Another article from one of my favourite writers Peter Young from Denmark who runs the excellent IndySCOT news website. Punch with style would be my description. Enjoy, I always try to keep Peter as a Sunday read as I like the time to enjoy the style and content.
Rigsret – The Rule of Law
“She’s a control freak,” said my friend at the local sports club, while we were chatting at a change of ends. His actual phrase was, “Hun er magtfuldkommen” – essentially, a person who desires total control and who wants all political power.
He went on to say that those around her are “given the blame for her mistakes and made to resign, while she remains in place.” Before you jump to conclusions, the person he was describing is none other than Mette Frederiksen, the Danish PM.
Aye, “it’s been a hell of a week” for Mette, as the late, great Rikki Fulton might say. You see, on Thursday 30 June, a 1,649-page report was released to politicians at Christiansborg. It concerned the now infamous ‘Mink Scandal’. The report confirmed that some of the PM’s actions during the Covid crisis were illegal.
The 30 June commission report was all about establishing who was to blame when “the government in November 2020 decided to put down all mink in Denmark”. They did this “without any basis in law for doing so”.
Mette described her actions as a mistake. But without “any basis in law”, it is considered more than a mere mistake. The criticism in the commission’s report describes her office as having acted “very reprehensibly in the process”. It also found that Frederiksen issued “grossly misleading” statements about the legality of the mink cull – although stopped short of saying she did so “deliberately”. These words will be familiar to observant Scots.
But in this small independent country, the phrase ‘rule of law’ is not just a throwaway line used at a press conference, the rule of law actually means something.
An outwardly affable leader, Mette is clearly not everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, her reign at Christiansborg, and the future of the left of centre coalition, may come to a premature end during the ongoing investigations into her illegal actions during lockdown. Of course, acting illegally is one thing, but possibly more damaging is the impression, as my friend suggested, that she is morphing into a power-obsessed autocrat. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this criticism of the PM.
It’s perhaps due to ‘Jante’s Law’ or something genetic, but Danes really don’t care much for dictatorial leaders. This dislike goes a lot further back than their occupation by the Nazis during WWII.
History books will tell you that Danish absolute monarchy was formally abolished on 5 June 1849. On that day, Frederik VII signed the first Danish constitution, establishing the nation as a constitutional monarchy. Revisions to the constitution have been made over the years, but it stands much as it did on 5 June 1849, and 5 June is still celebrated as constitution day.
Okay, history vignette over. In short, Danes prefer politicians who use the words ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘our’, rather than, ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘my’. But then again, don’t we all? No one likes a narcissistic ego-maniac running their country.
If Mette Frederiksen is appropriating a presidential style of leadership, it’s not going down well. In fact, the put-down epithet ‘Mette Mink’ may remain with her for the rest of her political career.
But what now? Well, that’s where the interesting concept of ‘Rigsret’, a sort of ‘Court of the Realm’, may come into play. If parliament at Christiansborg decides that there is basis for an independent legal review, Mette may end up facing a commission of (up to) 15 high court judges and an equal number of political appointees. That is the ‘Rigsret’. It determines whether or not a politician has broken the ‘ministerial responsibility law’.
Yes, there actually is such a thing (‘Ministeransvarlighedsloven’) and it demands that, among other things, a minister tells the truth, and obeys the code of conduct their position demands.
There have been six ‘Rigsret’ since 1849. The most recent were in the 1990s, and again in 2021, when former minister Inger Stoejberg went to prison for 60 days.
The press conference held on Friday morning by Mette Frederiksen was apologetic in tone. Apologies, however, don’t really cut it when 1,200 farmers have lost their livelihoods and the world’s 2nd largest mink industry (according to the FT) has been destroyed. On top of that, ‘Mette’s mistake’ meant that the Danish state had to pay out about Dkr19 billion (about €3 billion) in compensation.
It’s now up to parliament to decide where it goes from here. Opposition parties are obviously calling for an independent legal review to determine if the PM should face a ‘Rigsret’. Frederiksen doesn’t believe it’s necessary, but she would say that. But the fact that a growing number of civil servants are being thrown under the bus, while the PM attempts to remain consequence-free, is highlighted by the nations independent media. Reporting of domestic issues in Denmark is something Scotland can only dream of. It’s the type of fair-minded coverage that should be the norm and not the exception.
