I agree with you on separating devolution and independence into 2 separate ballots. Both options are entitled to be voted on. I agree with you that any democrat should be in favour of allowing it to happen, and give backing to that democratic claim.
A claim for independence needs mandating by a simple Yes-No vote whose meaning can't be muddied. That only happens if the result is not confused by being on a ballot where another option is mingled with it too. The potential support for devolution as a principle should also be tested on its separate ballot. Even though both proposals at once could not be implemented because they conflict, yet it is not contradictory to vote Yes to both, it means you vote Yes to independence which would supervene devolution but that if independence is not won you favour devolution. Separate Yes or No to each of them, clearer, less confusing.
If compelled to choose between the 2 versions, then like you I find the version 1 questions preferable. They are simpler conceptually, and the version of full devolution as you define it is more concise and coherent to operate in practice as Scotland's powers. The Calman version is entangled with British level constaints upon a Scottish government's budgetary actions. What is Calman's nonsense proposing that we could have devolved powers only exercisable with London consent?
However, when there are 2 different ideas like this, if either one is dropped its supporters can always scream unfair that only the other idea was put to referendum. It would be democratically fairest to put both options to vote. So despite my Q3 answer, on devolution the opposite answer. It would be dangerously confusing to put the 2 devolution options on 2 separate ballot papers, when support for the single principle of more devolution is at issue. Then, voters might think wrongly that they are voting against any more devolution if they vote No to either one of the options, while if they vote Yes to both, then that does not tell you which one they favour. The count would make no conceptual sense. So it is necessary that presenting both devolution options should be done on a single ballot paper, at the same time as independence is kept on a separate paper.
The devolution ballot should have 3 options on it: your full devolution, Calman devolution, and No. Voter should be allowed to vote for 1 option or 2, and if they vote for 2, allowed to do it either in a preferential order or equally. They could put X - X or 1 -1 or 1 - 2 or X - 2. This way, they can support the principle of more devolution with or without choosing between the options, or they can support either one option while preferring No to the other option, or vote No yet as a second preference pick either devolution option ahead of the other, or vote equally for one option and No because they only care that strongly to oppose the other option. To also write a 3 would be superfluous but need not spoil the paper, your vote's meaning would be equally clear with or without writing a 3 on it, and this tolerance helps for not confusing voters.
The count would announce a public figure for every type of valid ballot: for those that vote for just one option, those that vote for 2 equally, and those that vote preferentially, counting only the first 2 preferences and giving a figure for both possible ways round for each possible pair. The 3 options should be called: Full Devolution, Calman, and No. These would be the simple names that could actually be printed in the boxes on the ballot paper. All the possible votes are:
* Full Devolution and Calman equally.
* Full Devolution and No equally.
* Calman and No equally.
* Full Devolution first, Calman second.
* Calman first, Full Devolution second.
* Full Devolution first, No second.
* No first, Full Devolution second.
* Calman first, No second.
* No first, Calman second.
To count the support for more devolution as a principle, you would add up the counts for every ballot that supports either devolution option or both, in whatever order, and that does not put a No preference ahead of either. These are:
* Full Devolution.
* Full Devolution and Calman equally.
* Full Devolution first, Calman second.
* Calman first, Full Devolution second.
These all add up to the Yes vote for devolution. The No vote is every ballot whose first choice is No, which adds up:
* No first, Full Devolution second.
* No first, Calman second.
You would not count at all for this question, the ballots that vote for Full Devolution and No equally or for Calman and No equally: those ballots are abstensions on the Yes-No principle of devolution, they are only votes between the 2 systems. But the ballots that vote Full Devolution first, No second, or Calman first, No second - these too would count as abstensions on the question of principle, but after the vote between Full Devolution or Calman has been counted, which they are part of, then those ballots become part of the Yes vote against No on devolution for whichever devolution option wins. If Full Devolution wins, then after that fact has been determined, the ballots Full Devolution first, No second, are added to the Yes count for the Yes or No question on Full Devolution. If Calman wins, then after that fact has been determined, the ballots Calman first, No second, are added to the Yes count for the Yes or No question on Calman.
To count the vote choosing between the 2 devolution options, you would add up the counts for every ballot that shows a preference for one against the other. For Full Devolution, this is:
* Full Devolution.
* Full Devolution first, Calman second.
* Full Devolution first, No second.
* No first, Full Devolution second.
For Calman, this is:
* Calman first, Full Devolution second.
* Calman first, No second.
* No first, Calman second.
Public understanding of the referendum is that it is for actual independence, not for the potential power of independence. Why would such a power not be acted on immediately? For how long a time would the power constitutionally exist, at the Scottish government's private discretion, with a claim not to need a fresh mandate for its exercise when the time comes? These possibilities muddy the waters. A vote on a constitutional question is always on what should be done about it forthwith. It is the constitutional decision to vote on at the time of taking the action. So the wording should be to ask for a mandate for you to carry out an actual independence negotiation forthwith. it should not be about a noncommittal power to do it who knows when, and the public in their present mood would be suspicious of that.
I am glad you are opting for the transparency of traditional ballot box practice, this is what voters find most visibly trustable. Thank you for not choosing an all-postal ballot, which has been seen to be too easily corruptible. Thank you for not choosing an electronic ballot, where mistakes or intentionally tampered counting can not be evidenced or reversed after a vote has been registered, and in the USA's 2004 presidential election Democrat voters using electronic machines sometimes found the machines registered their votes as Republican.
In any election with an age limit, an emotional abuse alienating from democracy is perpetrated, dangerously for all of society, upon everyone who falls just outside the age limit. The experience of being 1 minute too young, when the election will not recur for years, is utterly no argument in democracy's favour against every enemy it has in the world. In a referendum there is no certainty that it will ever recur at all. The generation who live through a referendum but fall outside its voting age are the generation who most of all the referendum proposition's will to succeed long term is aimed at. The sheer nastiness of not having had a vote is in direct conflict with this aim.
