Monday, 31 January 2011

Moore, yer claimed!

On the 27th of January Brian Taylor of the BBC wrote that Westminster was sovereign over Scotland, as like most Scots that is what he believes.  In my previous piece 'Whit's Liz's number agin' I established that the people of Scotland remain constitutionally sovereign as established in the Claim of Right of 1689 which itself merely reaffirmed  the original letter to the pope in 1320 which itself  was written into Scots Law in the first of Bruce’s Parliament of the Estates in 1328.

Why is this apparently archaic bill of the late 17th century important as Scotland staggers on towards full fiscal autonomy and the inevitable break up of the Union?

The reason is simple: the bill set the ground rules for the relationship between the Crown and its parliament at Westminster and the people of Scotland.  Further, unlike the English parliament who simply had to hope James VII and II would see sense, take the cash on offer and abdicate, the Estates made clear that James VII was getting the boot.  The bill clarified why the Estates and the sovereign people of Scotland had the sovereign right to do so.

This bill further inhibited the ability of Scottish Crown or nobles to influence parliamentary bills and Scots Law, especially the church estate, through patronage.  The Scottish Crown and nobles lost control of the parliament for the next ten years.  The impact on William was that his army, if placed in Scotland, would be there at the English Crown’s expense because Scots Law prohibited the raising of a standing army and its funding, provision and garrisoning in Scotland in time of peace.  In the run up to 1707 the same argument was raised against the English Crown and its standing army which was using Scottish regiments (raised for ‘home’ protection) in English Continental wars against the wishes of the Estates, to the peril of Scottish commerce with the Low Countries and the Hanseatic League. 

In turn this caused concern in Horse Guards, the London headquarters of the English army, where English generals were again worried that Scotland could once more become a back door for the French, as Ireland had been during the uprising the previous decade, and had been feared nearly 150 years before when Mary of Guise was regent in Scotland.  It is in this context that Malborough’s calls to Horse Guards for troops to be placed near the Scottish border should be viewed.  It also allows us to understand why reinforcements were to be prepared in Ireland – although Malborough would have preferred these forces to be deployed in continental Europe or to remain in Ireland in order to hold down the ethnic Irish population.  The 1689-91 Irish Jacobite rebellion was still fresh in the English Army Commander’s mind.

For the Scots the 1698 Claim of Right restated that sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland whereas the equivalent bill in England stated sovereignty lay with the Westminster Parliament.  This is a subtle but important point.

For the Crown the Claim of Right ensured there was no Union of the Crowns. In order to keep the Crown of Scotland, the Crown had to swear a separate Scottish oath to the Estates as representatives of Scottish sovereignty.  It is telling that the Bill makes clear to William that he and his successors could lose the right to the Crown of Scotland if at any time they breached the statutes in the bill:

“Haveing therfor ane entire confidence that his said Majesty the King of England will perfect the Delyverance so far advanced by him and will still preserve them from violation of their Rights which they have here asserted and from all other attempts upon their Religion lawes and liberties.”

It was interesting that in 1973 the Crown held that under the oath sworn to the sovereign people of Scotland, it could not allow the reduction of their lands known as the Kingdom of Fife to be subsumed into the super-regions of Tayside and Lothian during the reorganisation.  Fife stayed Fife with a degree of unity of purpose not seen in the many strange constructs which Wheatley’s Royal Commission Report created and which were only partly resolved by the 1991 restructuring.

