sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland


‘No’ campaign loses the argument

Posted on September 17, 2012 by

We’ve already seen that the latest Social Attitudes Survey reveals Scotland to be a deeply schizophrenic country, which wants independence but doesn’t want to admit it (even, it seems, to itself). But the deeper you get into the statistics the stranger the picture gets. Ponder, for example, the “Expectations” section.

The survey asked “If Scotland was an independent country, would the following things be better or worse than they are now?”, and recorded the answers in six categories.

NATIONAL PRIDE
Better: 67%
Worse: 2%

VOICE IN THE WORLD
Better: 51%
Worse: 19%

HEALTH SERVICE
Better: 37%
Worse: 19%

STANDARD OF LIVING
Better: 34%
Worse: 23%

ECONOMY
Better: 34%
Worse: 29%

TAXES
Better: 10%
Worse: 53%

(All other respondents in each category thought there would be no difference.)

So we see that Scots think independence will mean higher taxes. (Though it’s not clear WHY they think that – the SNP only has influence over Council Tax, and they’ve cut that in real terms in every one of their five years of government). But people also think that in return for those taxes they’ll get a healthier economy, a stronger NHS, a louder voice in the world, more national pride and, crucially, a better standard of living.

Seems like a good deal, no? Is it not worth paying higher taxes if it results in a higher standard of living and better public services (basically the Scandinavian model beloved of the SNP), especially if you fancy yourselves as a somewhat left-wing nation? You’d think so. By any measure, the survey shows that the nationalists have won the argument – the people believe that independence will mean a better Scotland.

But when offered that higher standard of living, that prouder, more confident country with a stronger economy and superior public services, the people of Scotland bizarrely turn away from the change that they themselves believe would deliver it. There’s only one rational reason for that disconnect between thought and deed, and it’s fear.

So far the “No” campaign has been founded entirely in scaremongering, and the creation of doubt and uncertainty. And it’s plainly working, to at least some degree, because it’s got the people frightened to act in what they think are their own interests. So expect the negative campaigning to continue all the way up to the referendum.

But at the same time, note that the percentage of people saying they’d vote Yes has only been higher in two of the last 14 years. Note that support is up by a third compared to the year the SNP came to power, despite the economic catastrophe that’s unfolded since then. Note that support for independence is highest – by far – among the young and vital, and lowest among the dying.

You don’t often win the argument and lose the vote. Two years to go.

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78 to “‘No’ campaign loses the argument”

  1. sm753 says:

    “Note that support for independence is highest – by far – among the young and vital, and lowest among the dying.”
     
    Note that people are most likely to espouse daft ideas like “socialism” and “independence” when they are young, silly and callow, and tend to abandon them as they acquire wisdom and maturity.

      

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Yes, no doubt that’s why as the population ages, Scotland votes in more and more Tories.

      

  3. panda paws says:

    Is it too simplistic to state that the reason people think taxes will rise as that they are falling for the “too poor” bit of “too wee, too poor, too stupid”? If you believe that Scotland is subsidisied by the English, then of course you’ll think that taxes will need to rise to maintain never mind improve living standards. If people, as one survey reported, would vote yes if only £500 better off, then the message that needs to get out is we are not subsidisied. And a copy of the McCrone report to every household would be a nice opener for that argument.

      

  4. Andrew says:

    @panda paws
    And point out that our current taxation pays for all our services and then some.

      

  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    And that we’d have all the oil, all the renewables, save billions on defence and PFI, etc etc.

      

  6. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Perhaps articles like these should also be made more available to the electorate of Scotland.
     
    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2012/sep/england-braced-%C2%A320bn-nhs-privatisation-carveup
    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2012/sep/scotland-wealthier-uk-1980
     
    Just for you sm 753 so as you DON’T have to suffer the ignominy of reading the TRUTH from an S.N.P. site I’ve also attached the INDEPENDENT reports links as well.
     
    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2012/sep/scotland-wealthier-uk-1980
    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2012/sep/scotland-wealthier-uk-1980
    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2012/sep/scotland-wealthier-uk-1980

      

  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    You seem to have attached the same link four times there, Arby.

      

  8. bill says:

    Oh the fun were going to have in 2014, not only can we vote yes to independence, we can vote for the european referedum party and screw the tories.  what other mischief can get up to with the general election, is it possible to return say a lib dem party in westminster and snp in scotland, or bnp in westminster.

      

  9. Cuphook says:

    These trends are becoming more noticeable among the population and it’s up to the YES side to explain just how wealthy Scotland is. Take the example of whisky: it’s 25% of the UK’s total food and drink exports, the third biggest foreign currency earner and the whisky sitting in the bonds is worth more than the gold in the Bank of England.
     

    As to the I word: one of my friends, a YES voter, observed that ‘shouty SNPers don’t half put you off independence’.
     

      

  10. douglas clark says:

    I really, really don’t understand my fellow Scots. We must make the economic case. All the rest of it is won already……..

    If we take this analysis alongside the claim that there is an overwhelming majority for Scottish independence if folk are guaranteed their taxes will be reduced by £500 then Bill Clinton’s aphorism ‘it’s the economy stupid’ has never been more true.
     

      

  11. Jeannie says:

    I recently read a phrase in connection with independence, something along the lines of  being in favour of Scotland being an independent country “within the social union and common market” of Great Britain – might have been Jim McColl who said it, come to think of it.
     I’ve always been in favour of independence myself and need no further persuasion, but thought this type of phrasing put the concept of independence in a less scary context, especially for people who have a fear of being “out there” on their own.
     
     

      

  12. Don McC says:

    “Scotland being an independent country “within the social union and common market” of Great Britain ”

    Jeannie, I think onionists like Stair-Heid Rammie Currie know ideas like that make Scottish independence much more palatable to most Scots which is why she comes out with stupidity such as “claiming Scotland will still be part of Great Britain is preposterous” (although she never explained whether Labour proposed to rename these islands or run a rip-saw along the border and tow Scotland out to sea should we have the audacity to vote “yes”!).

      

  13. James McLaren says:

    @ Jeannie
     
    Excellent.

