A Small Story of Scottish Justice 220

A story you will not have heard unless you read the Oban Times or are one of the 146 people who live on the island of Lismore, gives a profound insight into the abuse of state power in Scotland today.

You may recall that back in April 2020 Dr Catherine Calderwood, the Scottish government’s chief medical advisor, was forced to resign after breaking lockdown regulations on a family visit to St Andrews. One week later, it hit the newspapers that, in conflict with Scottish government advice, another key Scottish government figure in dealing with the epidemic, Prof Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh, had moved to his holiday home on the island of Lismore. Woolhouse is Professor of Epidemiology and a member of Nicola Sturgeon’s covid-19 advisory committee.

The Daily Record reported that people on Lismore were not happy:

One islander, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It’s just another example of hypocrisy.

“Locals in Lismore are far from happy because coronavirus refugees put the community in danger.

“There’s not even a doctor or nurse on the island.

“Just as Professor Woolhouse came here, various politicians were telling people to stay away from the Highlands and Islands.”

On 22 March Nicola Sturgeon stated:

“Those who do not normally live on the islands and who have traveled there in the last few days will be able to leave to reduce pressure but from now on ferries will be for those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to and from the mainland and for essential supplies or business.”

Other Scottish ministers repeatedly made clear the message that the Highlands were not in a position to cope with any extra strain on health services, so people should not go there to escape the epidemic and if already there, should leave to where they normally lived.

Now Professor Woolhouse had left Edinburgh and taken his family to Lismore a few days before the official advice not to travel to the Highlands. But whether he had official foreknowledge of coming restrictions, or was acting on his own information as an epidemiologist, or it was genuine coincidence as claimed, I do not know. What is true is that Edinburgh University was still operating and teaching when he abandoned Edinburgh for his holiday home. And what is true is that he ignored government advice for non-residents to leave the Islands and return to their permanent homes.

Woolhouse was not pleased with the adverse publicity. He therefore started initiating lawyers to chill any media outlet which criticised his retreat to the island, with some success (though I note the Record report is still there). Four months later he was still on Lismore, and on 31 July 2020 an interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel Four News included this extraordinary passage on live TV:

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “Is that what you did yourself, a personal risk assessment, because you came in yourself for criticism for moving your family out to a remote Scottish island at the beginning of this pandemic”
Prof Woolhouse: “Krishnan that matter is under some legal dispute and if you want Channel 4 to join the legal case you are very welcome to we came for a one week holiday and got caught by lockdown like many thousands of other people around the country”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “And you are still there are you?”
Prof Woolhouse: “We are, as it happens. The community has been extremely welcoming and extremely supportive and we are very grateful to them for that.”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “So what is the legal sort of confusion, we are obviously not wishing to join litigation but I am wondering what it is you’re threatening when you say that, I mean what’s the confusion around what you have done.”
Prof Woolhouse: “As I have said, the matter, the reports in the press are under legal review…”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “So you didn’t move, you just happened to be caught there, is that what you are saying?”
Prof Woolhouse: “Yes, we just happened to be caught there, like thousands of other people”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: But why haven’t you gone back, because your job is in Edinburgh”
Prof Woolhouse: “Yes, it turns out like many other people that it is entirely able (sic) to carry out this work remotely, thanks to some very fleet-footed work by my ICT team at the University of Edinburgh, for which I am grateful as well.”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: So what do you say to those people, I am not putting this allegation to you myself, but you have been accused of hypocrisy haven’t you?”
Prof Woolhouse: “As I say, if you want Channel 4 to get involved in the legal action, you are very welcome to continue this line of questioning.”
Krishanan Guru-Murthy: I am asking you, when people accuse you of hypocrisy, what is your answer to that?”
Prof Woolhouse: “My answer is the matter is legal and I am ending this interview now. Sorry Christian (sic).

One thing we can say for certain is that Prof Woolhouse’s claim that he somehow got stuck or stranded on Lismore is a lie. Firstly, the ferries were kept going and non permanent residents were positively instructed to use them and go home. Secondly, a friend of his daughter had arrived with them for a holiday and managed to go home with no problems, as Oban Sheriff Court was to hear last week (of which more later).

Jeremy Gilchrist enters this story. He is a full time resident on Lismore for many years and, I must declare, a friend of my family. At the start of the pandemic, Jeremy along with other Lismore residents was alarmed at the small wave of outsiders coming to holiday homes on the island from cities and potentially bringing the virus with them. They started a facebook group on the subject, and Jeremy went so far as to make a report to the police of potential breaches of lockdown regulations. The reply from Oban police station was that the lockdown regulations were not, in March 2020, legally enforceable.

[I might make it clear at this stage that I do not really approve of this kind of Covid vigilantism, but can understand it in an island environment and I have no sympathy at all for those who own second homes in the Highlands and Islands, like Prof Woolhouse – or Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg.]