In terms of both the 1698 Claim of Right and the Union Treaty, the 1973 Local Council Bill (Scotland) breached both.  According to the Claim of Right: “By Subverting the right of the Royal Burghs, The third Estate of Parliament imposeing upon them not only magistrats But also the wholl toune Councill and Clerks contrary to their liberties and express chartours without the pretence either of sentence surrender or consent.’   Meanwhile Article 21 of the Treaty of Union states: “That the Rights and Privileges of the Royall Burroughs in Scotland as they now are, Do Remain entire after the Union, and notwithstanding thereof.”
I have tried to find where within the Laws of Scotland that the rights expressed in both the 1689 Claim of Right and the Treaty of Union have been abrogated or repealed.  I discovered that the 1689 Bill of Rights is ‘entrenched’. This means that these Bills and Treaties are imbedded into Scots Law, to change, repeal all or any part of the Claim of Right or the Act of Union requires a referendum to be held under the requirements of the EU and UN Human Rights Conventions. There was no referendum held to consent to Westminster's subsuming Scottish Sovereignty, so the removal of the rights of Royal Burghs in Scotland is just one of many examples of the Parliament at Westminster exceeding its statutory rights by ignoring the constitutional reality that is Scottish Sovereignty, entrenched in Scots Law.

As a signatory to the EU Convention of Human Rights, Westminster enacted primary legislation but found it difficult to bend the convention to their wishes.  The UK Human Rights Act 1998 makes it very difficult to prove that primary legislation breaches an individual’s or group of peoples human rights as where primary legislation is in breach of the 1998 Act, the EU and UN Human right’s conventions there is no way of forcing the UK Government to change except by challenging the Act or Bill in Court which would be the Court of Sessions in Scotland. If the Court finds in favour of the plaintive then it will issue a Declaration of Incompatibility. This still does not force the UK Government to change any part of the act but represents public pressure for changes to be made to the primary legislation or the introduction of secondary legislation to address the breach of their rights but failure of the UK Government to do so means that any appeal to EU Human Rights Court in Strasbourg is likely to be successful and the UK Government should then swiftly correct the breach – if not they leave themselves open to EU sanction.

What could happen can be inferred from the case of McCormick v. the Lord Advocate.  The case centred on the numbering style of the monarch.  The court ruled it was part of the Royal Prerogative as to how the monarch was styled but conceded the more important point given by the Lord President, Lord Cooper, that :“the principle of unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle and has no counterpart in Scottish Constitutional Law”.  Further, “the Lord Advocate conceded this point by admitting that the Parliament of Great Britain ‘could not’ repeal or alter [certain] ‘fundamental and essential’ conditions” of the Act of Union (MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1953 SC 396 at page 411).  Thus we can presume that like the 1689 Claim of Rights, the 1707 Act of Union is also entrenched in Scots Law, as are the protections both the bill and the act offer Scots against abuse of their sovereign rights by Westminster.

So it could be that as the proposed amendments to the Scotland Act 1998 directly affect the sovereignty and realm of the Scottish people, any such imposition by Westminster would be contrary to the EU Convention of Human Rights.  And as the people are sovereign, any Scot who believes that the amendments or conditions already in the Scotland Bill 1998 remove our sovereignty would be entitled to seek a Declaration of Incompatibility in the Scottish courts prior to seeking judgement from the EU Court of Human Rights.
I have no legal training, as such, but have been involved in implementing quality standards and legal requirements within health care for 16 years as a consultant and ISO 9000 Certification Auditor.  In terms of my experience I would consider I have enough objective evidence to say that the Scotland Bill 1998 and the proposed amendments currently being ‘ramrodded’ through Westminster at this current juncture, in unseemly haste, are non-conforming with respect to what I understand to be the written Scottish Constitution, which is entrenched in Scots Law and not open to Westminster alteration without the agreement of the sovereign Scottish people.

If there is no referendum on these amendments (which impinge on everyone living within the Scottish Realm) the amendment bill as currently being construed can be deemed illegal in Scots Law as it is being imposed without the expressed agreement of the sovereign people and is contrary to Scotland’s entrenched constitution.

For Moore to claim that these amendments ‘are the settled will of the Scottish people’ puts him up there with James VII in terms of the 1698 Claim of Rights in that he is condoning the following breach of that bill:

 “That the Imprisoning persones without expressing the reason therof and delaying to put them to tryall is contrary to law.”