Your proposal to include 16-17 year olds who are on the electoral register is inspired. To be on the register yet not a voter is an obscenity. By producing an idea for getting around it, you have taken a pioneering step. Already, by being on record as an idea, it provides a model for the claim of recognition for the oppressed youth aged within a year of any voting age there may ever be, and and the moral defensibility of any voting age now stands irrecoverably torn up.
You point out that you would like to go further but electoral registration is still a reserved power. I have thought of an answer to this too. The law on electoral registration does not prevent organisations, from hobby societies to trade unions to mass membership NGOs, from holding their own internal elections with their own definitions of the electorate, which are usually according to membership or officeholding roles, and these ballots do not use the electoral register. Nor, obviously, do the mock general elections held by some schools for children. So, you could do something similar. You could hold unofficial extra sections of referendum, counted separately from the main result, and probably not using the same polling stations or else using a different room in them, also using a postal vote system monitored as it would be for a careful private organisation. These extra sections would be for the votes of youth and children, with no minimum age at all, and for the votes of the diaspora who morally merit their view recorded.
Because you are stuck with present electoral law for the main referendum, these extra sections would have to be totally outside the main referendum's count and result, they would be counted separately like a private organisation's ballot and announced separately. But this would be there for the record, to inform interpretation of the result, and the votes in the extra sections would have a moral claim to be counted as part of the Scottish people's expressed will. Thereby they would have some constitutional status as part of the overall result, they will make the picture of it more complete. Each vote would need to be identified in some other way than by the electoral register. For children living in Scotland, simple identification of their existence and persons would do, but for a diaspora voter, a statement of their grounds of moral claim to take part, and the counted votes would be announced separately for each type and level of such moral claim.
In the National Conversation some voices argued that Scots living in the rest of Britain should have a say too. That runs into 2 problems: of deciding who these Scots are, as there is no possible definition that would not unjustly and upsettingly exclude some of them, which causes bad feeling, and that it is a Unionist assumption that the rest of Britain should interfere in what Scotland's population decides for itself. It is historically well established during the past century, that when a whole country or a subnational territory votes on its territorial status, the vote is cast by the presently resident population. I have to agree that is a legal fact. The referendum's primary result should be counted from them.
The annexed piece of Scotland, Berwick on Tweed, of course is left out of your enacted territory: but you could still use postal balloting and a polling place on a bus route just in our side of the border, at Clappers or Foulden or Paxton, to provide Berwick north of the Tweed with its own unofficial extra referendum. It would need an extra question on a third ballot paper, on Berwick's own inclusion or not in the new state or the voter's neutrality thereon.
The diaspora testifies to history of racial injustice dispersing us far from home. Their existence, and remembering it and this major feature of our history, is part of any moral case for the nation to govern itself. It would be morally impossible to omit reference to the diaspora in the Yes campaign, and to their moral claim to Zionism, to live in Scotland: all descendants, including the likely but unproven. It is a racial atrocity upon Scotland now, that descendants of racial atrocities geenrations ago can find themselves shut out of British citizenship as a result of their long exile. A Scottish state that perpetrated the same situation would be invalid, because it would be persecuting its own, contrary to the point of its existence. To have any legitimacy for its existence in the world, a Scottish state automatically must have a zionist open door to the returning diaspora. Hence the state's existence must not have been won by appeal to the racist vote against this.
It is the same as the return aspiration of both the Jews and the Palestinians, except that it is better for Scotland as we don't have that ethnic collision. The zionist model of entitlement to return is a duty against internationally illegal racism. I would vote for either side in the referendum who is most likely to honour it. The Union at present oppresses it, nationalism logically should care deeply about honouring it, but will it in fact? A committal answer has not yet been given.
Right is now backed by our good experience of belonging to the EU single market that allows the population of most of Europe to live in Scotland, it does not result in all or most of them actually choosing to. Likewise back in the time of the British Empire, when the diaspora in the big Commonwealth countries could return unfettered, there was no flood of them returning, instead the emigration trend continued. The issue of the diaspora should be part of Scotland's case. But we are also an important constraint against racism, necessarily forcing the thicker elements of public opinion to appreciate that the Scottish nation is not just its resident population, but is actually more numerous outside our land than inside it. Simple minded stupidities including accent racism and surname racism, and worst of all birthplace racism, are overturned and exploded by the diaspora. You can't tell anyone's national identity from their surname or accent or birthplace. Anyone who tries commits a type of genocide, by defining large parts of a dispersed nation out of existence, whereby the dipersal atrocities of the past would win. The diaspora are the majority of all Scots, that says something chilling about our history.
That a Scottish state's duty to social fairness including specifially for the diaspora aginst these forms of bigotry, should be constitutionally innate to the state, and should be a referendum issue about the nature of a Scottish state. Justice is only done to the nation as a whole, which includes the diaspora, if a Scottish state's constitution lays down automatic prosecution for genocide for everyone who holds the school bully view that country is dictated by birthplace, hence who denies that the diaspora are Scottish. Birthplace racism is factually unsustainable ever since Old Testament times, e.g. the Babylonian exile of the Jews, thanks to constant population movements voluntary and forced. Birth is one arbitrary event, and many folks' birthplaces are places they have no connection with at all and never visit again in their lives. Scots born abroad include: the Queen Mother, Alec Douglas-Home, John Prebble, Tilda Swinton, Janet Paisley, all in England, Lord Kelvin in Ireland, Alexander McCall-Smith in Matabeleland, Eric Liddell in China.
Rod Stewart seems a more uncertain voice in actually standing up to thicko yob-level racism. To say he wishes he was born in Scotland is a surrender to them. I don't wish I was born in Scotland at all, for my birth is an isolated momentary event irrelevant to anything and I'm proud to stand in righteous solidarity with all of the exile-born diaspora and all the long list of folks born outside their countries. I am not offended by a Bosnian girl, here as a refugee in the 90s, who said on TV that Scotland was nice enough but Bosnia was her home and she wanted to go home. Likewise, my position being unhappy with growing up in exile, and wanting to return to Scotland, is not an offence to Wales. Dafydd Wigley, leader of Plaid Cymru when they won the 1997 referendum, was born in Derby, so we have in common exiled birth, and my Scottishness and his Welshness uphold each other.
