which was signed up to by each of the three main parties at Westminster clearly promised “the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources”.
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, fresh suggestions are being raised by the Tory-right wing and others about cutting Scotland’s budget further.

Brexit campaigner Lord Owen called for a vote to Leave the EU to be used as an excuse to axe the Barnett Formula, while Tory MEP David Bannerman tweeted that a “new Brexit Government should suspend the Barnett formula for Scotland” –raising the spectre of Tory government at Westminster initiating a systematic and cynical erosion of Scotland’s finances.

One time Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove again raised the prospect of axing the Barnett Formula.



The Machiavelli of his Time – King William 2 – Ordered the Execution of the MacDonald’s at Glencoe and Allowed the Campbells to Carry the Blame – Westminster Plotting Against Scotland Then and Now – Fits the Profile




Machiavelli (1459-1527) “The Prince” and William of Orange

Just over a century before William arrived on the scene the arch manipulator Machiavelli wrote his guide for William’s political career, “The Prince” the content of which William practised as a monarch. Machiavelli wrote:

“a prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honour his word when it places him at a disadvantage … Because men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them”.

“one must know how to colour one’s actions and be a great liar and deceiver”.

“a prince who neglected what was actually done by people for what (by rights) should be done was doomed to self-destruction”.

“someone who acted virtuously would quickly come to a sticky end among the multitude who were not as virtuous. Hence the successful political statesman had to learn how and when to act in a dishonest and immoral way, and must be much better at acting dishonourably than those around him”.

“use guile and cunning in order to guarantee the success and prosperity of the kingdom and the people, although this will also mean the preservation of the resplendent riches of political office”.

“The conquest of other states and foreign lands is best achieved either by devastating them totally, and living there in person, or by creating a loyal local oligarchy”.

“Whoever is responsible for creating someone else’s system of power brings ruin upon himself, as the demonstrated mechanism of power creation elevates the assistant into a potential challenger to the new ruler”.

“Political support is transient and men are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers who shun danger and are greedy for profit. They will risk their lives for a ruler when the perceived danger is remote, but when such dangers became much more real they will quickly defect. The solution to this problem is for a ruler to make himself feared (although not hated), so that there is always a psychological dread of punishment. Execution, if properly justified, is sometimes a necessity in this respect, although only when there was a genuine reason for it”.

“Principalities have family rulers and can be hereditary, composite, constitutional and ecclesiastical. Republics are excluded from discussion, since they are unlikely to be controlled by prince-like figures”.

“New principalities can be obtained by various means – one’s own arms and military prowess, fortune and foreign support, constitutional astuteness and criminal behaviour, which, if accompanied with audacity and courage, can bring success. The end justifies the means”.


William & Mary




Early Indication of William’s Duplicity – Johan De Witt V William of Orange – Intrigue in the Orange State

At the conclusion of yet another of a long series of short wars with England, in which the Dutch were on the losing side, William plotted to takeover control of government.

To achieve this he published a letter from King Charles 1, in which Charles stated that he had only waged war on Holland because of the aggression of the ruling Dutch, De Witt faction.

The Orangist group in parliament ensured that William would be installed as the government leader forcing his rival, Johan de Witt to resign as Treasurer.

William once in office, went on to announce that those responsible would be held to account for their actions.

One of the first to be charged was Johan’s brother, Cornelis who had been the head of police. He was arrested and imprisoned in The Hague on the charge of treason.

On hearing that his brother was in prison Johan made the worst mistake of his life and paid him a visit. While he was in the prison a crowd gathered around the building demanding the imprisonment of Johan.

At this point a small contingent of soldiers guarding the prison left their posts. Without this deterrent the mob stormed into the prison. Johan and his brother Cornelis were butchered. Reports recorded that, in their frenzy, they ate the bodies of the two brothers.

Though William’s complicity in the lynching was suspected it was never proved and he thwarted attempts to prosecute the ringleaders, and even rewarded some, like Hendrik rhoeff, with money, and others, like Johan van Banchem and Johan Kievit, with high offices. This damaged his reputation in the same fashion as his later actions at Glencoe.


MacDonalds escaping from Glencoe




William of Orange (1650-1702) (52y)

William, inherited Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Gelderland (the principality of Orange) from his father, William II, (who died a week before his birth). He extended his control in 1672 to include Overijssel in the Dutch Republic.

His mother Mary, Princess Royal, was the daughter of King Charles I of England. She died in 1660 in London from smallpox, while visiting her brother.

The ten year old became the responsibility of the House of Orange and in consequence, his upbringing, education and mentoring was strongly influenced by Calvanist statesmen who persuaded him to distance the state from England.

England had, for some time been a major force in world trade, but, under the William’s stewardship, the Dutch began to dominate the high seas and trade with the new world as nations competed in an ever widening market.

The English did not let the challenge of the Dutch go unanswered and the countries went to war on a number of occasions. the confrontations, designed to weaken the navies giving one side a numerical advantage were almost exclusively conducted at sea and the Dutch rarely won the day.

William and the house of Orange had long coveted the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland. Forming part of his strategy he proposed to Charles 2nd that the nations would benefit from peace if he married his cousin Mary,(1662-1694) daughter of Prince James, Duke of York (Commander of the English fleet).

James, Charles brother and successor was not of a mind to marry his daughter off to her cousin due to the twelve year age gap and William’s religious beliefs but Mary, who had been baptised into, and raised in the English Anglican faith was content with the arrangements, unlike her Roman Catholic father James.

But, bowing to pressure from King Charles 2nd he eventually relented and gave the marriage his blessing. The couple were married in London in 1677 and returned to Holland.

Mary soon fell pregnant, but miscarried, a fate that was to befall her on a number of occasions. The couple remained childless throughout their marriage.