      

  14. molly says:

    I was off to visit the in laws yesterday in deepest darkest West of Scotland. My husband decided to have some fun and lobbed into the conversation “so do you think the SNP are the only socialist party in Scotland at the moment ?” He then promptly disappeared leaving me with two lovely but totally anti SNP  voters.
       Despite everything re Independence,tuition fees,free prescriptions etc,they genuinely do not get it.Not because they do not understand politics, not because they do not benefit from free prescriptions etc,they just do not get it and I was left thinking if there was a referendum tomorrow or an election for that matter ,I know who they would vote for.
     Depressingly,it came across as well, we know Labour are guff and very little has changed/improved outside our door for years, but we’ll still vote for them. I was completely baffled.
    Short of physically removing them and taking them to other parts of Scotland to show them, I do not know how you get the message across.Not necessarily to vote SNP but to rid them of this acceptance that this as good as what we can expect.
     Needless to say for husband ,it was a long journey home !!! 

      

  15. velofello says:

    Didn’t Wendy Alexander warn us all that with an SNP government in Holyrood each family in Scotland would be some ridiculously high figure pa worse off?

    Grandad,why did you vote no to independence for our country in 2014? Were you feart?

    If Scotland was independent now would you vote to join in union with England? (credit to Blair Jenkins).

    Nothing original from me here but one-liners can set the brain thinking.  

      

  16. Jeannie says:

    @Molly
    I know, Molly – my  Coatbridge father-in-law passed away 10 years ago and till the day he died, was unshakeable in his opinion that if the SNP ever got control and we got independence then the Church of Scotland would take over the country and therefore, he couldn’t vote for independence or the SNP.  Apparantly, only Labour could protect us from the dictatorship of the Church of Scotland and, by extension, the machinations of Freemasonry.  Absolutely nothing could  dissuade him from this.
     
    On the other hand, my mother is almost 88 and is determined to stay alive till the referendum as Alex needs her vote and she wants to live to see an independent Scotland.
     
    There’s just no accounting for elderly parents in the West of Scotland!

      

  17. Tearlach says:

    I seem to rememember a couple of interesting para’s from Torrance’s bio of the FM, the updated second version he published after May 2011. It has an new first chapter covering the last election landslide, and discussed the few months before May when the polls were stobborly not moving in the SNP’s direction. Yet underneath it all the focus groups, private polling, and local canvassing showed that the SNP’s policies, people and message were being accepted, indeed welcomed.

    But no movement in the polls, indeed thats the time that Labour front bench were carving up the portfolio’s, and Wendy flounced out as she was not getting Finance. Some in the SNP were starting to get a wee bit worried, and suggesting a policy shift, but Robertson and his team said no, stay steady and the electorate will shift their voting intentions to what they were saying to the researchers.

    And they did, did they not?

      

  18. Marcia says:

    Tearlach is correct and there is an undercurrent going on as we read these comments.

      

  19. Jeannie says:

    @Tearlach
    That’s really interesting.  As I’ve posted before I can’t understand the current polling results as my own experience is telling me that the move is towards independence.

      

  20. Morag says:

    On the other hand, my mother is almost 88 and is determined to stay alive till the referendum as Alex needs her vote and she wants to live to see an independent Scotland.
     
    Aw, Jeannie, I hope she makes it.  My Mum said the same, though a bit more wistfully, but she died last year aged 94.  She did see the May landslide though, and contributed to it.  The next morning I said to her, that’s it, we’re going to do it!

      

  21. scottish_skier says:

    Tearlach.

    I might suggest the Scottish electorate were behaving as they have done for a long time; a panicked vote (voting intention) for Labour in response to a Tory threat (you can see this in all its glory in polling going back over the years) – after all, the SNP were polling 40% on average mid 2009 (they just needed to grab some libs to get 45%). But this didn’t really work in the 2010 UKGE did it (just like in the dark days of the 80′s/early 90′s), and well, it certainly was not in the end going to do much good trying that for Holyrood if you thought about it…

    The SNP were very good 2007-11 and would likely have gained the most seats/more seats again in 2011, but that was not the sole cause of the landslide. Dave walking into the rose garden was. Nick following behind like a guid wee boy added the cherry to the icing.

    So aye, the researchers were right. The apparent ‘support’ for Labour was not what it seemed.

    The process has had its ups and downs over the past 60 years (taking the post-war consensus as the last clear peak of unionism/britishness), but it has been moving inexorably towards end-game since then.

      

  22. Bill C says:

    Tearlach you are right the undercurrents are good; even the BBC had to acknowledge that the survey said “that people were, on balance, relatively favourable to the concept of independence. More people thought Scotland would have a stronger voice in the world, a stronger economy and better standards of living and health care under independence”.  The headline figure of 32% in favour of independence, while not brilliant, is relatively good given the summer of unionism.  If I were a unionist I would be looking at the underlying trends behind this survey and I would be quaking.
    Other poster are also correct in saying that the fear factor has still to be overcome, but the dam has been breeched, the blanket NO (to independence) of only a few years ago is beginning to crumble. People are waying up the pros and cons, something inconceivable before the SNP took power. They are asking questions!
    The unionists have only fear in their armoury and that is beginning to become ineffective.  As the good ship UK continues to slide into bankruptcy it will become increasingly evident that ‘Better Together’ is a recipe for economic disaster. People will ask “Could we really be any worse off on our own?”
    Unionists are well aware that they have little left in their armoury and will take no comfort from this survey.  Nationalists only have to beat the fear and we have won our freedom.

      

  23. Bill C says:

    P.S. and slightly o/t: Ross Kemp in Glasgow on tv at the moment, my wife assures me just another nail in the unionist coffin. ‘Better Together’? Aye right!

      

  24. Juteman says:

    I don’t understand the polling figures either. The folk i speak to seem to be around 60/40 in favour of independence.

      

  25. Tearlach says:

    @Juteman – that 60/40 split is interesting. One of my sons is at Glasgow Uni, and a few of his pals are in the SNP Group, and had Angus Robertson along for a talk recently. They reported back that the referendum team are working towards a 60% yes vote. And confident of it.

    Me – I’ll go for 50%+1  

      

  26. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    “Taxes” is always problematic because it is perfectly possible for some to go up and others to go down as well as the level of income determining which. 
    Very interesting findings though.
    The undercurrent which seems to be real and is more than welcome.
    Independence ideas are taking root.
    All the obfuscation and attempts to bury the voter in irrelevant detail and nitpicking the ‘bitter together’ dafties keep deploying is making them look more and more negative as expected. They almost seemed to grasp that the scottish public are fed up to the back teeth with their ‘too poor, too wee and too stupid’ whining just after the 2011 landslide. Thankfully they have reverted to type and seem clueless how much it damages them and their cause.
    I’d welcome Salmond going on the attack more myself and giving this inept tory government and their yellow stooges a bit more of a pasting but there is plenty of time for that. After all, we have the ace in the hole of voter-repelling tory chancellors like George Osborne as well as Brown and Darlings financial crash stupidity to use as a pretty overwhelming argument for ending the westminster economic mismanagement.
    Westminster are also going to be spending several billion pounds refurbishing their parliament which I’m fairly sure will be met askance by more than just scottish voters during austerity.
     