So Moore’s support of Control Orders will do for a start.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Whit's Liz's number agin?

Scotland hasnae got a king an’ she hasnae got a queen,
Hoo can there be a second Liz when the first yin’s never been?

So sang the likes of Hamish ‘Two Stools’ Imlach and Matt ‘Bard o the Calton’ MacGinn in the early 60s on the thriving Scottish folk circuit of the time.  The sentiment expressed was written off by the establishment as mere whimsy, angry young men and a bit of a bad taste joke.  Yet the second stanza reflects the biggest problem that the Union and the defacto Westminster claim to being primus interpares has never faced up to; where does Scottish sovereignty lie and with whom?

You have to delve further back than the Declaration of Arbroath to get to grips with the Scottish legal entity that is our national sovereignty.  It starts with the treaty sealed by the marriage between Kenneth McAlpin and his Pictish queen that unified Scotland north of an approximate line from north of an approximate line between Dumbarton and the Firth of Forth. This treaty by marriage is now accepted, by most historians, as being the birth of the Scottish nation as a unified entity and therefore represents the start point of Scottish sovereignty recognised across Europe, or to put it another way it marked the birth of the recognition of Scotland as a nation state.

So what is sovereignty - is it just some fine dust that you can never grasp or hold onto or is it a tangible asset?

Sovereignty is defined as the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. And comes in a number of bits and flavours:
1.    It is reflected in a nation state’s right to self determination recognised by those states around it.
2.    The ability to create and enact laws pertaining to that territory or nation state.
3.    Representative democracies permit the transfer of the exercise of sovereignty from the people to the parliament or the government.
4.    Parliamentary democracy refers to a representative democracy where the Parliament is, ultimately, the source of sovereignty, and not the executive power.
5.    The republican form of government acknowledges that the sovereign power is founded in the people, individually, not in the collective or whole body of free citizens, as in a democratic form. Thus no majority can deprive a minority of their sovereign rights and powers.
6.    In a representative democracy involving nation states, such as a ‘Union’,  where sovereignty lies is dependent on the ‘social contract’ between the participating nation states

This confusion of thinking about sovereignty leads one expert on international law to say: “There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon. ”  
— Lassa Oppenheim

Given all that and a few quid pro quos I think we can safely say, in terms of sovereignty, Scotland meets bullet point one on our shopping list.

Next up is the thorny issue of the constitutional monarchy and just what is the truth about the so- called Union of the Crowns and its impact on Scottish sovereignty?

According to John McGill in his Potted History of Scotland there has been no such event as the Union of the Crowns.  It was simply more British Empire spin to create a sense of Westminster legitimacy and supremacy where none actually exists.

James Sixth and First was entitled to take the throne of England, after Liz one died, only because he was the surviving heir with best claim by inheritance through an earlier dynastic marriage between the Stewarts and the Tudors.  There was no Union of the Crowns in any legal sense, as there have always been separate regalia and, until after Queen Anne, there were separate coronations.  The present Liz uses the regalia of Scotland when she is ‘ben oor hoose’. John McGill attests the Scottish regalia are the oldest continuously used regalia in Europe.

The Union of the Parliaments could be seen as the precursor to the EU in terms of what it was supposed to be about – opening up markets in Scotland to the English and trading access to the English Empire by the Scots in a unified tax zone.  What in fact happened was a transfer of power, by default, to Westminster.  If you look at the Parliamentary Union through this prism it is clear that the process of Union did not hand over Scottish popular sovereignty to Westminster because Scotland remained sovereign over the key area that defines a sovereign nation state – the ability to enact and enforce its own law; that Westminster has taken the patina of being primus interpares in all respects is a myth and, in my view, legally challengeable in any UN Human Rights Forum.  Even Lord Forsyth recognised this myth when he said the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament meant that Scotland could now walk away from the Union any time it so wished and decided to.