I have a metropolitan-bland voice that accent racists usually take as English, yet I have never lived in England. I have learned this is shared by many folks born and raised in Edinburgh. So all drawing of personal assumptions from accents is factually nonsense. Facts like this should be pointed out in the referendum, to ensure that nationalist opinion is kept cosmopolitan and diaspora welcoming in form and not allowed to mutate into an excluding racist form. You are bound to find that important. Its logic means not appeasing yob anti-immigration feelings a shred.
Next, the effects of Thatcherism and the 90s depression upon exiles. The Conservatives admitted then to deliberately, as a point of social policy, wanting to keep young adults dependent on their family household if we had any, in order to push family values. It had kept me trapped in Wales well into my 20s, and that was an ethnic oppression: what if I had died then? That policy needs remembering as doing that racial/ethnic injustice to my generation in the diaspora in the rest of Britain who reached young adulthood in the wrong place. Then there is a suspicion too about how zionist returners have been treated by the state. To be seen to be ignoring this too would undermine the validity of the independence cause.
So consider what my experience, from the moment the police lied, was actually like. The inconceivable unjust distress, the damage done to life while the lie held, the violation of citizenship, the permanent damage to relations with the complacent snooty type of relatives whose comfort boundaries are challenged by having to believe it could happen. This at the beginning of my life in Scotland, this was how the state made it begin, after years of oppressing exile. This is what the state did to a zionist returner from the diaspora. How many stories like this are out there?
Parliament and media have tended to treat the independence proposal as synonymous with the SNP's version of it, and with the SNP Government's merits. But we are anchored into the European institutions and power balance of entrenched democracy, and thankfully we know a Scottish state won't be one party state. So every party's approach to how to govern it matters, and is part of the picture of what it will be like. The unionist parties of course opt out of talking about this, even though they will have to have policies for post-independence if it happens. But there are several independence parties. the SNP's picture of it is not the only one. Solidarity, SSP, Green, Free Scotland Party, all have other pictures of it, and all together they make up the picture of what politics post-independence will be like. So a fair referendum giving an accurate total picture of independence will invite them all to contribute their own picture. The public will know that not all these pictures are equally likely ever to happen. Even the most open-minded of Lib Dems might want to give a picture too. A multi-party Yes campaign like this will be a full match for the inevitably multi-party No campaign, and it will help to press the unionist parties for clues as to their plans post-independence.
The SNP has suffered a couple of by-election reversals, and the one in Glasgow seemed to be a reaction against the severe trend in your social policy, towards attitudes to youth, and the rules for pubs, rather than against nationalism. It showed that it is in the interests of the referendum's cause, that its fortunes are not tied to the SNP's fortunes alone. Independence supporters actual or prospective, in all parties, should see the multi-party approach as safer, not all their eggs in 1 basket.
I count as a propsective supporter, as I can be won to independence if it is done in a spirit of national winning of fairness that will also be keen to welcome home the diaspora and uphold committally our historically just right to reverse our dispersal; or I can be made to oppose independence if it is done in a mode of harsh gritty realism that is anti-diaspora and that in the usual political con way would not make anything practical in life nicer at all. SNP losses are no guide at all to the referendum's propects. As a libertarian on youth and school, passionately driven so from personal experience of adults' abuse of power towards teenagers and their futures, the SNP has lost my vote by its tragic choice to appeal to populist anti-youth panic and try to reduce their civil rights and put up age limits, as part of presenting as a gritty practical government. I voted SNP in 2005, on grounds that encouraging the nationalist issue was the most reformist option then, morally so given the diaspora issue, but with support depending ultimately on how you choose to play that issue. This time I am voting Lib Dem, on grounds of being the most reformist and socially liberal option. But this is not a unionist vote, and it will make no difference to my referendum vote. I disagree with the Lib Dems' desire to block this referendum from happening, I find it illogical if they believe the No side would win it, as a friend who works for the Lib Dems has rationalised is their reason.
The SNP is long-runningly a CND party, and its independence arguments frequently prominently include a moral stance against British nuclear weapons, as if to preempt that all the people of a Scottish state would only have this view. Gordon Wilson and Jim Sillars have expressed a dissenting view, that I find more rational. Twice when I have voted SNP in British elections it has been on the rationale that I am not electing a CND British government and there remains the referendum stage for seeing what the position will be, and that it is practically certain that a Scottish state will still be under the remaining English nuclear deterrent in unwritten reality, more so than the Irish Republic is, because it would be strategically unthinkable to England to deem otherwise for a part of the same island. This is far from being an independence purist position. I can agree that most of the European democracies are not nuclear powers and that it would be proliferation for Scotland to be one in its own right, and that if it is not critical for Scotland to be one it is equally not critical for Britain or England to be one - only so long as it has a stake in Western Europe as a whole being one. But this is what is critical.
Anyway, it preempts post-independence politics to try to build the CND case into the entire picture of independence to be offered in the referendum. In defining what both sides are campaigning about and balancing their media time, it is wrong to define the CND view as part of the Yes campaign and the pro-nuclear view as part of the No camapign. Yet the party alignment will make it easy and probably inevitable that in practice the referendum will be like this. As independence is a popular cause for the Scottish left, while the unionist parties have succumbed to right wing boundaries on how not to scare voters, in practice the independence parties are CND and the unionist parties are pro-nuclear. It will be little heard that this divide does not suit all voters. Nor that the issue will be reassuringly meaningless anyway if Scotland remains in an EU converging on a common defence policy that includes 2 nuclear powers, which is the real reason why the issue should not frighten anyone away from voting Yes!
