SNP and People Power

Craig Murray and his wife, the hour he exchanged his home for a prison cell

This has been a bad week for Scotland’s democracy. Though I am about to discuss the unjust imprisonment of Craig Murray, I am actually referring to the silence of the SNP in the face of oppression and the party’s supine acceptance of the Queen’s sustained intervention in Scotland’s governance.

I shall begin with the obvious in case anybody missed it. In Scotland we jail journalists just as they do in Russia or Hong Kong and other authoritarian states. In Scotland a monarch reigns supreme. Our effort to be seen as a better place is lost.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, tasked by the electorate to protect Scotland, has presided over an almighty disintegration of a once unified mass movement resisting the assaults of Westminsters’ colonial aggression. She has nothing to be proud about.

The incalculable damage of public trust in our government and in our law system, together with the hunting of the Right Honorable Alex Salmond MP, happened under her leadership. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence strewn around like cow pats in a once pleasant green field that Nicola Sturgeon encouraged those calamities, her political skills violently at odds with her rhetoric.

Lady Dorrian

Comments claiming the judge in Murray’s trial is a pawn of the state, or a handmaiden of the First Minister is paranoia run riot. I know Lady Dorrian and she will not be happy to be so charged. Not one bit. She is nobody’s fool. She is not to be manipulated. But she’s as human as the rest of us, and her concern for rape victims led her to dish out a punitive sentence on Craig Murray making him a martyr. Bad move, judge. A fine would have been enough.

She based her view on a keen reading of Scottish law rather than the baying howls of House Jocks and London Hooray Henrys seeking revenge on a former diplomat they had already smeared as a perverted sex fiend. There’s that classic smear again. But they failed to silence Murray. If at first you don’t succeed…..

Separating newspaper journalists from people such as myself was Lady Dorrian’s second error. I am a published author, two more books in the offing, screenwriter and member of the Writer’s Guild, who had automotive franchised columns in the US until I returned to Scotland, and a regular column in the Scotsman on the film industry. Now, by dint of the Scottish courts, I am termed not on the same level as, say, a hack in the Daily Record, or indeed, a guy selling newspapers from a stand on a windy street corner.

Whoops, I misspoke!

Lady Dorrian has, unwittingly, assisted the British neoliberal state to show what they will do to errant independent voices who publish dissent. The sentence meted out to Murray has the police able to act as a political force rounding up dissenters for trial and imprisonment. I am sure they do not like the position in which they are placed. Nor does she understand that the last people who will challenge the unlawful acts of a Scotland agitating for its liberty are state paid journalists wedded in salary, career prospects and belief, to a brutal Union.

She does not see the world has changed. People are jaundiced by what they read in newspapers written by timid hacks. They look for truth on the Internet. They use newspapers to keep the damp out when sleeping in the street. The curious follow those who have direct experience of what they talk of and argue for and against, people they judge have integrity and honesty and nothing to gain from lying.

Denounce, defame, malign and then murder

An England that executed Sir William Wallace, and Mary Queen of Scots – the ultimate form of censorship – is unlikely to allow similar challenges to its power in a modern world. The British state has, after all, kept whistle blower Julian Assange in jail without trial. (It annoys the hell out of government officials to see Craig Murray an Assange defendant.) Like Salmond, Assange was accused of rape, a tool of the power elite, a charge now dropped. Scotland’s judicial system disallowed Murray a trial by jury. I am pretty sure a jury of Murray’s peers would have found him guilty of nothing more than over-lengthy sentimental prose and clunky jokes.

I have not the space here to devote to the state execution of lawyer and SNP senior politician Willie McRae to prove our justice system conspicuously failed to investigate and solve. Someone did not like McRae saying England’s “nuclear waste should be stored where Guy Fawkes put his gunpowder”. Someone lost a lot of money and power when by court edict McRae defeated a Westminster proposal to dump radio active waste in Scotland’s hills. People who think the British state looks upon full democracy for Scotland with benificence are asking for their career, home and pet dog taken from them without a penny in reparation.