Islanders also started to make clear to the pandemic incomers they were not entirely welcome, simply by politely telling them so. Jeremy, who is 70 years old, on 30 May 2020 waved to Prof Woolhouse’s wife, who then stopped as she passed his home. He asked her “Why are you still here?” She claims that he added she should “go home”, which Jeremy denies saying, though it is not an unfair implication.

Some weeks thereafter, Oban police came to the island to see Jeremy Gilchrist and he thought that finally they were taking seriously the question of people coming to holiday homes on the island in breach of lockdown rules. He was astonished to find that the police were launching a high-powered investigation – into Jeremy Gilchrist.

That was the start of over six months of nightmare. Normally getting the police to come investigate a crime on the island is a difficult pull on limited resources, but suddenly there was unlimited police time available to go all over the island, interviewing residents and asking them if they had ever seen Jeremy Gilchrist act aggressively, and if he had ever been heard to say anything racist.

Think about that – you live on a small island and suddenly the police are asking all your neighbours if they know you for a violent racist. The strain was appalling. Jeremy Gilchrist was to learn from Oban police that the instruction to devote all these police resources was coming directly from the Crown Office. This is Scotland 2021, and Jeremy Gilchrist is, in the eyes of the Crown Office, just some pleb islander. Whereas Professor Mark Woolhouse, Order of the British Empire, is a member of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Covid-19. Woolhouse is therefore within the charmed Scottish Government circle of those whose enemies get persecuted at unlimited Police Scotland and Crown Office expense. Especially as the whole story of the dubious adherence to lockdown advice of its own adviser was potentially politically embarrassing to the Scottish Government.

Jeremy Gilchrist therefore found himself charged by the Crown Office with “acting in a racially aggravated manner intended to cause alarm or distress”. Because Prof Woolhouse’s wife, Prof Francisca Mutapi, is a black Zimbabwean. She claimed in court that she had believed Gilchrist wanted her to leave the island because she was black, not because of Covid, and that he had wanted her to go back to Zimbabwe, not go back to Edinburgh.

There was no claim made that Jeremy Gilchrist had said anything about her being black or about Zimbabwe. Gilchrist had, as the court heard, been campaigning for all holiday home dwellers to leave the island, in accordance with official Scottish government Covid advice, with no reference to anybody’s ethnic origin. Prof Mutapi is a highly intelligent woman and herself a Professor of infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh. The idea that – after the controversy over her family being on the island had been in the national newspapers – she genuinely did not understand why some people including Gilchrist wanted the family to leave the island, is a nonsense. It appears to be a very transparent attempt at hiding bad behaviour – deciding to live on the island during a pandemic – behind a protected characteristic. Astonishingly, this behaviour was then promoted by the Crown Office and Police Scotland.

Here is an extract of the report of the trial last week from the Oban Times:

Ms Mutapi told the court that as she jogged by she became aware of him ‘gesticulating’ and when she stopped to say hello, he had told her to ‘go back home’.
When she replied it was her home, she said he began shouting: ‘This is not your home, you don’t belong here.’
Ms Mutapi described her ethnicity as ‘black Zimbabwean’ and regarded his comments as meaning either go back to the cottage or go back home to Africa.
She said she felt ‘angry, attacked, sad and shocked’ as Scotland had been her home for the past 25 years and the holiday home had been in her husband’s family for 40 years.
She said Gilchrist had never made such remarks when he had seen her with her husband, so she decided to report it to police as he had singled her out as a woman on her own, she said.
But Gilchrist’s advocate Alan Gravelle said Gilchrist had simply meant go back to Edinburgh.
Mr Gravelle also asked Ms Mutapi why she had not told police that her daughter’s friend had travelled to Lismore but then left during lockdown to return to her parents.
‘I didn’t think the friend’s presence was relevant,’ replied Ms Mutapi.
She further denied Mr Gravelle’s suggestion that the racism complaint had been made to ‘silence legitimate criticism’ about their visit which had intensified after a national newspaper report in April slammed her husband for being on Lismore.
Gilchrist, a retired fruit grower, was subsequently charged by police with acting in a racially aggravated manner intended to cause alarm or distress – which he denied.
Giving evidence, the court was told that due to Covid, a neighbour of his with cancer had NHS treatment cancelled and subsequently died.
Gilchrist, who also has type-1 diabetes and a partner with disabilities, insisted his comments were not about the complainant’s ethnicity and denied being racist.
He disputed having used the words: ‘this is not your home’ and claimed he had simply asked her: ‘Why are you still here?’
‘They shouldn’t have been there and I had a right to ask why they were there,’ Gilchrist told the court. ‘I was concerned about the virus being brought to the island. It was about keeping people off the island for our safety.’
Prior to the incident, Gilchrist had also had reported a different second home owner to the police but was told there was ‘nothing’ officers could do.
He had consistently raised his concerns with the island’s Covid group, posted on Facebook and raised them face-to-face with other second home owners who had ‘not enjoyed’ hearing it, Gilchrist admitted.
Mr Gravelle said his concerns represented many on the island about people having fled the cities to holiday homes and the risk of introducing coronavirus to remote communities. Home to under 200 permanent residents, fears were rife about food shortages and the absence of NHS staff for its elderly population, while Lismore community leaders had also been warned to prepare for fatalities, the court heard.
However, Procurator Fiscal James Dunbar said Gilchrist had set out to ‘confront’ Ms Mutapi with aggressive behaviour and that she represented ‘one second home owner too many’ for him.
Sheriff Patrick Hughes told Gilchrist the trial had not proved his behaviour had been criminal or racist; it was clear he had become ‘obsessive’ about Covid.

