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Wings Over Scotland

The Land Where Nobody Knows 73

Posted on September 18, 2020 by

Readers may recall that this site is engaged in an ongoing attempt to clarify why the Scottish justice system is choosing to selectively only pursue those supportive of Alex Salmond for contempt of court with regard to his trial, while conspicuously turning a blind eye to those in the media who have committed exactly the same crime but are hostile to Mr Salmond and therefore apparently immune from prosecution.

During that investigation we received a reply from Police Scotland last month stating that contempt of court is in fact not a criminal offence in Scots law (although you can be tried and imprisoned for it), and so is nothing to do with them, and that they only act in relation to contempt when instructed by the courts or the Crown Office.

So naturally we asked them if they had been so instructed.

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Six wasted years 84

Posted on September 18, 2020 by

Forgive us for not joining in the pointless and unusually muted hoopla about the latest indyref anniversary (which for the first time we can recall, nobody has bothered to mark by commissioning an opinion poll).

We’re still thinking about the SNP’s treatment of the man who was chiefly responsible for securing the only independence referendum Scotland has ever had.

And of its utter abysmal failure for more than half a decade to come up with anything even remotely approaching a credible plan to get a second one.

Our previous offer remains open: we’ll take any bet of any size from anyone against the proposition “Boris Johnson will never grant Nicola Sturgeon a Section 30 order in the absence of some sort of court judgement legally compelling him to”.

We’ve had no takers yet from the Sturgeon faithful. We don’t expect any.

Every day that passes from now until the current SNP leadership is removed is another one wasted to add to the 2,191 that have been wasted from 19 September 2014 until today, achieving nothing. Until that tally ends we have nothing to celebrate.

Cracks in the fog 315

Posted on September 17, 2020 by

Over the last year or so, this site’s commentary on matters surrounding the attempted imprisonment of Alex Salmond over false allegations of sexual abuse has attracted a considerable amount of ire from a section of the readership, demanding “proof” of the involvement of the current First Minister.

Such proof has been impossible to provide for legal reasons. But it’s always been the case that the truth could only be suppressed for so long, and events in recent days have brought the first chinks of light through the wall of smoke and mirrors the Scottish Government has been attempting to surround the matter with.

So in our very lightest and softest shoes, let’s tiptoe through what is both a labyrinth and a minefield and see if we can make some of it a little easier to understand.

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The Hardest Walk 207

Posted on September 16, 2020 by

“Settling up, not settling down” was the rhetoric, as Westminster reconvened and the new SNP group headed south. Fine words and said no doubt sincerely. But it’s been said by every SNP generation that’s gone there, though none possessed the authority or faced the threats to Scottish democracy as now.

But what has happened since? As ever fine speeches given and incisive questioning of Ministers made, but to what effect?

The first major debate was the Fisheries Bill. A sore point in Scotland where a Tory government sold out our fishing industry and entire communities along with it decades ago, when negotiating EEC entry terms. Now, two generations on, as another Tory administration seeks to implement Brexit, that industry and those communities face betrayal yet again.

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The value of nothing 245

Posted on September 15, 2020 by

The most recent insult handed down by the smirking, sneering Permanent Secretary To The Scottish Government to the people of Scotland, who she ostensibly works for and who pay her enormous salary (she gets more than either Nicola Sturgeon or Boris Johnson, and who knows, possibly even slightly more than Peter Murrell), is a crass and dismissive one even by her extraordinary standards.

The Woman Who Remembers Nothing, having asked for some time to think about it, concluded that there was simply no way to estimate the total cost to the public purse of the biased and unlawful fiasco she presided over regarding the investigation of false abuse claims against Alex Salmond, and which had cost taxpayers over half a million pounds in Mr Salmond’s legal fees alone.

Her argument was that because government employees are paid fixed salaries and don’t record how much of their time they spent on specific tasks, there was no way to estimate how much had been spent on the attempt to fit up the former First Minister.

But that isn’t how anything works these days, is it?

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An Alternative Route To Indyref 2 331

Posted on September 14, 2020 by

The purpose of the paper below is to kickstart the process of examining alternative methods of holding a second referendum which can claim constitutional validity and thus satisfy both our voting public and, if necessary the courts, of its legality.

At the stage when the commitment to a referendum in 2020 was dropped, questioning of our leadership on the sole reliance on Section 30 to achieve a referendum and the need to explore alternatives, made it clear that this was not a matter for debate.

Whilst the First Minister has now committed to a referendum should the Holyrood elections provide a further mandate, it would appear that the strategy continues to be a sole reliance on Section 30 and a belief that the UK Government would consider further opposition to a Section 30 unsustainable.

The dangers of both leaving the initiative in the hands of a hostile UK Government, and of depending on a sole method of proceeding, are obvious. Whilst one can accept that the leadership, faced with the joint demands of Brexit and the COVID pandemic superimposed on the “day job”, is unable itself to prioritise the necessary examination of more innovative possibilities it does not preclude it setting up an internal group to do so using the expertise that lies within the Party.

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The road already travelled 244

Posted on September 13, 2020 by

There’s a good column by Kevin McKenna in today’s Herald On Sunday about Boris Johnson, from which this paragraph in particular jumped out at us.

It did so because of something else we’d just read this weekend.

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Dark waters 245

Posted on September 12, 2020 by

A kind of transparency 209

Posted on September 11, 2020 by

On 17 January last year, the First Minister told the Scottish Parliament that she, her administration and her party would “co-operate fully” with the parliamentary inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of false allegations made against Alex Salmond.

She further assured the Parliament, unambiguously and without any qualification, that the committee investigating the matter “will be able to request whatever material they want, and I undertake today that we will provide whatever material they request”.

So just over a month in, we thought we’d check on how that was going so far.

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The Government Payroll 428

Posted on September 09, 2020 by

The SNP’s official 2019 accounts, which were due to be published today (five weeks late), have not appeared on the Electoral Commission website. We’ve rung the EC and we’re still waiting for someone to get back to us with a reason and/or a new date.

[EDIT 3pm: the EC say they’re “fairly confident” the new date will be 23 September.]

In the meantime, there’s something else of note.

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Contempt of justice 388

Posted on September 07, 2020 by

We’ve had another letter from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

And slowly, painfully, we’re starting to get at least some answers.

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Into our own hands 188

Posted on September 06, 2020 by

The Scottish political focus has been on Holyrood in recent days, with the Programme For Government announced and Westminster returning from recess. But parliaments can only do so much. Extra-parliamentary action is required for many reasons, not least because activists are increasingly frustrated at delays and uncertainty.

Giving direction and something constructive to do is therefore important; and that will have to come from within the grassroots movement.

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