Serial Convictions 91

For the second time in six months Edinburgh City Council has been to court and obtained a summary warrant against me for non-payment of Council Tax. On neither occasion was I given any notice of proceedings or any opportunity to defend myself. On both occasions, I had actually paid the tax before the warrant was issued, but – without telling me – payment had been refused by Edinburgh City Council.

I moved in to my new home in Edinburgh at end November 2014. It was a somewhat tumultuous period in my life and I confess it was after New Year before I got round to sorting out the Council Tax. When I did this, I phoned up and paid by credit card, entering my reference number and the payment amount electronically. There was no warning this had not gone through.

I was therefore astonished to discover that, after I had made this payment, Edinburgh Council went to court and obtained a summary warrant against me. This was because my payment had been refused not by the card but by Edinburgh City Council – unbeknownst to me – as it had been referred to the grandiloquently entitled “Sherriff’s Officers”, Scott & Co. The payment had to be made to them and their exorbitant fees had vastly increased the amount due. The “Sherriff’s Officers” are, of course really bailiffs, or licensed bullies and enforcers.

That was infuriating, but I paid up, even though I am very dubious indeed about the system. It seems to me entirely unethical for the body owed the debt to refuse to accept payment for it, and then go to court for non-payment.

Having eventually paid the Council Tax plus the large fees of Scott & Co, I found myself financially embarrassed just as 2015/16 Council Tax now became due. I therefore delayed until 25 May when I paid this year’s council tax, 50 days late. I am this evening astonished to find that on 28 May Edinburgh City Council again went to court and obtained a judgement against me for non-payment, three days after I paid. Again I had no notice of the court case or that payment had been refused. I today – eight days after I paid – received a letter stating that my payment had been refused because it had not been made through Scott & Co. I had received no letter indicating I had to pay through them. When I paid – online this time – everything seemed to go through and I got a reference number and confirmation.

It is astonishing to me that under two months late is considered a sufficiently late payment for the Council to go to court for summary judgement for debt recovery. I know of no other council, public body or utility that acts in such an ultra-draconian manner. Is that really the norm here in Edinburgh? That seems to me astonishingly harsh in a period of austerity where people are struggling financially.

I confess I am not in a comfortable financial situation, but there are a great many people much worse off than me. Piling extra court and bailiffs’ costs upon them so quickly and brutally seems to me astonishingly lacking in compassion. My personal situation was initially caused more by forgetfulness and pre-occupation than lack of money. But it has made me realise just how, in these times of austerity, the financial pressures on people can snowball out of control so quickly, and how much despair must surround us unseen.

As for the bailiffs of Scott & Co. (in fact a private partnership owned by a husband and wife whose connections to the City Council could well merit close investigation), these parasitic scum disgust me, living high on the misery of the poor.

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91 thoughts on “Serial Convictions

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  • Jamie

    Unfotunately, Scott and Co also handle Glasgow City Council’s debt collection dirty work but are not handed accounts for at least 6 months after a default.

  • Andrew

    Craig, November 2014 (2nd paragraph). If you need some petty cash to keep your head above water, please let me know and I’d be glad to help.

  • Don

    Craig, come on mate…you more than most know what is happening to you.

    Two choices;

    1 Withdraw and regroup with known and trusted friends and strategise your next move.

    2 Carry on as now and be demonised by the establishment.

  • eddie-g

    90 days in arrears is the usual trigger for a creditor to escalate the process. If a bank turned you over to a collection agency in this circumstance, they’d have crashed through a bunch of consumer protection regulation

    Afraid I have no idea what the state of play is wrt council taxes in Scotland, and what sort of correspondence you got in the meantime, but <60 days arrears without prior notice is aggressive, and in certain industries would land you in hot water.

  • DaveM

    This is what Edinburgh Council does. They’re at it on so many levels, whether it’s this kind of behaviour over council tax, or over-charging people for their repairs service. I’ve lived in Edinburgh for sixteen years and love the city. But the city is ruined by the people who run the place. They’re the most incompetent council in the land and have the temerity to pay their Chief Exec £160k per year during such a difficult time. It’s disgusting.

  • Parky

    Is there no appeals system in place? Why did you not have your day in court? To pay these parasites without a fight just encourages them.

  • davidb

    Its just the state’s way of reminding us constantly that we are subjects. Revenue and customs are bastards too when it suits them. I seem to recall Mr Sheridan attempting to abolish warrant sales. I was astonished at the time to learn that something like 90% of those were carried out on behalf of public bodies.