If nothing else, this episode shows the value of a written constitution with an inbuilt facility for impeachment.
I’ve been following events in Denmark in parallel with developments in Scotland. Some fascinating constitutional archeology is currently underway thanks to salvo.scot and the SSRG.
One of the prominent spokes-persons for Scotland’s written constitution, and our historic Claim of Right, is Sara Salyers. And on Sunday 3rd of July, salvo.scot is launching in Larbert. Its goal is to reclaim the Scottish constitution, our law – still extant – and buried within the Treaty of Union.
The other day I asked Sara about our current position, constitutionally.
“The problem is, that our own establishment has got into the habit of accepting what a rogue state says is lawful, without challenge,” she replied. “The Supreme Court has no competence to challenge Westminster’s claim to absolute sovereignty, because it has already accepted the position that constitutional law is made by Westminster, and it can only interpret that law (See Gina Millar case). What it can do, is rule on the legal authority of Holyrood to defy the U.K. government. Which, under the Scotland Act, is zero.”
That’s not exactly an optimistic view of the ‘Big Announcement’ about indyref2, nor of Nicola’s deference to the Supreme Court, which is a recent creation of the British state. Sara went on to say:
“All Nicola Sturgeon is doing is establishing and underscoring a ‘legal’ position which is not legal in Scotland.”
Whit? Haud oan a minute! ‘A position that is not legal in Scotland’? Now, transfer the First Minister’s actions across the North Sea, to say, Denmark. Nicola would be in trouble, big time. Going against the nation’s constitution is an act of illegality. Nicola could well be facing a Rigsret, and possible prison sentence.
To quote Sara, again:
“She (Ms Sturgeon) is cementing the bars of the prison she talked about. ‘We accept your ‘laws’ and we will be sure to follow them in our path to getting out of your clutches’. She seems to think the Claim of Right is compatible with Westminster ‘law’. It’s not. Assert it, and you assert the limitation of Westminster power in Scotland, and the unlawful reach of English law. She’s partly confused, partly ignorant, and partly too identified with the establishment to see its posturing for what it is.”
So, the euphoria of the Yes movement needs to be tempered by the facts on the ground. The FM has, once again, surrendered to the British state, much as she did on 31 January 2020. However, the widespread joy that freedom is within our reach is not entirely unfounded, seen in the context of our Claim of Right and pre-Union constitution, still extant. When our independence is restored by exiting the Union treaty, it may well be in spite of Ms Sturgeon rather than because of her.
Back here in Denmark, as details of the PM’s mink ‘Tour de Farce’ are released, the wider nation is celebrating playing host to the first three stages of the Tour de France. Even a rain-soaked Day 1 could not diminish the sense of national pride.
Showcasing the Grand Départ of Le Tour to the world, in your country’s capital city, is as good as it gets.
When the clouds lifted, the helicopter shots revealed Copenhagen as a tidy, charming, well-ordered historic city.
The international feature with the capital’s female mayor, highlighting cycling infrastructure investment, was an example to major cities the world over.
And as you may have seen, Stage 2 took riders across the impressive Great Belt Bridge. That structure alone is testament to what small independent nations can achieve when they control all of their national revenues and resources.
Scotland’s time is now. The moment has come to right a historic wrong. With salvo.scot raising their standard on the constitutional battlefield, it’s perhaps time to join them. To quote the Jacobite motto, ‘Prosperity to Scotland, and no Union’
This is being published hours before the Official Launch of Salvo which is a Conference that commences at 11 am at the Dobbie Hall in Larbert. If you are not already booked in and live close enough come along. The event is free.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland.
BEAT THE CENSORS
Sadly some websites that claim to be pro Indy have turned out to be only Pro SNP sites and have sought to ban any websites that dare to question SNP Policy or tactics. They seek to avoid the public being aware that alternatives to waiting for Westminster to “grant” Scotland a Section 30 to hold a referendum exist. Issues like the flawed franchise, the Claim of Right route, the work of the SSRG and Salvo fill them with dread. As this blog promotes all routes, including alternatives I am banned from these sites and am therefore very grateful to my readers, who knowing about these efforts to ban and suppress go out of their way to subscribe and to share my articles far and wide. It is a good thing that attempts to restrict free speech and censor are defeated in this way.