No Quarter at Glencoe




James 11 and V11 (1633-1701)

The second surviving son of Charles I, James ascended the throne upon the death of his brother, Charles II.

He was crowned King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, in 1685.

He was deposed 4 years later, in 1668, in the English Glorious Revolution.

He was the last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland.

He married twice. Daughters, Mary and Anne, born and raised in the Anglican faith were from of his first marriage.

His second marriage produced a Catholic heir, a son called James Francis Edward.

The divine right of Kings stipulated James Francis Edward to be next in line to the throne of England Ireland and Scotland.

William of Orange, concerned that his plans for the future would be at risk if James remained on the throne in England, Ireland and Scotland covertly sponsored two rebellions.

The first, in southern England was led by his nephew, the Duke of Monmouth, and the second, in Scotland was led by Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll.

Both Argyll and Monmouth began their invasions from Holland.

The rebellions were defeated easily but they increased the English suspicion of the Dutch and their leader.

Monmouth proclaimed himself King at Lyme Regis on 11 June 1685 and attempted to raise recruits but was unable to gather enough rebels to defeat even James’s small standing army.

Monmouth’s rebellion attacked the King’s forces at night, in an attempt at surprise, but was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor.

The King’s forces, led by Feversham and Churchill, quickly dispersed the ill-prepared rebels.

Monmouth was captured and later executed at the Tower of London on 15 July 1685.

The King’s judges, most notably, George Jeffreys, condemned many of the rebels to transportation and indentured servitude in the West Indies in a series of trials that came to be known as the Bloody Assizes. Some 250 of the rebels were executed.

The Earl of Argyll sailed to Scotland and, on arrival, raised recruits mainly from his own clan, the Campbell’s.

The rebellion was quickly crushed, and Argyll was captured at Inchinnan on 18 June 1685.

Having arrived with fewer than 300 men and unable to convince many more to flock to his standard, he never posed a credible threat to James.

Argyll was taken as a prisoner to Edinburgh. A new trial was not needed because he had previously been tried and sentenced to death.

The King confirmed the earlier death sentence and ordered that it be carried out within three days of receiving the confirmation.

Members of the Protestant political elite had become uneasy about the “equal rights” content of some of his declarations and increasingly suspected him of being pro-French and pro-Catholic and of having designs on becoming an absolute monarch.

In April 1688, James re-issued the Declaration of Indulgence, ordering Anglican clergy to read it in their churches.

When seven Bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, submitted a petition requesting the reconsideration of the King’s religious policies, they were arrested and tried for seditious libel.

Public alarm increased when Queen Mary gave birth to a Roman Catholic son and heir, James Francis Edward, on 10 June 1688.

When James’s only possible successors were his two Protestant daughters, Anglicans could see his pro-Catholic policies as a temporary phenomenon, but when the prince’s birth opened the possibility of a permanent Catholic dynasty, they had to reconsider their position.

Threatened by a Catholic dynasty, several influential Protestants claimed the child was “suppositious” and had been smuggled into the Queen’s bedchamber in a warming pan.

They had already entered into negotiations with William, Prince of Orange, when it became known the Queen was pregnant, and the birth of James’s son reinforced their convictions.

leading nobles called on his daughter Mary to return to England to become monarch of England, Ireland and Scotland.

She turned the offer down, stating she had no desire to rule but the nobles persisted and extended the invitation to include William who would be crowned King with herself in the supporting role as queen.

Louis XIV of France became aware of the threat to James from William of Orange and offered military support, but believing that his own army would be adequate, James refused the assistance, fearing that the English would oppose French intervention.

William of Orange accepted the invitation and landed a 15,000 strong invasion army from the Dutch Republic, on 5 November 1688.

Upon William’s arrival, many Protestant officers, defected and joined William, including his own daughter, Princess Anne.

James then lost his nerve and declined to attack the invading army, despite his own army’s numerical superiority.

On 11 December, James attempted to to flee to France, first throwing the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames.

He was captured in Kent. later, he was released and placed under Dutch protective guard.

Having no desire to make his father-in-law a martyr, William let him escape on 23 December 1688.

James was received by his cousin and ally, Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a pension.

William convened a Convention Parliament to decide how to handle James’s flight.

While the Parliament refused to depose him, they declared that James, having fled to France and dropped the Great Seal into the Thames, had effectively abdicated the throne, and that the throne had thereby become vacant.

To fill the vacancy, James’s daughter Mary was declared Queen.

She was to rule jointly with her husband William, who would be king.

The Parliament of Scotland on 11 April 1689, declared James to have forfeited the throne.

The English Parliament passed a Bill of Rights that denounced James for abusing his power.

The abuses charged to James included the suspension of the Test Acts, the prosecution of Seven Bishops for merely petitioning the crown, the establishment of a standing army, and the imposition of cruel punishments.

The Bill also declared that, no Roman Catholic would be permitted to ascend the English throne, nor could any English monarch marry a Roman Catholic.

James made one serious attempt to recover his crowns from William and Mary when he landed in Ireland in 1689. William’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne in Derry in 1690, achieved by a large Dutch invasion force of professional troops and a fleet of Dutch warships commanded by Dutch generals, is still commemorated by the Orange Order.

James returned to France and lived out the rest of his life as a pretender at a court sponsored by his cousin and ally, King Louis XIV.

His short reign in Britain marked the beginning of the transition from the personal rule of the Stuarts to the more Parliament-centred rule of the House of Hanover.

William, retained a large Dutch military force in occupation in Ireland keeping it subdued.

Then, assisted by a large English army and navy he gave attention to defeating the troublesome Scots and in the case of Ireland ruling them by proxy, restricting their political freedom and curtailing their ability to trade.