Your Yes campaign's CND case will be pitched as a moral and partly a legal argument. it will call nuclear weapons obscene and against international law on mass destruction. This can be predicted. Because this is a legal challenge to the whole country, any defence to it is entitled to be heard, wherever it comes from, and that means from ordinary voters, not just from the No campaign. Every aspect of the nuclear issue's morality and place in international law needs to be answered in the campaign literature of both sides, on public record, and may also be commented on by any of the parties taking part in either side's campaign.
I place on record here an aspect of the issue that does not usually feature in hardline positions on either side. Nuclear weapons are proved legal so long as malicious social behaviour and cruel senses of humour exist in our society. Both sides in the referendum campaign should take a position on this.
This is the position I would take if accused of advocating mass murder and breaking the Genocide Act, which is what CND sometimes has suggested should happen to anyone who disagrees with its view. Firstly: it is never murder to use any weapon in last resort self-defence where it is the least destructive option available for meeting the situation adequately, and so long as you don't gratuitously, avoidably to the self-defence action, kill innocent parties who are not taking part in the lethal attack upon you. I only justify nuclear weapons' use in these circumstances, upon the location of the attack's source, against an attack of comparable scale that will imminently destroy us if our response is less in scale. I don't in any circumstances justify their use upon civilian population centres that are not the attack's source. This position is not murder or genocide, it is ethically tightly tied to minimum self-defence in extremis.
However, some CND true believers offer an honourable answer that has the rational merit that it admits the claim to self-defence and does not just say you must bow down to any nuclear armed enemy. They say: you must never justify any use of nuclear weapons because you never need to, there is always a less lethal alternative, in the form of civil resistance, non-violent direct action, to frustrate the enemy's effort to control us. I and anyone of my view owe an answer to that humanitarian challenge. The answer is this: Civil resistance by a minority does not overthrow police state rule, never has done, it just gets undermined or destroyed. In order to work and to defeat the functioning of a conqueror's regime, civil resistance needs to involve most of the population, getting together fraternally, cooperating, getting on with each other, and enduring dangers or practical inconveniences reliably for each other's sake. If the civil resistance succeeds in its aim to frustrate the country's functioning, then this will include being reliably willing to endure food shortages and loss of urgent medical treatment, before you reach the fantasised halting of society that is supposed to throw out the occupier.
That this is all a fantasy and could not happen, is clearly visible from all the bad sides of normal social behaviour observed every day. the well known fact, lived by most of the population, that the mass of people are not willing to get together intimately and get along and cooperate, to be support each other as reliable friends open-endedly on their own volition. Real people are nasty, they backstab and betray and taunt and sneer and intrigue against each other and infight and lie and exclude and gang up and evade and cheat and fall out. The character of most people and all organised groups includes varying amounts of most of these flaws. In a serious practical way the normal relational behaviour of most of society is utterly contrary to what civil resistance would need. With no means of forcing this behaviour to suddenly change and lose its self-sustaining dynamic, civil resistance can not be planned and relied on to keep functioning, let alone to succeed. That the impracticality is so visible to all in everyday life, is what got Labour into a humiliating mess for advocating civil resistance to a Soviet invasion in the 1987 election. Hence, everything nasty about normal social behaviour, which can be summed up by the word "ribaldry", is what causes nuclear weapons to be legal.
Ribaldry causes it to be impossible to refute the claim of last resort self-defence for Europe needing to have nuclear weapons. Hence, ribaldry prevents avoidance of the horrors of nuclear weapons. The moral case against those horrors and for wishing to avoid them, does not disappear when you find that the weapons can not be averted from being needed. The moral opprobrium moves onto whatever item within our own society causes the weapons to be needed, whatever is to blame for us not having an equally practical alternative. This item is ribaldry. Hence, ribaldry on all scales is obscene and to favour ribaldry is a choice against humanitarian law. Ever to select for ribaldry is always to select for murder and genocide, because it is to select against the maximum chance of averting the need for a defence resort to a weapon capable of mass destruction.
This is a case for European possession of nuclear weapons, that directly answers the moral and humanitarian case put by their opponents. So the parties and other elements who will comprise both sides in the referendum, must take a position on it during the referendum campaign, otherwise they would be suppressing part of the context of the issue around nuclear weapons' international legality.
The logical consequence of this conclusion, is that every state's duty towards trying to minimise the need for nuclear weapons and their proliferation, includes: to apply to its own society an anti-ribald policy. This is outside the referendum's scope because it should be an ongoing political issue, but it needs mentioning because it is where the case made on nucelar weapons leads. It may be asked why use a phrase likely to sound startling and fringe: "anti-ribald policy". Because ribaldry rings of mob processes of derision and uncontrolled rough humour, kicking aside reason, refusing the targetted person a fair and rational hearing, just laughing down what they want to say. Ribaldry excludes and intimidates, it controls people in a tyrannical way, it is at odds with democracy. A person's basic liberty to be themself and express themself is violated by ribaldry, when it intimidates them against holding to a political or religious viewpoint or practising a lifestyle choice, e.g. their choice of clothes or of hobby.
Ribaldry is genocidal also because it is how mob psychology and scapegoating work, they are how violence against minorities begins and takes root, and how moral stands against it are intimidated. So it is a genocidal crime for anyone to want ribaldry to continue to exist ot to say it must be accepted. Every act of unrepentant calculated ribaldry is fair to criminalise and to include in the world's total body of itemised evidence that nuclear weapons are legal. But not every act of accidental ribaldry when you cross a boundary under pressure or when it is hard to judge. Normal life experience shows it would be unfair and impractical to try to criminalise that. So the fair balance to avoid being socially authoritarian about it, can be struck by defining the crime as "wanting ribaldry to exist", rather than as committing it. This way, only deliberate and unrepentant acts of ribaldry that show the perpetrator wants ribaldry to exist, not regretted accidental slip-ups, are caught.