Scotland has a long history of what is now termed representative democracy.  It started with the rotating Kingships of early Scotland where the righ was appointed by popular acclaim of the heads of the families and it remains to this day that no monarch can ascend to the Scottish throne without the expressed wish of the people of Scotland – another area that Westminster has subsumed over the last three centuries.

In 1320 this long-standing habit was enshrined in a legal document which was notarised by the then equivalent of the head of the UN – the Pope.  The letter to the Pope from the Barons of Scotland and written by the Abbot of Arbroath is better known as the Declaration of Arbroath. The letter is in the name of the people of the realm of Scotland. It repeatedly refers to the "sovereignty of the people" in as much that should the King not act according to their will and wishes that they, "the people of Scotland" would elect another who would act in accordance with their wishes, albeit through the officers of state (representatives from church and nobility).  More important in terms of the cause of Scotland’s sovereignty, this letter remains a legitimate statement of the Scottish Constitution recognisable as such by the UN today as much as by the Pope in 1320.

Robert the Bruce took this a stage further when his first parliament of 1328 not only contained said church and nobles but also included the burghs (who had been steadfast supporters of Bruce) and thus the Three Estates came into being. The parliament met at regular intervals for the next 400 hundred years and was a thorn in the side of a number of Stewarts who had ideas of being an absolute monarch.  James the Sixth made clear he preferred the near absolute monarchy he enjoyed in England to the strictures of a reforming Three Estates who kept him on a tight leash in Scotland.

The ultimate sovereignty of the people finds one of its earliest recorded expressions in the Declaration of Arbroath, where Robert Bruce is declared king and the representative of his people:
"Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to our laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. ....Yet [should he prove false,] we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King."
The SNP in their draft Scottish Constitution make clear their commitment to this fundamental right of the Scottish People:
"5.7 Sovereignty will rest with the Scottish people: and it will be exercised by the Scottish Parliament and Government for and on behalf of the Scottish people." (SNP Outline Scottish Constitution 2005)
Another important piece in the jigsaw of Scottish sovereignty comes when the 1689 Claim of Right was passed into law.  The passing of this bill the established rights of the Scots Parliament in relation to the Crown, the monarch reigned whereas parliament legislated while sovereignty remained with the people of Scotland as the supreme constitutional authority. The 1689 Scottish Claim of Right was not subsumed by the Union of the Parliaments and is a fundamental written constitutional document which is still in force to this day.  That this principle is still pertinent in Scots law was determined in the case of MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1954 (1953 SC 396). Lord Cooper, the Lord President of the court hearing the case stated, "The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law ... I have difficulty in seeing why it should have been supposed that the new Parliament of Great Britain must inherit all the peculiar characteristics of the English Parliament but none of the Scottish Parliament ..."

This then leaves us with the problem of the Scotland Bill 1999, Cameron’s proposed amendments, also to what extent they are in breach of the Scottish people’s constitutional rights and sovereignty.  To this end I would suggest that the last word on where Scottish sovereignty lies rests with Winnie Ewing MSP. "The Scottish Parliament adjourned on the 25th day of March 1707 is hereby reconvened.”

Friday, 14 January 2011

Alternate National Anthem

God save Luca's Ice cream
Long live Luca's Ice cream
God save Ice cream.
Send it in freedom's tastes,
Not like Westminster's paste,
Long to cause Labour's hate,
God save Ice Cream.

Our increasing disgust let's pour
On those, who at our door,
Lie through their teeth.
Let Labour's grasping hands
Be freed from all our land
And Fudd's malfeasant band
Be crushed at last.

Then freedom's gifts adore
When Westminster's grip's no more -
Our nation healed.
Then all with one accord
Declare to all abroad
Scotland's fine 'bon accord'
Let all be free.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Glasgow Labour; crime no punishment - fantasy or truth?