Free subscriptions are available on this site from both the Home and Blog pages. This will ensure you will be notified every time a new article is posted. Each article already gets posted to many thousands of people, I hope you will come and join us. You will be most welcome.
22 thoughts on “THE RULE OF LAW”
A clever piece of writing. A gentle wake up nudge for the Nicophants.
However in Scotland at the moment we lack cohesive leadership. The YES movement needs to resist the SNP herding them into their pens to await their fate.
An Independence campaign that meekly asks nicely is doomed to failure. Sturgeon has no hunger for a fight that will stain her image for the next job. We need ACTON, DRIVE and DETERMINATION not media sound bites and weak bluffs.
The Broad YES movement which United Scots has been replaced by Sturgeon dictates and authoritative control that divides us. Achieving Independence is only the first step to removing Westminster control of Scotland. We need the leadership that will prevent London Rule via “other means”. The History of many Nations gives ample evidence as to the “other means” used by London. Sturgeon and her comfy slippers brigade would provide a bigger cage, not Independence as it should be.
Independence is only the FIRST step to a truly free Nation.
I will quote James Connelly once again:
“ If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle., unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country….”
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Sturgeon is a Trojan horse for the British state and must be removed. Regarding Westminsters Laws they are our colonial masters laws designed to keep us enslaved and as thus not recognised in international law or by the UN. To me it’s time to petition the UN to get recognised as a colony of England as Ireland did . This is the first part of the Decolonisation process, Westminster never granted freedom to any of is colony’s the indigenous population took back their power. The Vichy SNP colonial administration are ensuring our enslavement by refusal to recognise our sovereignty and by kowtowing to our colonial masters rules and laws. We need politicians who will challenge and fight for us and our rights this is clearly not the Nu SNP. They have become a narrsistic cult for their dud quisling leader who aims to hang on at all cost. Dissolve the Union.
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Another great article explaining life in Denmark.
But I don’t think the connection you try to draw between illegally destroying the mink industry and Nicola’s acceptance of the Scotland Act is a genuine comparison. Whether we like it or not the current Scottish Parliament and Governor derives it’s authority from that Westminster Act so there is nothing illegal in the SG’s actions. Scotland also has other laws which are not subject to the Scotland Act. To pursue these to dissolve the union will require all our parliamentarians and reps of Civic Scotland to convene and form a provisional government which can work in tandem with the SG. They can take their case to the Inner House of the Court of Session and then international fora.
But getting back to Denmark. I’m all got the rule of law but we must also be conscious of the rules of law and what they contain. Why is the Danish state forcibly removing people from their homes under Danish Law? It’s not humane! There are other ways to address the challenges of the ghetto.
Not entirely sure you’ve understood the blog.
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“But I don’t think the connection you try to draw between illegally destroying the mink industry and Nicola’s acceptance of the Scotland Act is a genuine comparison”
Is it not? Because I thought it was spot on.
The Scotland Act was unilaterally butchered by England MPs in their rush to steal our powers and take control of our assets. Effectively they changed the status quo and forced a new one upon us without our consent. Let’s not forget that the monarch ratified this assault on Scotland’s rights with her stamp.
The Claim of Right 1689 is very clear: any attempt by a monarch to impose absolute rule on Scotland is unlawful.
Isn’t Nicola Sturgeon the main advisor of the monarch in Scotland? If, and only if, she advised the Monarch to ratify the butchering of the Scotland Act, wasn’t she breaching the Claim of Right and facilitating the imposition of absolute rule over Scotland?
If she did not advise the monarch to ratify the butchering, then it is the monarch on her own accord who, by ratifying the laws created by England MPs to impose absolute rule on Scotland, breached the Claim of Right.