The irony is that CND true believers too often use ribaldry against their opponents, intimidating that dissent is not listened to and shall mean social rejection. Where is the peacefulness in that? In fact, often enough it is exactly the doctrinally tyrannical social behaviour of CND fanatics themselves that makes nuclear weapons legal. The CND faith is a charter for coarse bigots and bullies obscenely to believe they are better people, than are victims of ribaldry whose experiences sensibly prevent them from falling for CND and the civil resistance fantasy. This brutally arrogant self-sustaining bandwagon for a nonsense dogma has developed as part of the social high handedness of the dogmatic left, the undemocratic culture of collectively shared beliefs enforced by peer group and social rejection, that grew up out of the collectivist nature of the early Labour movement's organisation. The same thing as has long been to blame for mindless tribal Labour voting. Every person pushed around by this culture, whether on the nuclear issue itself or on any other issue, is entitled to contribute it to a list of descriptions of every example of this oppression, and to have this list held at a neutral location for international use as evidence that ribaldry still makes civil resistance impossible, and hence that nuclear weapons remain proved justified.
The New Internationalist for November 2000 printed a blatantly false claim that the World Court had ruled that "nuclear deterrence is a crime against humanity." In fact it had upheld nuclear last resort. Dare we hope the claim was read by those double standard voices in 80s CND and the old Greenham Common women who used to defend the Soviet Union's nuclear deterrence as entirely peaceful and only condemn Western? and a more recent voice I have met who took the same line on Iran, and by it forfeited any entitlement to be shocked by my views? Anyway: At the time I had taken out a trial subscription to New Internationalist in the unsuccessful hope of interesting them in the "court change" - explanation of which follows. I wrote in, inviting them to criminalise my views and I offered to stand trial, under court change conditions, for supporting nuclear deterrence in a form that is limited to actions of situationally relevant self-defence and not gratuitous massacring of civilians. My defence case would be: that the horrors of nuclear weapons make ribaldry a crime against humanity, and that ribaldry's existence is why they do not make the weapons themselves a crime.
What was in it for me, in offering to do this, was to publicise both the court change, thus ending its cover-up, and anti-ribald policy. This could have established on public record that global humanitarian law on trying to curb weapons of mass destruction criminalises all forms of social nastiness and cliquiness and emotional cruelty, big and small, that have ever been invented in all of history, and all personally savage humour. This would have put a legal leverage upon society to become nicer, in a much fairer way than the SNP Government's discriminatory youth bashing. New Internationalist ignored the offer and never printed a word of the case I had put to them on nuclear deterrence. By concealing it from their readers, they suppressed evidence around the serious legal claim they were making to their readers about nuclear deterrence. Readers were left with a falsely incomplete picture. That does not suggest they had confidence under scrutiny, in their CND dogma's merits, but that they just wanted to intimidate for it.
I repeat the offer here. The nuclear issue inevitably will feature in the referendum, hence your legally due honest disclosure of the full picture around the legal claims around nuclear weapons means:
* either you accept my anti-ribald case as a legitimate case for airing in the campaign,
* or you put it on trial under court change conditions.
"The court change" is the simplest and adequate name to give to a massive advance in participative democracy, created out of a court precedent, that has been deliberately suppressed from public knowledge for 11 years. It exists in every Council of Europe country, so it will still exist in a Scottish state. It is on publicly traceable record through petitions PE6 and PE360 in the Scottish, 730/99 the European, parliaments. That itself is a vindication of those parliaments being more advanced than the British one. But the record shows that nobody was more instrumental in getting my direct petition on public recognition of the court change, PE6, shoved aside without any committal position taken on it, than your Roseanna Cunningham. If she has done any lawyer work since then, all its clients were entitled to know about the court change and could have benefitted from it. It is a new safeguard for justice, yet all she had to say on it was "I have serious doubts about the admissibility of this petition." How does the SNP answer for that now, and in the referendum? For, as well as the link to the court aspect of the nuclear weapons issue, the court change is part of the description of any Scottish state. This is not a matter of governmental decision, it is a fact already proved by the short-circuited illegality that would exist otherwise.
The court change is: decisions are no longer final, all court or other legal decisions are now open-endedly faultable on their reasoned merits.
This follows from my European Court of Human Rights case 41597/98 on a scandal of insurance policies requiring evictions of unemployed people from hotels. Being unpublicised, it probably also follows from other earlier equally unpublicised cases that predate mine: I will not seek any ego trip for the precedence, the easrliest possible start date for the court change is more important than that. Based on my case, it holds from 7 July 1999, the date the court issued its admissiblity decision.
This case referred to violation of civil status from 13 May 1997, yet the admissibility decision claimed that the last stage of decision taken within Britain was on 4 August 1995. ECHR has made itself illegal, by issuing a syntactically contradictory nonsense decision that reverses the physics of time, and calling it final. This violates every precedent that ECHR member countries' laws recognise the chronology of cause and effect, in court evidence.
By the ECHR taking this absurd illegal action and calling it final, and by the ECHR being constituted that allows this, the ECHR has voided its own legality and its existence no longer fulfils the European Convention's section on requiring an ECHR to exist. Hence, that section of the Convention requires its member states to create an ECHR that removes the original's illegality, by being constituted in a way that does not allow it to happen. As the illegality lay in calling final a decision that is both a physical impossiblity and a breach of the entire precedential history of courts recognising the correct order of time, hence this illegality can only be removed by the court's decisions not being final. If they are not final, they can only instead be open-ended.
It follows, this requires courts within the member countries to be compatible with the new ECHR's open-ended decisions and with doing in-country work connected to them. Hence, legal decisions within the member countries' courts have also ceased to be final and become open-ended, in all the Council of Europe member states, which include Britain.