     

      

  27. Juteman says:

    @Tearlach. My daughter is still at Uni too. She was a don’t know, until i encouraged her to read a few of the independence blogs. I never tried to persuade her, but left her alone to read the truth, not the MSM version. Now she has joined her older brother as a Yes.  
    All my family are voting Yes. My mother took the longest to come round, after 70 years of voting Labour. I simply pointed put the truth about stories in the BBC, and sfter a few months, even she has started shouting at the TV. :-)

      

  28. Barney Thomson says:

    I see Newsnet Scotland has just published an article showing how much richer Scotland is than the (average) Rest of UK.

    http://tinyurl.com/9eld39x

       – I know, it’s only NNS which is read mainly by the already converted and most of the commenters above are likely to have suffered their erratic censorship policy. But if it is true, the YES campaign will have to find a way to get this sort of information into and read by households across the land.

      

  29. Morag says:

    Juteman said:
    I don’t understand the polling figures either. The folk i speak to seem to be around 60/40 in favour of independence.

    And yet I have a friend who consistently says that nobody he has ever talked to is in favour of independence. (I think I’m chopped liver or something.)  Lately he has admitted to one or two people who are tentatively thinking about it, but the firm and majority opinion is for no way.

    I ask him who he’s talking about, because on all the opinion polls at least one in four and possibly one in three should be in favour.  (He lives in Edinburgh and works in the oil industry, I don’t know if that makes a difference.)

      

  30. Juteman says:

    I’m a manual worker Morag, as are most of my friends. Maybe we don’t get polled as often?
    And Dundee is a SNP city.

      

  31. Adrian B says:

    With regards to the poll, I have redone the responses and have added in the No Difference respondents. As a ‘No Difference’ is neither a better or worse situation, it could also be said that things will remain about the same with no real feeling of effect either way. A ‘No Difference’ answer is not a ‘we would be worse off’ answer.

    The percentages in bold italics at the end of each heading are the figures obtained by adding the ‘Better’ and ‘No Difference’ replies together.

    The SNP have little overall control over the Economy and Taxes in the way that Westminster has. There has been little from either the SNP or the ‘Yes’ Campaign on either of these issues other than repeating the damage that George Osborne and Cameron will afflict on Scotland unless they change policy. I think that this is sticking in peoples minds, this is actually good as at present Westminster has control of these levers. These are they very levers that we want control of to change things for the better in Scotland.  

    Normal
    0
    0
    1
    38
    217
    WDCS
    1
    1
    266
    10.2418

    0
    0
    0


    NATIONAL PRIDE (98%)
    Better: 67%
    No Difference: 31%
    Worse: 2%
     
    VOICE IN THE WORLD (81%)
    Better: 51%
    No Difference: 30%
    Worse: 19%
     
    HEALTH SERVICE (81%)
    Better: 37%
    No Difference: 44%
    Worse: 19%
     
    STANDARD OF LIVING (77%)
    Better: 34%
    No Difference: 43%
    Worse: 23%


    ECONOMY (71%)
    Better: 34%
    No Difference: 37%
    Worse: 29%
     
    TAXES (47%)
    Better: 10%
    No Difference: 37%
    Worse: 53%    
     

      

  32. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry for being O/T Stu but it appears that the cogs of Justice are moving ever so slowly again on the Pan Am 103 case again.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-19628963

      

  33. Adrian B says:

    Not sure what happened to my last post. It seems to have disappeared?

    Have a look at the poll answers again and look at those that have stated ‘No Difference’ – they are the ones that neither said ‘better’ or ‘worse’, add them to the ‘better’ numbers. 

      

  34. Dal Riata says:

    Why were no Welsh people asked their opinions on Scottish independence? We got English opinions, after all. Is Wales not part of ‘Britain’ any more? The “British” Social Attitudes Survey? …Hhmm 

    Another point: the survey was taken a year ago (correct?). From the beginning of this year the MSM has gone all out to discredit the SNP, Alex Salmond, etc. and scaremonger, misinform and lie to the general public about Scottish independence. However, the truth is now more available online than ever thanks to sites such as this – many of these sites have, of course, been online for a while, with more coming online all the time. It will be interesting to see how these factors influence next year’s report (and the next!).

      

  35. Bill C says:

    Morag you make an interesting point. I have two sons and many friends in the oil industry and all are solidly behind independence. They take the stuff out and are irate that the revenues flow to Westminster.
    I would make 4 observations:
    1. Scotland has lost £250 billion in oil revenues over the last 30 years;
    2. Oil revenues are worth £225 billion over the next 15 years;
    3. Barney Thomson is right, Scotland is a very wealthy nation, (unfortunately most Scots don’t realise it yet) the YES campaign WILL get this across to ordinary Scots;
    4. I have just listened to Blair Jenkins from the YES campaign on Newsnight Scotland; I was very impressed, measured, reasonable and strategically sound (mind you he was only up against Willie Rennie!) I reckon the YES campaign is in very safe hands and just about to make up significant ground in the next few months.

      

  36. Morag says:

    Arbroath1320 said:

    Sorry for being O/T Stu but it appears that the cogs of Justice are moving ever so slowly again on the Pan Am 103 case again.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-19628963
     
    Oh, don’t start me.  Maybe we’ll get a thread to discuss this some time in the future.  However, on the assumption that nobody’s really listening, Malta have one hell of a good case, a better case than they realise.  There is evidence that was not put before the Camp Zeist court which shows beyond reasonable doubt that the bomb suitcase was introduced at Heathrow airport.  Which puts both Malta and Megrahi completely in the clear.

    This is just one of the reasons there should be an independent inquiry into this complete and utter clusterfuck of a case.

    [Bloody hell, I just read to the end of that BBC article. Where did they get that from?]

      

  37. David says:

    For what it’s worth, my interpretation of what we are seeing in these surveys:

    If the form of independence being proposed was similar to that enjoyed by the Isle of Man or similar – i.e. full autonomy on all domestic and fiscal matters, but keep our pound tied to sterling, and opt in to the UK for defence and foreign affairs, keep in the EU as a kind of associate, but still have the right to take these matters on for ourselves at a future date when we, as a country, realise that we are running our own affairs and the sky has not fallen in – then I think the YES vote would win it hands down if the vote was tomorrow.