As custodian of Scotland’s rights and constitution, it is Sturgeon’s duty to ensure the Claim of Right is respected and absolute rule is never imposed on Scotland. But because respecting the Claim of Right is a fundamental condition of the Treaty of Union, Sturgeon should have immediately initiated the repealing of the Treaty of Union after such a monumental breach. Needless to say that the agreement between Scotland and Westminster that was the Scotland Act, should have been declared void by Sturgeon immediately after the monarch’s ratification of the butchering was made.
How many times did England MPs imposed absolute rule on Scotland (and the monarch by ratifying their policies) by forcing upon us things without our consent? Brexit? The Theft of our powers? The re-writing of our laws to keep us out of the EU? The re-writing of law and applying it retrospectively to trash our continuity bill? the forcing on us trade agreements when Scotland was never at the negotiating table? Forcing us on a trade deal with the EU on the basis of Westminster’s sovereignty? Take your pick. Each and every one of them represents a new assault on our Claim of Right and indirectly on the Treaty of Union that sits on that fundamental piece of Scotland’s constitution.
And how many times did you see Sturgeon even attempting to lift a finger to declare any of those actions unlawful under the Claim of Right and when did you ever see moving towards declare the Treaty of Union void on the basis of breaches of a fundamental condition in the Treaty?
Following from the article, culling the mink led to 1,200 farmers losing their livelihoods. How many people lost their livelihoods or is about to lose their livelihoods in Scotland due to brexit, due to the re-writing of laws by England MPs and due to the trade agreements England’s gov has dragged us into?
The article says that culling the mink led to having to pay 3 billion euro in compensation. How much in revenues has Sturgeon already lost us from gas, oil and electricity for her determination to keep us trapped in this union, and how much has she potentially lost us from her botched sell out of Scotland’s seabed plots for offshore wind projects?
How much has she lost the families of Scotland by keeping us in this union and forcing us to pay astronomical prices for energy and food when Scotland is an energy-rich country and can grow enough food to sustain us?
How much has she lost us in revenues paying for England’s debt and paying a share of the billions transferred from taxpayers’ funds into the pockets of corrupt tories with the ppe and the track and trace fiasco because she forced us to remain in this union unnecessarily for 7 extra years?
How much has she lost us for not using the 8 years she has been in power to develop ports in Scotland to aid trade?
What about the ferries fiasco?
I bet when you add everything up the final figure will be far, far more than just 3 billion euro.
So, do you still believe it is not a genuine comparison? Actually, thinking about it, you are right. What Sturgeon has done is far worse.
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Re the SC court case, imho, it really depends on WHAT they are asked to rule about. If they are asked to rule whether a devolved parliament can enact legislation in a reserved area, of course they are going to say no. Duh! However if they are asked to rule on whether the Scottish government acting on behalf of the people and using the Claim of Right can determine whether the people wish to withdraw from the bilateral Treaty of Union, well that’s an entirely different court case. I suspect the SG will instruct their lawyers to argue the former, but can another group/individual piggy back onto proceedings to argue the latter? I don’t know. Could they argue that if the SG don’t use the Claim of Right, another group can – Salvo and the Convention of the Estates – I don’t know but I’d love to find out.
In the right hands this would be a win-win, either you can ask the people should Scotland be an independent country or you are a de facto colony. In which case, UN here we come. Unfortunately I’m not sure that the current SNP is the right hands (that’s sarcasm by understatement btw!).
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SALVO are going live on Zoom later: https://twitter.com/ScotSalvo/status/1543356223814336514?s=20&t=QzGAqlZz6g_aEXuC_tEwDA
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“However if they are asked to rule on whether the Scottish government acting on behalf of the people and using the Claim of Right can determine whether the people wish to withdraw from the bilateral Treaty of Union”
The so called “UK” Supreme Court is an entity that is a by-product of the union, the same as Westminster parliament is. For this reason, personally, I do not see how it can possibly be seen as acting independently and objectively on such matter, or even to have jurisdiction to rule on a matter that is exclusively for Scotland to decide.
In my view, the so called UK Supreme Court can only rule on matters related to UK domestic/international law for example in matters related to devolution or on matters related to treaties the UK entered in. If Holyrood, within the constrains of the Scotland Act ,has or has not power to call a referendum on independence, or power to pass that Referendum bill, would fall quite rightly within that category. That we agree or disagree with the ruling is a completely different matter.