Walk like Wark

I think back to the travesty of a documentary that was the work of Kirsty Wark in which she added a piece of the ‘jigsaw’ that could have led to viewers identifying one of Salmond’s false accusers. Wark’s entire reputation rests upon an old BBC interview with the despised Margaret Thatcher, a young Wark supposedly giving the then far-right harridan a ‘hard time’. Afterwards Thatcher showed no sign of tottering from her perch, and went on to knock the hell out of Scotland’s heavy industries and trade unions.

Much later, Wark gave Alex Salmond a ‘hard time’ when, as leader of the SNP, he took them into government. Wark later apologised for insulting him, when in fact she had insulted the entire Scottish electorate that had vote overwhelmingly for the SNP. Kirsty Wark is an accredited freelance journalist.

If Wark includes a piece of the jigsaw in her contrived documenary it does not count as identification in the eyes of Lady Dorrian’s court. If Murray or another independent journalist offers a different piece of the jigsaw, it is a heinous offence. And so justice is undermined.

The judgment allows the power elite to do as they please to oppress and silence persistent journalists. This is the same catstrophic errors as the SNP endorsing a smear of a supporter made by a political opponent. The gates are open. It is open shooting season.

Those who work for a newspaper, who do as they are told, are of no concern. They are safe followers of the status quo. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) stays silent, neutered by Thatcher and Murdoch years ago. Murray is excluded from NUJ membership, just as he was rejected as an MSP candidate by the nascent authoritarianism of the SNP. There are echoes of the cliché heard on every trailer for a television detective series: “He’s a loose cannon, Jack!”

The UK’s Supreme Court, itself a usurper of Scotland’s system of law, endorses Lady Dorrian’s judgment by refusing to hear Murray’s appeal. The Supreme Court has offered its blessing to the fascist doctrine of Them and Us. Once more, the values and agenda of the British state triumphs over the rights of individuals.

This Land is One’s to do as One pleases

As for the monarchy fiddling with Scotland’s laws, what is there to be said about the myth that the Royal family do not dabble in politics? Millions believed it, millions still do, as people did when Elizabeth signed the death warrant for Mary’s execution.

That an unelected head of state has the power to legislate in their personal interests, with no transparency or accountability, is presposterous in the modern age, yet our elected MSPs encourage it. So much for the SNP protecting Scotland’s rights. They neglect their sworn duty to block exploitation, bring in radical laws on land ownership, and show openness in who lobbies them, and for what reason. The tragedy is, just as we are given a fundamental reason for Scotland to become a republic the SNP is in disarray, weak and subservient. For Nicola Sturgeon’s administration, going backwards is the unwritten strategy.

In summary

I hope Craig Murray sees only a short spell in prison and is released soon to continue his work. Meanwhile, the public can write to their MP and MSP protesting at his incarceration, and the awful state of Scottish journalism.

We are well on out way to seeing responsible free expression criminalised. But remember this, though Scotland lost its innocence when Willie McRae was murdered, everyone bar a few modest folk ostrasized and smeared are still here. They have doubled their efforts to be heard, shout louder than ever, and will see Scotland a new nation state, their opponents defeated.

The British state and its apparartus is not an abstraction. It exists and it is malignant. We must not allow the British state to dictate the course of Scotland’s freedoms for the next 100 years! Our objective is to conquer liberty and independence, to create a people’s power, to construct a new society without exploitation for the benefit of all those who feel themselves to be Scots.



Craig John Murray (1958) is a British author, human rights campaigner, journalist, and former diplomat for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Between 2002 and 2004, he was the British ambassador to Uzbekistan during which time he exposed the violations of human rights in Uzbekistan by the Karimov administration. 

Leeona June Dorrian (1957) Lady Dorrian is the Lord Justice Clerk, the second most senior judicial post in Scotland. An advocate since 1981, she has been a judge since 2002. After three years as a temporary judge, she became a Judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland in 2005. She heads the SNP committee discussing ways of holding rape cases without a jury.

Willie McRae (1923-1985) was a Scottish lawyer, orator, naval officer, politician and anti-nuclear campaigner. In the Second World War he served in the British Army and then the Royal Indian Navy. He supported the Indian independence movement and for much of his life was active in the Scottish National Party.

Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon (1970) is a Scottish politician serving as First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party since 2014. Her career began as a divorce solicitor. She is the first woman to hold either position and was given the role by her mentor and then First Minister, Alex Salmond. 

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38 Responses to SNP and People Power

  1. A DON says:

    I’m afraid I cannot believe Lady Dorrian can be intelligent enough to be a judge and still be ignorant of all the issues you cite in your defence of her. Unless you are being ironic and I’m just dim, in which case, apologies!

  2. duncanio says:

    A great article Gareth.

    Lady Dorrian might not be corrupt or a puppet but she was surely biased in the case of Craig Murray. Mr Murray has his foibles – who hasn’t? – and, for one reason or another, can rub people up the wrong way with what he says/writes or how he expresses his views. But he is decent and, I believe, honest. It is absurd to find him alone guilty of a crime and nobody else when, by definition, information published by other journalists/hacks would be essential pieces in order to complete the jigsaw of identifying one or more of the complainers.

    With regard to the current SNP leadership I genuinely believe that, when history is recorded for posterity, Nicola Sturgeon will be viewed as a latter day Toom Tabard.

  3. grumpydubai says:

    Another superb blog young man. Thank you.

    Every topic bang on accurate.

    It really gets one’s ‘dander’ up regarding the constant belittling of our Country and our People.

    Tonight – here’s to Craig

  4. I think you’ve been far too kind to Dorrian. She’s a willing tool in the system, and happy to do whatever’s necessary to facilitate Sturgeon’s agenda. The sentence handed to Craig alone is ample evidence of her intent to help crush those who continue the fight for independence, or challenge the cult, on behalf of Sturgeon.

    I would trust her in a non jury court case as far as I could throw Vladivostok.

    I hope, if there’s a real inquiry after Independence, should we ever get the chance, that Dorrian is thoroughly questioned, and vigorously held to account, along with Sturgeon and her personality cult, the crown office, and all the elected SNP cowards in HR and WM who failed to hold all the perpetrators of the destruction of Scottish legal integrity, to a consequence that would go some way toward remedying such a dreadful malaise.

  5. A masterpiece of fact Gareth , no other words.

  6. Michael W says:

    What’s really frightening is that after 900 years the same issues and means to circumvent them are at play. I’m sitting watching Countryfile and Drew Pritchard on TV. Both series tonight are in Scotland. To the trained ear you would think you were in England.

    I have a neighbour born and raised in England lived here 40 plus years- Uses no Scottish idioms has no awareness of Scottish culture or inclination to assimilate and yet bemoans fellow EUROPEANS- who settle in the same village who work in the fields and farms roundabout; whose kids speak guid Scots; help keep the local school and sport facilities going and are friends with the other kids- as foreigners!.

    Anyway back to my point. Sturgeon is conforming to the English edict from the 13th century that England is the feudal superior of and Scotland the vassal of England. This formed the basis of the wars of Independence and Sturgeon is following in the stead of Balliol but even he drew the line when Edouard decided England’s courts were the appellate court for Scotland (see Supreme court).

  7. Robert McAllan says:

    Dorrian, not so much the unwitting ‘willing tool’ rather the journeyman toolmaker!

  8. David Sillars says:

    The process of appeal should be heard by someone who did not participate in the previous stage of the process. This is basic employment disciplinary procedure that I thought applied throughout the judicial process, more fool me.
    Nicola Sturgeon showed her acceptance of Westminster when she did not seriously challenge Theresa May’s “Now is not the time” statement.

  9. prjohnston says:

    This case highlights an issue of possible entrapment for bloggers. You right a piece ensuring that jigsaw identification cannot be made by other journalist works, you publish but at the same time another journalist publishes work that creates jigsaw identification. Who is at fault according to Dorrian it is the blogger. Entrapment completed.

  10. steelewires says:

    I would be interested to know the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse to hear Craig’s appeal. Does it usually hear appeals from the High Court of Justiciary? Or does the Treaty of Union forbid that?