    I am no party member, but I suspect that the recent years’ SNP policies on currency, maybe NATO, keep the Queen, and so on is nod in this direction in an attempt to try present the idea of independence as being a bit less scary. Maybe it’s a vocabulary thing, perhaps more use of terms like “full autonomy” would be easier for those swithering to accept.

      

  38. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry Morag. I didn’t mean to get your blood up.
    I think it will be interesting where this Malta court hearing will lead. One thing for sure, I hope that we see this sniveling little toerag Tony Gauci get his come uppence. I am certain his “evidence” played a major part in the, in my view, miscarriage of Justice that occurred at Camp Zeist!

      

  39. Morag says:

    Tony wasn’t supposed to be the star witness.  Majid Giaka was supposed to be the star witness.  However, Majid Giaka was exposed as a lying fantasist making stuff up to order for his CIA handlers, and all his evidence was disallowed.  That left Tony.

    He never said he recognised Megrahi as the man who bought these clothes.  He just spinelessly agreed that he “resembled” him.  (Except for his height, age, build and skin colour of course!)  The judges did the rest.  It was a classic example of circular reasoning.  Tony isn’t sure, but it could have been Megrahi according to his evidence, and Megrahi was at the airport when the bomb suitcase was smuggled on board flight KM180, so it must have been him.

    Then on the other hand, when they looked at the extraordinarily tenuous evidence of there having been an item of unaccompanied luggage on KM180, they said, but then the man who bought the clothes was at the airport when that flight left, so clearly that flight carried the bomb.

    You couldn’t make it up – but they did.

    Actually, Megrahi was in Tripoli at 4.30 pm (GMT) that afternoon when the bomb was smuggled into the baggage container at Heathrow airport.  Which gives him a better alibi for the crime than I have, as it happens.

      

  40. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I think the whole irony of the Pan Am 103 disaster is the realistic probability that the whole Megraghi set up was orchastrated by the C.I.A., in my view. I say this because as I recall Libya was the number one pariah state as far as the U.S.A. was concerned. 
    What is never taken into account when discussing Pan Am 103 by the MSM are the world events that took place just weeks before Pan Am 103, namely the shooting down of the Iranian Airbus over the Straights of Hormuz and the subsequent bombing of the night club in Germany. Now if we were to believe the media at the time, and to some extent the media of today it is impossible that any of these three events could have a common link. I mean how could they, after all one happened off the coast of Iran, one happened in Germany and one happened over Scotland. It is obvious that these events could NEVER be linked isn’t it?
    Perhaps if the authorities of the day had spent MORE time investigating Pan Am 103 and the other two atrocities properly instead of rushing to score points off Libya then we would more than likely not still be discussing Pan Am 103 all these years later.

      

  41. Morag says:

    The IR655 connection is often raised in connection with Pan Am 103, to be fair.

    The CIA certainly set Megrahi up, in that it was the CIA who gave his name and two pictures of him to the Lockerbie investigation (in the person of Harry Bell), with the suggestion that they might try to see if they could get something on this guy.  That was how he entered the frame – it wasn’t that the cops tracked him down or anything.  Bell decided to see if he could get Tony to identify him as the man who bought the clothes, by setting up a rigged photospread identity parade.  Tony picked the photo he was supposed to pick, and the rest is history.

    However, I’m not convinced there was anything more behind that than the CIA taking advantage of the fact that the Scottish cops hadn’t been able to find anyone connected to the PFLP-GC at the airport in Malta that day (well if the terrorist was in London, you’re not going to find him by looking in Malta, well, duh), and their guys had recently traced a piece of evidence possibly to Libya which kind of suited Bush anyway.

    I don’t think they’re clever enough to have planned the sort of major conspiracy they’re often accused of masterminding.

      

  42. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Adrian: retrieved your comment (and one other) from the spam filter. Suspect Akismet took offence to that stream of gibberish in the middle.

      

  43. Silverytay says:

    Arbroath   
    Dont expect any new investigation into Lockerbie to acquit Megrahi .
    The establishment will do what they do best and continue the cover up .
    What I dont understand is why the Scottish Government are going along with this charade .
     If the Scottish Government have any information relevant to Lockerbie they should release it into the public domain and while they are at it they should open a new investigation into the death of Willie McRae .
    It is time to show the Scottish public what a corrupt institution the British establishment is . 

      

  44. Aplinal says:

    Silverytay


    About Lockerbie the SG is doing what any government MUST do – which is to assume the Justice system is correct until and unless undisputed evidence is there to the contrary.  It really isn’t in a position to start to undermine the judiciary. 
    HOWEVER, there are two years to go, investigations continue, and as I suspect, there will be some further revelations before the referendum, THAT will be the time to show that Westminster may have “influenced” the thinking of the special court judges.   At this stage, we should keep that particular powder very dry!

      

  45. Silverytay says:

    Alpinal               
    Thanks for that .
    I would agree with you , that just before the referendum would be an ideal time to drop the westminster establishment into the proverbial . 

      

  46. Morag says:

    Silverytay said:
    Dont expect any new investigation into Lockerbie to acquit Megrahi .

    The establishment will do what they do best and continue the cover up.

    Strictly speaking, an investigation can’t acquit Megrahi – only an appeal can do that.  However, if overwhelming evidence emerged that he didn’t do it, then a royal pardon would be granted.

    At the moment of course the Crown is intent on finding evidence to bolster Megrahi’s increasingly shaky conviction.  They say they’re looking for his presumed accomplices of course, but they’re really looking for more evidence against him.  However, this isn’t the 1950s USSR.  A point will have to come when they acknowledge that they’re just throwing good money after bad.  John Ashton was on the radio this morning and he pointed out that the Crown has a duty to investigate the case as a whole.  One day they’ll have to take off the blinkers and look at the other side of the argument.  There’s a reason they can’t find anything in Libya and there’s a reason they won’t find anything on Malta.  They need to think about that.

    Aplinal said:
    About Lockerbie the SG is doing what any government MUST do – which is to assume the Justice system is correct until and unless undisputed evidence is there to the contrary.  It really isn’t in a position to start to undermine the judiciary. 

