Thursday, 30 June 2011

What if the campaign is delegitimised after the result ?

When voting on a break between countries, that is too permanent and serious to expect you can undo the result if it loses its legitimacy at a later time because one side's campaign gets shown to have majored on a lie.

"* That if, either during polling hours or after them, the winning side lets it be known, either voluntarily or by an admission under questioning, that one of the factual claims made in their campaign, against the other side's position, had been false, then the result should not stand as valid. "
is what I lobbied to my MSPs after the AV referendum. It is vital for the independence one. Should we choose either way on it, as a result of factual claims made by the winning side that later get proved to be lies? How clear will Scotland's status be then, and how happy will you be with it?

Then make sure this proposed rule gets adopted. yes it reopens the legitimacy of the AV result too. Here is today's news from the Press Complaints Commission, from the AV campaign:

www.pcc.org.uk/case/resolved.html?article=NzIyMQ%3D%3D the Daily Mail
www.pcc.org.uk/case/resolved.html?article=NzIyMg%3D%3D the Sun
had both reported that an organisation supporting the Yes campaign would profit from selling voting machines if they won. Yet the AV proposal never required voting machines. 8 weeks after the result it influenced, this report is now found to have been not true. i.e.
stephensliberaljournal.blogspot.com/2011/06/and-another-thingpcc-says-chancellor.html - and another thing...PCC says the Chancellor lied for #No2AV

I think Andy May who posted this here on another Lib Dem blog www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-unfair-and-unbalanced-the-scandal-of-print-media-referendum-coverage-24623.html, wants to spread the message and will be happy to have this quoted:
" Let’s just think about the context in which this fallacious claim was printed:
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up and makes false claims designed to damage the credibility of the Yes campaign at a point in mid-April when the campaigns were running neck and neck in the polls.
  • 2 newspapers with a combined daily circulation of 6 million reprint these controversial claims several days before the postal vote ballots drop and give no right of reply to the organisation involved.
  • A central plank of the No2AV campaign was the £250 million claim which, as David Blunkett later admitted, was also made up. The Sun and Mail took the lie one stage further, making it appear that not only did AV cost the taxpayer large sums of money but that the Yes campaigners were being made rich out of it. All totally false.
  • Polling day is May 5 yet the Press Complaints Commission takes nearly 2 months to rule against the papers despite the impact of their false claims potentially affecting the referendum vote of millions of people.
  • Despite the original prominence of the stories on page 2 of the sun and the front page of the Mail, 2 short letters are the only required retraction.

This case and plenty of others like it in the referendum and the last general election highlight a huge imbalance in election media coverage between broadcast, which has strict balance guidelines and print which has no balance guidelines and near impunity when it comes to what they can print. Not only can print journalists take an angle on a story and decide whether or not the target individual or organisation has a right to reply, they can get away with repeating false or dubious claims safe in the knowledge the PCC will do little or nothing about it.

The PCC is toothless, stuffed full of self interested journalists and so weak it is unable to stop unscrupulous party hacks and biased journalists and editors misleading their readership on serious political issues.

What does this example actually demonstrate? That there was collusion between press and politicians to repeatedly mislead the public over a crucial constitutional issue to secure their own power base through illegitimate means. "

Both sides' plans for our next referendum will need to sound less corrupt than this.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

in-British racism won't make a good unionist case either

Our new Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, was in the papers today saying Salmond might get the public all enthusiastic about new EU-supported services and thus sweep us all into voting for independence before we realise it. What is his brilliant example of why this would be terrible? That as a result, under EU rules against discrimination between its members' citizens, we would could no longer charge tuition fees to students "from" the other British countries, he would have to give them free higher education same as folks from the other EU countries already. Racial eqaulity and an improvement in the fairness of Europe as a community would be costly and terrible, he thinks. What a sodding right wing tabloid race card.

This is no way to distance perception of the Lib Dems from the coalition, is it? This is no new leadership to recover from their disaster. This is a racist form of unionism.

In particular, this is division between Scots. many of the students who live in the other British countries, who he wrongly terms "from" them, are Scots living there in exile, maybe not even willingly, a position I was once in and remember painfully. He is kicking away their participation in Scotland and a possible route for them to attain their ethnic right of zionism to come home from the diaspora.