But ruling on the rights of Scotland to terminate the Treaty of Union is a completely different kind of beast. The Treaty of Union itself is not part of UK domestic law. It is part of the Kingdoms of Scotland’s and England’s body of International law and it was ratified before the union commenced. Therefore by logic, determining if the government of Scotland has the power or not to terminate the Treaty of Union must be beyond the remit of such UK supreme court. If there is any court where such matter should be discussed and a ruling be made, that has to be Scotland’s (Scotland’s not UK’s) Constitutional Court.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain was created de nuovo. It was never meant to be a continuation of the Parliament of Scotland nor a continuation of the Parliament of England.
I am therefore not convinced at all Westminster ever had the legitimacy to revoke any piece of domestic legislation created by the Old Parliament of Scotland, and that includes Scotland’s Act of Union with England. Such Act was passed in Scotland’s Old Parliament, therefore it is not “UK”‘s domestic law. It is Scotland’s domestic law and it precedes the date when the union commenced. Having England MPs abolishing any piece of legislation within the body of Scotland’s domestic law that precedes the Union, comes across as profoundly ultravires and a direct encroachment of England MPs in Scotland’s own body of law. I do not see how that can be lawful.
For instance, article XXV of the Treaty of Union says:
“‘That all Laws and Statutes in either Kingdom, so far as they are contrary to, or
inconsistent with the Terms of these Articles, or any of them, shall, from and after the Union,
cease, and become void, and shall be so declared to be, by the respective Parliaments of the said
According to that article, only laws and statutes in the Kingdoms of Scotland and England that were contrary to the Treaty were to be made void, but NOT by the Parliament of the UK of Great Britain. They had to be made void by the individual parliaments of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England. I think this is a very clear indication that when this Treaty was drafted it was not considered legitimate for the new parliament of the UK of Great Britain to revoke anything within the body of Scotland’s domestic (or international) laws preceding the commencement of the union. This article appears to be, in all practical sense, reserving to Scotland the re-writing of Scotland’s body of law that precedes the union.
And if Westminster cannot touch domestic laws passed by the old Parliament of Scotland, to me it stands to the obvious the UK supreme Court cannot rule on them either.
Article XIX of the Treaty of Union says:
“and that no Causes in Scotland be cognizable by the Courts of Chancery, Queen’sBench, Common-Pleas, or any other Court in Westminster-Hall; and that the said Courts,
or any other of the like Nature, after the Union, shall have no Power to cognize, review, or
alter the Acts or Sentences of the Judicatures within Scotland, to stop the Execution of the
It says “shall have no Power to cognize, review or alter the Acts or Sentences of the Judicatures within Scotland to stop the execution of the same”. I think this is telling us the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction on Scotland’s pre-union body of law, and that includes Constitutional Law.
From this, it could be implied that the legitimate right of the people of Scotland to terminate the treaty of union is a “Cause in Scotland”, therefore the UK Supreme Court (which is of “the like Nature” of a Westminster court) should have no place in ruling on that.
To be frank, I see absolutely no reason why any member of the Scottish government or parliament who has read the Treaty of Union would ever see fit to attempt to transfer to a UK court what is a matter for a Scottish court and expect a favourable result, unless it is with a purpose to delay proceedings or worse, as an attempt to undermine Scotland’s courts and body of law and the Treaty of Union itself. But that is just my opinion.
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Mia, the Supreme Court was born out of the House of Lords court, the highest court of civil appeal in the UK. Although this court (HoL) was purloined a year or two after the Union, and expressly without Scottish consent, Scotland continued to acquiesce in its jurisdiction and decisions, so that powers to judge Scottish civil law appeals, EU law and international law (prior to remit to the international court) remained with the Supreme Court. When the Scottish parliament was set up, that was the prime time to have Scottish cases heard in the Court of Session as of old.
Too many Unionists opposed any such action, despite Alec Salmond being wholly opposed to the Supreme’s Court powers over Scotland. Again, acquiescence won the day. Acquiescence to all things English has become a way of life for many, many Scots, particularly for our elected representatives, including the SNP. They have lost, if they ever had, their powers of critical thinking.