    But it is that 10% surcharging power your council has which is iniquitous. Businesses don’t get that right. And 20 years to recover their debts is also something not afforded to businesses. The draconian powers keep us oppressed.

    Are you perchance doing any paid speaking engagements at the Edinburgh Festival? I saw a magnificent piece by Njambi McGrath last year on the Mau Mau “insurrection”. It was strong, harrowing stuff. But I gladly paid for the privilege. You certainly have interesting stories to relate.

  • Alex

    Craig, have you ever considered adding a ‘Donate By PayPal’ button on your blog? Lots of bloggers have one, and you have thousands of followers who value your labours here enormously. I think you’d be surprised by the level of support you enjoy.

    Instead of doing sterling work for free, you’d get some recompense for your wonderful contributions, while still offering free access to the blog.

    Worth a thought.

  • Dave Jones

    As you were not notified of court proceedings against you, you were therefor unable to defend yourself.

    Surely grounds to set aside the decision I would have thought.

    Be nice to see you get back the fines and fees.

    All the best

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I don’t really care if you believe me or not, but within the last 5 minutes or so..I heard this enormous scream…I thought it was a cat..It was my wife…in the kitchen in her socks…She said she has just been stung by a bee. I went to see the evidence…and sure enough..there was a bee on her sock on the floor. I like bees…though indeed I was nearly killed by one when I was two years old and tried to eat it.

    The bee is no more…I crushed it on the floor and stuck it in the bin.

    You don’t do that to my wife.

    And Yes we do like Fresh English Local honey, and no we do not keep bees..nor little Scottie dogs who barks all day (as if it is a teenage kid who hasn’t quite reached puberty)..and I want to strangle it with my bare hands..(I mean girl got jailed for 10 minutes orgasmic sex the other day..and I have got to put up with this fucking neighbour’s dog)

    I also wrote this..which was not directed at Craig Murray (much)

    Look The Real Discussion…If You Have Not Already Been Sucked into The Matrix (A Film that I didn’t understand…even though I had seen it 3 times…until My Teenage Daughter Began To Explain It To Me)..Before University…

    Is About…Whether or Not You Personally are Going To Accept a World Wide Dictatorship..Built Around Central Control with some seeming more Local ..Like The EU Does all of Europe..and Washington Controls The EU (For Now).

    These People are Not Very Nice..and all we have got as a defense is You Brainwashed Peasants..So we stand no Fcking Chance Unless You Guys Wake Up and Read George Orwell’s Animal Farm…..etc

    And work out 9/11 you Brainwashed Creeps.

    I accept we are fcked..and our Children and Grandchildren…

    Cos None of You Who Know Have Got Any Fckin Balls To Stand Up To These Cnts and Challenge Them and Say No.

    They will wilt if you do..cos they are full of shiit.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    Our Council are actually quite good…Sure we sometimes complain ..really loudly and personally deliver letters of complaint..but overall…I think they do a very good job…Well of course we know lots of them..especially my wife. It’s easy to complain..but if you think you can do better…then volunteer as a local candidate..or actually apply for a job..and do it yourself.


  • fedup

    corrupt bastards whose transparency on the transparency international index ranks ought to rank with Qatar and Saudi governments, sorry to hear about your troubles Craig. It would be great if one of the solicitors frequenting this blog could lend a hand to get back some of the additional costs imposed on you. Their refusal of your payments should have been made known to you!

    This smells to high heavens.

  • giyane

    You are right to say that people are living very close to the brink.
    This is a SMS exchange between myself and an extremely nasty [EDIT] gentleman who has hounded me out of my job by shouting abuse at me in my work:
    Me: The police have told me to call 999 immediately if you come near me shouting abuse while I am working.
    Him: Pl must see the doctor u r a sick Man U want treatment.

    I suppose the fact that for honour reasons they can get away with bullying and shouting at their wives and families ad infinitum leads them to suppose that this is normal behaviour.

    Councils have come to believe that threatening people with court is normal. it’s actually quite scary to get those threatening bailiff letters, I find.

  • craig Post author


    I am very sorry for your problems at work. After consideration, I have edited out your reference to the ethnicity of the man abusing you at work, because although you argue that his attitude comes from cultural factors, it seems to me to be negative racial stereotyping.

  • vronsky

    You haven’t edited it out – you’ve left his name and it is rather indicative of ethnicity.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    “living high on the misery of the poor”

    I supported my daughter as best as I could through 4 years of University..where She had the name on the Student’s house…got all the Bills..supported by My Name….

    Whilst she was working every goddam job she could get..Sports Direct, Sainsburys, Cleaning, Boots…You Fckin Name it She Did it….