On the April the 5th 2010 the Daily Record – of all papers – carried the following:

“DETECTIVES launched an investigation last night into cocaine shame council boss Steven Purcell. Strathclyde Police had been weighing up the case against the 37-year-old since he admitted in a newspaper interview taking the class A drug.  It is believed the inquiry will also cover allegations surrounding contracts awarded by the council.”

Later in the year the Sunday Herald linked the Glasgow Council member of ‘City Buildings’ Councillor Todd as working for Network Private Hire - a firm Strathclyde Police suspect is used to ‘launder’ one James Baxter’s (a member of the McGovern Syndicate) ill gotten gains as Baxter still draws £5,000+ a year from Network Private Hire according to the police. David Meikle, a Tory councillor in Glasgow, said: "We already needed a full debate on the decision by the Labour-run council to increase its work for Network Private Hire, but the revelation that the taxi firm employs a Labour councillor means it is vital we get answers on the links between the party and this company."

Baxter’s son in law, the new owner of Network Private Hire claims it is all a police vendetta because of who his father in law is and the company’s shady past. Surely the police can not suspect anything given all the previous owners of Network Private Hire had criminal records and he does not - is his line.

Then there is Lewis 'Scooby' Rodden, who went to a New Labour pre-election fund raiser at Glasgow's Thistle Hotel. He sat only yards away from the then Cabinet member, Scottish Secretary, Murphy who was alongside former Defence Secretary Dr John Reid, the main speaker at the evening.  Ms Cunningham, the organiser, when asked whether Lewis Rodden had attended the fundraiser, told the Sunday Herald: “Louie was there, aye.”  Later Ms Cunningham a member of the Strathclyde Police Authority tried to retract her earlier statement to something more politically bland but it came out more ‘biblical’ - “I know Louie, in the sense of I’ve met him.” She said.  Murphy screamed ‘indignation’ at the presence of Rodden.  Rodden said: “Can a man no just go and have a drink where he wants!” The unanswered question remains: why were the Glasgow Gangs looking to cosy up to Murphy?

This was not the first or last time Glasgow’s Gangs have been represented at Labour fund raisers - in 2002 Justin McAlroy, head of a Glasgow drugs gang, attended one of Jack McConnell’s ‘Red Rose Dinners’ – it did not do him much good, though, as he was shot dead within weeks.

Then there is the fall of Stephen Purcell which it appears includes a business relationship with one of Glasgow’s Drug Barons - Jimmy Bryce – and the attempt by one of Bryce’s ‘boys’ to blackmail Purcell. As yet whether the attempt was successful or not and what any ramifications may be are still under investigation by Strathclyde Police.

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is not exempt from the mix of Labour Councillors and known Gang Bosses. Take Inter Guard Security which was run by two known gang bosses: Faulds, who was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow in 1986 and his brother Robert, 59, a co-director in another security firm, who also has a series of convictions. Their cousin is George Redmond, Labour councillor for the city's Calton ward. Having been refused a bid to provide ‘security’ because of both Inter Guard Security director’s criminal past didn't stop Faulds from trying to bypass the official process and win the work by turning up on site and the fire bombing of the odd £40,000 digger by person or person’s unknown is thought by Strathclyde Police to have been an attempt to persuade the main contractor to change to their security company. Company House is currently proposing to strike off this entity for non submission of accounts or director’s details.

Strathclyde Police are trying to sort the mess out with their Organised Crime Initiative. Their spokesman said in June 2010 that: “Councils are paying “millions” of pounds every year to front companies run by Glasgow crime groups. Detectives have long warned that major gangland figures have been cashing in on local government contracts for everything from taxi travel to security work and we estimate it is worth millions of pounds to Glasgow’s gang bosses.” 

To what extent potential ‘informal’ contacts between Labour councillors, clearly established in the case of Ms Cunningham, and local Gang Bosses by members of Strathclyde Police Authority means the authority is in the pockets of Glasgow’s Gangs and to what degree that hampers Strathclyde Police’s attempts to reign in corruption and organised crime in its ‘patch’ must be of concern to the citizen’s of Scotland.