    That isn’t strictly correct.  When an investigation is still open, as the Lockerbie one is, the Crown has a duty to investigate all aspects of the case, not just the ones that suit its own theory.  Even though Megrahi dropped his appeal, the SCCRC report which pretty much said there were good grounds to believe he didn’t do it hasn’t gone away.  Right at the moment, though, although there is other new evidence again suggesting that the original case was in error, they aren’t going down that road.

    At the moment the SG is sitting precariously on an assertion that Megrahi’s family should reopen the appeal.  Megrahi’s family are stuck in Libya under a government that wants the whole thing to curl up and blow away, and I think the SG is relying on that.  However, one day this will stop being about legal process and will become about the truth.  The Hillsborough report (and the Bloody Sunday report) showed what can be done when an impartial review is carried out minus the blinkers that assume the original conclusions are inviolate.  When that happens with the Lockerbie affair, we’ll see a different story.

    [I don't know of any evidence that Westminster leaned on the Zeist judges. I don't think there was any real necessity to lean on them. It's a bit like that old quote: "You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to." They had their own biasses and preconceptions, and I think that was enough.]

      

  47. Jeannie says:

    @ Morag
    Thanks, Morag.  Sorry your Mum won’t be here to see Independence Day, but when that day comes, and it will, I’m sure we’ll all be raising a glass to the people we’ve loved and lost who would have loved to be here to see it.  In the meantime, “Here’s tae them!”

      

  48. Jeannie says:

    @David
    David, I’m beginning to wonder if the problem is that the word “independence” is, for some people, too strongly associated with the SNP and they are still of the mind that a vote for independence is a vote for a particular political party that they don’t like and they haven’t yet learned that voting for independence in the referendum is not the same thing as voting in an election.  I think that is why it’s important to place the word “independence” in a context that gives greater understanding of what it would mean, rather than leave it out there on its own and to continue to explain that a referendum is not an election.

      

  49. Adrian B says:

    Adrian: retrieved your comment (and one other) from the spam filter. Suspect Akismet took offence to that stream of gibberish in the middle.

    What is that stream of gibberish? Where did it come from? Wrote my comment in MS Word and transferred it across to the comment box – didn’t see it before I submitted comment?

    Thanks REV

     

      

  50. Aplinal says:

    @Morag
    Thanks for the additional clarification.   Yes, I do accept that there is a bit of “non-active activity” going on in the SG.  Maybe that’s a issue that they do not want to have to fight in the press – I am sure we can all imagine the MSM/BBC furore that would descend on Alex Salmond should he come out openly and criticise the decision.
    “Salmond accused of supporting terrorists!!” perhaps?  Probably with a few quotes from Lamont and Rennie.
    I have believed for years in al Megrahi’s innocence, going back to Paul Foot’s original analysis.  Something stinks, and whether the Zeist judges were “influenced” by their own prejudices, or some form of empathy with the status quo, I do not know.,  But I would not be surprised if over drinks with an influential member of HMG the word was, “we need a conviction.  It’s good for our world Geo-politics.  You know what I mean, old boy.”

      

  51. Morag says:

    Aplinal, Paul Foot was close to where I started too.  At first I couldn’t believe that was the whole story, or that it was accurate.  However, there is very little that is inaccurate or misleading in his treatise, and the more one looks into the details the more his thesis stands up.  It’s a complete shocker.

    Paul was the first person so far as I know to publicise the existence of the “Bedford suitcase”, the suspicious suitcase matching the description of the bomb suitcase seen in virtually the exact position of the explosion before the flight from Frankfurt landed.  That evidence was heard at the Fatal Accident Inquiry in 1990, but the sheriff there was told to find the bomb came off the Frankfurt flight and nobody spotted the significance of what Bedford said at that time.

    Reading the Zeist judgement written by the judges themselves is an exercise in surrealism.  To me, the biggest boggle of the lot was that there was no answer to the question, “if the Bedford suitcase wasn’t the bomb, what was it?”  It was handwaved away for no readily apparent reason, and this was only possible because two pieces of evidence which must have been available to the inquiry were not presented in court.  The absence of this evidence simply screams from the narrative – I mean, why don’t we know whose luggage should have been put into that container at Heathrow and what it looked like?  Why spend hours speculating on what the tarmac loader did with that luggage, rather than simply ask him?

    I formed the opinion that only someone who didn’t like the conclusions to be drawn from that evidence would have failed to present it in court.  A bit like Paxman’s comment – “why is this lying bastard lying to me?”  Well, the evidence does exist.  Once you analyse it in context, it proves that the Bedford suitcase was the bomb.  It appears that the prosecution were originally going to present it, then they changed their mind and didn’t.  It seems plain to me that as they were preparing their case, the penny dropped.  Probably serious brown trouser time, I suspect.  The best they could do was to withhold the evidence from the court (and hence the public domain), and hope the defence didn’t spot it.  The defence didn’t.

    My only remaining question on this aspect of the case is whether the police investigation in 1989 realised the bomb was loaded at Heathrow but deliberately turned away from that line of inquiry, or whether they were too fixated on their notion that the bomb had to have come from Frankfurt because the prime suspects at that time were a Frankfurt-based gang actually to notice what was right there under their noses.

    It’s a shame Paul Foot is no longer with us, but hopefully there are still journalists of his calibre prepared to take this on when it finally filters out into general consciousness.

      

  52. Doug Daniel says:

    Adrian, here’s a tip – if you want to write comments in a word processing programme first, use Notepad. If you use Word, you’re likely to copy over some Word-specific formatting crud.

      

  53. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Thanks guys and gals for your input to the late night discussion Morag and I had last night. Some interesting points raised I think. It will be interesting in the first place to see if the recent court hearing in Malta actually comes out and states publicly if they uncovered any new evidence and indeed what that evidence is. Once we know that then I think the pressure will slowly begin to be cranked up by the Maltese and others.
     

      

  54. Morag says:

    I think the Malta hearings were aimed at trying to find someone else who could be placed on Malta that day to substitute for the acquitted Fhimah in the role of actual bomber.  Since there is really no practical way Megrahi could have got anywhere near flight KM180 himself.

    I’ll be extraordinarily surprised if they find anything the original investigation missed – the cops were desperate to find the Malta modus operandi back in 1990-91, but came up with a big fat nothing.  I don’t think there was a single pebble they failed to turn over at that time.

    And even if they identify another Libyan to try to fit up, they still have to deal with the bag-counting exercise, which appears to have been absolutely watertight.  55 items checked in by passengers as hold luggage, and 55 items counted on to the plane.  These two counts being independent of eath other and independently verified.