It is important to note that the Procurator Fiscal put no evidence of any kind before the court to back his disgusting and unjustified assertion that Jeremy Gilchrist is a racist. There can be no such evidence as he is not any kind of racist, and the police had wasted much time on a politically motivated wild goose chase through is neighbours, acquaintances and social media.

I am struck by:

Procurator Fiscal James Dunbar said Gilchrist had set out to ‘confront’ Ms Mutapi with aggressive behaviour and that she represented ‘one second home owner too many’ for him.

It won’t come as a shock to many highlanders or islanders, that here the Crown Office explicitly sides with the second home owner over the resident. But note the procurator here demolishes his own argument that Gilchrist’s objection was anything to do with ethnicity. That was plainly a nonsense. In terms of his behaviour in talking to Ms Mutapi being “threatening”, remember he is 70 years old and unwell, and was stood outside his own front door.

Jeremy Gilchrist was acquitted at Oban Crown Court this week. But six months of his life had already been ruined, he lost tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees and he was wrongly labeled a racist by the police to the entire community where he lives.

There is never any shortage of police resources in today’s Scotland to investigate thought crime. Burglaries or riots in George Square, not so much. The Crown Office wasted substantial amounts of taxpayers’ money in large scale police investigation of Jeremy Gilchrist and in prosecution of accusations which were never going to result in conviction because they were plainly – simply – wrong. The politically directed Crown Office did so in order to assist the self-evidently spurious attempt to deflect attention from lockdown hypocrisy by a key Scottish Government adviser. This was another Crown Office decision about politics and media presentation, not about justice.

A final more worrying thought. These kinds of entirely unjustified persecutions in Scotland will become much easier for the Crown Office with the new Hate Crime Law. Ms Mutapi was undoubtedly caused offence by Mr Gilchrist, and belongs to a protected group. In the terms of the new law, I think Jeremy Gilchrist would be guilty, despite having no racist intent whatsoever. Interactions with members of protected groups will be on anything but a footing of equality under the new law, and the capacity for malicious allegation will be enormous and very difficult to refute. Which is why liberal democracies generally avoid such laws.


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220 thoughts on “A Small Story of Scottish Justice

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  • Republicofscotland

    Now that Sturgeon has squirmed her way out of this, we can expect much more of the same in Scotland which is now run by a party that will do anything to remain in power, backed up by the equally corrupt Crown Office who will deploy their foot soldiers Police Scotland to shut dissenting voices up.

    Things will only get worse under Sturgeon’s tenure.

    • Shatnersrug

      They passed the hate speech crime bill. I’m mean that’s a shut up for anyone. How many dissenters can that shut up?

      • Republicofscotland

        Yes Shatnersrug, that bill is particularly menacing, it protects the trans community and believe it or not crossdressing men but not women. The bill is so pervasive that you can’t even mention in your own home about trans or crossdressing men in any form but approving without facing up to seven years in prison if overheard by anyone inclined to call the Stasi aka Police Scotland, who to be fair will only be carrying out the corrupt Crown Office and Scottish governments orders.

        • Natasha

          Its misleading to suggest “… you can’t even mention in your own home about [protected classes]”

          Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins amendment reinstated rights under the European Convention on Human Rights Article 10, emphasizing the right to offend, shock, or disturb, in relation to a ‘reasonableness’ defense :-

          “So much fear has been stoked in relation to those matters that it is important to set that out,” said Tomkins. “Criticising policy relating to [protected classes] is not a hate crime under the bill. Even if you express yourself in a manner that others find [protected classes phobic], it is not a hate crime to discuss or to criticise matters relating to [protected classes] identity.”


  • Micky Scott

    This reads like a second rate holiday crime thriller where what comes next is implausible but somehow inevitable. I had to keep reminding myself that this is the ‘fairer Scotland’ that Sturgeon has described ad nauseam in her speeches to the masses.

    God help us all!

  • Bayard

    “Woolhouse is therefore within the charmed Scottish Government circle of those whose enemies get persecuted at unlimited Police Scotland and Crown Office expense. “

    If there was anything to demonstrate that Scotland has gone back 500 years to the time of the Stuart monarchs, this is it.

    • Ailsa

      “persecuted at unlimited Police Scotland and Crown Office expense”

      That is exactly what has happened to IRENE SCOTT. People have been led to believe it is a “SECRET”. How could ppl be so naive? – she is protected by UNIVERSAL Human Rights. This isn’t any secret joke – it is a PSYOP.