What about ex Glasgow Councillor Walker’s book – Halls of Infamy (2008) where he alleges corruption in Glasgow City Council planning committee: "The more I experienced the planning committee, the more convinced I became that corruption was involved. The old story of brown envelopes being thrust into sweaty palms is not a fiction.

I have received phone calls from architects and publicans who confirm that councillors and officials in some cases have a price list for a favourable vote in committee. Some councillors just come out with it, no beating about the bush, and some are obviously more circumspect.

I heard from a publican that it cost £2,000 to get a licence."

Glasgow City Council threatened legal action but clearly Mr Walker must have had some hard evidence as nothing came of it while the Labour spin machine and MSM successfully smothered the story.

We come to Councillor Black and ‘City Buildings’ being caught out bunging £4,000 to Labour then another £2,000 a few months later before the Scotsman on Sunday broke the story of how a chunk of the ‘arms length’ company’s PR budget had been use to wine and dine Labour councillors to the value of some £20,000 according to the paper. Over on the East Coast when Labour lost control of East Lothian Council a similar tale of council departments chucking money at Labour came to light leaving Iain Gray looking very stupid, even more than usual, as he tried to defend the sums  and methodology involved.

Welcome back again to City Buildings and their contract with City Refrigeration Holdings run by one of Purcell’s pals, Mr Haughey.  The main question is: How did a company with no track record of car or van hire get a contract which stipulated that longstanding experience of such contracts was a requirement? A whistle blower claimed to the Sunday Times that CRH was charging City Buildings 120% more than its rivals best bid. The Sunday Times article went on to say: “Local authority sources said there was disquiet about Haughey’s access to Purcell and that council planners recruited or promoted by Purcell were alleged to be associates of the businessman.”

The Sunday Times further reported that: “CRH also won another contract worth up to £8m in 2007 to supply heavy plant machinery for City Building. The company won other council work. In June 2008, Purcell chaired a meeting where CRH was shortlisted to supply vehicles including executive cars, vans and minibuses. Officials were unable to confirm the contract’s value and said no vehicles were supplied.”

Then there is the disgrace that was the SPT expenses merry go round and KPMG’s scathing interim report on SPT’s financial machinations. KPMG were reported in the Herald as having queried spending on overseas trips which appeared to have little practical value, singling out one to New York in November 2008 which cost the public £17,499. Two of the three people on the trip – chief executive Ron Culley and vice-chairman Davie McLachlan – stood down in February when details of SPT’s spending first appeared in the media. The Official Audit Scotland report did not find directly against Mr Culley in any respect but the man is clearly angry and in his book ‘I belong to Glasgow’ is lashing out at the likes of Charlie Gordon as a - “machine politician of the old school” who was regarded at the highest levels of Scottish Enterprise National as a “bogie man”. He is none to pleasant about Scottish Enterprise Chairs Robert Crawford and Jack Perry either. The Audit Scotland minute 4/11/10, appendix notes that:

The Commission finds serious deficiencies in the way the authority (SPT) managed and controlled travel expenses. These gave rise to a number of instances giving cause for concern about the judgement of those involved. We are particularly concerned that these deficiencies appear to show a culture and behaviour by some of the most senior elected members and officers of the authority at the time. This behaviour fell well short of what is expected of those holding public office and overseeing public funds.”

The then SNP Transport Minister wrote to the SPT to request Mr Culley did not get his golden goodbye, of some £61K according to the Scotsman, and the Transport Minister in question?  Well it was the late Mr Stevenson.

This would be bad enough if it was, as ‘Go Lassie Go’ described it, just Glasgow’s Tammany Hall activity alone but the Sunday Times highlighted that this behaviour runs right through the UK  Labour Party, top to bottom, quoting Margaret Moran – “...the Labour MP who decided to stand down after being asked to pay back £22,500 in expenses, boasted that she could ring her “mates” in the “girls’ gang” for a client. She named them as Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, Caroline Flint and Harriet Harman.”  - For a price: of course.