      

  55. heraldnomore says:

    It strikes me that the dissemination of this poll a year or so ago ought to take account of the fact that the three London-based parties were then ‘between leaders’ so to speak.  Perhaps if we were to have the poll again now that we’ve had 12 months of the drive and direction; the new policies of their new leaders; the best men and women they can put up; the ones they think should lead Scotland, we might just get a different answer.  I think perhaps the 43% might get closer to 53% now that we’ve had a chance to form an opinion – an opinion that might reflect on aimless, rudderless, leaderless……….

    Oh well, maybe that’s why it took till now to announce that all was well, better together after all.  See you Saturday.  

      

  56. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry Stu for continuing the “hijacking” of this pice via the Lockerbie story.
     
     
    Morag, I think the limitations of the Maltese courts remit, “The court appears to be reviewing evidence connected to travel logistics but no further information could be obtained from Maltese or Scottish sources.” is down to what the Rogatory Letter from Scotland asked the Maltese to investigate. My guess is that the rogatory letter MUST have specified exactly what the Scottish/British courts/governments wanted the Maltese to investigate.
     
    As you point out Morag, 55 pieces of luggage were checked in by passengers and 55 pieces of luggage were loaded onto flight KM180. THAT is an indisputable fact, This therefore raises one interesting question. As has been established, AGAIN,  that the luggage carrying the bomb did NOT originate in Malta, where did the bomb originate?
     
    The answer to this question is, I believe, lies at the door of Heathrow and the unexplained “extra” bag that appeared in the baggage container due to be loaded onto Pan Am 103. As I have said many times before Washington and London were blinkered in their view of the world and were in fact fixated on Libya. As a result of this massive flaw in their thought processes NOTHING would be accepted as any kind of evidence that pointed to any one or anything other than a Libyan attack on America.

      

  57. Morag says:

    It’s a wee bit more complicated than that.  Although Reagan went off on one only a few days after Lockerbie, blaming Libya, it was very soon recognised that the atrocity had the fingerprints of the Frankfurt PFLP-GC all over it.  At the time the investigation ignored the Heathrow evidence the PFLP-GC were the prime and only suspects.  There’s also no evidence of pressure from either London or Washington.
     
    I don’t know why they overlooked the evidence showing the Bedford suitcase was the bomb.  By the time of the trial in 2000 the prosecution were doing back-somersaults to try to get the thing off the table of course, but they had to by then, because they were committed to the Malta narrative and prosecuting Megrahi and Fhimah.  Back in March 1989 they had no such imperative.  Their only imperative was to Get A Result.  Bedford’s evidence looks like their express ticket to promotions, the honours list and getting home to the wife and kids at night, and they just ignored it.
     
    The more I look at the evidence in this case, the more I find two things becoming very clear.  First, Megrahi had nothing to do with it.  Second, the conspiracy theories don’t seem to hold water.  It’s perfectly possible PC McPlod was just so fixated on the idea that a gang of terrorists based in Frankfurt must have sent the bomb on the feeder flight from Frankfurt that he simply didn’t see what was staring him in the face.  Bizarre though that may seem.
     
    However, once that fatal mistake had been made, the case was irretrievable.  If the terrorist was in London that day, and London is the place you’re not looking for him, then you’re screwed.  I think that’s what happened.  I get dog’s abuse from conspiracy theorists for this, but it’s the way the evidence stacks up.
     
    In the end they found a blind alley, and and a red herring at the end of it.  They became convinced the bomb had come from Malta.  But at that time they were still also convinced the PFLP-GC were the bombers.  They spent a year looking for the way the PFLP-GC had got the bomb on KM180.  They failed utterly.  It was only after the investigation had completely run into the sand that the CIA drew the discussion back to Libya and supplied them with the names of a couple of Libyans they thought might be worth investigating.
     
    I suspect that was also just opportunism.  There’s no evidence of a grand plan to frame Megrahi.  I think he’s just the schmuck who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to be fitted up, after the cops had let the real culprits get away by failing to investigate Heathrow back in early 1989.  I don’t see any evidence that any of the investigators actually realised he was innocent.  I’m sure the cops really believed the Birmingham Six were guilty too.  They almost never cynically fit up someone they know didn’t do it.  They persuade themselves they’ve cleverly got the right man, and the rest just follows.
     
    Then, ten years and a major international situation later, it was kind of impossible to backtrack on all that, even when the prosecution team actually spotted the true importance of the Bedford suitcase in 1999.  Oh dear.

      

  58. Appleby says:

    Stockholm syndrome and the Cringe in action. A mixed up kid that doesn’t realise it is high time to leave the nest and spread its own wings.

      

  59. Adrian B says:

    @Doug Daniel

     Adrian, here’s a tip – if you want to write comments in a word processing programme first, use Notepad. If you use Word, you’re likely to copy over some Word-specific formatting crud.

    Thanks for the tip Daniel. I don’t normally write comments in another program before submitting comment. It seemed the best thing to do in this instance due to the length of comment and the spacing’s required between parts of it.

    I will take your good advice next time I need to do something similar.   

      

  60. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I have to admit that I have a great deal of trouble believing that Malta, or Frankfurt for that matter, have any connection to the Pan Am 103 case.
    From what I understand the bomb that blew up was set off by a PRESSURE switch which once the 747 had reached a preset altitude would go off. For this reason, if not for any other, I just can not believe ANY terrorist would try and be so clever as to use multiple flights to hide the origins of the bombing. No one not involved in the pre flight planning or en route control of a flight can have ANY idea as to the flight levels the flight will be using. Therefore any one in Malta would be taking a rather humongous risk, not something a terrorist is usually known for,k at putting a bomb on board a flight from Malta designed to go off over the Atlantic.
     
    Logically my same argument goes for the feeder flight from Frankfurt to London. This therefore leads me to the conclusion that as we have previously discussed London HAS to be the location for the bombers and their planting of the bomb onto 103. What I still have trouble getting my head round is that the investigators were so easily distracted AWAY from Heathrow. One aspect of the affair that is not outside the bounds of possibility, in my view, is that one ore more members of PFLP-GC travelled to London days before the 103 situation and were therefore able to “sneak” their bomb onto the flight.

