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In the hands of others

Posted on May 20, 2020 by

On the 1st of January, Chinese authorities took the decision to close the Wuhan food market. The following day, 41 admitted hospital patients in Wuhan, were confirmed to have contracted 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus) which we now know as COVID-19.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a New Year message, from the private island of Mustique in the Caribbean, that the “first item” on his agenda remained his commitment to take Britain out of the EU by the end of January.

Within weeks the virus had spread across the world to many countries including Italy, Germany, Australia, the USA and of course the UK.

It was on the radar of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control who in their first risk assessment on the epidemic cautioned about the direct flights from Wuhan into the EU. Destinations included Rome, as well as London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

With the UK Governments gaze firmly fixed on Brexit, Westminster Health Secretary Matt Hancock had no issue with Public Health England’s advice being that the risk to the United Kingdom population was “very low” even given the clear threat to travellers to and from Wuhan. Despite the upcoming Chinese New Year, they suggested to travellers there was no need to change plans. In an extraordinary display of insularity and folly they moved the the threat from “very low” to “low” on the 22nd of January.

In contrast one week later the World Health Organisation declared the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The UK Government were criminally complacent about a virus which has, a mere three months later, officially killed over 35,000 citizens across the UK -a figure which most experts agree is a very substantial underestimate – the true figure is likely almost double – and now the highest death rate in Europe.

When the alarm bells should have been sounding at the heart of government, the attention of the UK administration was focussed on making Big Ben bong again to celebrate Brexit day.

However, at any point up until perhaps early March it would still have been possible to impede the virus’s deadly spread, provided that strong measures to detect the disease and isolate and treat cases were taken,along with social distancing measures commensurate with the risk. In March the World Health Organisation rammed home its message of “test, test test”.

It was to be many more weeks before the above measures would be implemented. As we watched news reports from around the world, and a disaster unfolded in northern Italy, in Scotland and across the UK children continued to go to school as normal, people socialised and spoke of the virus as being an “exaggeration”– no doubt in part due to the idiotic attitude of a UK Government from which the best advice was to wash hands whilst singing the national anthem.

In fact on the day that parts of northern Italy were locked down, thousands of Scots were in Rome watching a Six Nations match before then returning home to communities across the country.

In mid-March more than 250,000 people travelled to attend the Cheltenham festival, and a number of these racegoers are now dead. In the absence of official guidance, many still continued to visit elderly relatives who were in the most vulnerable groups.

In Edinburgh, just a week after confirmation that an outbreak had emerged from a Nike conference, 67,000 fans from across the country packed into Murrayfield to watch another rugby match, and of course there was the infamous claim that you weren’t at risk of catching the virus crammed into an arena with thousands of other people to see Lewis Capaldi or Stereophonics.

At the very moment Boris Johnson was spouting theories about herd immunity on TV, and glib inanities about taking the virus “on the chin”, people were being fatally infected by the silent killer. Indeed he himself was being infected at the time. Thankfully he has survived to tell the tale. Many thousands have not been so fortunate.

If the advice of the World Health Organisation had been implemented, it is likely that the UK now would be in at least as favourable a position as Germany, which has one fifth of our death rate. That means that tens of thousands of people are now dead who would have been alive if politicians had been fit for their high office.

Those countries who acted even more urgently – New Zealand, Taiwan, Iceland – have a mere fraction, proportionately, of the relatively low German casualties. Even Sweden, which hasn’t locked down at all, has had far fewer deaths per capita than the UK – around one person in every 2700 (almost all of them over-70s living in care homes), compared to the UK’s one in 1900.

(Or one in 1000 if you use the more realistic figures. On the official numbers Scotland has lost around one in 2500 of its population, still higher than Sweden despite the lockdown, and around 60% of deaths have happened in the last month even though we started locking down in March.)

The UK Government often wish to conjure up the jingoism of tackling a virus being like a war , but another of their often used bellicisms is that the first duty of Government is to protect its citizens – on this front they have grossly failed.

In Scotland health is devolved, and most of the measures adopted by more successful countries could and should have been implemented much earlier. Nicola Sturgeon is being rightly lauded for her communication skills, but Scottish public health policy has been only marginally better than that prevailing south of the border. There is little excuse for Scotland only now in May mobilising the citizens army required to test and isolate, and there is no excuse for allowing our care home sector to become the unprepared and unprotected viral frontline.

But what this crisis has also shown is that without the autonomy of all economic levers it is often not possible to do everything that you want to. Absent of the financial powers to provide assurance to furloughed workers and businesses forced to close, an early lockdown would have been difficult to introduce independently. Scotland was locked into a fatal two-step with Westminster.

Of course, it was from independent Norway that UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak drew inspiration when he copied their job retention scheme for rollout in the UK – something that the oil-rich North Sea-adjacent nation of 5.3m people was well able to afford.

Other smaller nations put similar schemes in place, such as New Zealand with one of the largest per-capita response packages in the world basis. Their decision to prioritise lives was in part possible thanks to their control over their economy.

For Scotland, with the benefit of hindsight, in the years to come people may identify different courses of action that could have been taken – as difficult as that would’ve been given the current constitutional status. But an even bigger argument should be about what is to come.

The economic decisions that are made next year and those that immediately follow will impact upon the lives of people in Scotland for decades. There will be two issues the UK government will address urgently. In the immediate term it will be the overall level of debt that will be targeted and whether the cost of that will be met by increasing taxes or reducing expenditure. I seriously doubt they will embrace the former.

The UK Government could borrow to invest in the recovery of the economy, but that would be an admission that the past decade of austerity was a political choice, not one of necessity. In the unique circumstances of the post pandemic world there is a strong case for printing much of the required finance – quantitive easing for the people not the banks. Again a challenge likely to be ducked by the U.K. and one just not available to devolved Scotland.

In the wake of the Second World War the UK had a debt worth more than 250% of GDP, far higher than today. Yet it heralded an age of the establishment of a new social contract encapsulated by the birth of the NHS.

There will be a burning popular demand to build on the social policies established during this crisis. Some suggest that the introduction of a Universal Basic Income would be transformative, but again it’s highly doubtful the UK Government will embrace it. Even if Scotland wanted to implement it, we simply can’t.

The second major issue that must be addressed is employment. In January of this year, across the UK, unemployment sat at a rate of 3.8%. The OBR projects this to hit 10% because of coronavirus. Getting people back into work is going to be a priority, one that will not be made any easier as Scotland is dragged out of the single marketplace. Scottish fishermen suffering like the rest of us should be reflecting on the shape of things to come. Most fishing has stopped not because it is any more dangerous but because it just cannot pay when the most lucrative markets are shut.

When it comes to the biggest economic decisions of our lifetimes and what they are to be, the people of Scotland and their Scottish Government will have no say. Anyone who thinks otherwise need look no further than the cause of Scotland during the Brexit bourach.

Right now defeating this virus is everyone’s priority, but long-lasting choices are coming and coming up fast. Who do we want to make them? Boris Johnson or Scotland’s own government? That is a choice I believe the people of Scotland will want to make, for themselves.

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  1. 20 05 20 12:56

    In the hands of others | speymouth

120 to “In the hands of others”

  1. Brotyboy says:

    I voted for you Chris. An excellent summary. Clearly this is an opportunity to invoke Disaster Inverse Capitalism, with UBI and a massive house building programme. UBI can be financed through LVT as per Graeme McCormick’s excellent presentation.

  2. Morgatron says:

    Fantastic, articulate and to the point article.Thanks Chris for composing and Stu for publishing.

  3. Mist001 says:

    Over the past couple of years, Scotland has had a tsunami of opportunities to break away from the Union and become independent and not once, has it attempted to grasp any of these opportunities.

    Coronavirus has thrown up yet another but this time, it’s like hitting people over the head with the obvious. People can’t have failed to see that Boris Johnson is acting on behalf of England and Mrs. Murrell is acting on behalf of Scotland. The divergence here is strikingly obvious, even to a blind mans dog.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you think or say, what I think or say, or what anyone thinks or says, the only people who have any say, are the higher echelons of the SNP and as I’ve alluded to above, they’ve had many a chance, but neglected to take them.

    If they don’t want to bring about independence, then Scotland won’t have independence, no matter how many times people will say ‘Will of the Scottish people’.

    The only will that matters is the will at the top and if that’s not there, as seems strikingly obvious again, then independence isn’t going to happen.