The worst and most dangerous thing about the SNP has been its total disinterest in the diaspora and avoidance of making any issue of backing their return as a racial justice issue. If the unionist side kick the diaspora as well, and kick them worse than the SNP, where will that argument be left in the independence debate? Worse, where will the diaspora themselves be left? Inside or still outside their home? This tabloid bigoted move by the unionist side actively makes independence more attractive to the same nice thinking folks as have been disturbed by the tabloid way the SNP has been playing. Both sides want this fought at a rubbishy tabloid level, and the danger is it will come down to which side we feel worse about on the day

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Salmond is using the court change

Salmond is in trouble with all the newspapers, and with Jim Sillars's wing of the SNP, for being critical of judges.

While I share their dislike of the actual content of Salmond's criticisms, which are taking a regressive side against human rights on a string of issues that featured in court cases - criticising judges is democratically a good thing. No unelected figure should be above criticism, able to act dictatorially. That often enough works against human rights, as in bent decisions against asylum seekers. This is exactly what the court change is about.

The irony now is that Salmond needs the court change. What he is doing, is actually a "fault finding", the new power created by the court change, against the finality of any court decision. He is making fault findings against several recent court decisions!!! Read again my post on the court change.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The news reports on the Luke Mitchell murder case going to the Supreme Court are ignoring the court change, as always. They are saying that cases in Scotland have a more automatic power to go to the Supreme Court than cases in England and Wales. This is because, in Scotland if you can cite a "devolution issue" of differential treatment of your case because its handling falls under the autonomous powers here, then that makes the case a Supreme Court issue, but in E+W you have to apply to the Court of Appeal for that notorious old formula, leave to appeal, and if they say no you don't get to the Supreme Court.

This is simply not true if the court change is applied, and of course it is illegal to cover up the court change and not apply it. It applies, to all courts in Britain and throughout the Council of Europe countries, since 7 July 1999, as a result of European Court of Human Rights case 41597/98. As ever, see my post of January 10 for details of the court change.

Under the court change, you have an automatic power of fault finding against the reasoning of any legal decision. This is open ended, it goes on for as long as faults and counter-faults can be found in the original decision or in the answers given to faultings.

Therefore, there is no longer such thing as leave to appeal. Which you should trumpet from the rooftops. How more mediaeval could you get than the con and monstrosity to justice that the same courts whose actions were being appealed against could hold a power of decision over whether those cases were allowed to take place?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

leave to appeal

Yesterday's Herald headline on raising the age of buying alcohol, is all I need to feel the most immense moral relief that I did not vote SNP. How many youth votes did its emotional landslide sweep up?

Older voters too already have grave cause for uneasiness, from the present row about the Supreme Court. The SNP blatantly does not want folks to have access to a means some have already used, to establish breaches of human rights. It wants to suppress access to something that even covers the safety of convictions. This is supposed to whip up national pride and a feeling of insult at British interference in us. This exactly parallels how many dictatorships in Asia and Africa used to call the outside world's human rights concerns interference and associate it with colonialism. Robert Mugabe and Lee Kwan Yew still do that.

They want you to have to go to the European Court of Human Rights instead, knowing that will take longer, so if your case is about being in jail it will mean you stay in jail for longer, and if it is civil law and you need a lawyer to do it there will be more chance that you can't afford it. On Radio Scotland last night the SNP speaker could not answer these objections from Labour and kept changing the subject when asked about them.

Noticeably exactly since the SNP has been in government it has grown a monstrous morally authoritarian streak. It does not bode well for handing them increases of power. This is quite as big a letdown for folks who used to support the SNP as a banner for democratic reform, in its underdog days, as Clegg tying the Lib Dems to stick for another 4 years to a deal to attack vulnerable groups and their safety nets. These are not happy days at all for the reformist parties as were.

On this court issue too, the SNP is ignoring the "court change", the abolition of final decisions, which the whole political elite have kept hushed up ever since 1999 and which I described in my feeback on the referendum bill, last year, which they refused to issue publicly. The cause of this blog's existence.

A massive benefit done by the court change, is that it abolishes the horrible concept of "leave to appeal." That blatantly absurd corrupt mediaeval device, where the same court as makes a wilfully dodgy or corrupt decision also chooses whether to allow you to pursue any objection to it. The court change establishes a perpetual right of faulty finding, by any party, against every legal decision ever. That is what democracy needs. It extinguishes the nonsense of anyone ever needing leave to appeal. In the Supreme Court row, The SNP's minister of justice, Kenny Macaskill, is focussing his argument on leave to appeal. He wants folks to be required to get it before they can bring cases. Openly publicly he wants he wants a device applied at the discretion of the same courts as would be challenged, which is blatantly an unjust corrupt trick, to serve as a barrier to doing anything about safety of convictions.

The court change would protect your liberties from that trick and from an agenda as sinister towards your safety as Macaskill's. The SNP kept the court change out of the public record.