Friday 28 September 2012


There are times when I have to admit to shaking myself in wonderment at some of the ancient laws still on statute books or rights and customs observed in Westminster in the law making process that still holds sway over Scotland.

I suppose we are reminded of this periodically when something bizarre happens... Tony B£air, instead of resigning from his seat, takes the Chiltern Hundreds, or an MP wishing to stop a debate dons a top hat and cries “I spy stangers”.

I was reminded again of this when the topic of Magna Carta, signed in Latin in 1215 was raised on the David Letterman show on tv. (You’d have thought an English public school boy would have been able to translate Magna Carta into English, but apparently Cameron couldn’t. Eton, it seems, just isn’t what it used to be.) Anyway Magna Carta is what it used to be, as its 1297 version, with the title (originally in Latin) "The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest," is still on the statute book of England and Wales.

Most of these things are a lightly amusing, a bit time wasting, but don't really do any great harm. 

However, another anachronism is the little known powers remaining to the Queen and the Duke of Cornwall, to scrutinise laws that may affect them personally, to have proposed laws altered, and for this to be kept secret from the public. That is slightly more serious, and yet another chip in the veneer of the so called democracy that we live in.

Now the Cabinet Office has been ordered, by the DeputyCommissioner for Information, to release details of how this system works as laid out in a government manual “The Crown and the Duchy of Cornwall”.

This is no ancient and no longer used right and privilege. In the last two years Charles has been asked to consent to at least 12 draft bills on everything from wreck removals to co-operative societies. Between 2007 and 2009 he was consulted on bills relating to coroners, economic development and construction, marine and coastal access, housing and regeneration, energy and planning. The Queen has had changes made to law concerning the employment of apprentices, on the basis that it would affect her as an employer.

The government has yet to decide whether to appeal the decision of the Information Commission. If it does, it is likely that the matter will go to the High Court.

Can it possibly be right that two individuals should have powers to alter Bills that may impact on millions of others every bit as much as it impacts on them, just because of an accident of birth?

When I was sorting out the link for this article, I noticed the following comment on the Guardian story:

Good news. Hopefully this will shed light on the nonsense in the Scottish Parliament whereby no Bill can be debated at Stage 3 unless the Queen has consented to place her prerogative and interests at disposal of Parliament. As, for example, in relation to the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Scotland Bill.

Any ideas what this is about?


  1. I suspect her Maj is worried that the Nats are after affecting her profit margins on a distillery or two.

  2. LOL QM. She hardly needs any more money; I'm sure she can afford us some of her profits.

  3. Probably just the EU mopping up what little bit of sovereignty her maj has left. She did sign away our rights in 7 treaties I suppose. All presented to parliament under her name. What goes around comes around.

    wrt the minimum pricing for alcohol...The SNP have been warned repeatedly ( on my blog and elsewhere) that their minimum alcohol laws were doomed yet they chose to ignore the advice. Mr Neil of the SNP said 'eh didnae ken aboot Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, France and Greece all challenging the SNP illegal minimum pricing' on the tv last night. This is quite scary coming from someone on £100K plus exes.

  4. Well I wish the EU would strip her of these stupid powers. She shouldn't have any more right than me to change laws to suit herself. And the same goes for her unpleasant opinionated ass of a son.

    I don't see what the EU has to do with the Queen having to give her permission for a bill to go forward by placing her prerogative and interests at the disposal of the parliament, Monty, regardless of what Bulgaria thinks.

    I've never been a huge fan of minimum pricing, despite all the experts being for it.

    We can wait I suppose for the English to do something about taxing it. But although Cameron says he is going to set a minium price, given his record that probably means he isn't.

    No one can gainsay the English's right to do that though. Unfortunately because they think we are too stupid to look after taxation, the only way we can make alcohol more expensive is by making it illegal to sell it off cheap.

    Going by the racket in the street outside my house tonight, I wish the government would do something about drunks, at least the noisy shooting them.

    I hope it rains, heavily.

  5. Air rifle Tris.

    Just remember not to lean out of the window, stand well back in a unlit room...

    Almost more fun than the comments page on an Alan Cochrane article.

  6. While I couldn't possibly admit to partaking in such an activity, let me say, staying well back in an unlit room, say, the kitchen, with an air pistol does, send a message to loud party goers at 4am in the morning.

    I mean, I think it would because as I say, I would never dream of actually doing it...