  11. That Lady Dorrian currently heads the SNP committee discussing ways of holding rape cases without a jury speaks volumes.
    From the Cambridge Dictionary:
    justice noun (LAW)
    the system of laws in a country that judges and punishes people.

  12. angusskye says:

    Thank you, GB. Your articles may be (understandably) less frequent than previously but they are still absolutely perspicacious. I would do as you advise and write to my MP regarding Craig’s disgusting treatment but, as that is Ian Blackford, I would be completely wasting my time.

  13. John Scott Charity says:

    angusskye: I completely agree with you that it would be a waste of time contacting Ian Blackford – he’s my MP too. It says a lot in itself that that’s the case.

    As usual, a really informative read, Grousebeater, thanks.

  14. anandprasad says:

    Dorrian was biased, you can see it in her language.

    She seemed outraged that someone could so successfully challenge the establishment. Judges are like MSM journalists, they get there by supporting the establishment (as Chomsky so beautifully described).

    It is shocking that she is so supportive of a known perjurer. I didn’t know who woman H was from Craig’s articles but I did later. How could Dorrian in her judgement refer to woman H (and the other Betties), as a ‘victims’. Victims without a crime, that alone was worthy of appeal for bias.

    I know nothing about law but it seems insane that the first ever ‘jig-saw identification’ was not allowed an appeal. That smells of a conspiracy by the UK state to punish Craig, but it was Dorrian who rejected an appeal in Scotland thereby letting the UK state decide.

    Now we have to see what the European Court decides. If they come out in favour of Craig are all the cowards like Michael Russell going to retract their accusations of guilt?

    I am still seething at the injustice but Craig will be in better company inside than that of SNP politicians (with 2 obvious exceptions) .

  15. alfbaird says:

    Excellent analysis Gareth. However, as a researcher I’m still searching for the ‘objective test’ upon which the judges based their conclusion or, as they say, their ‘opinion’. Has anyone found that ‘objective test’ and the methodology employed? Without that its all a bit hocus pocus and three witch doctors in robes coming out of a tent……

  16. Grouse Beater says:

    From the judge’s point of view, the ‘objective test’ is in whatever Murray published that cross the ‘jigsaw’ boundary, together with his ability to argue his side of things with a senior judge not well disposed to reasoning in this instance. 🙂

  17. johngosling42hotmailcom says:

    Why were not at least some of the ‘Alphabet Women’ accused and tried for PERJURY? Surely there is at least one open and shut case which will withstand strict proof. Justice should be NON-GENDERED surely?

  18. alfbaird says:

    If that were the ‘judge’s point of view’, any subsequent ‘opinion’ would seem rather subjective, given that:

    “An objective test is a test that has right or wrong answers and so can be marked objectively. It can be compared with a subjective test, which is evaluated by giving an opinion…”

    On the matter of a ‘jigsaw boundary’, do we know what this ‘boundary’ is, or how it is measured, or is this also a matter of ‘opinion’?

  19. Andrew Coulson says:

    What I find truly weird in this affair is that the uniting thread that binds together Kirsty Wark, Lady Dorrian, Dani Garavelli, the First Minister of Scotland and those others whose names have escaped me, is that they all regard themselves as noble warriors in the great struggle to end the oppression of women by men.
    Somebody told them that Alex Salmond was a fat old white sex pest, and that was good enough reason to abandon standards of decency, honesty and fairness in favour of denunciation — and prison for the only journalist who tried to get the substance of Alex Salmond’s defence publicly known.

  20. Grouse Beater says:

    I have a theory some of those women do not like men. And some feel women need protection. (There are predator women too, I’ve met a few.) I’d rather male and female be educated as to how handle each other. In my day, it was trial and error, beginning with, ‘how do you know when a girl likes you?’

  21. … Just wanted to say, not being university educated, or of the view that I have any notable skills in the literary department, other than being able to spell, your work makes me feel clever. It makes me feel I can recognise really good quality writing and analysis. And consistently too!
    (I went through the rigmarole of creating an account to let you know that 😀)

    Thank you! Great piece. ATB

  22. broonpot says:

    Thank you Gareth. As ever eloquent and to the point or in this case points.

