Politics

Scotland’s Pal-ocracy Makes England Look Like a Beacon of Democracy

 

Where civil liberties are concerned, Scotland makes England look like a beacon of democracy. Scotland does not have strong independent bodies defending individual freedom. There is less emphasis on this in its education and culture than south of the border. I recently mentioned to a young friend studying Higher History that this year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. “Who’s she?” he replied. Since then, I have asked a number of others including students at Scottish universities and have yet to find one who has ever heard of this historic document which guarantees the rights and liberties of the citizen against autocracy. They have all heard of the Declaration of Arbroath but only the ‘Braveheart’ section about the yoke of the English oppressor.

In 1742, philosopher David Hume wrote: “It is a very comfortable reflection to the lovers of liberty that this peculiar privilege of Britain is of a kind that cannot easily be wrested from us and must last as long as our government remains in any degree free and independent.”

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_speechs2.html

But an independent-minded observer of Scotland must conclude that civil liberties are in retreat here since the advent of a Scottish Parliament. We appear to be losing some of the recourse that citizens of Britain have historically possessed.

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Lawyer Rosalind MacInnes on Freedom of Expression in Scotland

 

 

At a recent Edinburgh NUJ meeting on freedom of expression, media lawyer Rosalind McInnes, who is employed by the BBC, was on the panel. She was speaking in a private capacity about the current state of freedom of expression laws in Scotland.

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'Dramatising Scotland's Past' at Scotland's History Festival 2014

Actor and Gaelic singer Dolina Maclennan began this event at Scotland's History Festival 'Previously...' with a reading from her recently published book, ‘Dolina: An Island Girl’s Journey’. http://www.theislandsbooktrust.com/store/books/dolina-an-island-girls-journey/



Maclennan read a passage about her memories of touring the Highlands and Islands in 1973 with the huge theatrical success of that time ‘The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil’ , a play about the Highland clearances, and land rights. Dolina recalled the audience member who rose to her feet to deliver a Gaelic curse to the actor playing land agent Patrick Sellar; rolling up the gaffa tape on a pencil to use it again; travelling with pots and pans and taking £5 from the cast each Thursday to feed them for the week. She linked the tumultous reception the play received in its tour across Scotland to a surge of nationalism which sent 11 SNP MPs to Westminster a year later.
 
James McArdle and Gordon Kennedy. Photo: Manuel Harlan

History? James McArdle (James I) and Gordon Kennedy (Murdac Stewart). Photo: Manuel Harlan
 
Dramatising Scotland’s Past:  free event at Scotland’s History Festival, ‘Previously...’ Adam House on November 19, 2014.

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The Silence of the Nos

By Jackie Kemp, From the website Wake UP Scotland, 16 September 2014.

There is a strange case of the silence of the Nos in Scotland at the moment.

I have been pointing out what I see as the flaws in the independence plan on social media for a week and I know I am losing friends. I have been accused of falling for “scaremongering”; of behaving “just like a mum”; of exhibiting conduct that is “unbecoming”. “Stop being a fanny and just vote Yes” one person wrote.

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