The first fault-finding that should be made by all fair minded democrats who are concerned at the mediaeval inequalities in access to law, is this. that the defined human right to access to law abolishes all unaffordable legal costs. Simply abolishes them, because otherwise the human rights would stand visibly violated in practice. All courts now stand held to answer this on all of its reasoned merits, including the ability of the entire Western world to synchronise placing the global financial system in a form compatible with allowing them to operate the court change on this basis and the poor countries to make use of it in the Western courts to resolve their debt issues. Your Scottish state will have a clear interest in its place in this too. No court can any longer take a final decision that arbitrarily ignores any aspect of this costs issue, so it gets forced as soon as the court change is operating, which is democratically healthy and good. This disposes of the possible objection there would otherwise be to the court change, that its open-enedness could worsen class oppression in courts by causing open-ended costs.
World trade irreversibly means that jurisdictions are not cocooned but have overlapping cases. When a case overlaps an affected and unaffected country, the unaffected country becomes affected, through having to deal with open ended case content open-endedly, that can affect any number of other cases open-endedly. Open-endedness is created in its system. So the court change is of far reaching international interest.
You can see that it follows it will automatically continue to exist in a Scottish state. Anyone can take part in trying to list overlapping cases, upon which basis the peoples of nearly every country can lay claim to the court change if they recognise it as a great advance in participative democracy and want it. A good democrat will agree that it is healthy to list states that at present are autocracies, where a claim to the court change is presently only abstract and does not affect the regime, pending the future time whenever it may be when circumstances in those countries change and the court change will be part of the demcoracy to lay claim to.
My effort to start this process naturally suffers from being limited to what one person in one place gets to hear of. It is bound to be subject to our media's biases. The cases listed might not be seen as the best ones to quote for the local political conditions which the people there will have better knowledge of, or they may know of cases that happened earlier than the ones mentioned. None at all of the following need be how the court change actually gets adopted in any country, the exercise of making a prospective list simply shows that it can be done, easily, and that a collective effort should be made using local knowledge to make a better list than this one. Purely to illustrate the pattern that can be followed by people anywhere who wish to track how they can lay claim to the court change, here is a prospective list:
USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand are obviously made court change by any number of overlapping cases in the course of Western life and business, e.g. for all of them there can be cited their ban on British blood donations in 2000. For the USA there are several other well-known transatlantic cases, e.g. Enron, Natwest 3, Gary McKinnon. I can offer a long obstructed ethical dispute about brain research in Arizona, that dates from 1998 so predates the court change, to get it to have the same start date in the USA, Canada, and Australia as in the Council of Europe members.
Israel and Lebanon through the case in Belgium on the Sabra-Chatila massacres.
North Cyprus through Turkey's UN legal challenge against South Cyprus joining the EU.
Belarus through its election dispute with OSCE election monitoring.
Kosovo through war crimes cases overlapping Serbia.
Vatican City through Sinead O'Connor's ordination as a Catholic priest.
Cuba through Elian Gonzalez.
Haiti through objecting to receiving petty crime deportations from the USA.
Antigua through its constitutional crisis on capital punishment.
Trinidad through its Privy Council case on capital punishment.
Jamaica through claims on both sides of American linked arms trade background to its violence.
Mexico through the Benjamin Felix drug mafia extradition to the USA.
Belize through Michael Ashcroft.
Guatemala through the child stealing and adoption scandal overlapping the USA.
El Salvador through the trade union related factory closure there by Nestle that made Transfair, the Fair Trade organisation in Italy, reject the Fair Trade mark for Nestle coffee.
Honduras through the sex slave trafficking cases from Nicaragua.
Colombia through the USA's supposed human rights policy intervention in training Colombian police and military.
Venezuela through Luis Posada Carriles.
Guyana through the £12m debt claim dropped by Iceland (the shop).
Brazil through EU immigration unfairnesses to its football players, necessitating a mafia trade in false passports.
Argentina through its ECHR case on the General Belgrano.
Chile through General Pinochet.
Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay through Judge Garzon's citation of Henry Kissinger for the South American military conspiracy Operation Condor.
Chad and Senegal through a French action in Senegal obtaining Chad's former dictator Habre for trial under Pinochet's precedent.
Algeria through the Harkis' case from the Algerian war.
Tunisia through the Lord Shaftesbury murder trial.
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Morocco through the Insight News case.
Ivory Coast through the chocolate slavery scandal.
Ghana through the World Bank's Dora slave scandal.
Togo through the Lome peace accords for Sierra Leone, and their breaking as an issue in factional arms supply to there.
Burkina Faso through an arms trade case of smuggling through it from Ukraine to civil war factions in Sierra Leone and Angola.
Niger and Rwanda through Oxfam's case of buying an arms trade "end user certificate" for Rwanda in Niger.
Burundi through the war crimes trial of Rwanda's 1994 head of state.
Tanzania and Japan through the 2000 G8 summit, because Tanzania Social and Economic Trust broadcast a contradiction in implementing both its wishes for economic advance and its debt relief terms.
Mozambique through its cashew nuts dispute with the World Bank.
South Africa and Lesotho through a WHO case against American pharmaceutical ethics there.
Nigeria through reported Nigerian drug mafia crime in South Africa.
Cameroon through the Bakassi Peninsula issue with Nigeria.
Dahomey and Gabon through their slave trafficking scandals overlapping Nigeria and Togo.
Zimbabwe through its land finances dispute with Britain in 2000.
Equatorial Guinea through the charges in Zimbabwe of a coup conspiracy.
Malawi through its arrests of Zimbabwean refugees callously deported from Britain.
Zambia through Cafod's collection of objections to food supply and health violations in its IMF structural adjustment program.
Namibia through the Herero genocide case against Germany.
Angola, Congo Kinshasa, Ecuador through arms trade smuggling to them from Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Congo Brazzaville through the Jean-Francois Ndenge case in France.
Sudan through Al Shafi pharmaceutical factory suing the USA for bombing it.
Madagascar, Mauretania, Nicaragua through the complaint by Jubilee USA and Africa Action that the IMF is breaking the agreed debt relief terms for them.
Ethiopia through the same, as well as earlier aid sector comment on its conditional debt relief.
Eritrea through its border dispute with Ethiopia.