He achieved this by blockading and raiding defenceless Scottish ports and surrounding areas greatly hindering the ability of Scots to trade with countries in Europe and the wider world. Scotland had no ships capable of fighting the English.

William also approved multiple attacks by English and Spanish fleets of warships and settlers on the “Scottish Darien mission” to the Americas resulting in its eventual very costly failure

He then quartered around 5,000 professional soldiers in Scotland on the pretext that a “standing army” was necessary for its defence.

Actions contrary to Scottish tradition which permitted the formation of an army only when the country was at war.

William overruled their objections and ordered the Scottish parliament to finance and feed the army.

This created an unwelcome drain on Scotland’s funds and coupled with poor harvests brought hardship and famine to large parts of the country.

The main force of the army was deployed to areas of Scotland north of Perth where they conducted a long campaign of terror on the clans.

Adding insult to injury William insisted that Scottish soldiers, in sufficient numbers should be conscripted to join with his English and Dutch armies in his long war against France.

The so called “Standing Army” in Scotland was in reality an army of occupation.

In retaliation, a number of clans conducted campaigns of disobedience.

In response William issued an instruction requiring Scottish leaders to sign an oath of loyalty the crown.

A deadline was set after which anyone who had failed to add their signature would be regarded as traitors and dealt with.

It was alleged that the MacDonald Clan of Glencoe had failed to meet the deadline and would suffer the consequences.





1 February 1692: Massacre at Glencoe

The Myth

The Massacre of Glencoe is one of the most talked about and least understood episodes in Scottish history.

For many it is wrongly perceived as just one more savage episode in an age-old blood feud between the Campbell’s and Macdonald,s.

This, it has to be stressed, is not just popular prejudice.

The authors of one of the standard works on the reign of William and Mary claim that the crime was the work of the Campbell,s of Glenlyon, the most bitter enemies of the people of Glencoe, and that hardly any Macdonald’s escaped the carnage.

If serious historians can get away with this kind of ill-informed nonsense, what hope do ordinary mortals have?


The Facts

King William, acting on the advice of the Secretary of State for Scotland, Sir John Dalrymple, the Master of Stair and Secretary of State for Scotland. gave orders that a highland community should be exterminated sending a lesson to the many highland clans who opposed his rule from England.

Implementation was to be completed by professional soldiers of a lowland regiment commanded by a Scottish officer of the line.

The operation was allocated to the Argyll Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton, based at Fort William under the command of General John Hill, an old Cromwellian Englishman who had been in Scotland policing the highlands for many years.

The smallest branch of Clan Donald, residing in Glencoe, a narrow valley accessed by small passes to the South and East was selected.

On 1 February 1692 Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon (related to the Macdonald’s through marriage) took two companies of Argyll’s to Glencoe.

It should be noted that the soldiers commanded by Campbell of Glenlyon were not of the Campbell Clan. This explodes the first myth.

Once there they were given quarters in the little MacDonald communities scattered along the valley.

There they remained for nearly 2 weeks enjoying the hospitality of their hosts.

late afternoon, Friday 12 February Glenlyon received written orders from Major Robert Duncanson, his commanding officer who was camped with the rest of the regiment, a few miles away, to the south, at Ballachulish. The orders stated:

“You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels the Macdonald’s of Glencoe, and put all to the sword under 70. You are to have special care, that the old fox and his sons do upon no account escape your hands. You are to secure all the avenues, and let no man escape. This you are to put in execution at five a clock in the morning precisely, and by that time or very shortly after it, I will strive to be with you with a stronger party. If I do not come at five, you are not to tarry for me, but to press on. This is by the King’s SPECIAL COMMAND for the good and safety of the country, that these miscreants may be cut off, root and branch. See that this be put in execution without feud or favour, else you may be expected to be treated as not true to the King or government, nor a man fit to carry commission in the King’s service. Expecting that you will not fail in fulfilling hereby, as you love yourself.”

The instructions were brought to Glenlyon by Captain Thomas Drummond, yet another Lowlander. His company was one of the two already stationed in Glencoe, but although senior to Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon he was not given command of the operation.

Care was taken to ensure Glenlyon would carry full responsibility for the planned massacre.

Duncanson did not appear at five, or even shortly after. It was not until seven o’ clock, two hours later, that he began his march along the shores of Loch Leven to the mouth of Glencoe, by which time the whole ghastly business was largely over, as he knew it would be.

Even Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton, commanding officer of the Argyll regiment, advancing from Fort William with Garrison Commander Hill’s regiment to block off the eastern exit from Glencoe, did not appear until late in the day, although this was perhaps owing less to design than delays caused by bad weather.

Glenlyon acted on cue. But from beginning to end he botched the whole affair.

The southern passes were not blocked, allowing most of the people to escape. Similarly, the killings began with gunfire, alerting people up and down the valley.

Maciain was one of the first to die, butchered by a party led by two Lowland officers, Lieutenant Lindsay and Ensign Lundie.

In all some thirty-eight people were murdered, men mostly, but also some women and children.

Many escaped across the snowbound passes, including John and Alasdair, the fox’s cubs. .

Glenlyon was moved to mercy on two occasions: but both young men were promptly murdered by Drummond.

The stock was rounded up and driven off, after which a terrible silence descended on Glencoe.

Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon left, pursued by his own personal demons. In Edinburgh some time after, he was seen drunkenly defending his actions.

True to form, the Garrison Commander Hill at Fort William immediately claimed credit for the massacre, saying that he had ruined Glencoe.

However, after the search for scapegoats began, he was just as quick to distance himself, making the usual defence that he was only obeying orders.

