Wee Ginger Dugcast – 13 September 2019

In this week’s edition of the Dugcast, The National’s editor Callum Baird and I discuss the fact that we’re going to be on the telly – no, really. This Wednesday and next Wednesday there’s a two part documentary series called The Press which will be shown on BBC 1 Scotland. The programme will follow The National and The Herald’s journalists over the course of a year. Me and dug make a brief appearance too.

We also discuss Friday 13th and the really unlucky week that Boris Johnson has had, the prorogation of Parliament, his loss of yet more votes in the Commons, and the stunning court victory of Joanna Cherry and others where the Court of Session ruled that suspending Parliament was illegal. We also discuss the surge in support for independence in Wales, what’s next for Brexit, how it impacts on support for independence, and John Bercow’s resignation as Speaker.

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14 thoughts on “Wee Ginger Dugcast – 13 September 2019

  1. The full reasoning of the Court of Session has apparently been published running to some 68 pages. I don’t know if it’s on-line but these are apparently key quotes :

    The Lord President Lord Carloway

    Lord Carloway ‘s view was that the tenor of Boris Johnson’s remarks and the discussion around them – revealed in the documents – pointed to various factors being used to publicly deflect from the real reason for the prorogation. He added the suspension of parliament had been sought in a “clandestine manner,” and that there was no reason for a prorogation for such a long length of time.

    He said: “The circumstances demonstrate that the true reason for the prorogation is to reduce the time available for parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit at a time when such scrutiny would appear to be a matter of considerable importance, given the issues at stake.

    “This is in the context of an anticipated no-deal Brexit, in which case no further consideration of matters by parliament is required. The Article 50 period, as extended, will have expired and withdrawal will occur automatically.”

    He said: “Put shortly, prorogation was being mooted specifically as a means to stymie any further legislation regulating Brexit.

    “There is remarkably little said about the reason for the prorogation in the respondent’s pleadings.”

    Lord Drummond Young

    Lord Young said he concluded the only inference that could be drawn was that the government, and the prime minister in particular, wished to restrict debate in parliament for as long as possible during the period leading up to the European Council meeting on 17-18 October and the scheduled date of Britain’s departure from the European Union, adding that in his opinion that was not a proper purpose for proroguing parliament.

    He said; “The matter clearly calls for parliamentary scrutiny. The effect of the prorogation under consideration, in particular its length, is that proper parliamentary scrutiny is rendered all but impossible.”

    Lord Brodie

    Lord Brodie said when the action petition was first presented, those bringing the court action were not in a position to frame an argument that was subject to a court of law, but that the landscape changed with the prime minister’s letter to MPs on 28 August and the disclosure to the court of copies of three redacted documents.



        • Yn llythrennol … literally! But, hey, there’s a whole lot of independentistas out there (some of us with law degrees) who’ll gladly help you out.

          And I don’t mean to be disparaging, but it’s amazing how Dr. Google can help you find what you want. (Well … at least, sometimes!)

          Hwyl a fflag.

      • Here’s on wee gem so far :
        “Scots and English law were not necessarily the same as regards the use of prerogative powers (Admiralty v Blair’s Trustees1916 SC 247 at 266). If there was any difference, the law that was more limiting of executive power should be preferred.”
        I wonder if the UK Supreme Court will be so minded …

        • At risk of the construct of Union disintegrating before English eyes?
          In principle, SC are obliged to follow the Law, any deviation undermines the construct.

    • One important point that probably has escaped most of us is the distinction between ‘prorogation’ and ‘suspension’. Parliament is routinely suspended for a summer break and during the autumn conference season etc. but this is entirely within the control of parliament itself. If circumstances warrant, it can recall itself at any time, or even cancel a normal suspension. Prorogation OTOH is by order of a higher power, technically the monarch. Parliament is in effect abolished for the duration and has no way back, leaving the executive to carry without any political oversight. This is never normally a problem because prorogation only lasts about a week and is a purely formal event. So the government’s excuse that parliament would be off for conferences in September doesn’t hold water, it’s the difference between leaving a meeting for a quick smoke and finding yourself ejected with the door locked behind you. Since parliament is thus rendered incapable of holding the executive to account, the court has concluded that in this unusual situation it must step in and declare the prorogation out of order and in effect cancel it.

  2. Wait a minute; the BBC were in the offices of the National for 6 months and no-one mentioned it? In a column in the National? On the Dugcast? Were you keeping it a secret so you could give us a big surprise? The BBC? Please enlighten.

    • I’m only in it in passing. They filmed when we did the Roadshow in Lockerbie, and when Mhairi Black was a guest on the podcast. We couldn’t mention it at the time though because we didn’t know what bits would make it into the final edit.

  3. the court ruling prompted some interesting, yet typical comments on another UK wide forum I am on. a very busy non political forum. most members (thousands) live in the south, that has gone political, as many have I am sure. the scary thing is it tends to attract the, older, *cough* wiser, relatively wealthier demographic punter. im gonna cut and paste a comment from it. its a typical comment from this one thread alone, that has generated tens of thousand comments and tens of thousands more views. what the comment did do, was prompt a response from an English lawyer, which in turn brought out a lot of people that are normally silent on these threads, which turned in to a very interesting convo (for a change) about their lack of knowledge, re their history in the UK regarding, the claim of right, the act of union, and the, so called uk constitution. these are from real people, I have met some of them who have met others from this site. there is lots and lots of good people out there, its just a shame they never get heard. not sure if its allowed, if its deleted, no worries but here goes.
    I see the village to the North has had it’s elders declare that we are bad in Westminster and have broken the law.
    Lets see what the grown ups down at the High Court (the real one) say…. can’t see parliament resitting anytime soon …. Hard Brexit anyone?

    The E&W High Court has already ruled in Miller, and it found in favour of HM Govt in that it held that the decision to prorogate was not a justiciable issue.

    The Scottish court which handed down judgement in Cherry yesterday (the Inner Session House) is the equivalent of the Court of Appeal, ie: it outranks the High Court and is comprised of more senior judges.

    Therefore, you’ve got it completely the wrong way around, and to adopt your terminology, the Scottish judges were actually “the grown ups”

    • Superb response, I’m noticing similar in various forums as knee-jerk bigoted superiority gets a sharp dose of reality.
      Quite a few eyes have been opened and mouths closed in recent days, CoS’s judgement has shaken more than a few out of their wilful ignorance, and discomforted the political classes.
      Whether SC are equally “grown-up” will prove interesting.

  4. yip, I have friends that would, remain silent, and never entertain any political convo up until the last year or so. I know how they voted in the past. I am confident in their future voting intensions now. 🙂

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