Somaliland through its problem with Russian and South Korean coastal fishing.
Kenya through the Archer's Post munitions explosion case overlapping Britain.
Somalia through the UNHCR coordinator in Kenya protesting and exposing refugee deportations back to Somalia during the 2006-7 crisis there.
Uganda through the Acholiland child slave crisis and Sudan's agreement to return children.
Mauritius through the Ilois rights judgment on the Chagos clearances.
Yemen through its problem with Spain over the missile shipment.
United Arab Emirates through Mohammed Lodi.
Saudi Arabia through the lawsuit by families of 911 victims.
Qatar through its SS Dignity aid boat turned away from Gaza by Israeli authorities for having peace activists aboard.
Bahrain through the call for American witnesses in Richard Meakin's case.
Kuwait through the terrorism arrests in Saudi Arabia.
Iraq through the weapons inspection dispute before the invasion. NB this does not mean the dispute or invasion were right!
Jordan through its threat of "unspecified measures" in its relations with Israel.
Egypt through its disputes with Tanzania and Kenya over use of Nile water.
Libya, Syria, Iran through the Lockerbie bomb trial. This is only by reason of which countries the case's content spans, it has nothing to do with who was guilty. But for Iran it is now more diplomatic to cite a different later case, the arrest of Bob Levinson.
Turkmenistan through Ukraine's gas pipeline dispute with Russia.
Kazakhstan through the American court action on oil contract corruption at government level there.
Uzbekistan through the ambassadorial exposee on evidence obtained by torture there and used in Western courts.
Kyrgyzia through its anti-terrorist border operations with Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan through the pursuit of Bin Laden after 911.
Pakistan through a dispute between supporters of enslaved women and the British embassy for not helping them escape.
India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia through the World Wildlife Fund's campaign for tiger conservation, conflicting western romanticism with local populations affected by the homicidal absurdity of conserving a human predator.
Nepal through the Gurkhas' lawsuit for equal pay and pensions.
Vietnam through a church publicised refugee dispute overlapping China.
Cambodia through its enactment for a trial of the Khmer Rouge Holocaust.
Laos through Peter Tatchell's application to arrest Henry Kissinger.
Thailand through Sandra Gregory.
Burma through the Los Angeles judgment on the Unocal oil pipeline.
Sri Lanka through its call for the Tamil Tigers' banning in Britain.
East Timor through public reaction to the judgment against trying Suharto.
Papua New Guinea through WWF's Kikori mangrove logging affair.
Vanuatu through the Raymond Coia investment scam case.
Nauru through the Australian civil liberty challenge on the Tampa refugees.
Fiji through its land crisis's nonracial solubility by a Commonwealth constitutional question on rent and mortgages.
Tuvalu through environmentalist challenges to America's rejection of international agreements on global warming and sea level.
Marshall Islands through the Nuclear Claims Tribunal cases.
Philippines and Malaysia through the international police investigation in the Jaybe Ofrasio trial in Northern Ireland.
South Korea through its jurisdiction dispute with the American army.
North Korea through its apology to Japan for abductions.
The Alliance of Small Island States's notice of dissatisfaction with the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate change conference in 2009 opens up the court change to the people of all its member states. This providees for: the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Dominica, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada, Guyana, Surinam, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde Islands, Sao Tome e Principe, Seychelles, Comoro Islands, Maldive Islands, Singapore, Palau, Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, West Samoa, Tonga. AOSIS members with other court change cases preexisting, were: Antigua, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Belize, Mauritius, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Vanuatu, Fiji.
Council of Europe members who can be listed for cases before they joined:
Bosnia through a sex slave scandal involving Russian and American military.
Serbia and Montenegro through war crimes cases in the Yugoslav period overlapping Bosnia.
Monaco through International Amateur Athletics Federation drug hearings there.
Any moment of decision on a change of state is a rare focus on the state's actual level of propriety or corruptness, and on the proposed new state's degree of safeguards that the literal letter of civil protections for the ordinary citizen actually will be upheld uneroded in practice. Does the British state function legitimately and would the new Scotland function legitimately? This is a legal question about the accuracy and truth of the prospectus being offered, it is more than just informing our votes. Hence it carries a responsibility for full informing of the electorate about all such issues that are known of. All such items, coming from any person, need to be publicly aired in the campaign.
The hotel scandal that featured in the creation of the court change, is a very serious example. That there was a systematic eviction of unemployed people from hotels, driven by their insurance policies, was a population level persecution,a crime of stripping full normal citizenship away from a whole section of the population. This is a crime by the precedents of Nazism and apartheid. Established at international level therefrom, is a principle that population level persecution is the point at which a state itself becomes invalid and illegal. In a properly informed referendum, voters are entilted to know whether Britain is such a state. The obvious answer is, that Britain is such a state if the authorities relevant to prosecuting every traceable party to the hotel scandal claim to have even in theory a shred of discretionary choice over whether to do it. Britain is only not such a state if it is pinned down to say immutably committally, that there is no discretion and no veto, that because of the serious international status of population crimes the exact word "automatic" applies to prosecuting at that level of seriousness every traceable participant in this hotel scandal.
I only know that it was happening back in the 90s, but nobody can know that it has now ended until it is made impossible for it to happen, by these prosecutions actually happening. Even within Britain there are separate authorities under Scottish and English law that each have to take a position on this. Your new Scotland's legitimacy as a state, to vote for, will also depend upon you building into its constitution a demonstrable enforceability by ordinary people of a committal certainty that the hotel scandal and any other population level crime has to be prosecuted automatically not discretionarily.