    Your discussion has brought to mind that for some considerable time the Law has often been referred to as an ass –

    ‘Ere he shall lose an eye for such a trifle… For doing deeds of nature! I’m ashamed. The law is such an ass.’
    (George Chapman in 1654 – Revenge for Honour)

    I am still trying to decide which part of the donkey Lady Dorian represents.

  23. Grouse Beater says:

    icantfindanamethatsnotbeenused – In past times, people wrote letters of thanks and admiration. Today they are encapsulated momentarily in a tweet, pushed into oblivion by all those coming behind. But thank you for taking the time and effort to say hello. Your remark is one for me to shout from the rooftops. I’m honoured, oh nameless one. I have found the trick of self enlightenment is to keep a curious, independent mind while not making every exchange a duel. We are, after all, made up of people we have met or read and admired, individuals who help us be better than we are. I am no different. I hope you will still be as complimentary about my work after you read other essays… with warm good wishes. 🙂

  24. Grouse Beater says:

    Aye, Broonpot, the law is an ass. I had a hard time resisting that old adage as a recurring motif in my polemic.

  25. sadscot says:

    I think you’ve been very kind to Lady Dorrian and I must disagree with your assessment of her actions.

    I think she is thoroughly biased (and possibly worse),and has proved this over and over again. Her “judgement” included claims about Murray’s intentions which she really had no way of knowing. She also claimed that he had “relished” exposing the identities of the women when he did not expose any such thing. It was mere speculation on her part, something that ordinarily isn’t permitted in this sort of judgement. Her personal conduct, for me anyway, has been deeply shocking.

    She is now engaged, along with Rape Crisis Scotland, in working to change procedures around sexual assault trials and, it looks to me, making it impossible for anyone accused of such a thing to get what is usually termed a fair trial. Procedures are being altered in order to get more convictions! As a woman I find that quite terrifying. It appears she is accountable to no one.

    Yes, sexual assault/rape is a dreadful crime but are we really going to remove the right to a robust defence? The biggest problem with crimes like this is that there are usually only two witnesses and that is the reason why it is so difficult to convict. What seems to be happening here is a move towards saying that all anyone has to do is make an accusation and the establishment will remove all hurdles in order to secure a conviction. That should worry us all, women as well as men, because we all have brothers, sons, husbands, fathers and other males in our lives who could face accusations while having no opportunity to mount a proper defence or face a jury.

  26. Ronnie Mcneill says:

    I just wish we would get aff our fuckin knees.

  27. Robert McAllan says:

    sadscot, agree entirely what will be next, accusations of hate by misgendering a friend of someone in high office? Scotland is becoming a dangerous place to express an opinion that in any way criticises the State or its governing organs. We already have examples in Mark Hirst and Craig Murray with no doubt others to follow.

  28. Ronnie Mcneill says:

    Forgive me, GG. Forgot to say good essay.

  29. alfbaird says:

    Well said, sadscot.

    Postcolonial literature explains only too well what a privileged colonial elite may get up to as it ‘calls…for its punishment’. In this context Aime Cesaire proffered the following wee pointer:

    “..a civilization which justifies colonization – and therefore force – is already a sick civilization, a civilization which is morally diseased…”

  30. Grouse Beater says:


    Some brief answers to your points:

    Lady Dorrian presided over the Salmond case, removing one accuser swiftly when it became clear the complainant was exaggerating. Salmond left the court a free man. That doesn’t sound like a meek judge in the service of the state. Second, I was one of thee few people who cautioned Craig that he was crossing a line in his reporting (he disagreed), but I don’t want to say more than that. Unfair to kick a man when he’s down.

    Lastly, only a few months earlier to the Salmond trial, and by sheer coincidence, I was a member of a jury on a rape trial in the High Court. I am convinced, judged by your peers is essential for fairness in High Court battles. (In his first trial, Tommy Sheridan saw his jury give Murdoch’s newspapers a well-deserved kick in the arse.) Lady Dorrian’s committee will, no doubt, be looking at ways to lessen public humiliation for accuser and defendant, and how trained experts can handle such cases. But the question arises, how many ‘experts’ will be needed for a fair assessment, and what if they disagree?

