Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Supreme Idiocy

The argument that the Nationalist government has stirred up over the UK Supreme Court has been given a lot of air time, mostly concentrating on the legal aspects of the case.

But for me the most interesting thing about the spat is the cracking of the veneer of tolerance that has disguised the SNP's anti-English heart for the past four years. Having spent 70 years stirring up anti-English feeling, and having been at last elected to power on the back of it, the newly "responsible" SNP decided that it didn't look good to the honest voters of Scotland, so the message has gone out to tone it down. And for the last few years, all has been quiet on that front: "Hate the English? No' me, laddie. Never did. How could you think that!!??" has been the Nationalist chorus.

Now the mask is slipping. The SNP doesn't seem to mind if Scottish decisions are sent to Brussels for French/German etc. judges to examine. But to London!!?? for English judges!!?? that's an ethnicity too far for our newly "tolerant" civic Nationalists. And the Brussels route takes 4 - 5 years, while the London route takes a few months. Why would anyone of sound mind make such a bizarre choice?

As for the actual case against the Supreme Court: I'm no lawyer, but I would think that any jurisdiction of any integrity would deem the withholding of evidence from the Defence as a good reason to allow an appeal in most cases. Or is it SNP policy to allow the Prosecution to try any dirty rick to get a conviction? Not exactly a great precedent for an independent Scotland, is it? "Vote for us and we'll fit you up, guilty or not"., and you'll have to wait 5 years for an actual foreign judge in an actual foreign country to hear the appeal... it's nuts, frankly.

Kenny McAskill has always been the SNP administration's weak link. From the Lockerbie bomber to the sectarion legislation fiasco, he has shown a lack of judgement and a poor grasp of the job.

Now he has lost it altogether. His anti-sectarian knne jerk legislation is on course to crash and burn and his rants against the judges (two of whom are Scots, BTW!), have left him looking silly, peevish and anti-English all at once.

He must be the favourite for the first minister to be dumped by this administration....


  1. The court sits in Strasbourg - it is has nothing to do with the EU - it is the Council of Europe that runs the thing.

    The principle here is that of the separateness of the Scottish judiciary from the English one and the fear that English judges might impose English law through decisions in the court. It might be in a Scottish case the Scottish judges will be outvoted. This happened in the past for civil appeals. As you say you are no lawyer.

    "If it is the law of England, then why not the law of Scotland?" as one infamous 18th century judgement from the Lords emerged.

    I will run this past you again:

    "If it is the law of France, then why not the law of Scotland.

    "If it is the law of France, then why not the law of the UK?" Such as Garde a Vous where French people can be held without access to a lawyer for 48 hours.

    Scottish criminal law is very separate from English law, not just in terms of courts etc but in offences and procedure such as the law of corroboration which is not extant in England. Scotland for example has a different law of murder to England. Once this could decide whether you were executed. You may not like that, but that is a fact.

    What the SNP is wanting is equality with the other legal systems in Europe with a Scottish judge sitting with the French, German etc, each equal. The UK is unique in not having a unified legal system. Even in federal systems there is usually a singular supreme court.

    You mention "foreign country". I am afraid that in legal systems terms Scotland and England are indeed foreign. I worked for the prison service once in Scotland. English warrants of imprisonment have not effect here unless ordered so by a Scottish court. They have to be backed up by a Scottish warrant marked "English Charge" or "Foreign Charge". You probably do not like that, but that is the system.

    The House of Lords and now the Supreme Court should not in theory have criminal jurisdiction in Scotland. There were worries about this would be undermined even before the court was set up - Lord Cullen in 2006 stated his fears.

    For me a compromise would be best if in such cases the Supreme Court sat in Edinburgh when needed with the two Scottish justices and 1 or more temporary judges from the retired ranks of the Scottish judiciary - such as Cullen. Justice gets served, the Supreme Court makes its judgement and the Scottish system is secured.

    Now I have put a bit of effort into writing an argument which I do not expect you publish. I remember when you recently made coward of yourself over the question of corporation tax when I flagged up the Manxb by withdrawing that rant and then not publishing my questions.

    It is you that rants about foreigners. It is also you who seems to maybe be a bit of an anti-catholic bigot if I remember another rant - and now you are opposing anti-sectarian laws. Get back to your flute music.

  2. First, I did not withdraw anything and I did publish your questions and my reply. There was a problem with Blogger which lasted a few days and then seemed to reset to the status quo ante, so updates and posts were lost.....

    Apologies for that, but it was technical fault with Blogger, not my choice.

    Strasbourg, I stand corrected, but the principle is the same. The UK Supreme Court was set up to get quicker decisions as it was taking years to get them from Europe.

    It has Scottish judges on it and they inform judgements on Scottish matters. With the Nat Fraser case (the one that kicked off Eck and McAskill's ire) the finding was that evidence was withheld from the Defence. Whatever you think of the case or the defendent, that's just wrong, in any jurisdiction, and no reason for attacking the Supreme Court or the Scottish judges who sit on it.

    As for "law of France", the SNP wants Strasbourg (in France) to have the same jurisdiction as the Supreme Court. So "law of Strasbourg". What's the difference. The SNP's position, and your argument, make no sense in these terms.

    "...Even in federal systems there is usually a singular supreme court....".

    We HAVE a Supreme Court, that's what the Nats object to...

    You remeber my anti-catholic bigotry wrongly, I'm afraid. And my rants about foreigners. As for flute music...

    You must have someone else in mind....

    Really Aberdonian, you shouldn't through accusations like that about without being absolutely sure that you are right. And this time you're wrong...

  3. Aberdonian, blogger has meantime restored comments