      The latest episode is NHS records changed by a Dr who was here on a Chevening scholarship and working at the QE. The Dr withheld a diagnosis of high Blood Pressure 214/108-someone later changed the records so it wouldn’t show up on the TrakCare patient system. Months later she was ill went to A&E her BP was 221/122 – she was admitted with Heart Failure & Hypertension.

      After discharge, she obtained her notes for both visits to A&E – this is when she found the earlier BP reading had been withheld. A complaint has been submitted however it appears it is all being hushed up. When she received acknowledgement of her complaint, it didn’t even contain a reference number. The complaint made no reference to the clinical negligence-it only stated

      “Information Governance will investigate the data protection aspects of your complaint, namely the handwritten record contained in the entry on the 8th January 2020”.

      This is such a massive breach/crime – The ICO should have been informed within 72 hours and also reported to the Procurator Fiscal. The NHS have a Duty of Candour to her, but nobody has contacted her.

      She wrote to her MP to inform him what had gone on, on receiving his reply it started “Firstly, can I offer you my best regards and hope you are well”. HOPE YOU ARE WELL after suffering from Heart Failure!! She highly suspects these replies are fakes including the NHS acknowledgement – emails intercepted & spoofed.

      Many years ago she suffered a terrible injustice (lived near London then). Her barrister kept asking who her ex-partner knew, who could be influencing the case. She had no idea. She was supported by various organisations – one made an approach to the media. Irene made a documentary for Ch 4 Cutting Edge for her injustice to be known. Shortly before broadcast an INTERDICT was issued, stopping the truth from being known. She was GAGGED – just like now – it’s coercive control.

      Another part to add, she is adopted but never applied to open her Court Adoption papers. In 2018 she became very aware of a smear claim, involving false claims of mental illness. On reading these claims she sensed the same feeling of vitriol when she suffered the injustice. When she suffered the injustice – they didn’t use mental health then as an excuse. However, she could sense the same feeling of HATE.

      She applied for her adoption papers – they read totally different to what her family had been explained. Birthlink then undertook a trace – no adoption agency has any trace of her. The details given for her biological mother does not show on any register of births or deaths. She doesn’t know who she is BUT some persons do – hence the reason for the witch hunt-PYSOP.

      I trust nobody thinks this is off topic. It is an example of the deep, deep corruption existing in Scotland today, She has had a living hell for the last 10 years. Ironically, Humza Yousaf is her MSP. I say ironically as this is a HATE CRIME and he has been no help. Since being in Glasgow, she has been accused of everything imaginable. People turn a blind eye when she asks for help, as they think it’s all part of the SECRET. The only thing that is secret, is the people behind this.

      The Dr who withheld the diagnosis and was here on a Chevening scholarship-sponsored by the FO (Foreign Office). She is now back home and working in the POLICE hospital, Cantonments – Accra. You should be able to draw your own conclusions as to who is behind this.

      I am aware Craig is facing his own fight and I hope by posting this on here, it won’t add to his troubles. It seems the best place to expose a PSYOP to enable the truth to be known and Irene get some justice – as currently she is a prisoner without walls.

  • Colin Smith

    This is exactly the nomenklatura / peasant justice we can expect more of in a socialist Scotland. It is fundamental to the system.

    • Carl

      Sturgeon is a neoliberal-neocon, a fanatical supporter of the U. S. Corporate war machine. You will find that the few socialists in Parliament are the people with the lowest expenses claims and the most pro-human policies. The further right you go the greater the corruption grows, culminating in people like Matt Hancock, Cameron, etc. But they are never held to account in a hard right media ecosystem. All you have to use your eyes and be honest with yourself.

      • Colin Smith

        True, but socialists never make it to or stay at the top of socialist regimes. It always quickly reestablishes itself as tyranny.

        • pretzelattack

          norway, sweden, denmark are tyrannies? is israell a tyranny for jewish people (not talking about palestinians). the biggest human rights violators in the world today are the u.s. and britain. are they socialist tyrannies?

  • Stevie Boy

    I believe the ‘Sons of Glyndwr’ had a workable solution for this type of privileged nastiness !

    • Wikikettle

      Flight of Capital. As someone said before, its not about gender or race, but of Power. On one hand virtue signalling, on the other hand getting on the blower to your mate in the Crown office and getting the old bill to knock on your door. Once again the Lawyers cashed in.

      • Bayard

        which makes it neat way for the state to punish anyone it doesn’t like.
        “Mr Gilchrist, here’s a £10K fine for not treating your social superiors with the respect they deserve.”

      • Liz Buckle

        And Jeremy’s defence costs added up to £24,000.
        Which is a lot for a small fruit grower.
        We’re hoping he has a good plum crop this year!

      • josh R

        Wow! horribly shocking story.

        Perhaps worthy of some legislation to propose should you get into office one day, Craig?

        This kind of ‘lawfare’ is utterly obscene and seems to be a blatant form of attack open to those with the means or inclination, regardless of whether they feel confident in their allegations.

        Surely, people ought to be afforded some protection against forfeiting their wealth/assets simply to prove their innocence, especially when there is a suggestion of malicious intent about the prosecution.

