Pit & Gallows


Sad and tragic as the murder of a good man always is—and Sir David Amess seems to have been an exceptionally good and likeable man—Scotland can congratulate itself on the fact that such an atrocity is unlikely to happen here. Under the iron heel of Ms Sturgeon, most MSPs have largely stopped giving surgeries as far as I can see. At least, in my constituency there has been none that I can remember in the last seven years. The same applies to our MP. He got extremely shirty when I wrote to ask him when he last came to the town for a surgery and when he planned to do so in the future. (None has happened in the three years since.)

The SNP’s aim is to control Scotland by, amongst other things, differentiating it from England. It prefers the traditional authoritarianism (“pit and gallows”) of the Highland chieftains under heritable jurisdiction, in contrast to the more democratic (and therefore less controllable) habits that the English have progressively refined since the first parliament met under Edward I, even before Bannockburn.

The rule of law depends on reciprocity between those who make the laws and those who have to obey them. This has usually been the British preference, but it is not the SNP one. We are getting closer to Mr Putin’s “power vertical”. “Yous’ll dae whit yer tellt”, or to put it into English: “No backchat.” “Молчите!”, as Vladimir Vladimirovich would say. In Scotland, as in Russia, politicians represent their PARTY, not their constituents. Hence there is no need to meet them in life-threatening surgeries.

The rule of law is under serious threat in Scotland today. England will survive the stabbing of Sir David, but I wonder whether Scotland will survive the stamp of Lady Sturgeon’s iron heel. The dangers are described in this book: “THE JUSTICE FACTORY: Can the Rule of Law Survive in 21st Century Scotland?” (Ian Mitchell, 2020)

It is not a party-political screed. It has been endorsed by both ends of the political spectrum here: Ian (“Stone of Destiny”) Hamilton QC, the renegade nationalist, and Adam Tomkins, who is both an ex-MSP (Tory) and Professor of Constitutional Law in the University of Glasgow. The Foreword is written by Lord Hope of Craighead, ex-Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court and Alan Page, Professor of Public Law at Dundee, who is the author “Constitutional Law of Scotland”, the main reference work, has written an Introduction to Part II.

Details of the book can be found here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1981993401?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860 or through Graeme Baird at The Old Bookshelf, Campbeltown (01586 551114), who will post it to you in the old-fashioned way.