  4. Bob Mack says:

    Good article Stu,but we must squarely face the fact that the Scottish Government for now, appear unable to give us the opportunity to make that choice.

  5. Bob Mack says:

    @Sorry Chris.

  6. robert graham says:

    Davidson remember her Tory ( arse wipe ) given a free reign on SKY News right now having a right go at the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon particularly , every single thing she has said at best is highly Questionable , a fkn disgracfull propaganda piece with no reference to the catalogue of mismanagement that her masters in the Tory party are presiding over south of the border , a fat bag of fkn poison who we are paying for , a truly disgusting article .

  7. Johnny says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Chris.

    This reality should be put to the residents of Scotland as soon as practical and in the starkest terms.

    We really do need to consider – and very soon – what we want our society to be like. Does it put people first or “the economy” first? In more simple terms, should we be a society that works to live or lives to work? Should we be a society that protects its weakest (yes, surely) or not?

    More critically, who should decide what Scottish society is like and the policies which give shape to it; Westminster and the UK’s populace as a whole, or Holyrood and Scotland’s populace?

    I hope that we would collectively decide that it is the latter but at the very least we must be given the choice, especially given the many mandates given to the Scottish government to ask the question.

  8. Oneliner says:

    Excellent words from Chris McEleny.

    If the SNP is really serious about increasing its % share of the Scottish vote, then it needs to accentuate the disparity between (two similarly-sized nations) Norway and Scotland.

    It needs to adopt a proactive media strategy and hammer this message mercilessly and not dance to the London media agenda. If it finds this unpalatable or chooses not to, then we need another pro-indy (list) party to fill the vacuum.

    I can recall a series of ‘Commons responses to Scottish questions which ended with an SNP bad epilogue from whichever Tory minister was being quizzed. They were all on message.

    Why was Catherine Calderwood ever subjected to a press conference? Nicola Sturgeon is a communicator. She is not a particularly good strategist or man/woman manager.

  9. Capella says:

    Excellent article. Thank you Chris. It is time to get the ball rolling on the post Coronavirus world. Richard Murphy, in his Tax Research blog, has also written some very informative articles on the economic responses possible. Unfortunately, he sees UBI as not possible in the short term. Nevertheless, that would be an option for Scotland if we have autonomy.

    Richard Murphy’s latest podcast here:

  10. Merkin Scot says:

    Very well said, Rev Stu.

  11. Merkin Scot says:

    Oooops, sorry Rev Stu and Chris.

  12. liz says:

    Thanks Chris.

    Nicola S has always been a great speaker and that covers up a lot of inaction in both response to Covid infection and independence.

  13. Martin says:

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as they say. You rightly, however, quash the idea that hindsight is all we had. We had foresight. Initially (and to my shame) I believed covid-19 would be another SARS. Horrible on a local level but fairly well contained geographically. As soon as cases started in Europe though my view changed quickly. That’s the thing about science…

    It is wrong to say that Sweden didn’t have lockdown- they along with NZ etc did what we should have done in late Feb, early March. Locking people in their houses is the result of a failure to act in a sensible way at the time. We needed to stop inbound flights, and quarantine anyone who arrived for 14 days. Hong Kong did that and did extremely well given their geographical and cultural closeness to China. Had we stopped the daily influx, we could have managed good contact tracing of any community cases.

    Scotland does not, as you can probably guess, have control over these measures. Patients of mine have died because our government once again put the profits of private companies well above the safety of its citizens. I’m glad Boris survived covid-19, but my satisfaction will come only when he anf others are put on trial for this.

  14. Neil says:

    “The following day, 41 admitted hospital patients in Wuhan, were confirmed to have contracted 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus) which we now know as COVID-19.

    Actually that’s not correct. The *virus* is known as SARS-CoV-2 (it’s provisional name until Dec 2019 was 2019-nCoV, but this now also incorrect). It is colloquially known as “coronavirus”

    The important distinction to make here is that the *disease* that coronavirus causes is COVID-19. This is the condition, not the virus itself – these are two very different things.

  15. Polly says:

    Clear and well reasoned article. Thank you.

  16. Astonished says:

    Great Article . I am astonished at the number of ex-yoons I have met. We need to call indyref 2.

  17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The important distinction to make here is that the *disease* that coronavirus causes is COVID-19. This is the condition, not the virus itself – these are two very different things”

    TBH I’m not sure that distinction IS terribly important in the context of a politics blog.

  18. Brian Paton says:

    Accurate and honest. Scientist on the daily briefing told us last night that testing and tracing couldn’t be done due to lack of capacity. I think they couldn’t introduce immigration protocols because the border force has been decimated.

  19. Andy Ellis says:

    Excellent piece Chris. Two months ago as this all began to unfold I shared a piece by Italian journalist Nicola Borzi, which remains as pertinent today as we see the looming Depression?

    “In the midst of so many disasters, there is only one possible positive effect of this catastrophe, but it must be built. The terrible recession that is about to break down on the world economy must be the time to open our eyes, all of them, and to think about the unsustainable system that we have all contributed, more or less, to maintain to this day. An unsustainable system for the environment, for society and for many of us. We have a year or two to rewrite the rules together. To create a new pact for everyone, like the Rooseveltian one of the 30s of the last century. We have a window of opportunity to try to change course, reduce inequalities, make the world better. We owe it to the dead. Let’s not waste this time.”

    I’d like to think Scots will use the window of opportunity and use it to address the 2 issues raised in your conclusion, but sadly I have my doubts. The SNP has demonstrated beyond any real doubt over the past few years that it is anything but a radical force – or at least that when it is radical it is directed down ideological cul-de-sacs which are deeply unpopular like the GRA.

    The Growth Commission, the lack of a coherent plan for #indyref2 and now the explicit statements that independence is basically being canned because the party and government think they can use Covid-19 as a fig leaf for their pre-existing lack of appetite for advancing independence.

    Since the SNP is patently not up to the task of coming up with any plausible alternative, new parties (even if they are list only to begin with) need to address how they will deal with the issues detailed in Borzi’s call to arms and Chris’ post.

    How do we promote equality, social cohesion, provide jobs and social services and protect and improve our social services and environment?

    It looks increasingly unlikely that the SNP is the answer to those questions, and since they aren’t about deliver progress on independence any time soon, we might as well start thinking about creating alternatives for the long term, not just quick fixes for list only parties just for 2021 Holyrood elections.

  20. callmedave says:

    Jings! it’s the Nike conference and the Spanish inquisition again.

    Ricky Leopard especially going for the jugular there at FMQ’s.

    He’s a shoo in and a dead ringer for playing Cagoule if there is a remake of King Soloman’s Mines! 🙁

    Oh!…. Liberal Willie now on NHSS waiting times for operations an easy goal scoring opportunity.

    Another day in Scotland.

    Wonder how Boris is doing darn Sarf?

  21. jfngw says:

    I have to disagree on one point, lockdown and furlough payments would not have been difficult they would have been pretty much impossible. The money would have required to be taken from some other area, the big spenders are health and education, which one would we have cut.

    The only answer is independence and total control of the money. If this combined with Brexit doesn’t open the eyes of those in Scotland I think I’m then resigned to the fact that nothing ever will, we are doomed to be just whiners from the sidelines in perpetuity.

  22. Ottomanboi says:

    This is a ‘crisis’ of Globalism. The pandemic of submission to Globalism and its rich influencers is the real problem. Effectively Globalism with its sci fi, imperialistic one world/one government notions is the true pathogen, along with the functionaries who promote and enforce its rule.
    The ‘collateral damage’ of reliance on this global authoritarianism has yet to be reckoned with and may well initiate a period of political turmoil.
    As for ‘the science’ on Covid-19, it all depends on whom you consult; science is not yet infallible or omniscient. Virology is relatively new discipline. However, all pathologists would agree that a second wave due to viral drift (or shift) is likely in the autumn/winter period, a normal trend for cold and flu viruses of the type.
    Do we then go through the same heavy handed ‘suppression’, or do we logically just let the disease take its natural course, warning the frail and those with comorbidity to be cautious.
    That was the way things were done in the past and no one batted an eyelid over the death toll.
    Indeed, until Covid-19, few except the professional concerned themselves with the world wide death toll from disease, many preventable.
    Rather perverse.

  23. jfngw says:


    The MSM, the Tories and Labour now have a two pronged attack going, Tories are the Nike attack dog (maybe if Jackson Carlaw had some reflection he would realise that the conference would not have happened if there had not been a total failure at Westminster). Carlaw is demanding the FM over rules the health professionals.