Pride of place, though, must be given to one of the Glasgow Herald’s more incisive pieces of investigation into Glasgow City Council when in April 2010 they showed clearly how Purcell and the Labour Party used Glasgow’s ALEO’s to reward Glasgow Labour ‘Backs woods’ men and women in a way that more than doubled their councillor’s salary and kept them tied into the Glasgow Labour machine. The Herald put it succinctly when they asked:  “ Labour councillor about rumours of the defection of a colleague to the SNP. The response was: "What, and lose £12,000 for the sake of ideology or principle?"

Yet this is what Iain Gray wants us to buy into, again, this May to save Scotland from the ‘Nasty Nats’ and save the Union.

Labour in Scotland; the party which only knows how to butter its own bread – on both sides.

For other corroborative data have a look at:  Lallands Peat Worrier

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Mad Jock McMad's Petition to Westminster

To those whom it may concern:

This petition is to request that the Parliament at Westminster requests a plebiscite on the Conservative Party’s proposed amendment to the Scotland Bill based on the flawed Calman consultation and report which disenfranchised over 60% of the Scottish Electorate through its refusal to look at and recommend their expressed wish for Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland.

This petition questions the right of politicians elected by a flawed and inequitable system to Westminster where the vote of Scottish MPs representing the sovereign Scottish People  is ineffective as they are a distinct minority in a parliament representing predominantly English Constituencies ; having a defacto ‘Viceroy’ arrogantly deeming what is the ‘settled will of the sovereign Scottish People’, when the two partners in coalition, combined, have a clear minority of Westminster vote share in Scotland.

This petition requires that the people of Scotland are asked, in a plebiscite by May 2011, the three core questions that Calman’s Report avoided:

1.       Do they wish the status quo to be maintained
2.       Do they wish the proposed  Conservative amendments to the Scotland Bill to go forward
3.       Do they wish the Scottish Parliament to gain full fiscal autonomy over the sovereign people of Scotland, its lands, resources and Crown Estates and all taxable incomes from these resources

It is my understanding that any failure to hold such a plebiscite prior to these ill thought and repressive amendments to the Scotland Bill would be a clear breech of the UN Charter on Human rights by a signatory and member of the Permanent Council.

Scotland after the Union remained a sovereign nation with its own laws, education, religious practice, health system, social system, culture, regal regalia and language and as such can not be dismissed as simply being a ‘region’ of the UK. The Scottish Parliament was only suspended when it rose in 1707 and it was made clear by the Presiding Officer in 1999 that the Scottish Parliament was reconvened as Scotland’s sovereign parliament not withstanding the elements of the ‘Scotland Act 1999’ that are supposed to prevent this constitutional anomaly.

We, the petitioners, for all these reasons and to prevent an unpleasant, fractious or acrimonious split between the sovereign nations of England and Scotland request that Westminster gives the Scottish People a plebiscite on the three core questions above with out any further delay and acts equally rapidly to implement the democratic decision of the sovereign Scottish People there after.

Friends – I throw my proposed petition open to further discussion and amendment prior to my intention of posting to the Westminster Petition site on the 7th of January 2011and there after will seek your support in advertising the petition and seeking signatories to exceed the 100,000 required to force its consideration by Westminster.

T’ was Christmas Eve in the Workhouse.

It was Christmas Eve in the workhouse and the orphans climbed over each other to seek festive warmth from the extra lump - I should really say shard – on the mouldering fire. Around the walls was such spirit raising mottoes as: ‘Work will set you free’ or ‘We are the settled will of the orphans’ and ‘You can ask as much as you want but you’ll never be free’.

The walls were grey; blank with no windows to ensure those inside could not see what was going on in the real world. At the far end there was a large cauldron emitting a disgusting stench of corruption that the orphans knew was their Christmas Dinner – ‘Glasgow Labour Gruel’ was the orphans name for it. Even humble pie was too good for such as these.