We must have the Treaty ‘sound’ in Scots Law as a preliminary to bringing a case in international law because our whole Scottish constitution, law, education system, et al were and are protected under the Treaty. That is precisely why the SNP will do nothing to uphold the Treaty: we might conceivably have a case to resile it. It is why they are very unlikely, unless badgered and poked and pressurized into it, to make the vote in any plebiscitary election an open one, inclusive of the whole independence movement.
Acquiescence in our own subjection is now part and parcel of the Scottish body politic. It has become a way of life that many do not even question. If you can break the law or a Treaty and people do not object, or, if they do object and you can silence them, so much the better for you. It is not just Johnson’s UKG that does that; almost every major, societal policy that the SNP has brought in, has been flawed legally and democratically. They are just a [pale reflection of the Johnson government in so many ways, and the great harm they do is rarely challenged adequately.
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I don’t disagree with your points Mia but the situation is that a case IS being raised at the Supreme Court and it would thus make sense to ensure that the RIGHT case is argued. I personally would have taken the case re the Treaty of Union to the UN but then nobody made me the FM… Sometimes you need to make lemonade from those lemons!
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pan: it is almost guaranteed that it will not be the right case.
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Oops the response from “pan” is me! What happened to the rest of my name???
Ha, ha, I answered one of your posts to ‘pan’. Duh! Should have clicked, PP.
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This comment merits blog status in its own right 😉
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Despite everything that’s gone before regarding the SNP and its leader, it is a source of some confusion to me as to why some well experienced heads within the independence movement still seem willing to give credence to her latest presidential initiative, given its soloistic nature, its multitudinous variables and its many possible escape clauses. The route of travel and the lack of urgency here, even for the advanced myopic, must surely tell its own story.
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One Selfie equals one hundred sheeple.
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Because they just can’t face the reality of what is going down: that the SNP is playing games. It is so hard to swallow. It took me several years to break free and cut the ties of many years. I still believe passionately in independence, but I also know that it will not come via the SNP – unless we all put so much pressure on them that they can’t escape. The only way to leave the Union is by confronting, directly, the UKG and the British State. It will be a painful lesson for the middle-of-the-roaders, but, while I fully agree that diplomacy is preferable to a full-throttled stand-up fight, sometimes there is no other way with stupid, ill-intended people. You can be magnanimous after you have won. Until then, you don’t give an inch. Not if you want to win and to escape the ordeal with at least some of what you wanted.
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Parties dictate now. Only the voices chosen may be heard.
Indeed, thesnpleftme. The silencing of women is parallel to the silencing of Scots. Even the lazy acquiescence is the same: yeah, yeah, whatever… I have struggled to try and get people to understand (frankly, I’ve given up) that what is happening to Scotland is identical, in a different context, to women’s situation.. In each and both cases, our rights are simply being taken from us regardless of the law as it stands, regardless of the legal niceties and regardless of evidence. In effect, they are being stripped from us and handed over to others who do not deserve them and who have no prior claim on them, either morally, or in law. Instead of every man in the independence movement rallying round the women (whose votes they need for independence), many of them – not all, by a long chalk – are perfectly happy to sacrifice us and children for what they believe is the bigger prize. I believe they are wrong and that their abandonment of their female pro independence sisters will come back to haunt them. A mass refusal to acquiesce in GRA reform (self-ID) would have forced Sturgeon and her cohort to back off, but, instead, they were strengthened, and now, we see the mess that they are making of the independence question. If we do the same again, by acquiescing in a plebiscitary election that is wholly SNP (shades of SNP 1 & 2) in the vain hope that independence will be just around the corner, we can look forward to another defeat. The female vote is crucial to independence. I will take no pleasure in saying: I told you.
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Lorncal, if you could somehow pull together all of your comments on this blog thread, including responses to other comments, you’d have an excellent, publishable blog! Salvo launch yesterday chimes with many comments/thoughts I’m reading on this thread. Bravo all!
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Is it possible to put the meeting online for all to see.
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I think it is on Indylive Facebook.
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