        I’m baffled to think that’s not already the case ?!? ……more horrified than baffled, to be honest.

        I’m sure the details would be difficult to iron out, and there would be those who’d use examples of people who were not found guilty simply on technicalities to argue against such legislation.

        But the injustice and unfairness to folk like Alex & Jeremy would seem to demand some form of protection against having your life & character trashed in cases like this.

        It just seems such an unjustified & unwarranted punishment, particularly when the court itself rules “not guilty”.

        • PaulieMc

          Excellent commentary Josh R.
          Its truely scandalous how the system, law can be exploited by the insiders – are Dani Garavelli and Mackay etc on hand to expose what happens to the innocent who refuse to ignore the hypocrisy of the elite/well connected. Of course not – stenographers for our betters, salivating at the new feudal age they’re solidifying.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Which is why liberal democracies generally avoid such laws”.

    What has that statement to do with Scotland?

    • Muscleguy

      It implies, quite correctly wrt the Hate Crime Bill that Scotland is not a liberal democracy any more.

  • Bob (original)

    The Professors are not that smart: they should know that islanders, in general, have very, very long memories!

    Their idyllic, island retreat will probably never feel the same again. Too bad.

    • Fwl

      Sad state of affairs. SNP beginning to sound like Man U in disguise – do you have super injunctions in Scotland?

      (However, I don’t see the point of the childish reference to Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg, which is obviously not her name, but her not so recent ancestors’ surname and somewhat spoils your journalism. Everyone knows the Windsors were Saxe-Coburgs and changed their name because of WW1 but that was over 100 years ago and she was not alive at the time. It sounds like a suggestion that there is something wrong with being of German ancestry. You are not Prince Bob and whilst it might be Ok for him to amuse with this sort of thing when presenting a news story not being covered elsewhere its better to just set out the facts without such grandstanding – if you resort to polemic then the reader is less trusting of the content).

      • Wikikettle

        Fwl. Its funny that “taking the knee” for BLM is laughed at but taking the knee to inherited monarchy and swearing an oath of loyalty to that monarch is prerequisite for an elected MP in our so called Democracy. Craig more than any other Journalist says it as it is, without fear of consequence to his own life. As he did to her own face when he declined two honours from “Her Majesty”.

          • Fwl

            Hhhhm: ok ok I concur that Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg has a certain poetic effect.

            On taking the knee thing – you have put your finger on why so many people feel uncomfortable with taking a knee – it is a basic act of subservience “you can chop my head off if you like” sort of gesture. Better the martial artist’s bow which continues to look the opponent in the eye in case he tries an ungentlemanly early attack.

        • Tom Welsh

          Her Majesty the Queen is the head of state of the UK. You may not like it; you may even think it wrong; but that is how it is.

          If you have any time or energy left for further reflection, I invite you to imagine who might be an alternative head of state. Tony Blair, perhaps? Or maybe you think the UK should pioneer the idea of not having a head of state.

          • Wikikettle

            Tom Welsh. I am aware of both the arguments for and against Monarchy. I actually agree to have someone like war criminal Blair as head of state would be awful. Surely a President voted in by a 60+ % by a compulsory vote to uphold a written constitution under full separation of powers and PR would be more democratic. They way we are going now is not good. Once the Queen dies, its not going to be stable.

          • Bayard

            Wikikettle, that sort of thinking is one of the things that brought us Brexit. How many people do you think would have voted to leave if they had been told we were going to end up with the deal that we have now? Not enough to win the vote, certainly. They voted to leave thinking they would get the sort of Brexit they wanted, just like you are approving an elected presidency on the basis of a certain type of electoral system and presidential powers, whereas recent political history tells us that a move from a monarchy to a republic would most likely see the UK ending up with a presidency where has-beens like Tony Blair end up with a few more years in the political limelight. You only have to look at the reform of the House of Lords.

          • A.Bruce

            So in considering alternative heads of state why should one only have the alternative of having a dyed in the wool politician as such. Why not an author, a poet, a human rights activist; someone who has actually done something useful for culture and society.

          • josh R


            “…but that is how it is.”

            That’s not much of a reason not to question or poke fun at this state of affairs. It is precisely because folk question what “is” & “imagine” alternatives that we hopefully live in a better present than people did in the past.

            To posit the idea of Tony Blair as HoS or simply having nobody, in arguing against the merit of questioning the status quo, is a bit weak.
            I know little on the subject, but I’m sure any number of states without a monarchy do quite well for themselves.

            I was neither here nor there on the subject until I cottoned on to the fact that, in cahoots with the Privy Council, the Queen gets to rubber stamp every nefarious breach of international law (Iraq war) or even acts that are contrary to rulings by the highest courts in the land (Chagos Islands), proferring immunity by way of Royal Prerogative for what would otherwise be considered utterly criminal, let alone immoral.

            Today, I can’t help but think that princes & princesses, castles & palaces, royal weddings & carriages turning into pumpkins at midnight are more befitting a Disney cartoon than a 21st Century, wannabe democracy.