Dalrymple was only ever to express regret that the matter had been so badly handled.

King William cared little for the growing mood of outrage in Scotland.

He judged the effects of the massacre not by the impact it had on Scottish public opinion, but how effective it had been in ending Highland resistance to his rule.

And, as a piece of political terrorism, it enjoyed quick but short term success.


William and mary




8 July 1695: Survivors Petition Parliament.

This is a petition presented to his majesty’s high commissioner and the estates of parliament by John McDonald of Glencoe, for himself and in name of Alexander McDonald of Achatrichatan and the poor remnant left of that family, showing that it being then evident to the conviction of the nation how inhumanely as well as unchristianly the deceased Alexander McDonald of Glencoe, the deceased John McDonald of Achatriechatan and too many more of the petitioner’s unfortunate family were murdered and butchered in February, 1692, against the laws of nature and nations, the laws of hospitality and the public faith, by a band of men quartered amongst them, pretending peace though they perpetrated the grossest cruelty under his majesty’s authority.

And seeing the evidence taken by the right honourable the lords and other members of the commission, which his majesty was most graciously pleased to grant for inquiring into that affair, has cleared to the parliament that after committing the aforesaid massacre the poor petitioners were most ravenously plundered of all that was necessary for the sustaining of their lives and all of their clothing, money, houses and food, all burned, destroyed or taken away, that the soldiers did drive away over five hundred horses, fourteen or fifteen hundred cows and many more sheep and goats, and that it was a proper occasion for his majesty and the estates assembled in parliament to give a full vindication of their justice and freeing the public from the least imputation which may be cast thereon by foreign enemies, on the account of so unexplained an action, and that it is worthy of that honour and justice which his majesty and said estates have been pleased to show to the world with relation to that affair, to relieve the necessity of the poor petitioners, and to save them and their exposed widows and orphans from starving, and all the misery of the extreme poverty forced upon them were inevitably liable, unless his majesty and said estates provide them a remedy.

And therefore, most humbly begging that his grace and the said estates would from the principles of humanity to their petitioners sad circumstances, as well as that of honour and justice, ordain such relief and redress to the petitioners as in their wisdom should be found most fit.


King William in his Finery




Whatever Happened to the Killers of Glencoe?

Three years after the massacre the king was forced by the Scottish parliament to agree that a “Commission of Inquiry” be set up.

Guided by James Johnston, the new joint Secretary of State for Scotland, the 1695 Commission was never a serious attempt to discover the truth. Its aim, rather, was to exonerate the king.

In the search for scapegoats, Dalrymple was the obvious choice, and stood condemned by his plentiful and public correspondence on the matter. He lost office, but suffered no other penalty.

The Scottish Parliament, seeking to bring an end to the matter agreed with the finding of “murder under trust” and asked King William to return Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon and the Lowland officers under his command, at the time of the massacre to Scotland, for trial.

No trials were ever held. Campbell never returned to Scotland. After a long illness, he died in Bruges in August 1696, debt ridden and buried in an unmarked grave.


MacDonald Memorial at Glencoe



10 Jul 1695 – The Scottish Parliament letter to King William in the unresolved matter of the slaughter of the Macdonald’s of Glencoe

We, your majesty’s most loyal subjects, the noblemen, barons and burghs assembled in Parliament, do humbly represent to your majesty that in the beginning of this session we thought for the more solemn and public vindication of the honour and justice of the government, to inquire into the barbarous slaughter committed in Glencoe in February, 1692, which has been the subject of much public discussion, in Scotland and in other countries.

But we, being informed by your majesty’s commissioner that we were prevented from completing any enquires since a commission would investigate the matter under the great seal for the same purpose, we did, upon the reading of the terms and conditions of said commission, unanimously acquiesced to your majesty’s pleasure, and returned our humble acknowledgements for your royal care in granting the same,

and we only desired that the discoveries to be made should be communicated to us to the end that wee might add our zeal to your majesty’s for prosecuting such discoveries, and that in so national a concern the vindication might be also be as public as the reproach and scandal has been, and principally, that we, for whom it was most proper, might testify to the world how clear your majesty’ justice is in all this matter.

And now your majesty’s commissioner having, upon our repeated instances, sent to us a copy of the report compiled by the commission to your majesty with your majesty’s instructions, the master of Stair’s letters, the orders given by the officers and the depositions of the witnesses relating to that report, and the same being read and compared, we could not but unanimously declare that your majesty’s instructions of the 11th and 16th of January, 1692, concerning the highlanders who had not accepted your rule within the due period gaining the benefit of indemnity, did contain a warrant for mercy to all without exception, who should offer to take the oath of allegiance, and come in upon mercy on the first of January, 1692

prefixed by the proclamation of indemnity, was past and that these instructions contain no warrant for the execution of the Glencoe-men made in February thereafter, and here we acknowledge your majesty’s clemency. For had your majesty without new offers of mercy given positive orders for the executing the law upon the highlanders that had already despised your repeated indemnities, they had but met with what they justly deserved.

But, it being your majesty’s mind according to your usual clemency still to offer them mercy, and the killing of the Glencoe-men being upon that account unwarrantable, also, as the manner of doing it being barbarous and inhumane, we proceeded to vote the killings a murder and to inquire who had given occasion to it, or were the actors in it.

We found that the master of Stair’s letters had exceeded your majesty’s instructions towards the killing and destruction of the Glencoe-men. This appeared by the comparing of the instructions and letters , the just attested duplicates are enclosed, in which letters the Glencoe-men are over and over again distinguished from the rest of the highlanders, not as the fittest subject of severity in case they continued to be obstinate and made severe methods necessary according to the meaning of the instructions, but as men absolutely and positively ordered to be destroyed without any further consideration than that of their not having taken the indemnity in due time, and there not having taken it is valued as a happy incident since it afforded an opportunity to destroy them, and the destroying of them is urged with a great deal of zeal as a thing acceptable and of public use, and this zeal is extended even to the giving of directions about the manner of cutting them off, from all which it is plain that, the instructions be for mercy to all that will submit to the day of indemnity was elapsed, yet the letters do exclude the Glencoe-men from this mercy.