Since the Royal Bank of Scotland's crisis and nationalisation, it has featured in the independence debate as an issue of our financial viability. Hence the present condition of RBS is obviously a referendum campaign issue. When you uphold that a Scottish state could have done the same as the British state did, it is material to know whether it has put RBS in order securely and reliably at all. Ethics of looking after the bank become ethics of the referendum campaign's content. You have to agree that you could not validly found a state upon a basis of having been found to be misleading in the referendum about the condition of its major banks, the validity of whose practice in any way may affect their solvency. In order not to be thus misleading, every present ethical problem known to anyone, that has factual record substantiation so is not a defamation made out of nowhere, has an automatic right to feature in the referendum, as a mentioned fact about the bank, with both sides taking positions on whether it affects their view of Scotland's banking viability.
I am a customer of RBS, and I will tell you right here an item known to me, that is substantiated from correspondence with RBS and the financial ombudsman. RBS monitors card transactions for any signs of patterns of activity that match the patterns of card fraudsters. This can mean any actvity that is unusual for your account. They agreed specifically that it includes any foreign travel unless you notify the bank of it in advance. Then you can find without warning at an inconvenient moment, such as in a shop, the card is blocked unless you undergo and identity check by phone, which might knock out your important time schedule for the day. Then they will arrange to discuss the unusual card activity with you. It only took online booking of coach seats to cause this to happen to me. In my response to it, I raised that it requires RBS to take a position on the USA's border control system, as mentioned above RBS can not pledge anything specific on how this card security system will profile a cardholder's character, it actually does not fully know. This means it can not disprove that the system could profile badly, and cause unjust problems to, a cardholder who it learned had suffered any problem with the USA's illegal human rights violation of treating arrest records as criminal records and asking "Have you ever been arrested or convicted?" In order to keep having card security yet not to commit a wrong of data protection and character tainting upon its customers, RBS automatically absolutely must take a position that the USA's sytem is illegal and is having an illegal effect upon its business here.
Here is what RBS taking a position on the USA's violatory system would oblige RBS to do: nothing difficult or expensive, they would not need to intiate a court case. Business in the USA makes RBS a legal entity there, so in all its activities both there and here it can simply hold that the taken position applies to all banking business in or with the USA. It can hold the British, or Scottish if post-independence, government responsible not to cooperate with the USA on the basis of recognising it as a constitutional state, at both business and police levels, both of which are relevant to bank business in many ways, until the USA abolishes its violatory system and automatically deals with any issues of crime prevention known to anyone that were ignored in the USA when the violatory system was in force.
This makes into referendum issues: the bank's transparency to keep it fully ethical towards customers and their statuses, hence the bank's standalone solvency, Britain's and a Scottish state's reactions to the USA's position on innocent arrests, how this affects police cooperation on terrorism, and whether a Scottish state's constitution would prevent the financial ombudsman's actions as in this case towards completeness of evidence.
Here too I have personal cause to know of an unpublicised wrong that undermines the whole basis of the state. Lawyers, speaking corporately as a profession, hold themselves entitled to change their advice in mid case, concerning the recoverability of a large loss to their client, and to hold the client responsible not to have accepted the earlier advice when it was given. This was the Law Society's decision in case C/02/650/A/FS, on house conveyancing, in 2003.
Now, access to legal advice is one of the defined human rights for all folks needing to defend themselves against any legal claim or charge. Criminal or civil law, it holds for both. This is recognised internationally as basic to the functioning of a proper legal system at all. It requires the legal advice given to be genuine and reliably correct. It is utterly violated by this Law Society decision. Ever since then, based on this case but there must be others, nobody has access to legal defence guaranteed. The advice you are given, your lawyer is allowed to retract and to hold that you should never have accepted it when it was given.
Despite its impact on the validity of all the state's legal dealings with its citizens, e.g. over tax, the Justice department claimed to be prevented by the separation of powers from taking any position on it. I would always have been delighted for you to score a party point against Lib Dem MSP Margaret Smith for refusing to take any position on it or even to say so in writing instead of her office just saying it when phoned.
Until the taking of that decision is prosecuted as a crime, establishing that there never was even in theory a power to take it, we have no constitutionally valid legal system at all that observes defendants' human rights. So long as this is the case, all arrests, and all tax collection, are all invalid. The state can't coherently exist allowing this to be known to be the case for any significant length of time. So any state that is not itself a crime will act immediately, to hold that the Law Society's position is illegal towards the state itself, and to close the loophole by both court and legislative means. Issue: will independence make a difference to getting this done? Would your government face obstructions to doing it now within the Union?
Similarly material to the referendum is an explicit decision by Dunfermline sheriff court in 1997 that it is possible for one person to be in 2 opposite legal positions at once, that "either I am in the position or I am not" is wrong because "if only life was as simple as that". Explain how any fact of law that anyone ever has to deal with or comply with, can ever be true unless its truth disproves the simultaneous truth of its own opposite? This happened just before the UN inspection of Scottish law for the Lockerbie bomb trial. Because I am an ordinary citizen not a geopolitical figure, rather than because of the issues' merits, my efforts to get it to feature in the inspection were ignored, significantly by the US embassy. The Yes campaign has to answer to the electorate: In a Scottish state will it be possible to be in 2 opposite legal positions at once, or are we either in a position or not? This is identically the same question as: will the proposed Scottish state actually have any law at all?
Worryingly, in the same period I heard Roseanna Cunningham on Radio Scotland midday politics say,oddly in defence of a Labour minister in trouble, "As a lawyer I know that many questions don't have yes or no answers." Indeed? We are now in a mass reaction against getting manipulated by a corrupt political class. What easier clever tool of manipulating ordinary people in their daily lives, than to have facts not disprove their own opposites? That simultaneously however it may suit the authorities to play it, you both are and are not in a position?
* "committal not noncommittal" and
* "any fact of law disproves its own opposite,"
as the standards for lawyers and government, or else your new state will be a void entity. For what basis will its sovereignty then have? For independence itself is a committal fact. Unless Cunningham and the sheriff in Dunfermline are wrong, unless law shall be about committal facts that disprove their own opposites, then there are no such things as independence or the Union! The referendum could only be truthfully described as being between "a state that may or may not be independence" and "another state that may or may not be independence". Reductio ad absurdum for all lawyer noncommittality.