      

  61. Tony Little says:

    @Arbroath
    Not sure I agree that “Washington and London were blinkered in their view of the world and were in fact fixated on Libya”.  Indeed most objective analysis shows that Iran, and their proxy the PFLP-GC were the most likely perpetrators up to the invasion on Kuwait by Iraq and that was initially where the USA interest was. 
    There are of course additional conspiracies involving the CIA and permitted drug smuggling for information etc. and who knows?  Even South African involvement is mooted by some.
    I am not sure that the real truth will ever come out, but I am convinced that al Megrahi will eventually be pardoned.  Until then, the trial, initial appeal, and the subsequent obfuscation by the judiciary remains a stain on Scotland’s justice system.

    EDIT: I started this response then put my son to bed – Morag has answered better than me in the meantime.
    ps. I am “Aplinal” not sure why it shows my name now, not that that is a problem.

      

  62. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Alpinal and Morag I hear what you are saying re my thoughts on London and Washington being fixated on Libya. However, I just have a great difficulty in finding any other reason as to why al Megraghi would end up as a stool pigeon for the Pan Am 103 bombing. In my view if London and Washington were concentrating on Iran then in my humble and extremely warped sense of logic they would have found an Iranian to “stick” the blame on.

    That said I think I did raise the point about MY suspicions about the involvement of the PFLP-GC. While we may agree to disagree about my “fixation” on Libya point I think we are agreed that the PFLP-GC should have been the area of investigative concentration and NOT Malta and all the connotations that grew out of that red herring.

      

  63. douglas clark says:

    Morag,
     
    As you know a lot more about this than me, just a couple of questions if I may?

    I have always been curious about ‘who gained’ by bringing al Megrahi to trial and eventually conviction. It seemed to me, at the time, that either both suspects had to be guilty or neither was. The split decision is something I have never really understood.

    On a completely different aspect, is it true, or merely an urban myth, that some huge amount of needles were on the plane? If so, why were they there?
     
     

      

  64. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I don’t mean to put more pressure on you Morag but I read a point over on Scottish Independence site  that U.S. diplomats were advised NOT to fly on 103. I find this fascinating. U.S. Diplomats “warned” not to fly on one of America’s biggest airlines at the time without ANY corresponding warning given to the general public?
     
    http://scottishindependence2014.co.uk/forum/index/39-scottish-independence-latest-news/4665-pan-am-103-raises-itys-head-again
     
    Are you aware of why this warning was given or why it was specifically pointed towards 103?
     
    I just find this as further evidence that some one knew an awful lot more than has been admitted to with regards to 103. Sorry just my extremely warped sense of logic doing overtime again. :D

      

  65. Morag says:

    Arbroath1320 said:
    What I still have trouble getting my head round is that the investigators were so easily distracted AWAY from Heathrow. One aspect of the affair that is not outside the bounds of possibility, in my view, is that one ore more members of PFLP-GC travelled to London days before the 103 situation and were therefore able to “sneak” their bomb onto the flight.
     
    I couldn’t agree more.  The evidence that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow is absolutely in-your-face, and the most important elements were all in the hands of the inquiry by early 1989.  I simply see no sign at all that they even looked at it with a suspicious eye.  There is no reason at all why the PFLP-GC couldn’t have had the bomb transported to London, especially as the October Autumn Leaves raid had left Frankfurt a bit too hot for comfort.  But the police decided by 30th December 1988 that the bomb had come from Frankfurt, and just never looked up from that conviction.
     
    Or so it seems.  It’s possible there was some pressure from above not to implicate Britain’s flagship airport in the atrocity if at all possible, with BAA recently privatised and all that.  But mostly it just looks as if the cops developed a huge blind spot and simply missed it.

      

  66. Morag says:

    Arbroath1320 said:
    However, I just have a great difficulty in finding any other reason as to why al Megraghi would end up as a stool pigeon for the Pan Am 103 bombing. In my view if London and Washington were concentrating on Iran then in my humble and extremely warped sense of logic they would have found an Iranian to “stick” the blame on.
    That said I think I did raise the point about MY suspicions about the involvement of the PFLP-GC. While we may agree to disagree about my “fixation” on Libya point I think we are agreed that the PFLP-GC should have been the area of investigative concentration and NOT Malta and all the connotations that grew out of that red herring.
     
    What you have to realise is that the PFLP-GC were indeed the “area of investigative concentration” right through to about mid-1990.  The investigators were convinced they were the culprits, for a long time.  If they had found any evidence of a PFLP-GC associate snooping round Luqa airport that morning, I imagine he would have been toast.  They didn’t, probably for the very simple reason that the PFLP-GC associate was snooping round Heathrow in the afternoon.
     
    Libya didn’t come into the frame until later in 1990, for various reasons, but mostly because of the identification of a fragment of PCB that had been in the possession of the forensics guys since May 1989 to a timer model supplied to Libya.  (Of course we know now the metallurgy results don’t match, but that was concealed from the court in 2000.)  The CIA didn’t supply Megrahi’s name to the Scottish police until January 1991.
     
    Paul Foot covers this aspect quite well, although his timings are out – he tries to link the change of focus to Operation Desert Storm, but the timeline simply doesn’t work.  He went back over that in a follow-up article for the London Review of Books a year or two later.
     
    I think you overestimate the corruptibility of a Scottish police operation of this nature.  The Iran/Syria connection was lucky, because they never managed to connect them to the actual placing of a device on PA103.  Probably because they were looking in the wrong place.  Megrahi was astoundingly unlucky in that his movements dovetailed with the case the police had dreamed up, and they were able to fit him into it.  It suited the Americans, of course.  The serendipity was pretty remarkable.  But I see a lot more wishful thinking, group-think and confirmation bias than I do the deliberate framing of a man known to be innocent.

      

  67. Morag says:

    Douglas Clark said:
    I have always been curious about ‘who gained’ by bringing al Megrahi to trial and eventually conviction. It seemed to me, at the time, that either both suspects had to be guilty or neither was. The split decision is something I have never really understood.
    On a completely different aspect, is it true, or merely an urban myth, that some huge amount of needles were on the plane? If so, why were they there?
     
    Originally, I think the politicians were happy enough to have the two men in Libya, and to use the whole affair as a stick to beat Libya with.  Punitive sanctions were applied, and Libya stopped arming the IRA.  But they squeezed Libya too hard, and the whole country was hurting badly.  In the end, Megrahi and Fhimah agreed to stand trial in the hope of getting the sanctions lifted.  They had been assured they would get a fair trial in Scotland.  One out of two isn’t bad, I suppose….
     