    Labour are the care home champions, although I can’t remember any interest being show to bring the care home into public ownership when they were the WM government for 13 years or the Scotgov for 8 years. In fact they were too busy issuing PFI contracts for health provision.

  24. CameronB Brodie says:

    Scotland’s political economy will not recover from Brexit, which rejects the foundations of British democracy and insists those living in Scotland have no legal right to legal rights. Is there nobody in the Scottish government or judiciary who respects constitutional law?

    Human Rights in the EU: Rethinking the Role of the European Convention on Human Rights after Lisbon

  25. jfngw says:


    Your solution would certainly save money because the natural extension is just dispose of all health provision and just let those that get ill die or suffer in pain for the rest of their lives. Because why should you treat/prevent one condition and not another, why have cancer prevention or treatment it’s a natural event and we used to just let them die in agony.

    I’m sure there has been virus protection for many decades now so to say nobody bothered in the past seems a bit disingenuous.

  26. mogabee says:

    Thank you Chris. Problem is that we all know the answer but is the SNP ready to listen or are they too keen still to be happy with their polling popularity to do something?

    Time’s running out…

  27. Gordon Keane says:

    We’ve just had Jackson Carlaw girn off at First Minister’s Questions today, about he Scottish Govt failures. He doesn’t say a word against Boris Johnson, however.
    Then we had Richard Leonard girn off about the Care Home staffers, and their low wages, and the privatized Care Homes, etc, etc.
    He seems blissfully unaware, or simply doesn’t care, this are the either Reserved matters, or the direct result of Westminster imposed policies.
    So, really he has no right to complain at all. This is his price worth paying for the Union!

  28. jfngw says:


    Not just the SNP’s fault, the AUOB marches are fine but are tiny compared to what happens in Catalonia. Where is the fire, I’m starting to believe too many Scots are content to just accept the inferiority that another country have told them they have. Happy to be another countries gopher, it’s actually depressing watching it.

  29. Lindy says:

    Still not getting email notifications Stu.
    Good article Chris.

  30. robert graham says:

    Sorry I hadn’t read this article because steam was still coming out of the lugs after watching the poison dwarf Davidson being allowed a free run on SKY to promote the Tory party mantra,

    Dicing with death being on here Chris along with others that have a bit of guts to go on Alex’s show on the dreaded RT well done you , we know there are more in the party and they shouldn’t feel there on their own we are all in this together , well some of us anyway .

  31. Jason Smoothpiece says:

    Well said Chris, I was conversing with a family member who is an overpaid banking type. I love him to bits though.

    He has a slight waft of Tory about him due I sure to his high income. He is a committed Nationalist dedicated to Scotland’s independence.

    I have pointed out his views didn’t match his social class he explained that he was not the only one with such views at the bank look at Norway he said we should be and could be very similarly wealthy as a nation.

    He expressed the view that independence was now urgent as the banks are preparing for a full blown recession.

    What part of the U.K. will be worse hit?

    England are very lucky to have Scotland as a colony they are still able to steal our wealth enabling them to keep their heads above the water.

    Time for a certain political party to feel the urgency for independence.

  32. Julia Gibb says:

    Chris, hand up but I didn’t vote for you last time in favour of a “bigger name”. I will not make that mistake again. Keep pushing you are gaining supporters every day.

  33. Breeks says:

    I’ll repeat the gist of my comment from the last Article…

    If there’s no opportunity to campaign for Independence, yet we have to endure the Tories screaming to go faster on Brexit, then why doesn’t Scotland use this rash haste and hysteria as due provocation to present Westminster with a Scottish Constitutional Backstop; a binary choice put to Westminster, whereby Brexit is halted in order to avoid the colonial subjugation of Scottish Sovereignty, or, if Brexit is indeed concluded, then the colonial subjugation of Scottish Sovereignty which will thus have taken place, will be deemed to represent a formal breach and violation of the Articles of Union, which will in turn, constitute the actual dissolution of the Union, and thus Mark the formal demise of the United Kingdom.

    It’s a single letter… (actually two, because I’d write a similar letter to the UN). No campaigning. No lockdown infringement. No Section 30 kite flying. No more prevarication. No more kicking Indy into the long grass… merely a firm handed response, long overdue, and equal in its resolve and severity to save Scotland from Brexit, as the Tories are clearly resolved to force Brexit through and violate Scottish Sovereign principle in order to do it..

    Backstop? Yes. call it what you like. In old world language, you’d call this a Constitutional Ultimatum, and it’s high time Scotland played hardball.

    It’s one letter, friends of Scotland. What have we to lose by writing it?

    It would also be an acid test for Sturgeon and her “taste” for Independence… and just as likely flush out all of those fraudsters and carpet baggers in the Scottish Government who don’t care a fig about Independence.

    We, the people of Scotland, should right now, be vigorously petitioning the Scottish Government to present Westminster wit precisely such an emergency Constitutional Ultimatum.

    The law is on our side. Such an ultimatum would come as no surprise to anyone, (least of all Westminster), International goodwill would be on our side, and I believe the EU would be sympathetic, perhaps even to the extent of “holding pen” status first described in 2016.

    All is NOT lost. Write the goddamned letter Scotland. Write the letter. Scotland will not be moved.

  34. Breastplate says:

    Agreed Breeks.

  35. Muscleguy says:

    It seems it was likely circulating in Germany before Xmas. The Germans have been analysis samples from pneumonia patients going back and found a man who survived who tested positive for the virus. Sample taken on Dec 20.

    It therefore looks very much like it escaped Wuhan in December at the latest. The cat was out of the bag before anyone thought.

  36. Muscleguy says:

    I bet if more countries had and tested such samples it might well tell us more. But I wouldn’t bet on other countries being as good at the Germans at such things.

  37. CameronB Brodie says:

    If Scotland wants to enjoy the benefits of democracy, then we need to sort out our political and legal Establishment, who appear intent on maintaining the inequality created by the narrow legal parochialism of British constitutional practice.

    Parliamentary sovereignty is simply not compatible with international human rights law, and a legal respect of Scotland’s legal identity. So Brexit simply articulates ethnically informed totalitarianism, a.k.a. authoritarian English Torydum. Scotland needs far better legal protection from the law, than the Scottish government appear capable of.

    Pursuing Good Governance

    The Control of Administrative Power in Zimbabwe and Implications of Substantive Fairness as a Ground of Review


    (a) Substantive fairness in the context of decisions which affect rights
    Most fundamental rights are not absolute.33 They may be subject to limitations imposed by way of or as a result of administrative conduct. For instance, every person in Zimbabwe has the right to freedom of trade.34 However, the exercise of this right is subject to regulation and may be limited though administrative conduct.

    For example, one must be issued with a licence before they can trade in certain goods such as liquor. Therefore, the right to trade may be limited by a decision of the municipality to refuse issuing an applicant with a liquor licence. Equally, every person has a right to establish and maintain a private educational institution35 but subject to acquiring a licence to do so.

    Many other rights in Zimbabwe, including the rights to health care, housing, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and freedom of the media are subject to regulation and may be limited through administrative conduct….–+Pursuing+Good+Goveernance.pdf/3442ec0d-efbe-1637-1ef4-6d0cee96ae7f?version=1.0&t=1576740866749

  38. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Breeks (2.04) –

    Although some of us have been coming here for years, we still can’t explain, in a nutshell, what the constitutional case is. Perhaps we could have a stab at it but it would sound muddled, from me at any rate. That’s why it’s important to hear it coming from someone who knows what they’re talking about and can deliver with confidence.

    You’re good at it, as was Robert Peffers. Folk like Peter Bell and Gareth (Grouse Beater) also have an air about them which makes the case all that more convincing to the undecided.

    The point I want to make is that I’d happily wager my last tenner that the constitutional realite you outline above, and have done many times previously, is one that characters such as Pete Wishart do not discuss. Ever. It doesn’t even appear to be on their radar as a route to independence because, as seems increasingly obvious with every passing week, the indy-radar has been well and truly disabled.

    If we want there to be any possibility of it being raised in mainstream discourse then another party is going to have to do it. And no other suitable party currently exists.



  39. Muscleguy says:

    BTW I was talking to an academic historian at a Halloween party a few years ago now and he pointed out that the UK used the Marshall Plan money to pay the military to hang onto some Imperial rocks for a bit longer: The Malayan Emergency, the Mau Mau in Kenya, Suez and of course India.

