Monday, May 14, 2012

RIGGING THE BALLOT : Law Society of Scotland hints it wants key role to set questions & voting papers for Scottish Independence Referendum

Would you trust the Law Society of Scotland to set questions on Scottish independence ? THE Law Society of Scotland has given the strongest hint yet, contained in the Society’s response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the independence referendum that it wants to set the tone of the SNP’s independence referendum by putting itself forward as an “independent body” to rig determine the exact wording of the questions & format of the ballot paper. The Law Society is thought to want its hands on the role after it participated heavily in the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution, having  attended  oral evidence  sessions  in October  2008  and  February  2009  and  provided  the  Calman  Commission  with  written evidence on five separate occasions from July 2008 to May 2009.

A legal insider speaking to Scottish Law Reporter today said “As bad ideas go, this is one of the worst I’ve heard in awhile. The Law Society are not a very democratic organisation, either to its own members or with regard to the public interest. It is therefore not appropriate the Society be allowed to dictate terms of the independence referendum.”

While no one from the Scottish Government or Law Society would officially confirm the Law Society wanted the key role in the independence referendum, it is believed the Society has sought guidance on taking the place of the Electoral Commission in the referendum in a trade off with Westminster, given concerns expressed by some politicians of the Electoral Commission’s alleged bias for the union as an English based organisation.

The full response from the Law Society of Scotland to the Scottish Government's consultation on independence can be read online here Law Society of Scotland : Our terms for an independence referendum

The Law Society stated in it’s usual gun to the head style of wording that while it will not express a view on political issues, and therefore does not make proposals regarding the actual question to be put, or the design of the ballot paper, it actively engages and seeks to assist in the legislative and public policy decision making processes in furtherance of its responsibility to work in the public interest.

The Law Society omitted to publish any view on whether there should be a second question on the ballot paper, on the alternative of enhanced devolved powers, or "devo max", but says that if there is a second question, it should be clear, and its relationship with the first question, and the legal and political implications of positive or negative votes to each, should be clear and should be explained to voters in advance.

The Law Society also believes it is important that arrangements for a referendum are subject to scrutiny and oversight by an independent body, though whether that should be the Electoral Commission or another scrutiny body (hinting the Law Society itself could do it) is a matter of political judgment.

The Law Society supports initiatives to increase voter turnout, such as possibly holding the poll on a Saturday, and other measures provided there are safeguards against voter fraud or administrative error. And it believes the proposed spending limits are appropriate, "against a background of the need to ensure that referendum campaigns are run in a fair and transparent manner".

Within the Society’s submission, a concern has been expressed that the Government's draft bill precludes the court from entertaining any proceedings for questioning the number of ballot papers counted or votes cast, in that certification by a counting officer is not to be subject to judicial review, a blanket exclusion found in the Scottish and Welsh referendum Act of 1997 but not in more recent legislation.


Anonymous said...

As one senior member was reported as saying 'The Law Society of Scotland is an organisation with a fundamental dishonesty at its heart' - small wonder then that the SNP grants it virtually open access to lobbying activities in the so-called parliament foisted on us in Edinburgh.

Cyclops Bunny said...

That would be 'foisted on us' after securing an overwhelming democratic mandate, would it?

Anonymous said...

Great to see this being highlighted and the press should be all over it. This country is becoming a Law Society dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

I hardly think recent electoral results reflect an overwhelming mandate for the SNP, if anything they demonstrate a growing disenchantment and a declining support - and no wonder, remove Salmond from the equation and the SNP would be a sideshow.

Anonymous said...

Allowing the Law Society to be Scotland's version of the Electoral Commission is a sure fire route to disaster for Salmond's independence vote.

Just imagine it.An independent Scotland under the control of the Law Society of Scotland and a bunch of sleazy lawyers.Who in their right mind wants this?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us all know and incidentally I wont be voting in this referendum because its going to be rigged from the very start I mean just look at how they handled the consultation it has been rigged by everyone including the SNP so there's no chance of a fair shout for ordinary people at all its just all about money and sticking it in the pockets of bloody politicians

Anonymous said...

The Scottish Eurolotto winners money is all going to liwyers and the Law Society hahaha what a larff

This is a great advert to avoid/boycott the whole referendum campaign actually this is a great idea how about someone starting a boycott the referendum campaign because its all about political pigs at Holyrood getting to run the country

Anonymous said...

If you are not prepared to vote don't complain about the result. Rather than boycatt a referendum simply vote and make your voice count - British servicemen and women around the world have, and continue to die in an effort to establish and defend that priviledge.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when A Salmond lies on his back and puts both ankles behind his ears with the old boys at the Law Society of Scotland?

If A Salmond does not follow their orders they will smack their bitch 'till they get what they want....?

Anonymous said...

Here come the SNP too busy stuffing their faces to bother about the rest of us!
Try eating "smoked venison with Strathdon blue cheese dressing and poached red wine pear, followed by breast of Scottish chicken with grilled asparagus chorizo, olives and parma ham." on benefits!

I'll be voting against independence with every finger I have!

Salmond aide Joan McAlpine apologises to MSPs

From Democracy Live: Joan McAlpine said sorry to parliament and promised to reflect on her actions

First Minister Alex Salmond's parliamentary aide has issued an apology to MSPs for showing disrespect to parliament.

Backbench MSP Joan McAlpine failed to turn up in the chamber during her ministerial questions slot.

She was spotted having lunch with Mr Salmond in the parliamentary restaurant shortly before Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick issued her rebuke.

It was the sixth time Ms McAlpine has missed a chamber speaking appearance.

The South of Scotland SNP MSP told the chamber she had "lost track of time" and promised to reflect on her behaviour.

Ms McAlpine had been due in the chamber on Thursday afternoon to ask ministers about cases of osteoarthritis and its impact on the NHS, during themed question time.

But her failure to turn up resulted in a ticking off from the presiding officer, who demanded an apology.

For lunch in the parliamentary restaurant, Ms McAlpine was understood to have had smoked venison with Strathdon blue cheese dressing and poached red wine pear, followed by breast of Scottish chicken with grilled asparagus chorizo, olives and parma ham.

The first minister had asparagus and soup.

Anonymous said...

The SNP's model for running the referendum vote revealed-

SNP branch forced to apologise for selling tickets for raffle that never took place

May 18 2012

SNP officials were yesterday forced to apologise for selling tickets for a raffle which never took place.

The party’s Dumfries branch put a £300 scooter up as the top prize in the draw, organised by then secretary Sitki Nalci.

But they made just £60 in ticket sales so they shelved the draw and kept the cash from the tickets.

The story is revealed in today’s Dumfries & Galloway Standard, part of the Record’s Media Scotland group.

Last night, the SNP’s Dumfries branch convener Alistair Witts said: “There was no intention to defraud or deceive anybody. We’re sorry how this has turned out. It is embarrassing.”

He added the party would use their funds to buy a scooter and the draw would now go ahead.

The £1 raffle tickets were sold at an SNP stand at the Dumfries Agricultural Show last August. It was stated that the draw for the scooter would be made on Burns Night, January 25.

But nearly four months on, no winner has been announced.

A Labour spokesman in Dumfries called for a police probe and said: “It is clear the SNP are only holding the draw because they have been exposed.

“If this scandal had never been uncovered, the people who bought their raffle tickets in good faith may never have known there was not a draw.”