            On top of that, it does seem a form of mental cruelty or abuse to insist that, for the sole reason that a child is born to 2 particular parents, s/he must assume some mantle of responsibility to a nation, as well as the propriety & intense scrutiny inherent to such a position.

            I’m sure we could do better than that, for their sakes as much as our own.

            Admittedly, such a seismic shift in our constitutional makeup would very much need to address the fears & concerns such as you mention, as much as it would need to embrace the imagination & intelligence of folk much brighter than me 🙂

            Doesn’t make it not worthwhile doing though.

          • Bayard

            “Why not an author, a poet, a human rights activist; someone who has actually done something useful for culture and society.”

            You are confusing who you would like to see as president with who the Establishment would like to see as president and it’s the Establishment who are going to be making the rules, not you.

      • Tom Welsh

        I quite agree, Fwl. I don’t argue the point much these days because it doesn’t seem to be any use. Anti-monarchists are anti-monarchists and rarely change their minds.

        It does sound rather odd coming from someone who presumably took some kind of undertaking of loyalty to the Crown.

          • Tom Welsh

            “What is truth, asked jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer”.

            Because as a politician he knew perfectly well that truth is whatever serves the purpose at the moment.

        • Fwl

          Not so impressed by Harry using his title for his new Impact Officer role.

          I don’t have an easy answer about who should be head of state. I think the role is largely totemic i.e. to steady the ship.

  • david

    I’ve never understood how you can be held liable for your legal fees when found innocent of any crime. What if you have no money or worse still too much money for legal aid but no where near enough to properly fund a defence.

    A spurious allegation will almost certainly result in extreme financial hardship.

    If the Island was united behind getting people off the Island then they should have met them at the ferry and sent them home, or refused service in the shops.

    I know that you want independence and I understand that NS is ( despite everything ) probably still your best shot as she’s known to the electorate, but you do seriously have to ask yourselves what sort of a country will you be living in if she won ? You know that there is not a cats chance in hell that she would surrender power in that situation. Without wanting to end up in court myself you can clearly see what kind of an individual she is and how far she is prepared to bend ( or break ) the law in order to get what she wants for herself and her bunch of cronies. It’s like she’s taken a page out of Westminster’s book of crooked acts and fed it steroids for a month or two !

    • Tom Welsh

      “I’ve never understood how you can be held liable for your legal fees when found innocent of any crime”.

      You may be confusing “justice” with fairness. The state holds a monopoly of violence, and exercises this partly through the police and the courts. The purpose of criminal prosecutions is to demonstrate who’s boss, and the consequences for defying them.

      It certainly is bad enough being left with £500,000 to pay for the privilege of not being sent to prison for something you didn’t do. Just think of the unfortunates who are fairly regularly imprisoned for 20 years or more, found to have been innocent, and eventually released (perhaps) without any compensation or even an apology.

      The state can do such things, and so it does.

  • 6033624

    New law or not there is a vast difference between what both say was actually said. This being the case no offence would be committed regardless. Protected status does not protect anyone from being asked a question, it protects them from being dealt with in a racist (or otherwise) manner.

    But this does point out just how government (all government) chooses to have its own protected from the laws that it enacts. There really IS one law for them and another for the rest of us.

    • Tom Welsh

      Naomi Wolf wrote a book back in 2008 forecasting “The End of America”. She described ten steps that typically lead to a democratic state turning into a fascist one. The tenth step is the dissolution of the rule of law, and Ms Wolf believes that the Western world has now entered that phase.


      We should be prepared to lose all the guarantees and certainties we have enjoyed with regard to our liberties and our legal rights.

  • Giyane

    I live in a majority South Asian Muslim area of Birmingham and I moved here deliberately to join this community from a much larger house in Shropshire.
    Most of this community are welcoming and charming, but I will complain , if necessary to the police , if I feel physically threatened. I feel intellectually threatened the whole time, and sometimes I complain about that on this blog.

    Everything would be fine here if the radical Islamists from the nest of spies in London would leave us ordinary people alone. But London for the last 40 years has been trying to change community opinion in favour of its use of jihadists for colonial expansion, from Yugoslavia, through Iraq Libya Syria , to Azerbaijan.

    Those who are unwilling to take responsibility for destructive wars are called haters. Yes we hate millions of people becoming refugees and we hate being personally intimidated by mosque and intelligence agency co-ordinated spying.

    My point is that there is nothing unique about Oban, nor Scotland when it comes to misuse of police powers to serve the political corruption of London.
    Empire 2 is a slick phrase which describes the very usual yearning of countries who have lost their empires through aggression and stupidity, to regain them.

    I was amused to see how many Scottish surnames are on the list of the Trilateral Commission. This government , and all British governments for the last 40 years have adopted Exceptionalism, like the US, EU Turkish and Israeli versions, as part of an Empire2 mentality.

    A government advisor going against his own professional advice to the nation is a pathetic example of that overpowering stink of Exceptionalism.