    While Germany bought machine tools and built a new and better manufacturing base precious little was invested in Britain’s ageing industrial infrastructure. Which eventually allowed Thatcher to run rampant over ‘unsavible’ industries. Ravenscraig et al were sacrificed on the altar of Empire. It just took until Thatcher for their death throes to end.

    Protests then were in vain as it proved. I’m not excusing Thatcher just explaining that the cause predated here. She delivered the coup de grace to terminally ill patients. Yes, investment might have enabled some to survive, for a time but the monies were ‘needed’ for the confrontation with the NUM.

    We could have at least given the Germans a run for their money but countries who would be independent in oonly a short time had treasure lavished on them in the form of our bloated military.

    The Kenyans give Mau Mau veterans war pensions as the Indians do INLA veterans. NZ addressed colonial injustices perpetrated when it was still a colony forging a new, proper partnership with Maori. Recently the UK tried to offload Pitcairn onto NZ. NZ declined.

  40. callmedave says:

    BBC figures still not including England although the colonial web sites have numbers.

    The SUN on-line however are giving a bit more data.

    Scotland….today…..50…….Total……2184…BBC (3546)all
    England……*166…….Total…no data..*SUN
    UK……….today…no data….Total….*35507..*SUN

  41. SilverDarling says:

    A really good timeline of events as they unfolded. Watching it like Tsunami in slow motion coming towards us as Brexit dominated the news and Tories agenda.

    Note the backlash coming from Unionists, soft Indy SNP and journos unhappy at Sarah Smith being held to account. Ruth Davidson emerges only when her BBC colleagues are under fire. Priorities Ruth, priorities.

  42. Tinto Chiel says:

    Excellent and wide-ranging article.

    Coincidentally, the “More or Less” programme this morning on Pravdasound 4 looked extremely critically at the government’s response to Covid19, particularly its claims re number of tests and its timing of the lockdown. Beginning this in the UK even a week earlier would have cut the number of cases by as much as three quarters, if I heard one expert correctly. Around this time, of course, we had the Cheltenham festival and other big sporting events and 15000 air passengers a day still enter the country without testing and quarantine.

    On the wider question of what country we wish to see after this crisis, we can always hope it has shown to No voters the complete contempt WM has for Scotland and its gross, lying incompetence but it’s just as likely to have scared others off who think we will need Nanny England’s protection in this big, bad, post-Covid world. Obviously the leadership of the SNP can use the crisis to kick the I-Can further down the brae, if Dornan’s words reflect the current thinking at the top of the party.

    The Tories won’t all let this go to waste: more austerity for us and more socialism for the rich in the shape of hand-outs to millionaire entrepreneurs and more tax-dodging for the plutocrats so they can siphon off their winnings to lovely off-shore accounts instead of helping to reduce the national debt (which the Tories had trebled BEFORE the crisis).

    Expect more attempts at social control/invasions of privacy using the Coronavirus Act where and when necessary and new lockdowns/curtailment of parliament if Bojo wishes to avoid further scrutiny, although I don’t expect much of that from Sir Keir Starmer.

    A confident and articuate SNP with its eye fixed solely on independence could of course use London’s response to the pandemic as a classic example of why we need to end the union and control our own affairs but then Brexit was exactly the same opportunity and looked what happened to that.

    I’m afraid we’re living in interesting times.

  43. Al-Stuart says:


    Well said or well written to be precise.

    Anent the letter you mention, I would lay odds on a certain former First Minister preparing his quill and parchment as he would take no excrumentum from Boris and his OAP-killing psycho Dominic Cummings.

    2020 is a shitty year. A few glimmers of hope such as the day Alex Salmond was cleared of the dodgy efforts to shut him up. His statesmanship was profound. Faced with a complete rump of political journalist arsewipes who all wish Alex Salmond harm, he said “folks it ain’t safe”. His first thought was for their welfare not his legal clearance. A reminder of the greatest First Minister Scotland has ever had.

    Breeks, I don’t have a crystal ball, nor ability to see into the future. But I am looking forward to 2021 when we will have made some progress against this nasty pandemic. Chris’ article alludes to what 2021 has in store for Boris The OAP Butcher once the four nations realise who that Buffoon authored the deaths of tens of thousands.

    2021 is also likely to see the publication of Alex Salmond’s book.

    Methinks the letter you mention, or something that unjams the Sturgeon IndyBlock torpor will flow from the fan blades as the OFI McWoke tuurds head towards it.

  44. James F. McIntosh says:

    Well we might be out of the EU at the end of June so time has almost run out.When things get worse after brexit and the so called Scottish gov. Are still sitting on the fence and doing nothing,well things could could get a bit nasty,if democracy is getting denied to the Scottish people.

  45. dakk says:

    Not bad Stuart, not bad at all.

    Bit tardy, but rapier sharp,when it arrived.

    Not surprised at all about the high rate of deaths in Scotland since lockdown started.

    It’s hasn’t been very broadly observed, especially by Yoon types living near me.

    After lockdown ends I doubt the ‘new norm’ will be well observed either by british exceptionalist types.

    I therefore expect the high UK death rates to persist for at least a year or 2 in the likely absence of any effective vaccine any time soon, if there even ever is one.

  46. callmedave says:


    Surprising new data has revealed that young adults aged 17 to 29 living in London are the most common age group in the country infected by coronavirus.

    The study, run by Public Health England (PHE), found a “dramatic age distribution” of covid-19 infections in London – where the pandemic first broke out on English soil.

    It found that people aged between 17-29 were the “commonest group of people infected” in the capital, and that the number “declined with age” – according to PHE’s head of immunology Mary Ramsay.

    This is in stark contrast to the level of disease in the country, which is “predominantly” found in older adults – she said.

    People who become infected with covid-19 do not always become ill, but many elderly people have died from the disease.

    Wm Gov will introduce new checks on goods between NI and the UK

  47. jfngw says:


    Is it not too late for a letter regarding Brexit, we are already out of the EU. Unless the EU make some statement regarding Scotland’s position and although they have been positive none of it has said Scotland would be automatically accepted.

    Unfortunately I thought Ian Blackford had some plan, he certainly espoused enough about Scotland at WM, just to find it was empty gestures. He’s a busted flush in my opinion.

    There is nothing I can see in the Treaty of Union that helps, as far as I can tell it was written to protect lawyers, traders and the clergy, it has no obvious get out clause.

    Robert Peffers was clear in it needed the acquiescence of the majority of the Scottish people and the acceptance of the international community, there is nothing else. Scotland is a country and its people have the right to choose how they are governed.

    No point worrying about the constitution, it is controlled by another country and will be changed to suit them. The sovereignty of the people of Scotland is the only thing that matters. If this isn’t the case then the politicians need to say so, because they are then accepting the Mundell and Jack position that Scotland was extinguished.

  48. james mallon Drones Over Scotland says:

    Shocked to see SKY tv remarks, who the fk contributes to that shit, is it the the ones who criticise the tabloids.

    Gave up on SKY yeas ago, fkn greedy manipulating fkrs, gave up on Newspapers, fkn lying bstrds, both low mentality programmes and journalism.

    I do not have a tv licence and never had for 16 years, the MI5 and MI6 send me letters. A fkn Mr Smith sends me mail from MI5, a private mob that the tax payers pay to catch me not watching TV, he does not exist.

    Miss the pub for Bart Simpson, I’m sure his IQ is on par with Donald Trump.

    Wings will inform me.

  49. CameronB Brodie says:

    IMHO, there is ample administrative law that could be employed to defend Scotland from Brexit. All that would be needed is for the Scottish Government to escape their profound legal parochialism, as British constitutionalism is detached from the Natural Law.

    Global Administrative Law: The
    Quest for Principles and Values

  50. CameronB Brodie says:

    It is a real source of concern that the Justice Minister has been trained to view the world through Anglo-American goggles, as this perspective is generally blind to international law and human rights.

    Administrative Justice in Context

  51. CameronB Brodie says:

    I would like to invite all so-called legal scholars in Scotland, to attempt to legally justify Scotland getting Brexited.

    Contemporary Development Trends in Administrative-Legal Relations in the System of Administrative Justice

  52. jfngw says:

    @CameronB Brodie

    I can only assume that the SNP does not believe in the sovereignty claim or else they would have used this to either stop Brexit or end the union. And it is no good the unionist claiming their vote to remain was not a vote for independence, they should have thought through the consequences of their vote.