  31. diabloandco says:

    I did not realise until I was informed by Wings that anonymity is forever – which makes it a tad difficult to try someone for perjury.

    I am kind of hoping that Stuart was incorrect – nothing would please me more than to see those who lied face the justice they deserve as opposed to the ‘justice’ dished out to Craig.

    Stay well and safe Grouse!

  32. Grouse Beater says:

    Anonymity only related to the Salmond’s case. Caught up in any other judicial event, and they can be identified. Which is why Lady Dorrian was furious some people (COPFS? SNP?), were using the anonymity as blanket coverage to withhold evidence that could have exonerated Salmond early in the proceedings.

  33. Lyn Hay says:

    There has been a great deal of negative talk about Lady Dorrian, and it’s good to read your more measured opinion as someone who is acqainted with her. It’s worth noting that Craig Murray himself has described her as “fair”.

    If she is normally fair and resistant to manipulation, then it seems to me that the explanation for her deviant behaviour in this case – and it’s plain that her behaviour deviates from the norm – lies in the oath of allegiance that all the judiciary must swear, to faithfully serve the English Queen. It seems that in Salmond’s trial she turned Nelson’s blind eye to what the crown expected of her, and your last comment about her being furious about certain people misusing anonymity reinforces that in my mind.

    In Craig Murray’s case I strongly suspect that the English queen, in the form of her Crown Agent, gave express directions to her along the lines of “rid me of this turbulent activist” and “we don’t want a repeat of the Salmond result”. Many people have remarked on the fact that her judgement is full of bile and fury, and uses contorted logic that cannnot pass a logical test. As though she has been forced into finding these mechanisms to achieve the required result, and her bile and fury and at being so forced against normal conceptions of natural justice has vented itself in ‘displacement activity’ against the only target available.

    I know nothing of Lady Dorrian beyond what I have read here or on Craig’s site, and brief summaries of the two judgements in question, so perhaps it is only my vain hope that Scotland is not so far down the rabbit hole as many people think in this particular case, and that this judge and others will be true and fair when not forced to be otherwise. Though in many other cases I fear that it is further down than many would allow.

    When Scotland achieves liberation from English rule it must also achieve liberation from these ancient royal impediments to a democratic sovereignty.

    And congrats on another excellent article, Grouse Beater.

  34. Grouse Beater says:

    “Good to read your more measured opinion as someone who is acqainted with her. It’s worth noting that Craig Murray himself has described her as “fair”.”

    Yes, Craig did go out of his way to give his opinion of Lady Dorrian as fair. Thank you for that.

  35. arayner1936 says:

    I find Lyn Hay’s perspective on Lady Dorrian interesting and perceptive.

    I am prepared, on balance, to give her the benefit of the doubt, particularly given that Craig himself says she is fair. The whole business of the Salmond accusations and the aftermath of the trial, which resulted in his continuing demonisation since many folk believed the MSM and reckoned he had ‘got off’, suggests to me manipulation from the British establishment which seem to have wormed its way deep into Scottish affairs.

    Apologies for late posting but I find my mental health can only take so much of this kind of information so I limit what I read. It would be tempting to completely give up getting angry about so much of what is happening, but I am trying not to as I have to keep hoping that Scotland will be free of the shackles of English colonialism, preferably soon.

  36. Gary Clerkin says:

    well this is a site of the paranoid, the anti English stuff is legend thank god for Nicola as SALMOND working for THE LYING NETWORK RT channel finnished me of you lot should go to live in Russia or China and leave us 55% who voted to stay brittish and live in the west and not sell out for cheap braveheart theatrics yeh UK has flaws but a communist putin loving scotland with mad mmt economics would fin this country. England would have a new refugee crisis scots fleeing elsewhere.
    Jailing journalists are wrong but 5000 outside bbc glasgow calling for a journalist head is no better.

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    Deadheads such as you never do any homework. English folk are SNP MPs and MSPs. Almost 400,000 live and work in Scotland, many settling here ‘for a better environment’. I suggest you look elsewhere for an audience for your dumb party-piece.

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