In the next place, we examined the orders given by Sir Thomas Livingstoun in this matter and were unanimously of opinion that he had reason to give such orders for the cutting off of the Glencoe-men upon the supposition that they had rejected the indemnity and without making them new offers of mercy, being a thing in itself lawful, and which your majesty might have ordered. And it appearing that Sir Thomas was then ignorant of the peculiar circumstances of the Glencoe-men, he might very well understand your majesty’s instructions in the restricted sense which the master of Stair’s letters had given [them] or understand the master of Stair’s letters to be your majesty’s additional pleasure. And it is evident he did by the orders which he gave, where any addition that is to be found in them to your majesty’s instructions is given not only in the master of Stair’s sense but in his words.

We proceeded to examine Colonel Hill’s part of the business and were unanimous that he was clear and free of the slaughter of the Glencoe-men, for your majesty’s instructions and the master of Stair’s letters were sent straight from London to him also we as to Sir Thomas Livingstoun, yet he, knowing the peculiar circumstances of the Glencoe-men, shunned to execute them and gave no orders in the matter till such time as knowing that his Lieutenant Colonel had received orders to take with him four hundred men of his garrison and regiment for the expedition against Glencoe.

He, to save his own honour and authority gave a general order to his lieutenant colonel Hamilton, to take the four hundred men and to put to due execution the orders which others had given him.

Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton’s part came next to be considered and he, being required to be present and called and failing to appear, we ordered him to be an outlawed, to be seized wherever he could be found. And having considered the orders that he received and orders he said before the commission he gave, and his share in the execution, we agreed that from what appeared he was not clear of the murder of the Glencoe-men, and that there was ground to prosecute him for it.

Major Duncanson, who received orders from Hamilton, is in Flanders, as well as those to whom he gave orders, we could not see these orders, and therefore we only resolved about him that we should address to your majesty either to cause him be examined there in Flanders about the orders he received and his knowledge of the affair, or to order him home to be prosecuted.

therefore, as your majesty shall think fit in the last place the depositions of the witnesses being clear as to the share which Captain Campbell of Glenlyon, Captain Drummond, Lieutenant Lindsay, Ensign Lundy and Sergeant Barber had in the execution of the Glencoe-men upon whom they were quartered, we agreed that it appeared that the said persons were the actors in the slaughter of the Glencoe-men under trust, and that we should address your majesty to send them home to be prosecuted for the same according to law.

This being the state of the whole matter as it lies before us, and which, together with the report sent to your majesty by the commission (and which we saw verified), gives full light to it, we humbly beg that considering that the master of Stair’s excess in his letters against the Glencoe-men has been the original cause of this unhappy business and has given occasion in a great measure to so extraordinary an execution by the warm directions he gives about doing it by way of surprise.

And considering the high station and trust he is in and that he is absent, we do therefore beg that your majesty will give such orders about him for vindication of your government as you, in your royal wisdom shall think fit.

And likewise, considering that the actors were barbarously killed [by] men under trust, we humbly desire your majesty would be pleased to send the actors home and to give orders to your advocate to prosecute them according to law, there remaining nothing else to be done for the full vindication of your government of so foul and scandalous an aspersion as it has lies under upon this occasion.

We shall only add that the remains of the Glencoe-men who escaped the slaughter, being reduced to great poverty by the depredation and devastation that was then committed upon them, and having ever since lived peaceably under your majesty’s protection, have now applied to us that we might intercede with your majesty that some reparation may be made to them for their losses.

We do humbly lay their case before your majesty as worthy of your royal charity and compassion that such orders may be given for supplying them in their necessities as your majesty shall think fit.

And this is the most humble address of the estates of parliament, is by order and their warrant and in their name, subscribed by, may it please your majesty, your majesty’s most humble most obedient and most faithful subject and servant. Annandale, president of the parliament of Scotland – 10 July 1695 voted and approved in parliament.

A comprehensive essay documenting the massacre can be found at:



The Guid Men Of: Glasgow, Crail, Anstruther, Dysart, Kirkcaldy, Orkney and Perth Petition King William of Orange in 1701- Déjà Vu in 2017 – All Scots Should Honour their Antecedents and Regain Our Independence From Those That Blackmailed Our Country in 1707







King William 3rd of England and 2nd of Scotland – and the The Nine Years’ War (1688–97)

The War of the Grand Alliance was a major conflict between France and a European wide coalition of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic, Spain, England, Scotland, and Savoy.

It was fought on the European continent and the surrounding seas, Ireland, North America and in India. It is sometimes considered the first truly global war.

It also encompassed a theatre in Ireland and in Scotland, where William 3rd and his father-in-law James 2nd battled for control of Scotland and Ireland, and a campaign in colonial North America between French and English settlers and their respective Indian allies.

The French had emerged victorious from the Franco-Dutch War in 1678 as the most powerful nation in Europe and using a combination of aggression, annexation, and quasi-legal means they set about extending their gains stabilizing and strengthening France’s frontiers, culminating in the brief War of the Reunions (1683–84).

French influence over military and political affairs in Europe gradually lessened and in an attempt to re-assert their authority they invaded Germany in 1688 with the purpose of forcing the Holy Roman Empire into accepting their territorial ambitions.