  53. Golfnut says:

    Treaty/Contract law trumps domestic law. Scots Sovereignty trumps Westminsters convention of sovereignty. The Scottish Government as do all MP’s and MSP’s have a duty to act to protect the interests and welfare of the electorate. No one can argue that our interests and welfare have ever been more at risk, not only from the constitutional subjugation that Brexit represents, the bumbling incompetence of the UK govs handling of the covid crisis, the sheer malice directed towards the people of Scotland and the anticipated economic chaos heading our way.
    The SG must act and soon, and I see no good reason why the SG should not dictate terms to Westminster, failure to comply will see Scotland immediately withdraw from the Treaty. That letter should not only be sent to the UK gov but to the United nations and the EU.
    Under the current circumstances I would not anticipate rejection of Scotland’s Declaration of Independence.
    That would take courage on the part the SG and much as I admire Nicola, I’m not sure their is enough backbone between our MP’s and the SG.

  54. Andy Ellis says:

    @Cameron B Brodie @jfngw

    There is no short cut to independence and/or avoiding brexit. Anyone looking for novel legal approaches, appealing to some Deus ex machina by referring to the Treaty of Union, or references to outside intervention, is just delusional sorry.

    The only plausible routes to independence are already known. First and most obvious is winning a referendum as per 2014 pattern. Sadly the SNP appear to have accepted an effective British nationalist veto on when and how often Scots are “permitted” to exercise this method of self determination. Unless SNP supporters force the party to change this approach, we can kiss goodbye to #indyref2 for a minimum of 5 years, probably much longer. If you agree with the fanciful magical thinking of Peter Wishart and his ilk that unionists will somehow be forced to agree if we only win yet another election and yet another mandate, you probably deserve all the disappointment which is headed your way.

    The second route involves declaring that in lieu of British nationalist agreement to #indyref2, the Yes movement will consider every subsequent election plebiscitary and regard any vote of >50% for Yes supporting parties de facto independence. The mandate for that has to be specific to attract international recognition however. It would be my chosen route, but I’ve seen zero evidence the SNP has the balls to adopt this strategy, and have little confidence the broader Yes movement will be able to somehow force the SNP’s hand (which is the Peter Bell fallacy).

    I’d like to think the coming Covid-19 induced Recession or Depression will concentrate the minds of Scots voters. Sadly, from what I’ve seen over the past 24 months in particular, I fear they are more likely to meekly accept deferral of the whole project more or less indefinitely.

    I’d love to think prospects were more positive and truly hope my countrymen and countrywomen prove me wrong.

  55. Joe says:

    So, without the means to test we have somehow concluded that a country that didnt lock down at all is significantly less affected by a virus in countries that did (even with a delay) and whose average infection rate is still coming down? A virus that equally seems to barely affect crowded 3rd world countries where there is little sanitation and virtually no healthcare.

    Also this article ignores the role of China completely. The CCP ignored this virus for 5 days, which included massive celebrations, and when it stopped flights from Wuhan to rest of China there were still international flights leaving Wuhan to rWorld. They lied about this and let it spread.

    In Italy leftist politicians pushed ‘hug chinese people’ on social media. Nancy Pelosi was telling people to go to Chinatowns in the US and ignore any warnings from government.

    Oh yes – a big hello to our Hero’s In Uniform. Keeping us safe from facts –

  56. CameronB Brodie says:

    Scotland’s predicament is grounded in a profound ignorance of/hostility towards the rule-of-law, an affliction that appears to seriously narrow the perspective of those who are responsible for shaping Scots law. 🙁

    T. R. S. Allan, Constitutional Justice: A Liberal Theory of the Rule of Law

  57. Bipod says:

    People have been back out to work in London for more than a week now and the tubes have been packed full of people. But I read today that there hasn’t been a single new case of vivid in London today. To the lockdown fanatics, how does that make sense? I thought Nicola sturgeon said there was going to be a catastrophic second peak. Maybe Nicola sturgeons approach isn’t actually based on any scientific evidence at all, she is actually just pandering to a hysterical media and public opinion.

  58. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    I hear you but I hope you’re not asking me to stop defending the rule-of-law. 😉

    the origins and meaning of administrative law

  59. Ron Maclean says:

    @Breeks 2:04pm

    At this late stage your letter is probably our only hope. I think the response at best would be a few platitudes. It would be ignored by the UK. The UK government know there’s no-one in the SNP going to even try a challenge. There’s nobody else.

    Why would the UN or EU feel the need to help us when we’ve done nothing to help ourselves? Five years without mentioning the word independence. Five years without even a low level independence campaign designed to maintain some interest. Five years of inaction.

    Who would write the letter?

  60. Alex (not that one) says:

    Andy Ellis, you are correct. I see people here talking about ‘the Scots constitution’. Fact is, no such constitution exists for any practical purposes. The Treaty of Union, as another poster has noted, was written (313 years ago!) to protect the ruling class; it is not a democratic document. In similar vein, appeals to ‘the international community’ are strikingly naive. Nobody’s stopping the Spanish from battering Catalans or indeed the Israelis from bombing Palestinians; it’s the law of the jungle and Britain still has quite a bit of clout.

    No, expecting a court or a UN resolution to bail us out is as daft as politely asking Westminster to give us a referendum. Sadly this one is on us…

  61. Andy Ellis says:

    @Cameron B Brodie 4.26pm

    No I’m not asking you to do that. Pasting link after link may make you feel better bud, but adds little or nothing to the debate or this site in my view, it’s just irritating.

    Scottish independence requires a political not a legal solution. There may be a place for referring things for legal decisions or appeals at certain junctures, but in the end the only plausible route to indy is by securing a decent (if not crushing) majority.

    Accepting that Westminster can dictate terms is the very definition of self-defeating. No self respecting people asks for permission to exercise its self determination. Perhaps Scots are indeed just too thrawn after 300 years of union with England to grasp the thistle?

    International recognition depends on a clear answer to a clear question. We know the routes to doing that, we just need to have the courage to pick the right one and see it through. The current leadership of the movement, and its direction of travel doesn’t make for a hopeful prognosis.

  62. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    No, Andy was not correct and neither are you. Please stop trying to insist politics is above the law.

    Human Rights as International
    Constitutional Rights

  63. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    “No I’m not asking you to do that. Pasting link after link may make you feel better bud, but adds little or nothing to the debate or this site in my view, it’s just irritating.”

    You might think you know it all but some readers are probable open to education. Ken fit a mean?

  64. Alex (not that one) says:

    Well Cameron, put it this way, I have a degree in Scots law, for which I wrote my dissertation on an aspect of constitutional law (I have never practiced law for a living) and neither I, nor anybody I have ever met, has ever heard of a Scots constitution save for a remark about the Treaty of Union made by Lord President Cooper in the McCormick case of 1953. That argument was mentioned in passing, the decision in that case was decided against the party making it, and it has never been supported in the Court of Session.

    Please continue insisting that the Scottish constitution you have invented exists, I am sure Boris Johnson will be granting us our independence next week. As Bismarck said, “being in power is being above the law”.

  65. Andy Ellis says:

    @CBB 4.43

    People may indeed be open to education, but whether that’s what you’re doing is open to question. Posting links to sources you think support your views only gets us so far, but it does little or nothing to advance the discussion or the understanding of folk who probably know little and care less about international law, International Relations theory etc.

    Nobody is saying it’s as simplistic as politics being above the law, but in the end Alex is far closer to the truth than you. International law (such as it is) didn’t save the Catalans, nor will it deliver independence for Scotland. Only we can do that, and we’re in an almost uniquely favourable position to bring it about peacefully and with consent.

    The problems aren’t legal they are political and probably to an even larger extent moral: too few Scots care enough to bring it about.

  66. Alex (not that one) says:

    I agree again Andy, just yesterday I was reading about the Ulster Unionists and their campaign against Mrs. Thatcher’s 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement. They boycotted things, went on strike, triggered by-elections, etc.,etc. and eventually even that formidable politician had to admit defeat. I am sorry to say that I just don’t think that is likely to happen here. Almost nobody under 40 identifies as or takes any pride in being British, but their parents and grandparents retain deferential unionist attitudes and the cultural cringe.

  67. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    I’m not insisting Scotland has a legal constitution. If you have been following my argument closely, you would have understood that it is Brexit that is unconstitutional. My argument is also that British constitutional legal practice lacks coherence and compatibility with international law. As such, Scots are legally separated from the rule-of-law, buy outdated legal practice grounded in cultural prejudice. I hope I’ve made myself sufficiently clear, and less liable to misrepresentation. 😉

  68. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    linking folk to international law and constitutional legal theory, is not educational?

