Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tony Kelly's lawyerly inconsistency

Just as a quick follow-up to my earlier post about the Supreme Court controversy, I was more than a touch bemused by Tony Kelly's defence of the status quo on Newsnight Scotland tonight. He has a very confident air about him, as if it can be taken as read that he's talking common sense, but in fact with each answer to one of Isabel Fraser's questions he seemed to be cheerfully contradicting what he'd only just said in the previous answer. For instance, when she asked him if it wouldn't be a good idea to ensure that the Supreme Court had a majority of Scottish judges when it dealt with Scottish cases, he made a high-minded 'juges sans frontières' point that it shouldn't be about checking a judge's passport or birth certificate. But then Fraser countered by suggesting that Scottish judges would have a better understanding of the context in which the decisions of lower courts had been made, to which his rather startling reply was "exactly". He added that this was why the presence of Lord Hope and Lord Rodger in the Supreme Court line-up was so important. OK, so suddenly it is about "passports and birth certificates" after all, Tony?

But he saved the best for last. When asked if it wouldn't be better to bypass London altogether and go straight to Strasbourg, he said no, because all the judges would be "foreign" - presumably in this instance meaning anyone from outside the UK. Yup, that inspiring, idealistic point you made about judges leaving their passports and birth certificates at home is really looking in fine shape now, Tony.

A proxy argument for British nationalism? Perish the thought.


  1. When the arguments that an intelligent and educated person proposes for a certain situation are shown to be contradictory rubbish and therefore clearly not the reason behind his stated goal, isn’t it rather scary to ponder what the REAL reason for his stance is.

    I maintain that it is not ridiculous to suppose it to be part of a unionist plot to dismantle areas in which our cultures are separate.

    In any case, does this interference in Scots law, albeit related to ECHR law, not break the treaty which binds us, wherein we were promised autonomy in matters relating to Scots law and justice?

  2. Casuistical jiggery-pokery of not the brightest kind by yer man: Jings, crivvens and help ma' boab, is this the best the Hanoverianistas can do?

    Actually and based on anecdotal blog samples from a language discourse analysis point of view and given the hysterical vitriol of the Contra trolls, it may well be.

    A bit O/T but perhaps not unrelated: A pincer movement being put in place vis a vis abrogation of the union and independence? The "Supreme" Court prong in tandem with a resurrection of the Duke of Cumberland's military occupation (the former a re-run of Cromwell's Usurpation and similar judicial high jinks)?

    Interesting times...

  3. Just goes to show that, as Howard Zinn once wrote, you can't be neutral on a moving train. Well done for flagging up the fallacy that is the presumption of neutrality on the part of those whose national identity is British.

  4. David : I must confess I didn't understand a word, but I'm in very little doubt that I'm in full agreement with you!