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SNP - the madness continues

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3 hours ago, Bill said:

All in all, the House of Lords is a very good thing. How well it works at any given time is another matter altogether but the institution itself and the role it plays in parliament is far better than any alternative I've heard of.


If the only argument anyone can come up with against the House of Lords is "I don't like the look of these posh blokes" then God help us. Frankly, it would be better to restrict any criticism to a description of the proposed alternative but be warned, the best minds in the country have tried for many years to find a better form of upper house - and failed. So unless you're very special.....

Why would the best minds even bother to look for an alternative as they could well end up being on the gravy train themselves. There is a lot to be said for keeping the status quo when things work well, but the days of the Lords just concerning themselves with improving bills before they become law is well and truly over after their antics in the Brexit legislation debates when vested interest of the establishment took over. 

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Bicameral vs unicameral is a really interesting debate.  

I think the criticisms already labelled at the HoL are relevant, but also agree that there isn’t necessarily a clearly better alternative. At least, not one that won’t present different challenges. 

In Holyrood, one of the biggest issues with the system there is the weakness of the scrutinising committees, not least seen with the Salmond affair. And the whole system falls down when you end up with MSPs from a governing party with highly centrist controlling tendencies chairing said scrutinising committees.  

Where I think a lot of the criticisms of the HoL comes from is the patronage and jobs for the boys culture.  Successive PMs have used their ability to appoint donors and all sorts of friends; and I think that particularly irks many who have concerns about it’s unelected nature. 

If either are to change, and arguably they both should, it should take careful review of the process for election/nomination as well as the checks and balances, whilst retaining the good qualities they may have.  Eg I’m sure with a bit of research we could come up with many instances where the HoL have changed the government’s position through scrutiny of legislation, and surely that is the point?



Edited by stewarty
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The Rule of Law subverted by the Law of Rulers?

Much remains to be seen re: this potential case, but the complaint does seem entirely plausible in Sturgeon's Scotland. 


Prosecution of Salmond ally Mark Hirst ‘malicious’, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain told

Mike Wade

Tuesday July 27 2021, 12.01am, The Times


Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC has been urged to admit liability and confirm compensation will be paid to Mark Hirst




A failed prosecution of an independence activist who spoke out against the women accusers of Alex Salmond “appears to have been politically motivated”, Scotland’s new lord advocate has been told.

Dorothy Bain has been urged to admit liability and confirm compensation will be paid to Mark Hirst or her name would be added to a writ for malicious prosecution which his legal team is about to serve on Iain Livingstone, the chief constable of Police Scotland.

The warning is in a letter from Gordon Dangerfield, a solicitor advocate representing Hirst, and is the latest fallout from Salmond’s trial last year, when he was cleared of 13 charges of sexual assault against nine women. After the verdict, Hirst published a video blog saying the female complainants in the Salmond case would “reap a whirlwind”. He was arrested two months later and prosecuted by the Crown Office under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.

Sheriff Peter Paterson ruled in January he had no case to answer, saying Hirst gave his opinion on the situation in the SNP “and no more than that”.

Dangerfield said it was clear there had been no cause to prosecute his client, and condemned a police search of Hirst’s property which went ahead after a “fundamentally misleading” application for a warrant.

In the letter and a blog post, he highlighted the role of Rape Crisis Scotland, a Scottish government funded organisation, in condemning Hirst’s statement prior to his arrest.

He said such organisations were part of “[Nicola] Sturgeon’s personal clique of zealots” who had impinged on the rights of his client and on the rights of others, including women opponents of reform of the gender recognition act.

Writing to Bain, Dangerfield said: “We wish to make clear that this prosecution appears to have been politically motivated. Mr Hirst was, plainly, a supporter of Mr Salmond.

“We shall of course investigate whether Rape Crisis Scotland were encouraged to make a complaint for political motives, and indeed whether the complainers in the Salmond trial were similarly encouraged to do so.” In the letter, Dangerfield amplified his views on the role of “some of the most powerful people in Scotland” in bringing cases against Hirst and Salmond.

He said: “Remember that Alex Salmond was . . . acquitted of all of the charges brought by these powerful accusers by a jury of his peers and on the clearest possible evidence that he was innocent.”

Emphasising that the trial was heard in “the highest criminal court in the land” he highlighted some of the complaints against Salmond, including, he said, “touching someone’s arms and hips over her clothing and congratulating her that she had lost weight while in a nightclub and in the presence of numerous other people ( . . . it seems, witnessed by no one else present)”.

He added: “Think of any ordinary person — or Rape Crisis Scotland itself, for that matter — trying to persuade the police even to investigate such allegations, let alone persuading COPFS [the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service] . . . and you’ll get an idea of just how powerful these accusers are, and just how much of a mouthpiece for them Rape Crisis Scotland, the police and COPFS have become.”

He cited the apology by James Wolfe, Bain’s predecessor, for the “malicious prosecution” of the finance experts handling the administration of Rangers FC. The Crown has paid out £21 million in compensation in the case.

Rape Crisis Scotland was asked for comment. COPFS said it had no comment to make.

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By far the greatest disappointment for me is the ongoing failure of the opposition parties in Scotland, all of whom seem completely incapable of converting an open goal. The SNP is there to be shredded on any number of issues but the other parties refuse to dirty their hands with it. Labour in particular seems to have been struck utterly dumb.

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