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PeatWorrier +PeatWorrier
Prolixity from Andrew Tickell. Constitutional law, human rights & Scottish politics. Jacobin-sympathetic scribbler, lecturer in law, and jaded flâneur.
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By any reckoning, Richard Keen QC is an uncommonly political lawyer. Former Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and now the UK government's chief adviser on Scots law, Ruth Davidson appointed him chairman of the Scottish Tories in 2013. While in office, he reportedly summoned the party's MSPs to his "small castle", and subjected them all to a dressing down for being useless. Some disgruntled...
By any reckoning, Richard Keen QC is an uncommonly political lawyer. Former Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and now the UK government's chief adviser on Scots law, Ruth Davidson appointed him chairman of the Scottish Tories in 2013. While in office, he reportedly summoned the party's MSPs to his "small castle", and subjected them all to a dressing down for being useless. Some disgruntled...
Last Friday, the Lord Advocate published the Scottish Government's intervention in the ongoing Brexit litigation before the UK Supreme Court. James Wolffe QC weighed in behind the Divisional Court's judgment, arguing that the royal prerogative cannot lawfully be used to trigger Article 50. But Scotland's senior law officer also ranged beyond that. He points to the Sewel convention, arguing that if...
Last night, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC published the Scottish Government's written intervention in the Article 50 litigation. The case is scheduled to be heard by all eleven of the UK Supreme Court's Justices between the 5th and 8th of December.  It is, as you'd expect, a weighty legal document which you may not find instantly digestible. A quick scan throws up a range of old...
Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee launched an inquiry into "the role and purpose of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service," to focus on:"... its core role and examine the effectiveness and efficiency of the COPFS, how well it works with its stakeholders, and the support it provides to witnesses and victims of crime. The Committee will also examine its...
Longstanding readers of this blog know what I think about the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, and the events which led to its introduction. Alex Salmond seized on an Old Firm fracas in 2011, arguing that this so-called "shame game" required special legal measures.Elected with a majority in the Holyrood election of that year, there was no restraining the former First Minister. He tapped...
"100 days on from the referendum and with up to six months until the triggering of Article 50 it is time the government got serious and put our economic interests and membership of the single market at the front of their negotiating plans. With a clear majority in the Scottish Parliament for retaining membership of the single market - expressed as recently as last week - it is difficult to‎...
On the 19th of September 2014, I wrote a piece entitled “under the low sky.” It is an evocative line – stolen – from a book I read years ago about the experience of living in the Netherlands, where the horizon presses down on you, without the thrown elbows of mountains to keep it at bay. But the phrase seemed apt to the slate-grey Glasgow afternoon which the indyref left in its wake, and...
"Criminal Letters" sounds like a pot-boiler crime novel, written by one of Agatha Christie's less talented impersonators.  But in Scots law, this evocative phrase has a more precise meaning. The overwhelming majority of criminal cases in this country are pursued by the Procurator Fiscal, prosecuting individuals in the public interest, under the superintendence of the Lord Advocate.But if...
The folks at the National asked me to fill in for a couple of weeks, while one of their regular columnists was tripping the light fantastic on their holidays. In my second and last effort this morning, I thought I'd take a break from the relentless politics of Brexit, and GERS, and #indyref2, and write something a little more personal, historical and meditative. Here's an excerpt:There are...
As my earlier correspondence on the Named Persons judgment suggested, I've been furth of the United Kingdom on my holidays for the last few weeks. (See an uncanny artist's impression, left). But touching back down in Scotland this morning, I found Glasgow bathed in something resembling natural sunlight. It was balmy. Unfamiliar blue patches had sprung up in the sky, as I steered back from France....
I know, I know. I ought to be out eating duck gizzards and quaffing vin rosé -- and I am. But in the wake of yesterday's Named Persons judgment - further details here - I wanted to pick up just one element of the coverage of case, which warrants further scrutiny. This is pleasure, not business.The word of the day, children, is "totalitarianism." The Daily Mail, whose rabid...
Bonjour from the bonny Languedoc-Roussillon! I'm meant to be on my holidays, but the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is no respecter of summer sojourns. The Court just handed down its judgment in the Christian Institute's challenge to the Scottish Government's controversial Named Persons scheme. You can read the - far briefer - press summary here. And heaven knows, the hacks will need...
Consider the following scenario. The United Kingdom votes relatively narrowly to crash out of the European Union, 52% to 48%.  In Scotland, by contrast, a substantial majority - from coast to coast - votes to remain. Invoking the popular will of the Scottish people, the First Minister gives a press conference. Distilled down to its essence, she says that unless Scotland's EU membership can be...
Purists hate the politics of the big coalition. This much seems uncontroversial. Divide a country - any country - of sufficient bigness, richness and complexity into two massive tribes, and you form uncomfortable, incoherent coalitions. You quickly find folk vote your way for reasons you disagree with, and worse, which you disrespect. You find people you think of as your political fellow...
As we hirple towards the EU referendum finish line, I'm often asked a question. What would a Brexit vote mean for devolution? If we crash out of the European Union, would Holyrood - in a trice - become more powerful? The Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, toyed with this kind of rhetoric last week, claiming that unprecedented immigration powers would be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, in the...
The indycampers are morons. There's no getting around it, no sugar-coating it: stone cold morons. In -- legitimately -- resisting the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body's attempt to expel their small camp from Holyrood's grounds, the group have argued their case in a fashion which has lapsed from the divinely ridiculous to the grotesquely insulting. They have consistently ignored substantial...
May may not be the cruellest month -- but it is certainly the busiest. Between the election and its aftermath, the end of teaching and a small burst of sunshine, academic writing and conferencing, my examinations and the waist-high pile of marking they generate, this peat worrier has been crucified by work this month, by turns zonked, distracted and uninspired. So just a wee note to say --...
It has been a slow April here on the blog. For the past couple of weeks, the inspiration for political writing has escaped me. Everything I have attempted has been lumpen, unreadable dross. But the mojo - happily - seems to be returning as we head into the final week of this Holyrood campaign. In the Times this week, I wrote a rather abrasive explanation of why I'm sick to the back teeth...
Amid all the process and horse race stuff in this Holyrood election, there is one rather important question going conspicuously unasked: just how solid is Scottish Labour's list vote anyway? All the mischief has focused on the loyalty of folk likely to vote SNP in the constituencies. Will they stick with "Nicola Sturgeon for First Minister", or split their tickets, lending support to some...
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