But when Leopold I and the German princes resolved to resist, and when the States General and William 3rd brought Dutch, English, Scottish and Irish into the war against France, the French King at last faced a powerful coalition aimed at curtailing his ambitions.

By 1696 all parties in the war were nearly bankrupt and a settlement was negotiated.

By the terms of the Treaty of Ryswick (1697) the French retained the whole of Alsace, but they were forced to return Lorraine to its ruler and give up any gains on the right bank of the Rhine.

In return the French withdrew support to King James 2nd of England/7th of Scotland (exiled in France) and accepted William 3rd of England and 2nd of Scotland as the rightful King of England, Ireland and Scotland.


The Nine year War. Scottish soldiers away in Europe for many years



The Navigation Acts

These were laws that, from the 1650s, prevented Scotland from trading with England’s colonies in India and the Caribbean. This was supported by King William and denied Scots the chance to profit from the trade opportunities that English merchants enjoyed, cutting off a possible source of wealth for Scots. Unlike England and some other European countries, Scotland had no colonies of its own so it continued to fall behind in terms of trade.

The scope of the act was surreptitiously extended by Westminster, in 1689, to include France, the low countries and any colony of England or Holland and was enforced by English and Dutch warships patrolling, controlling the high seas, the North Sea and the English Channel.

Scottish ships carrying fish and or other cargo would be stopped and boarded, the cargo confiscated, ships sunk and the crews press-ganged into the English navy. Westminster effectively placed an embargo on Scotland and enforced it by blackmailing the support of other countries dependent on England’s support at sea and in Europe and the new colonies.

What was particularly galling was that while their families starved at home in Scotland due to the adverse impact of the embargo thousands of Scots were conscripted to serve with newly formed infantry regiments fighting for the so called alliance under the command of incompetent English Generals.


England at war with France most of the 16th century




Rebellion against the Crowning of William and Mary

A large majority of English and Scots, supported by the clergy and bishops of the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church and numerous laymen refused to take oaths of allegiance to William thereby dismissing his and Mary’s joint claim to the thrones of England and Scotland, believing in the divine right of kings, which held that a monarch’s authority derived directly from God rather than being delegated to the monarch by Parliament.

Adding complications, Ireland was controlled by Roman Catholics loyal to James, and Franco-Irish Jacobite’s arrived from France with French forces in March 1689 to join the war in Ireland and contest Protestant resistance at the Siege of Derry.

William sent his navy to the city in July, and his English/Dutch army landed in August.

After progress stalled, William personally intervened to lead his armies to victory over James at the Battle of the Boyne on 1 July 1690, after which James fled back to France.

Upon William’s return to England, his close friend Dutch General de Ginkell, who had accompanied William to Ireland and had commanded a body of Dutch cavalry at the Battle of the Boyne, was named Commander in Chief of William’s forces in Ireland and entrusted with further conduct of the war there.

Ginkell took command in Ireland in the spring of 1691, and following several ensuing battles, succeeded in capturing both Galway and Limerick, thereby effectively suppressing the Jacobite forces in Ireland within a few more months.

After difficult negotiations a capitulation was signed on 3 October 1691, (the Treaty of Limerick). Thus concluded the Williamite pacification of Ireland, and for his services the Dutch general received the formal thanks of the House of Commons, and was awarded the title of Earl of Athlone by the king.

In Scotland a series of Jacobite risings also took place, in the course of which Viscount Dundee raised Highland forces and won a victory on 27 July 1689 at the Battle of Killiecrankie, but he died in the fight and this much weakened the Scottish forces.

A month later Scottish Protestant Cameronian forces supporting King William subdued the rising at the Battle of Dunkeld.

William offered Scottish clans that had taken part in the rising a pardon provided that they signed allegiance by a deadline, and his government in Scotland punished a delay with the Massacre of Glencoe of 1692, which became infamous in Jacobite propaganda as William had countersigned the orders.

Bowing to public opinion, William dismissed those responsible for the massacre, though they still remained in his favour; in the words of the historian John Dalberg-Acton, “one became a colonel, another a knight, a third a peer, and a fourth an earl.”


Seige of Mons 1691




The ‘Ill Years’ famine

The ‘ill Years’ famine began in 1693 and is described as a period of bad harvests and famine in Scotland, which caused massive economic issues for the country. Over 600,000 men women and children died from hunger, cold or some other abuse inflicted upon them by the famine and Alliance embargo on trade.

Against the preceding background guid men of towns and villages across Scotland petitioned King William, through the Scottish parliament to intervene on behalf of loyal Scots bringing about relief through a reduction in the rate of taxation.

Removal of a standing army in Scotland, which had to be paid for by Scots and support for the secure establishment of the Darien colony which he had personally authorised and supported.


Sea Battle of The Hague




Petitions submitted 9 January 1701 to the Scottish parliament – for the attention of King William




9 January 1701: Petition from the Inhabitants of Glasgow

To his grace the duke of Queensberry, his majesty’s high commissioner, and the right honourable estates of parliament, the humble address and petition of the magistrates and town counsel of Glasgow.


That whereas we have petitioned John Anderson of Dowhill, present commissioner for Glasgow, that he might mind to the parliament, and having refused to do the same, therefore:

We represent that whereas there is nothing dearer to us then the free exercise of religion, which we now presently enjoy, and next the support of our trade, which we find is sensibly encouraged, even by the beginnings of the trade to our settlement of Caledonia, and except due encouragement be given as well for the maintenance of our settlement (in which this city is deeply concerned) as for carrying on our other foreign trade with advantage and encouraging our manufacturers at home, and of relieving us of the financial burden of keeping of so great a number of standing forces, we will not be able to survive under our present taxes considering our extraordinary losses during the latest long war.