  • Polly Titian

    “it was clear he had become ‘obsessive’ about Covid.”

    Poor fella, how did that happen?

    • Penguin

      Member of the Clinton foundation and proud friend of the Actual New World Order.

      Funnily enough she had an article in the grainyard arguing against house arrest to control C19. Seems that science slipped by when Murrell’s back was turned.

  • Kenneth G Coutts

    Apologies, Bloody hell! That must’ve been a nightmare for Mr Gilchrist.
    It seems, we must be fully aware of the implications.
    Body cams might be the way to go.
    In fact, a certainty.
    Will go online to get mine.
    I hope you are Ok Craig, especially for Thursday.
    Hope all goes well.

  • Mary

    Similar situation exists in Devon and Cornwall (and Wales too) where the second home owners have retreated..

    It’s a strange and unequal country now where many of the well heeled with good salaries have acquired these second homes, thus depriving the locals, many of whom have low paid jobs or none at all, are being virtually dispossessed.

    eg ‘Second homes are killing Cornwall,’ claim viewers of BBC documentary about fishing communities
    Second homes in Coombe and St Mawes were slammed by fishermen on last night’s episode

    • Wikikettle

      Mary. In normal times they say the population of Cornwall rose by seven million in the summer with holidaymakers. So now with Covid and Brexit, the end of EU funding, local working people are going to see even more holidaymakers who can’t go to Benidorm. Pontins have published a list of Irish surnames they think are associated with Travellers they don’t want to frequent their salubrious holiday camps !

    • Baz

      I take your point about second homes in Wales, Scotland, West Country, or anywhere as it happens. I don’t agree with them in any way. But who sold these second homes to the outsiders in the first place? It was the local people who naturally wanted to get as much for the properties as they could. If you had a property to sell and you could sell it to a local person for say £20,000, because that was all they could afford would you do it rather than selling it to somebody else for £100,000? Sadly we live in a capitalist society where the market dictates the price of anything.

    • Bayard

      It was already like that fifty years ago or more in Cornwall, at least along the coast.

  • DiggerUK

    I do feel there has been a favoured allocation of police scotland resources to investigate this case.
    That being acknowledged, I can’t speak in defence of the little islander mentality towards people who are in their own properties on a shared island.

    This is what happens when an overstated danger is badly handled. The lockdown nazis need to be told that the friend of Mrs. Murrell has been there long enough to have isolated safely. Trying to justify the mob gunning for outsiders to go home is bigotry on steroids…_

    • Bayard

      So you think that six months police harassment and a £10K bill for legal fees is a fair punishment for having a “little islander” mentality?

      • Liz Buckle

        Jeremy Gilchrist’s legal defence costs were more than that – £24,000.
        He was in the dock for more than 6 hours, it was a full day trial.
        Mind boggling!

  • heilan’ loon

    The same was done with a writer who travelled from New Zealand to here on Skye, police interviewed him and said he was welcome to,stay on the island, locals were not happy as at the time as locals would have to go to Inverness, 120 miles away and only 8 ICU beds were available to the northern highlands. It seems it’s one rule for,the plebs like myself, yet if you have money then you could do as you pleased,

    • Iain

      I believe Tory MP Patrick Mercer was a serial holidaymaker in Skye too, visiting his holiday property on a number of occasions that he shouldn’t. Then there was Labour Lord Haworth, hiding from Covid around the same time at a property he owns in the Black Isle. And some nob called the Marquis of Bute cocooning in Bute. And didn’t some other moneyman break regulations by holidaying in the Cabrach?

    • Penguin

      That was Neil Gaiman.

      The point which some people miss in his case, and also that of the Duke of Rothesay, is that they were not breaking Scots law or Covid regulations. Both of them had a home in Scotland. Given that Murrell refused to close the border there was no bar to anyone arriving here, and our laws only applied to them when they were within Scotland. In both cases that allowed, or indeed made it a legal necessity for them to travel to their Scottish residence.

      That’s the law for you. Loopholes and unintended consequences.

    • A.Bruce

      But there were mitigating factors here. Neil, and his wife Amanda who have their main family home in the US and his wife were in Auckland at the beginning of Covid. Neil explained ” they needed to give each other some space” which forced him to fly from Auckland to LA, and from there to London, where he drove all the way up to Skye in a friends car. As if there’s not enough space here in NZ. Kiwis were also quite shocked at the stupidity and self entitlement.

  • Iain More

    I better be careful what I say. Holiday home ownership has been a problem in Moray for decades now. Wages are notoriously low here as well – fact. Thus pricing locals out of the housing market – fact. It should have come as no surprise to anybody that the vote to stay in the EU was lower here than anywhere else in Scotland – fact.

    Landowning Tories could come and go as they pleased during the lockdown and were. This was allowed in Sturgeon’s Scotland. Yet I was harassed by police a mere 2 miles from home by Police asking me if my journey was absolutely essential. Of course being a heterosexual male who believes in Scots Indy I dare not complain about this I might find myself in prison in Sturgeon’s Scotland.