    The split decision was nuts.  Fhimah was supposed to have been the actual bomber, the man who went airside at Luqa to get the bomb on the plane.  But they couldn’t even show he was at the airport at all that morning.  Megrahi did absolutely nothing apart from catch his plane, and he didn’t even check in any luggage.
     
    Informed opinion says that two of the three judges wanted to convict both and the third to acquit both.  The former two are said to be the sort of characters who always believe whoever the police trots up in front of them is guilty.  This time there was no jury in the way, unfortunately.  Since the decision had to be unanimous, it’s said that finding one guilty was the compromise.  Megrahi it was because he was the one Gauci said resembled the clothes purchaser.

     
    Have you read the Opinion of the Court?  It’s absolutely surreal.  Pure circular reasoning.  Plus they seem to have reversed the burden of proof for this case.  Some people have said it reads like a justification of a not-guilty or maybe not-proven verdict, then suddenly does a body-swerve at the end.  If you haven’t read it, you really should.  It’s a complete shocker.
     
    The needles thing is nothing important.  There was a box of sewing machine needles in the plane’s cargo hold.  It was in the part of the plane that landed in Rosebank Crescent, and the box burst open when it hit the ground.  As a result the police dealing with that small area had to be careful what they were doing.  For some reason one of the policemen mentioned that in the witness box, and a conspiracy theorist latched on to the story and wove a crazy fantasy round it.

      

  68. Morag says:

    Arbroath1320 said:
    I read a point over on Scottish Independence site  that U.S. diplomats were advised NOT to fly on 103. I find this fascinating. U.S. Diplomats “warned” not to fly on one of America’s biggest airlines at the time without ANY corresponding warning given to the general public?

    Are you aware of why this warning was given or why it was specifically pointed towards 103?
     
    There was no specific warning against 103.  There was more than one warning, but the one that’s usually talked about is one called the “Helsinki warning” which seems to have been a hoax.  The story was that a Finnish woman would board a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt to the USA, unknowingly carrying a bomb in her luggage.  The timescale given was a period of about two weeks which ended on 19th December.  The warning was sent on to the US embassy in Moscow, and displayed there.  This seems to have been a mistake, as it had been determined not to be credible enough to disrupt travel plans.  There was a detailed investigation into this, and it was determined that nobody had actually avoided that specific flight as a result of the warning, though a couple of people had re-booked from other flights.
     
    The thing to bear in mind is that the authorities get these sort of warnings all the time, or they did at that time.  If they publicised every one, no plane would ever fly.  One day, a plane was going to go down, and when it did, it was a racing certainty that there would be warnings that seemed to point to it.

     
    The investigation actually looked into the whole allegation that people had cancelled from 103 on the 21st in large numbers, allowing the seats to be taken up by students at the last moment.  It seems this simply wasn’t true.  People change their flights all the time, and the pattern of re-booking for this flight was no different to the average.  The flight was never full, although it’s possible certain price categories might have come up as full at some point for operational reasons.  Actually, the seat occupancy rate for the flight was more or less what it always was, and comparable to other days and other carriers running comparable flights that day.
     
    Jim Swire is still convinced that some people were warned, and his daughter’s life was sacrificed because she didn’t matter.  She booked at the last minute, and she said she had previously been given to understand the flight was full.  However, I have found nothing but assertion and rumour to substantiate this.  The bloody plane had a lot of US servicemen and their families on it, as well as three or four US security operatives.  Having looked at a lot of people’s itineraries, I can’t find any confirmation that there was anything untoward going on.

      

  69. Morag says:

    I used to think someone knew a lot more than they were admitting about Pan Am 103.  The more I find out, the more incompetence and muddle I uncover, and the less it looks like any sort of inside job.
     
    Maybe one day we’ll find out more in that department.  Maybe the CIA was really trying to stop the PFLP-GC by way of an infiltrator (Khreesat), and the BKA upset the entire applecart with the Herbstlaub raids, and the plan was changed, and instead of preventing the attack the US agents ended up unwittingly facilitating it.  It’s a possibility.  But it could be as empty as all the other conspiracy theories I’ve followed up and found to be baseless.
     
    I don’t think there’s a lot of point in speculating until the Luqa loading and Megrahi’s guilt are discredited.  Only then can there be a proper re-opening of the investigation.  And I think that objective is best served by abandoning the daft conspiracy theories and simply pointing out that the cops screwed up, and how they did it.

      

  70. Morag says:

    Er, sorry, RevStu.  We seem to have hijacked this thread.  Still, plenty more where it came from!

      

  71. douglas clark says:

    Morag,

    Thanks for that, I think.
     
    Do you have your own web site where this sort of thing is discussed?

      

  72. Morag says:

    Douglas, no I don’t have anything like that of my own, just a few essays I put up and occasionally tinker with.

    I did discuss it on a neutral forum for a while, but the threads have almost gone dead as most of the other posters lost interest.  Amanda Knox has a lot to answer for!  (I don’t get it.  The poor girl was banged up for four years on the basis of a prosecutorial fantasy, but it’s all over.  She’s home with her parents and writing a book.  But still people chew over that case.)

    Robert Black’s blog was also quite good for discussion for a while, but he had to put the comments on pre-moderation because of one persistent troll, and now the threads are virtually inactive.

      

  73. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Robert Black’s blog was also quite good for discussion for a while, but he had to put the comments on pre-moderation because of one persistent troll”

    Why not just IP-ban the troll?

      

  74. Morag says:

    Bob said that he didn’t know of any way of banning a particular individual within the Blogger software.  It’s possible there is, but he just doesn’t know about it.  He’s not the most IT savvy person on the face of the planet.

      

  75. Aplinal says:

    Rev, if I may, a final question for Morag: 
    You said earlier that “Informed opinion says that two of the three judges wanted to convict both and the third to acquit both.”  Do you have a reference?  I have heard little about that line despite taking an interest in the case (often in fits and bounds, so it may have escaped my notice).
    If this is true, then it actually makes Scottish justice even more unjust!  If a judge can be persuaded to “compromise” a judgement to appease colleagues, then there IS no Justice!
    Thanks.

      

  76. Morag says:

    Just from talking to someone involved in the case.

    The story as it was relayed to me is that there was concern when the trial was getting underway because two of the judges selected had the reputation of invariably believing the people in the dock were guilty.  Normally there would be a jury in the way of course, but not this time.  However, it was decided not to enter a protest because the third judge was believed to be a level-headed impartial sort of person.  Then in the end the third judge compromised on a split verdict.

    This is pure hearsay, and I can’t vouch for it first-hand at all.

      



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