    On minimum pricing, I don't know. I don't even know how one could measure the impact of this, it seems far fetched, although at least they're trying something.

    Beyond that, enforcing laws that already exist might help a bit. Living as I do in the scummier part of Leith, its like a zoo at times.

    I've blogged on this topic before, if you don't have an air pistol or rifle (and no, its not a fire arm as the press would have you believe) then a tin of Pedigree Chum is just as good. Wait till the scummy drunks have passed out in the street, go down and smear some chum on their face and leave them to the foxes.

    I feel an evil laugh coming on... No, the moment has passed.

  7. As far as Minimum pricing goes I'm certain that it will not stop dead ALL the alcohol problems in Scotland. However, in my view, this is the action of a forward thinking government prepared to stick its head above the parapet in its attempt to IMPROVE the health of the people of Scotland.

    The current action of the E.U. is yet ANOTHER reason to vote NO to continued membership of the E.U. European busy bodies sticking their noses into something that WILL improve the health and LIVES of the people of Scotland.

    These bureaucrats are MORE interested in maintaining their noses in the trough of Brussels, 10 times worse than Westminster by the way, and getting their paybacks from the European alcohol makers than considering the HEALTH of the people of Scotland.

    As for her nibs and that useless git of a son the LESS they get the better in my view. They are NO more entitled to have THEIR views on laws than WE do. It is disgusting that our so called "leaders" in Westminster cow tow to these "questionable" rulers at EVERY oppertunity.

  8. Nothing is more fun than the comments on Alan Cochrane's posts Conon. You know that. I wonder if he will rise to my challange and try to say something positive about the union.

    Let me know if you notice anything...

    Thanks for the advice on shooting the drunks. Very useful! :) And they are sitting targets most of the time... sometimes even lying down ones!

  9. Obviously Pa, I realise that your comments are just an exercise in intellectual imaginings.

    But how far back exactly did you, I mean, should you, stand... intellectually speaking, of course...?

    I've never thought that it would work, although I accept that to an extent it worked in Scandinavia, but that was putting the price up to such a level that it was prohibitive.

    Using the existing law is ok, but it is manpower consuming, while there are a whole pile of other crimes going on.

    I know for example that you are not allowed to sell drink to a customer who is already drunk... Hmmm. If we stuck to that all the pubs would go out of business. But, yeah Goldie suggested that, and I think we should maybe look at scaring publicans into a obeying that law.

    Likewise the off-sales to kids in supermarkets and at the local Spar needs to be tightened up, and better policed.

    We need to try with youngsters to persuade them that there is more to life than getting legless, and I know you already do that. I guess we just need more people like you, and more facilities. I was always well impressed when Spook talked about the football clubs they ran for you youngsters in Leith, working with lads that would otherwise be out drinking at 14. Train hard, achieve stuff and if you let the club down.....Tough justice.

    Of course that doesn’t work for all. But we need a lot more youth work going on, and I think we need to come down hard on parents of the really young ones who don’t have a clue where the kids are or what they are doing.

    A lot of work needed. Maybe if we didn’t have nuclear weapons to support we could afford youth clubs and sporting facilities.

    Chum, you say...intellectually of course...

  10. Well yes, Arbroath.

    It is better than nothing at least for a short time to see if it can be made to work.

    And yes, it's brave and a total kick in the teeth for the idiots who say that the SNP are just trying to keep everyone on side.

    Aye.. pittin' up the price o' their drink in Scotland is keepin' abudy oan side... right!

    The problem with HM and Jug Ears is that the government has no option but to obey this nonsense where they get to change laws to suit themselves.

    Although why no one changed it in all the years of PROPER Labour government when they must have had to do it, heaven only knows.

  11. All equal before the law eh! yeah yeah!
    These 'powers' show that she could at any time have stopped the dive into the EU...thus saving us all much grief...but sh did no such thing and now she is by her own habd 'merely' a citizen the same as all the rest of us...the corollary?...there is no authority in her Parliaments her queenship, the throne, the family heritage, the courts police or councils...Art 61 Magna Carta 1215 is in force and 'she' is no longer the monarch...either way she goes now she and her throne are merely de-facto and held in place by force...democracy someones havin a laugh!

  12. If I remember rightly, the common agriculrtural thingy serves Her Britannic Majesty and Jug Ears rather well. They were unlikely to object to that.