Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scottish independence: Lawyers for Yes criticise Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster for allowing Professor Adam Tomkins to give his views on how Nationalists are trying gag anyone exercising their right to free speech but they want the right to speak "in the interests of fairness and balance", how utterly pathetic

Dear All

A short time ago, Professor Adam Tomkins appeared at Holyrood to give evidence on what the effects of independence would mean.

Professor Adam Tomkins is from Glasgow University, he has appeared at numerous select committees to give expert advice on a number of issues.

While attending the Scottish Parliament to give evidence, he was subjected to an extraordinary attack by SNP MSP Willie Coffey who clearly couldn't grasp what the Professor was trying to put across to him.

As I recall the Professor said that British Embassies in the event of separation would remain as British Embassies, just in the same way that the DVLA in Swansea would remain as the DVLA. In effect he was opining you couldn't break off part of an Embassy, this seems to be pretty straight forward.

For SNP MSP Willie Coffey this doesn't compute!

So, in true SNP style of not understanding the answer and failing to ask relevant questions, he decided to badger the witness, in this case the Professor and start an argument across the chamber.

As many people know, I highlighted repeatedly the need for education in the Scottish National Party from the bottom up!

The Convenor, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie rather than defending the Professor's right to be heard, put forward an "argument" that the Professor and Coffey were engaged in an argument and therefore that part of the Professor's evidence was to be closed down.

Professor Adam Tomkins right of freedom of speech clearly denied!

What should have happened was McKelvie should have stopped Coffey badgering a witness, she didn't; this only compounded the problem. Not likening what is being said isn't a reason for Coffey to act up, he should have let the professor finish, make notes and used Tomkins' evidence as a basis for counter points.

He didn't!

The entire debacle is available to watch online, what flags up is the complete lack of genuine talent in the Scottish National Party at MSP level.

Being a humble Glaswegian pottering about the place, I was informed that Professor Adams Tomkins was being asked to appear before Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee prior to it being published in the public domain.

I am regarded by some people as a top Scottish political blogger.

Having got wind of the story, and given the information wasn't placed into the public domain at that point, I sat on it until the story broke.

Anyway, now, it seems that Lawyers for a Yes vote which includes failed SNP MEP Candidate Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has decided to criticise Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee.

They are a group of pro-independence lawyers who don't like the fact that Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee is inviting the academic to give evidence on "free speech" as part of an ongoing inquiry into the referendum.

So, do the Lawyers for Yes have a valid case?

No, is the short answer.

The video evidence of the event doesn't lead to being interrupted other than Professor Tomkins was harassed. Further to that he was denied his right to finish giving his evidence which he claims was being misrepresented at that point. It isn't just about the fact he was gagged, his professional reputation and that of the entire committee system was placed in jeopardy.

Lawyers for Yes who as I understand it didn't attend the event has since claimed the move to appear at Westminster was designed to present a false view that freedom of speech was being eroded in the run-up to September's vote.

Presumably, they wish to plead ignorance of the cybernats who attempt to silence freedom of speech!

Yesterday, it was brought to my attention that someone who I know in passing was threatened online with reference to a weapon and that the person's address was known.

Isn't this evidence enough of intimidation and attempting to limit a person's right to freedom of speech?

So, the Professor is off to Westminster to give evidence on free speech, presumably giving the circumstances that he will appear the Scottish Affairs Committee who will milk this on all four tits and lamenting how terrible it was, and how when they heard they were aghast.

As yet, no one is scheduled to faint!!!!!

Jonathan Mitchell QC, a founding member of Lawyers for Yes has written to Scottish Affairs Committee chairman Ian Davidson asking to appear.

You might find this remarkably odd given that he wasn't at the scene of the event which the Professor was effectively gagged. I am not entirely sure why he thinks he should appear before the committee and put the pro-independence lawyers' case. He has cited "in the interests of fairness and balance".

Is his client, SNP MSP Willie Coffey?

Is his client, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie?

Is his client, the Scottish National Party?

Is his client, the Scottish Parliament?

If the answer is yes, have his clients been asked to appear?

If so, have they declined to appear before Scottish Affairs Committee?

Because if he isn't representing any of the parties involved then the Chairman of the Committee Ian Davidson is well within his rights to decline him or anyone in his group appearing, because it doesn't fall within "in the interests of fairness and balance".

I want isn't the same as I am entitled too!

Professor Adam Tomkins will be speaking to matters of fact, one fact that Jonathan Mitchell QC should note is, he wasn't there!

One wonders how Jonathan Mitchell QC can spin being gagged as a defence of democracy?

Is his, a defence of Coffey and McKelvie or a defence of the Nationalist hate wing in general?

Is his defence it was all a misunderstanding?

Is someone going to mitigate and say it was terribly warm that day?

Personally, I would like to see Jonathan Mitchell QC use the defence used in the Movie, A Few Good Men:

"My client is a moron"!

Now, that is a strong case, who could hesitate to not believe that argument!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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