May it therefore please your grace and the right honourable the estates of parliament to make such laws as your wisdoms shall think fit for the security of the Protestant religion and maintaining the Presbyterian church government as it is now established by law, the encouragement of piety and virtue, the suppressing of iniquity and vice, and to assert Scotland’s right to our colony of Caledonia, in which so great a part of our stock is employed, and to give such encouragement to our manufacturers at home that our poor, so very large in numbers, may be employed, and to discharge or discourage commerce with nations that refuse our fish and others the product and manufacture of Scotland, and to relive us of unnecessary taxes.

signed this day 9 January 1701: 400 guid men of Glasgow


Fort St Andrew Darien Excellent progress was being made despite constant attacks by the English &  Spanish navies and colonists




9 January 1701: Petition of the Burghs of Crail, Anstruther, Dysart

To his grace the duke of Queensberry, his majesty’s high commissioner, and the right honourable estates of parliament, the humble address and petition of the magistrates and town counsel of the burgh of Crail.


That since his majesty’s happy access to the throne of this kingdom and the ending of the late expensive war we expected the Presbyterian government of the church as now by law established should have been secured against all invasions, and that our exports should have increased bringing employment to the poor improving the natural product of the country and lessening the burden of the nation.

And we are extremely sensible of the decay of thread, both at home and abroad, and that our herrings and fish are prohibited in many places, especially in the kingdom of France, although the government doth allow all French commodities to be imported and sold in this nation, our manufacturers at home and the poor are not employed and encouraged as they ought to be, and our country much drained of money through these years of scarcity, and keeping up of a standing army in time of peace, which is burdensome to Scotland.

And we cannot but be sorry for the great loss and many discouragements our colony of Caledonia has met with through the inhumane attacks of wicked neighbours, and the measures that have been taken to destroy the said colony after so vast a treasure has been expended in that expedition, in the flourishing wherof was placed the hope of recovering much gain and advantage to the nation.

May it therefor please your grace and the right honourable the estates of parliament to take the petition into your consideration and to make such good and wholesome laws as you in your profound wisdom shall think fit for encouraging of trade at home and abroad by discharging the import of French commodities until the prohibition in France be taken off our fish and herrings, for employing the poor in improving the natural product of this kingdom, for easing the burden of so many forces in time of peace, and for asserting the just right to our colony of Caledonia.

signed this day 9 January 1701: 40 guid men of Crail: 20 guid men of Anstruther: 20 guid men of Dysart






9 January 1701: Petition of the town of Kirkcaldy

To his grace the duke of Queensberry, his majesty’s high commissioner, and the right honourable estates of parliament, the humble address and petition of the magistrates and town counsel of the burgh of Kirkcaldy


After a long and expensive war we expected by now to have enjoyed the fruits of a happy peace in the encouraging of foreign trade and of manufacturing at home, in the employing the poor of the nation (which through the dearth of victuals are become very numerous), in improving the natural product at home and in lessening the burden of the nation.

But instead of these blessings, we are extremely aware of the decay in trade, that our export is prohibited almost everywhere, especially in the kingdom of France, that our nation is drained of coin, and though we have good and wholesome laws for encouraging trade, yet that they are not put in execution, that our poor are not employed as they ought to be, and, to compound our misery that a standing army in time of peace is kept up, a heavy burden to the nation.

Amongst other our misfortunes, we cannot but be sensitive to the repeated discouragement our colony of Caledonia has met with, which, though they had acts of parliament and his majesty letters patent in their favour, and though a vast amount of the nations money was expended in the expedition, yet measures have been taken to defeat the design, to dishearten the colony after their settlement, which, to our great grief, have proved effectual, by which means many of our countrymen have lost their lives through the inhuman abuse of their unkind neighbours, in the flourishing of which colony was placed the hopes of recovering our sinking state and nation.

May it therefore please your grace and the right honourable the estates of parliament to take the premise into your consideration, and to fall upon such proper and effectual measures as you and your wisdoms shall think fit for encouraging foreign trade and manufacturing at home, for employing the poor in improving the natural product of this kingdom, for supporting and protecting our interest of Caledonia, and for easing us of the burden of so many forces in time of peace.

signed this day 9 January 1710: 20 guid men of Kirkcaldy


The famine in Scotland




9 January 1701: Petition of the burgh of Perth

To his grace the duke of Queensberry, his majesty’s high commissioner, and the right honourable estates of parliament, the humble address and petition of the magistrates and town counsel of the burgh of Perth


That whereas these many years past we have (beside the calamities of war and dearth which were common to us with others of this kingdom) suffered most sensibly, as being the place of the greatest confluence of his majesties forces for reducing the highlands, whereby not only the corns of the crops 1689 and 1690, particularly these belonging to this community and the hospital and poor there, were almost entirely cut down by the troops, but also by the continuing forcing upon us in such numbers as the condition of the place can hardly support, the prices of victual and other revivers which we ordinary had here at the easiest rates of the kingdom have been these many years and doe yet continue to be at a greater height with us then any of the neighbouring places. And beside the manifest and known decay of our trade in those things that are the native product of this place of the kingdom, we do suffer in a singular manner in the trade of salmon, and that by reason of a extraordinary imposition thereupon by the French, beside the 50 sols per tonne imposed by them upon all Scots boats.

All which hardships and calamities we have hitherto most patiently suffered, albeit the pressures we had to bear by our losses and disadvantages and quartering such considerable numbers of forces upon us were just grounds of complaint and might have moved redress, especially seeing as to the losses of our corns. We had good reason to expect a effective course of action to be taken with us from that satisfaction proposed by the act of parliament these three months past and hearth money, and the peace gave us hopes that improvements would appear and recompense and make up all our other losses.