    And These Kids were Literally Starving and Freezing To Death in a Really Nice University Town..Very it seems to those on the outside looking in.

    Their Parents wouldn’t give a Fckin Penny.

    The Landlord wouldn’t even unblock their Bogs.

    It was My Wife and Me and My Daughter that Kept these Kids Alive…

    It Nearly Killed Her..She Got Ill Under The Stress Of It…

    And What has She Got at The End of All That..and Enormous Student Debt…and I sure as Hell are not paying That.

    When I was a Kid..They Paid Mey To Go To University.

    Many of Her Schoolfriends Have Simply Fucked Off From This God Forsaken Land and are in China

    I am amazed how many.

    They occasionally come back for a visit.


  • Mary

    Alex We have made that suggestion before. Craig did not answer.


    If one was paranoid, one could imagine there was some malice afoot within Edinburgh City Council.

    Meanwhile Cameron’s has a split in his cabinet on MPs’ pay rises.

  • Mary

    Meanwhile Cameron has a split…

    Does this kind of action by a council affect a resident’s credit rating?

  • craig Post author

    For the several kind people who suggested a donate button on the blog, I have never raised money from the blog for a number of reasons. The most important of these is that it would make me feel very strongly obliged to produce regular output. I have periods of being too busy, and more crucially of suffering from depression, and as you know sometimes as a result I don’t post perhaps for weeks. I should feel extremely guilty about this if people had contributed money towards the blog.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Here Craig..Don’t do advertising…Even My Lad Never Did That…but you could have a Donate Via Paypal button on your website. Even I might send you a Tenner.

    Yes I know its Paypal..but you Really Like These Americans don’t You?…and it will give you a few Brownie Points as They Take Their Cut..

    You could of course do The Russian Equivalent and Pay in Roubles..But You Don’t Like Russians Either..

    How about The Chinese Yuan or whatever it is called…???

    They are Bent Too..But its a lot easier buying stuff from China…even if its Quadcopter Bits that cost slightly above The Import Tax Threshold…

    Of course we sometimes buy Electronic Bits From Japan and The USA..but they are Completely Honest…and The Post Office Hold Them For Several Days if Not Weeks Before They Eventually Get Round To Asking For All Import Taxes, VAT..and Their Own Considerable Handling Fee.

    So Buy Chinese in Bits..That’s The Way..They are Even Designing The Stuff Now…Though Still Can’t Quite Do The Software Nor The Instructions..But That Won’t Take Long..Now So Many of Our Kid’s Mates Have Moved to China.

    We are All Still Here in England.

    Now The Scottish have Pissed You Off..I guess You Will Be Soon Too.


  • Tony_0pmoc

    Blimey SNAP..I ain’t that fckin Fast..we are all thinking the same thing..Now isn’t that interesting?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The simple explanation is that I read Alex’s post above without realising it. I had no idea I had..but just wrote much the same content.

    I hope that makes Craig Feel Good…cos He’s a Good Man..and we all feel the same or we wouldn’t be here.


  • Tony_0pmoc


    Are You a Girl?..I could never quite work you out..but I never thought you were All Good..and yet not All Bad Either (you are on the other side though aren’t you?)

    Anyhow Alice Cooper has just Played Alice Cooper on Planet Rock..and as strange as it may seem..I have never seen Alice Cooper…but he did this fantastic song “Schools Out”…and he is STILL Doing it Live. I have no plans to go and see Alice Cooper…but I am somewhat closer in age To Alice Cooper Than I am to Craig Murray…

    Personally, I think I look far Better Than Both..but no ones’s heard of me…Must be because I didn’t drink too much nor take too many drugs???

    “Alice Cooper – School’s Out”

    Both my wife and I were very upset when Ronny James Dio dropped dead.

    It was one of the first gigs I took her too at Leeds..when he was with Black Sabbath.

    Chill, Make Love & Peace,


  • S Paterson

    ”It is astonishing to me that under two months late is considered a sufficiently late payment for the Council to go to court for summary judgement for debt recovery. I know of no other council, public body or utility that acts in such an ultra-draconian manner. Is that really the norm here in Edinburgh? That seems to me astonishingly harsh in a period of austerity where people are struggling financially.”

    Sounds as though you’re on their ‘hit list’ Craig.

  • BrianFujisan

    I agree with Donate Button

    And after you pointing out that it aint a service. Then most us us Know..But would still like to help cos they are targeting you it seems… Come on Craig You Know the Blog… We can see through till you are Good n ready… There are many good folks here, i learned Zillions from ..Cheers.

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