  69. Alex (not that one) says:

    I understand your point Cameron but with all due respect it’s just too theoretical and open to question. In practical terms asserting that “actually, Brexit is unconstitutional” is just a no -starter as an argument. Change that to “Brexit is economically insane and rooted in racism” and “forcing Brexit on Scotland against its will is immoral and degrading” and people will listen.

    I must also add that in relation to my earlier post I do not see strikes, boycotts etc as desirable, merely as proof of the determination and cohesion of the Ulster Unionists.

  70. Golfnut says:

    The only legal limits to our aspirations are those we set on ourselves, and there are many who have been convinced to set the bar pretty low.
    There is neither need nor necessity for a referendum or plebiscite should circumstances demand that a government acts to protect the national interest of the Kingdom of Scotland.
    It may be desirable, but it is not a legal requirement nor is a requirement that any outside interest can dictate.
    Westminsters convention of Parliamentary Sovereignty stops where Scottish legal jurisdiction begins. No law has ever been passed by either Westminster or the Scottish Parliament which enshrined in law the Parliamentary Sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament.
    People must stop viewing the Treaty of Union as some sort of ever lasting binding agreement which gives unlimited power to one of the signatories while binding the other to all it terms. The Treaty is nothing more than contract.

  71. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    “Change that to “Brexit is economically insane and rooted in racism” and “forcing Brexit on Scotland against its will is immoral and degrading” and people will listen.”

    I can agree with this, to a point, but that’s a legal perspective that is detached from the Natural Law, and the potential for constitutional justice. Britain’s democracy is grounded in Treaty law that defines Scotland and England legally equal. If British constitutional practice was not a stranger to Natural Law, then Westminster would not be able to ignore the economic, social and cultural rights of those living in Scotland (see Brexit).

    General Principles of Law: Treaty, Historical and Normative Foundations

  72. CameronB Brodie says:

    Sorry, I can’t agree with you there. Treaty law is vital to a legal respect of universal human rights. The British union was established by Treaty law which set out the moral law obligations of government. Brexit takes a smelly poo on Treaty law, the moral law, and democracy.

    What is the Rule of Law

  73. callmedave says:

    Professor Christopher Howe MA, PhD, ScD, FLS said a few minutes ago when asked about the Isle of Wight tracing app at the end of a long interview on related matters with the big Auntie BBC.

    Furrowed his eyebrows and he said ……”It’s a sideshow” 🙂

  74. terence callachan says:

    I disagree with most everyone here
    This article is diabolical
    It’s whole premise rests on this paragraph

    “ it is often not possible to do everything that you want to. Absent of the financial powers to provide assurance to furloughed workers and businesses forced to close, an early lockdown would have been difficult to introduce independently. “

    This paragraph is actually a lie , a BIG lie
    It was not just difficult for the Scottish government to issue furlough money independently as soon as they knew there was danger

    It was impossible

    As you all are well aware the Scottish government cannot borrow money and could not have borrowed money to pay people wages if a lockdown had been introduced earlier

    If Scotland had introduced lockdown earlier it would have been ignored by people of Scotland
    People can’t live on nothing
    You the author of this article know that very well

    If Scottish government had introduced lockdown earlier without furlough it would have been ignored there’s would have been outrage across all media for them asking people to stay at home with no pay for months on end
    Just about everyone would have carried on working and future instructions from Scottish government would have been devalued and possibly ignored altogether because of such a debacle

    What a bunch of lying toads you all are

    Scottish government is always working with one hand tied behind its back
    Westminster’s evil ways kick Scotland and its government day in day out

    You the author of this article , WOS for printing it , and all the dick….ds agreeing with it are just doing Westminster’s job for them now


    SNP isn’t perfect
    NS isn’t perfect
    But both do a damn good job
    I don’t agree with everything they do
    But I do recognise what they are up against with Westminster

    You lot make me sick

  75. CameronB Brodie says:

    terence callachan
    “You lot make me sick”

    Gotten over your hostility towards all thing English?

  76. defo says:

    Jigsaw pieces falling into place…
    A team of twenty detectives for a year +(?)isn’t cheap.
    Who decided that a civil matter, abandoned at a significant moment, should become a criminal investigation come fishing expedition?
    Who set the team up, who ordered them to. Who headed it & who was the PF they reported to?

    Over to you lovely cyber Nats who have time for it. FOI agogo

  77. Guybrush Threepwood says:

    Lockdowns do not save lives (unless you remain in lockdown until everyone in your country is vaccinated or the virus magically disappears). Lockdowns merely delay everyone being infected at the same time and thus enabling your health service to manage the influx of patients.

    A lot of people seem to be under the impression that lockdowns are some kind of magical cure. Countries such as New Zealand might be rather smug with their current statistics but this virus is here to stay. New Zealand and their ilk have merely delayed the inevitable. Unless they plan to stay in lockdown and keep their border shut for the next 100 years, they will have an increase in deaths as soon as they return to some form of normality.

    Professor Johan Gisecke states that in around 1 year from now, most countries will have similar death rates, regardless of lockdown measures. Never have lockdowns been any part of pandemic counter-measure, even for deadly viruses.

    While it is a personal tragedy for those who have lost loved ones, Covid-19 is a moderately mild virus in historical terms.

    Hong Kong Flu killed up to 4 million people between 1968 and 1969 (no hysteria or draconian house imprisonment of the healthy) and the black death wiped out half of the population of Europe in the 14th century.

    The UK lockdown was the brain-child of controversial Professor Neil Fergus on (who used to work for Gisecke) and his dubious Imperial College paper, which was never peer reviewed. Ferguson has a horrific track record for being wrong and overly pessimistic.

    In 2005, he predicted that 200 million people would die from bird flu, in the end just 282 people died. He also said that Sweden would suffer up to 40,000 deaths by the beginning of May for not going into lockdown (it was a little over 3,000).

    The government keeps talking about ‘the science’ as if science is an homogenised block who are all in agreement with each other. The truth is that many scientists and epidemiologists think lockdown measures and closing borders is the wrong approach. Indeed, even Jason Leitch stated that lockdowns merely delay the inevitable, before becoming a cheerleader of Ferguson’s controversial paper.

    Gisecke has a more accurate track record than Ferguson and his advice was pure, ice cold logic:

    1. Wash your hands regularly.
    2. Shield the vulnerable.
    3. Practice social distancing when possible (in most cases it is not possible or practical).
    4. Get on with your life.

    This pandemic has ushered in a highly immature attitude towards death. In 2018, 1.5 million died from tuberculosis and around 600,000 die from the flu each year. There are many viruses which we have learned to live with. Covid-19 is the latest.

    While it is sad what is going on inside care homes, I am more worried about what these cruel lockdown measures are doing to younger people – their education, mental health and future career prospects. It is always the young who suffer the most. We are teaching children to fear touching other people and that is beyond cruel.

    The IMF predict a global depression, larger than the depression of the 1930s, which killed 7 million people. Oxfam predict that up to 500,000 million face starvation due to horrific lockdown measures around the world.

    “Those who would give up essential
    liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  78. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    Are you not concerned that protection under common law from maladministration, does not appear to extend to those living in Scotland?

    Lady Hale gives keynote address to the
    Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association Conference 2014
    UK Constitutionalism on the March
    12 July 2014

    Common law rights
    One aspect of this resurgence has been the emphasis by the courts on the power and continuing primacy of common law rights. There has been a tendency to assume that after the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 the European Convention on Human Rights should be the first port of call.

    But, it is said, this is to misunderstand the relationship between the Convention and the common law in our domestic law, and to overlook the continued and developing protection offered by the latter. As Lord Cooke remarked in Daly3 ‘the truth is, I think, that some rights are inherent and fundamental to democratic civilised society.

    Conventions, institutions, bills of rights and the like respond by recognising rather than creating them’. The common law may not offer a prescriptive list of rights but this does not mean that it is not a rich source of fundamental rights and values, nor that its development has been somehow arrested once the Convention was incorporated into domestic law. As Lord Toulson put it, in Kennedy v The Charity Commission,4 ‘it was not the purpose of the Human Rights Act 1998 that the common law should become an ossuary’….

  79. Golfnut says:

    @ CBB.

    Contract law tops domestic law, the Treaty of Union is explicit in the respect of legal jurisdiction. Scots can’t be bound by another legal jurisdiction.