Amongst the orphans there was a growing resentment as down the rough wood stairs the smell of Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings, drifted from the kitchen which supplied the workhouse’s rulers. The orphans knew much of this food would be wasted and thrown out to give the local dogs and Bank Street urchins’ better fare than they would ever be allowed.

Day by day they saw the fruits of their labour disappear up the stairs to be sold to others for massive profit but little benefit to them. The slogans around the walls were as shallow as the patronising head patting from the board of directors when they made their four yearly inspections telling the orphans how lucky they were to have a roof over their heads or spouting how they always have the orphans’ best interests at heart.

This Christmas there was a growing anger amongst the orphans. Word had come down that the roof was not safe over their heads as it appeared the Board of Directors had mortgaged the workhouse three or four times over to fund some Ponzi money making scam which had back fired and now the creditors were seeking repayment of the debts. The creditors were only interested in their money and protecting their own behinds. So if a whole shed full of orphans ended up on the street they were not to blame, it was the board of directors fault and they were duty bound to bail the mortgage lenders out. These money men suspended any concept of causality, responsibility or honesty when it was their own butts on the line. The old board had been replaced by concerned citizens but nothing had actually changed.

A small group of orphans discussed these matters and could not understand why, yet again, they would be forced into further poverty because of the stupidity of the directors. They knew that there was a good profit margin on the picked hemp and caulking that was sold on to the outside world so why not take over and use the profit to improve conditions in the workhouse rather than the pockets of the board of directors?

At first the majority of orphans were set against this idea and came up with excuses such as the orphans were too poor, too wee and too stupid to run the workhouse and they were certain the board of directors did act in their best interests. Yet as the dribble of information came down the stairs to them, more and more orphans became aware of the rank hypocrisy, indolence and criminality of the board. It was clear from snippets relayed by orphans who worked up stairs that the board members stuck most of the profit and donations meant for the orphans in their back pocket to fund their superannuated lifestyles and pay off the local media to keep silent about their misdemeanours.

The time was coming that any further inaction would lead to the orphans’ homelessness at the hands of the corrupt and bankrupt banks and mortgage holders; time to take action.

The leaders of this nascent attempt to seek control over the Workhouse’s finances drew straws to see who would trigger the attempted coupe. Wee Shuggie drew the short straw and the final tinkering with the agreed statement was undertaken.

The new Workhouse Board Secretary, Mr Moore, sensed something was not right as he descended into the workshop to give his first annual pep talk to the orphans. He could not put his finger on it; the orphans, for want of a better expression, seemed to have got a spine from some where. He carried out what he saw as his duty on behalf of the board serving the disgusting gruel to the orphans – it was, after all, Christmas.

He was about to launch into his post festive meal homily on how much better it was for the orphans to stay within the workhouse when, from the corner of his eye, he saw some movement. The scraping of one of the crudely made benches reached his ear and a small, skinny orphan with filthy face and hands, bogies dripping from his nose got up and came towards him. Mr Calman, the beadle, made to stop the orphan and beat him back into place but Secretary Moore signalled to let this orphan approach.

‘Well young man’ said Secretary Moore with false bonhomie, ‘What do you wish to ask me on this fine, festive day of our Lord.’

Shuggie wiped the snotters from his nose with a paper thin canvas sleeve and said;

 ‘See you pal, your headin’ fur a doin.’ So ye’s are. We’re aw fed up wi’ this jouket gruel and yer pauchlin aw the profits o’ oor herd work fir nae return. We ken yer bankrupt so we wid like tae mak a’ offer to take ooer the workhoose an’ run it oorsel’s. After aw, I doubt we can mak any wurse o’ a pig’s ear o’ it than you and at least it will be oor pig’s ear.’

‘Mr Calman, beat this scum to within an inch of his life!’