And seeing that we have repeated promises from his majesty for the encouragement of our trade and his gracious letter to the present meeting of parliament, in which he regrets the kingdom’s losses and is pleased to promise all favour and protection to his subjects of this kingdom, from all which we are encouraged to entreat that;

It may please your grace and the right honourable the estates of parliament to take this petition to your serious consideration, and find out proper and effectual methods for asserting the honour and independence of this kingdom, which now seems to be so much injured by the constant attacks on our colony of Caledonia, and to assert the nation’s right, which has been and still is called in question, and to give such support to trade as that colonists may be encouraged, which his majesty, by his gracious promises, has given them grounds to expect; and that trading with France may be discharged by removing the prohibition of their importing our herring and salmon and Scots ships used in the traffic; and also to remove the ban on the import of cloth so that Scots manufacturers may be encouraged and the poor rightly employed, and the import of English cloth, silk and woollen and the wearing of it in the nation, at lastly the ban on exporting our linen cloth to England be removed.

And to relieve our country of the large numbers of forces, which are so burdensome and unfriendly to the people, and to introduce other methods for securing the peace and support of the government as may be most for the satisfaction and interest of the kingdom.

And, to provide support to this burgh in its distress and decayed condition, to think upon some effectual means such that our ancient bridge upon Tay, which was so necessary and useful to the whole kingdom, and particularly of singular use and convenience to his majesty’s forces upon all occasions, may be rebuilt.

signed this day 9 January 1710: 40 guid men of Perth


New Edinburgh – Darien




9 January 1701: Petition of the stewartry of Orkney

To his grace the duke of Queensberry, his majesty’s high commissioner, and the right honourable estates of parliament, the humble address and petition of the stewartry of Orkney.


That, after a long and expensive war we had expected to have enjoyed the blessings of a happy concluded peace by the re-establishing of our foreign trade, encouraging of home manufacturers, employing of the poor in the improvement of the native product of the kingdom and the lessening of our public burdens, but instead, to the unspeakable loss and almost ruin of the nation, we find the trade of the nation in general and ours in particular decay, and our coins taken away by the importation of commodities from places where ours are prohibited; our woollen and other manufacturers at home, by the same means and the remiss of magistrates in putting the laws in due execution, receive not that encouragement which the interest of the kingdom requires, our poor are neither supported nor employed as they should be; and that our Company trading to Africa and the Indies meets with so much opposition from abroad and gets so little support at home, that, after so great a loss of men and expense of the kingdoms treasure, their settlement in Caledonia is in great danger of a second time falling under the same untimely and unlucky circumstances as at first, if not prevented.

And yet after all these hardships which the nation groans under, numerous numbers of forces are still kept on foot while our much wealthier neighbours are disbanding, which occasions now in time of peace heavy and unnecessary taxes. It’s also well known to this honourable court of parliament what sad disadvantages our country lies under by reason of our situation in so northern and cold a climate, and in lying so far distant from the supreme courts of the kingdom where lasting relief is to be had in all cases, which distance is so much the more grievous because of the great and tempestuous seas to be negotiated, which disadvantages us.

we have also to add the extreme calamity of these five last years, which, due to miserable harvests, and the rigid oppression of taxmen and farmers of his majesty’s review, who are both our judges and executioners, that thousands of our people have been killed and starved and almost brought the whole country to ruin. And it’s very well known that when our country was under our Chamberlin, his majesty’s revenue was not only better paid, the king’s property fully possessed and laboured (which now for the most part is lying waste, only occasioned by the oppression and exorbitant actions of the taxmen as said is), but also is much paid by us to his majesty as the taxmen have paid for the several years of there tax.

And we must further lay before your grace and honourable estates of parliament that amongst others of our misfortunes and oppressions that although by the several acts of parliament and acts of the commissioners for payment of cess and supply to his majesty, there was always regard made to his majesty’s property and the bishopry in our country to bear and pay, conform to the valuation what was from time to time imposed. Yet the taxmen and farmers, through there wilful neglect in not paying their due proportions, although wee did pay our proportions on time, yet for the failures on the taxmens part we have been always forced upon, to our great loss, for remedy. we did apply to the lords of his majesty’s treasury, but got no answer from them.

May it therefore please your grace and right honourable estates of parliament to improve matters taking action curbing vice and putting in place good laws for maintaining and employing the poor, that they may be useful and not burdensome to the kingdom; and for the encouragement of our manufacturers and carrying on our trade with advantage, to withdraw such imposition on the branches of our import as may overbalance our export, and particularly that of France; and to assert the Indian and African Companies right to their colony of Caledonia, which is still called in question, and to give support to it, which, if vigorously carried out, may tend so much in the future to the wealth, honour and interest of the nation; and to relieve the kingdom of so great a number of forces now in time of peace so uneasy to the people; and to appoint tariffs yearly to be struck in our country for the several species of victual, oil and butter payable to his majesty, which his majesty’s other vassals in the kingdom have the benefit of (with regard to our grain, which is a third higher than any in the kingdom), and as to the butter and oil, to liquidate the same to sixteen pound per barrel of butter and twelve pounds per barrel of oil, conforming for the said duties in the said stewartry, whereby and by the blessing of God our poor, miserable and much depleted population may recover to its former consistency while under the chamberlains, his majesty’s property (now for most part waste) again possessed, wee will be more enabled to pay his majesty’s revenues. As also take some effectual course for preventing the said unjust quartering of forces for the deficiencies of his majesty’s property upon us, who are not liable.

signed this day 9 January 1710: 70 guid men of Orkney

Glasgow, Crail, Anstruther, Dysart, Kirkcaldy, Orkney, Perth  (others to be posted later).