  80. CameronB Brodie says:

    If the Scottish government does not adopt an approach to the law that is coherent with international law, there is little chance for Scotland to enjoy the benefits of democracy. Full text.

    S. Jasanoff (ed.): Reframing Rights: Bioconstitutionalism in the Genetic Age

  81. Ron Maclean says:

    The author of this post, Chris McEleny, appears to have the ‘toughness’ which the current SNP leadership lacks.

  82. CameronB Brodie says:

    Doesn’t it frustrate you that the law is being used to separate you from the rule-of-law? Full text.

    From Joining to Leaving: Domestic Law’s Role in the International Legal Validity of Treaty Withdrawal

  83. CameronB Brodie says:

    I appreciate that the law isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea, but if we are relying on the Scottish government to protect our human rights, we are placing our hopes on the wrong horse. The Scottish government is part of British constitutionalism, and is guided by law that lacks coherence with international law. Fat chance of these cats looking out for the general public, they aren’t trained to look in our direction, apparently.

    The Legal Practice in International Law and European Community Law

  84. Golfnut says:

    @ CBB.

    In what way would we breach domestic law. I have little doubt that we will end up in the International courts contesting England’s claim of breach of contract and claiming compensation, easily brushed aside. Let’s not forget that England’s claim will fail on both legal jurisdiction and that the ICJ accepted the UK submission that any Declaration of Independence was could not be rejected because it did not conform to state law, which isnt even applicable to Scotland’s legal right to withdraw from the Treaty.

  85. Golfnut says:

    @ CBB.7:18.

    Now that’s a completely different problem.

  86. CameronB Brodie says:

    It’s probably due to the way I explain things, or don’t, but I’ve not suggested Scotland would breach domestic law by telling Westminster to get tae. In fact, I’d suggest there is ample scope for Scotland to claim compensation for England’s breach of contract. At least to cover the costs incurred by Brexit, until Scotland’s legal identity and membership of the EU is restored.

  87. robbo says:

    Guybrush Threepwood says:

    So how many people do you wish to sacrifice for this strategy ?

    1 million?
    5 million?
    10 million?
    50 million?
    100 million?

    Coronavirus is not the Flu! Flu’s has still to come -within 4 months-it’s seasonal and we know lots about it.. Lets see shit hit the- then eh! Flu + Corona- we’re in for a hell of a ride.

  88. Republicofscotland says:

    Well said Chris, independence is a must now, but will Sturgeon go for it?

  89. Alex (not that one) says:

    Cameron Brodie,

    With the greatest respect, I- like, I assume, most of the posters here- visit this site because I am interested in Scottish politics and like a lot of what Stu, and guest writers like Mr. McEleny, has to say. I’m not here to dispute arcane points of constitutional theory, there are other blogs for that.

    As I have mentioned, not to sound pompous, while I am no world expert, I do know a bit more than many about constitutional law, as I did once manage to acquire a law degree, and focussed my studies on that area. To reiterate, while some people, generally of our political disposition, have clutched at straws* to suggest otherwise, in legal- not moral, not political, legal- terms the British Parliament at Westminster can do as it pleases in Scotland; if they wanted to, they could abolish Holyrood in an afternoon. Every judge, every legal academic, and any politician who knew what they were talking about, recognises that this is the case. This doctrine of “parliamentary sovereignty” is archaic and harsh (“the elected dictatorship”), but it is the law. Your constant invocation of how Westminster can’t do X, Y, Z is just wishful thinking- legally, it can. If you would like to challenge that rule, raise an action in the Court of Session and see how far you get.

    Your discussion of international law (about which I am happy to admit I know little) is irrelevant as Britain has the wherewithal to flout international law as it pleases. However, notwithstanding that, your interpretation of international laws consistently seems to arrive at the precise conclusion that suits your views. Funny, that!

    Incidentally, the protection under common law from maladministration does not extend to Scotland because, as you are taught in I think about the first week of law school, Scotland does not have a common law system, using as we do a system derived from European and ultimately Roman civilian law. There is however to be a well-functioning process for judicial review in Scotland which operates on similar lines to the English system; I am unsure of the legal niceties but in practical terms it is the same As Lady Hale’s speech implicitly states this, I have to wonder whether you actually read any of the articles you post on this site.

    But this is all pointless as this is, as I say, a Scottish politics blog, and people are here to discuss Scottish politics, not to have pedantic arguments about legal theory. I shall revert simply to reading the site’s articles, as I would not wish to detract from others’ enjoyment of Stu’s work. No doubt you will continue to clog up the comments section. Cheerio!

    *= and yes, finding obscure academic journal articles, as against the combined weight of centuries of Scots law, is clutching at straws.

  90. Mike d says:

    ‘The biggest economic decisions of our lifetime’ . I dont think economics comes into it for certain people in Scotland. Scotland could be an apocalyptic wasteland with hordes of zombies wandering the streets in rag tattered clothes and rummaging through bins for something to eat. But as long as these ‘people ‘ can still fly the fleg, all will be well with the world.

  91. Andy Ellis says:

    @CBB @Golfnut

    It’s just not that complicated. Once a yes vote is achieved the process is pretty well understood. All we need to ensure is that the outcome is recognised internationally, or we end up like Catalonia. The negotiations after recognition will be interesting, but again it’s overwhelmingly likely they will be a political not a legal process.

    As Golfnut rightly notes, our self-determination isn’t in the gift of Westminster (neither is Catalonia’s in the gift of Madrid) but the international community depends on us to get ourselves over the line. It isn’t going to do our work for us, or force British unionists to “let us go”. It doesn’t care about the Treat of Union, or domestic law, or breaches of contract.

    Our independence hinges firstly on us reaching out and taking it, and secondly ensuring international recognition. Nothing else really matters, certainly not whether Westminster thinks it’s legal or whether they take us out of the EU against our will. Both the EU and broader international community just assume (rightly) that Scots lack the balls to stop Westminster doing exactly as it likes because we’re too spineless to do the only thing that will stop it: vote Yes.

  92. Mike d says:

    Anyroads o/t apologies. I wonder how many of those royal loving yoons living in Scotland will answer covid (he recovered quick) Charlie’s call to ‘pick for Britain. He wants ‘pickers who are stickers ‘ to help pick the crops now that those cheap laboured Johnny foreigners aren’t allowed into blighty. Dont all get trampled in the rush to volunteer.

  93. Mike d says:

    Terry callachan 5.32pm which is all the more reason for the first minister to come out and say, I’m operating with one hand tied behind my back here, our country needs its independence.

  94. CameronB Brodie says:

    “I’m not here to dispute arcane points of constitutional theory, there are other blogs for that.”

    You what? It appears you’re not concerned with justice and equality in law then. Are you sure you are who you claim you are?




  95. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    Would you please stop placing politics above the law? The law is there to stop political opportunism such as Brexit. You’d appreciate this if you knew anything about supporting the rule-of-law.

    The Legitimacy of International Law:
    A Constitutionalist Framework of Analysis

  96. defo says:

    Ignore it Andy.
    He’s special

  97. Alex (not that one) says:

    Can’t resist replying…

    After I have explained why your legal arguments are mistaken, rather than rebut my points, you have responded by:

    a) accusing me of not having a law degree- well, you’ll just have to take my word on that one;

    b) stating that I’m ‘not concerned with justice and equality’- well, I like justice and equality, I don’t think that they, or anything else, are well served by pretending that the law says something different to what it actually says;

    c) linking to a report by the European Commission; that is to say, the equivalent of a white paper, by an organisation this country regrettably no longer belongs to, I.e. something completely irrelevant to what I have said.

    In other words you have ignored my argument and spouted drivel in the hope that people take ypur bluster as a sign of intelligence. Remember, we’re Scottish nationalists here, that trick doesn’t work on us when Boris Johnson tries it!

    Now I’m going for good!

  98. CameronB Brodie says:

    To fucking right I’m special. We all are under international law. Dick head.

  99. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    “a) accusing me of not having a law degree- well, you’ll just have to take my word on that one;”

    This is a complete misrepresentation of my words.

    “b) stating that I’m ‘not concerned with justice and equality’- well, I like justice and equality, I don’t think that they, or anything else, are well served by pretending that the law says something different to what it actually says;”

    Do you have any clue about constitutional or human rights law, as it does not appear to be the case.

    “c) linking to a report by the European Commission; that is to say, the equivalent of a white paper, by an organisation this country regrettably no longer belongs to, I.e. something completely irrelevant to what I have said.”

    You appear not to recognise the significance of a legal perspective that British constitutionalism has enforceable separated Scotland from (i.e. the international rule-of-law). Are you sure you’re trying to understand this from a perspective that respects Natural Law?

    If you weren’t such an arrogant wanker I might not have seen through your shallow appreciation of the law so quickly. Get tae.

  100. CameronB Brodie says:

    Alex (not that one)
    You might as well educate yourself while you’re getting tae fuck.

    The Use of International Treaty Law by the Court of Justice of the European Union>

  101. John Thomson says:

    If not now then when

  102. Robert Louis says:

    Alex (not that one) at 0924,

    Possibly the most sanctimonious, patronising post I’ve ever read on here.

    The problem, and it is a big one, is that if we subscribe to your absolute British English rule philiosophy, then Scotland could only ever achieve independence when London agrees, and not before. But the fact is, the treaty which gives London a say in Scotland’s affairs, is an international treaty, and can be unilaterally ended by either party. At that very second when Scotland decides to end the union treaty, that very second, London ceases to have a say in Scottish affairs.

    Indeed, once Scotland’s leaders actually develop a backbone and realise that, independence is actually easy. From the very second the union treaty is unilaterally ended by Scotland, then England, Wales and N.Ireland become foreign countries. London would from that moment on have no more say in Scottish affairs, than Paris or Berlin.

    London can claim to have absolute sovereinty as much as it likes, but when every other English colony became independent, that ‘power’ they claim to have just vanished. Their is only one document giving London a say in Scottish affairs, the treaty of union of 1707. Nothing else.

    It is a delusion that unionists like to perpetuate, that somehow, only England can determine if the union treaty is ended, but of course that is not how treaties work. The union treaty was agreed by separate acts of both the English and Scottish parliaments. Both would not be needed, if it were only England’s decison, but that wasn’t what happened. Either party can end the union treaty.

    Unionists like to bombast about absolute power of Westminster, but it is a delusion, all smoke and mirrors. Just ask, the USA, Canada, Aistralia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Malta UAE….and so on. They claimed the same nonsense for all of them.

    Only Scotland the SNP leadership seems to still fall for it. Mugs.

  103. twathater says:

    Does anyone on here actually believe that NS would have done anything different to bozos lockdown , does anyone on here think that NS would have challenged bozos methodology in the covid crisis

    Obviously furloughing people and companies requires the ability to financially pay them but if NS believed that it was IMPERATIVE to take those measures and close borders to save lives then she should have informed the Scottish public ,( that as the FM of Scotland I am duty bound to protect Scottish citizens lives and I will take the measures required to do so )

    If in the event that WM CHOSE to refuse access to the furlough funding for Scotland that would have caused immeasurable uproar and would have highlighted to people the contempt that WM has for Scotland and Scots , that would have been the straw to break the camels back , even the corrupt MSM would have difficulty in explaining to Scots that it was fair to refuse funding to save lives

    But as usual it was capitulation without challenge

  104. robbo says:

    She couldn’t have closed borders or paid furlough as we aren’t independent .If we were independent we could have done what we wanted. Closed airports,border crossing etc

    Them’s the rules cos not enough people voted YES in 2014.Blame the yoons and britnats, i’m afraid can’t pin that wan on her!

  105. Sinky says:

    Great article by Sir Harry Burns in Scotsman saying UK Gov handling of Covid useless and border with England should have been set up years ago

  106. Andy Ellis says:

    @CBB 9.48pm

    Please at least try to interact with what people say, not what you wrongly infer: it’ll make you look less of a charlatan. Your ill tempered rants and repetitive posting of things you think support what passes for your case don’t represent analysis of the issue, still less demonstrating any understanding of them on your part. You simply clog up the BTL comments here and appear to think abusing people and being pompous about your much vaunted educational background impresses folk. In fact it just makes you look a bit sad.

    I never said, nor do I believe that politics is above the law. We’ve seen some pretty good examples of that recently with brexit related cases. International law however is an imperfect tool. It isn’t going to help deliver independence for Scotland any more than it has delivered it for Catalonia. No organisation, whether the UN, EU or ICJ is going to intervene in any dispute about #indyref2 unless and until Scots voters themselves face up to their own responsibilities and vote decisively for a specific independence platform, either via an indyref or at plebiscitary elections.

    This isn’t rocket science. It’s the international community that needs to be convinced it should support Scottish independence. It is most likely to do so following an agreed, peaceful process, and we know how that can be done. It is much less likely to do so if there is conflict (see Catalonia, Kosovo among others).

  107. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    If I thought you understood anything about the rule-of-law, I might take you more seriously. However, it appears you are simply another know-nothing know-it-all, who views the world through political goggles.

    The Foundation of International Human Rights Law

  108. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    You’ve chosen the wrong dude to patronise, I’ll wipe the floor with you.

    E-justice: enhancing transparency, effectiveness and access to justice

  109. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    The practical lesson I’ll like you to take from this wee exercise, is never come at me like that again.

    From constitutional to human rights: On the moral structure of international human rights

  110. Andy Ellis says:

    @Cameron Brodie 10.19pm

    The University of St Andrews isn’t known for giving PhD’s in International Relations to “know-nothing know-it-alls” bud. Regurgitating endless links to secondary sources you patently don’t understand, and which have little or no bearing on the matter in hand, does not equal research, still less qualify as debate. It’s desperate sophomoric stuff, the kind of thing that wouldn’t even receive a pass mark in a first year essay.

    Your tendency to play the man rather than the ball and to become abusive when called out for your inanities tells us everything we need to know about your MO.

  111. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    You may have a PhD in International Relations, but you don’t appear to respect international human rights law, or those who seek to defend it.

    State Sovereignty and Human Rights: towards a Global Constitutional Project

  112. CameronB Brodie says:

    My approach to debate might not be to everyone’s taste, but I’m very rusty and I’m simply loosing patience with those who seek to place politics above the law.

    Human & Constitutional Rights, Other H.R. Sites

  113. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    Btw, you’re not the only one to have studied International Relations.

    Justice and the Rule of Law in International Relations

  114. Andy Ellis says:


    Dude, you couldn’t wipe a floor if someone shoved a mop up your arse and chased you round a room. Copy pasting links to secondary sources you don’t understand and that folk aren’t going to read achieves nothing. You’re not providing analysis or making a case you’re just providing a reading list. Big woop.

  115. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    You don’t appear to understand how education in the community works. That says a lot about your perspective.

  116. CameronB Brodie says:

    Andy Ellis
    So I suggest you start learning. 😉

    Empowerment and Critical Consciousness: A Conceptual Cross-Fertilization

  117. Dave says:

    Wow! Thats a serious case of Hindsight you’ve got there Stu. With hindsight nobody would have been allowed to leave China when the first outbreaks were reported Wutan would have been quarantined with tourists and expats being quarantined with the locals. Governments that chose to evacuate or allow their nationals to come home are the ones responsible for an epidemic becomming a Pandemic.
    Health in Scotland may be devolved but control over our borders isnt neither it seems is procurement in emergencies.
    You need to get over this feud you have with the Scottish Government over yer transgender concerns and get you eye back on the ball because this pathetic sniping is doing nothing good for anybody but the UK state.

  118. Willie says:

    What a good piece Cllr Chris and thanks to Wings for hosting the piece.

    The piece very much puts into perspective the type of thinking that is extant in so many of the minds of the SNP membership. The piece also reveals why there needs to be a change of leadership at the top of the SNP.

    When one reflects on the course of events, how the Westminster Government wilfully fiddled whilst Rome burned is sobering. We need to steer a different course. This article reinforces it.

    Good stuff Wings. Absolutely back on form. Our fight begins anew.

  119. Graham says:

    As stated above,
    “The UK Government often wish to conjure up the jingoism of tackling a virus being like a war , but another of their often used bellicisms is that the first duty of Government is to protect its citizens – on this front they have grossly failed.”

    This provides further mandate for independence, with urgency. There should be (alongside ongoing COVID-19 measures of course) determined work towards declaring and implementing Scottish independence at the earliest, to safeguard Scotland’s population if for no other reason (and there are plenty of other reasons).

    Given Westminster’s wilful complacence and proven incompetence over the life-and-death matter of this pandemic, against global medical advice and practical example – killing probably dozens of thousands who could have lived – Holyrood should not depend on permission but forge its own path.

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