  • Ian Foulds

    It would appear to be frightening times for indigenous Scots, purely brought about by ScotGov, COPFS and their enforcers.

    • N_

      Not such great times either for those residents of Scotland who are not indigenous but who are black, Pakistani, English, Polish, etc.

      • penguin

        All of the above can always go home. Or, in the case of Poles, go to any of the 25 other countries to which they enjoy the freedom of movement denied to the Scottish ethnic minority.

        • Wikikettle

          Penguin. Thats the card you have. If you are born British of colonial origin, and partake in a political discussion, the repost by some is ” if you don’t like it here, why don’t you go home ! ” The fact you are British by birth. Brought up, educated here, culturally British does not count, you look different and are always seen as a foreigner, no matter how much you want to be accepted as British and this is your home. I have always said that its up to the Scottish people to decide on Independence. I find it hard as a person of colour to be accepted as British, but fear it will be even harder to call myself English after Scotland gains Independence. When someone at a party asks my name, the next question is where’s that from. I want to say Battersea SW11. I can’t say I was born in Kenya and have been here since the age of six, of Zoroastrian faith, with parents born in India, but from Persia. Thats to long a story for most and upsetting for me as a child being called a “Paki”. As I said you have the instant repost.

          • PaulieMc

            Half of white England, at least, has a foreign name particularly Irish and, fingers-crossed soon to be independent, Scottish lineage. Just expose their idiotic xenophobia. Next year at the World Cup, 5/11 wearing the ‘Red Rose’ could have played for Ireland through the parentage rule. England genuinely is a melting-pot on a par with North America and you’ve as much ownership of it as the Hugenots, Maltese, Greeks, Jews, Irish etc who came.

          • Bayard

            I can’t remember who the athlete was, but they summed it up beautifully:
            If you win a gold medal, you’re English, if you win silver, you’re British, if you win bronze, you’re West Indian and if you get caught cheating, you’re black.

  • Goodwin

    A shocking story and I am glad my forebears headed south a couple of centuries ago. As a matter of interest, is the “Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg” to whom you refer the very same Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg (very drole by the way) that, as a member of HM Diplomatic Service you were happy to work for? The same Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg from whom you were happy to take a shilling and, no doubt, now pays you a sizeable pension (which I am sure some of your less enlightened followers here would term “blood money”)?

    • Penguin

      Stop being an arse.
      Unless you are a member of HM Queen Elizabeth I’s household staff then you are not in any way taking her shilling.

      Try harder with your smears.

    • N_

      Think the same as you would if this were an adviser in Belarus or Russia or Thailand who “advises the government” on matters connected with big pharmaceutical contracts and is threatening the press for exposing his law-breaking.

      • N_

        This Woolhouse story demonstrates that it really is time for a f***ing change in Scotland, and I don’t mean giving the SNP which since 2007 has obtained increasing power over the judiciary and media a sovereign state they can control too. It is time for things to go BANG, no more Partei rule. People can vote for Bonnie Prince Bob in Edinburgh Central if they like, but otherwise, vote Labour. The Labour leaders are a bunch of crooks, sure, but they aren’t this bad.

        Another point is that today the Green MSPs are set to declare what loving “confidence” they have in Nicola Sturgeon. Ah, how cuddly they all are. Remember this on 6 May. There will be no excuse for giving either a constituency vote or a list vote (as many did in 2016) to these cynical scum who manage to claim state money as an “opposition” party at the same time as supporting the SNP government.

    • Spencer Eagle

      You have to wonder who is bankrolling this legal case? He seems very sure of himself.

  • Sarge

    Well done to Guru Murthy for keeping on pushing. He made the grifter expose himself, his patron and the political culture she has established: one of shameless, lawyerized impunity for the enchanted circle. (And aggressive bullying and threatening of dissenters).

    Thank you Craig for another vivid illustration of what you have been trying to get us to recognise and understand for some time.

  • Kitbee

    I love Lismore and have sea-kayaked round that lovely island many times.
    Remember that film ‘The Wicker Man’ – I hope Lismore residents do.

        • Wikikettle

          Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) arrives on the small island to investigate the report of a missing child. A Conservative Christian, the policeman observes the residents frivolous sensual displays and strange pagan rituals particularly the the temptations of Willow (Brit Ekland) daughter of Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) 1973 film

    • David G

      When I read the police came to the island to investigate … that’s where my mind went.

  • Iain

    Poor Lismore. Didn’t ex-Tory MP and current Marks & Spencers supremo Archie Norman drive his family to their holiday property in Lismore too after the public had been warned not to travel?

  • dearieme

    “Ms Mutapi was undoubtedly caused offence by Mr Gilchrist, and belongs to a protected group.”

    So race privilege is being introduced into the laws of Scotland? The Scotnaz are a terrible government. Sack the lot of them and repeal their grotesque, proto-fascist laws.

  • Jack McArthur

    I attended a recrutiment campaign in which a lady from Police Scotland (the HR manager who later became a key member of the Salmond fiasco?) gave a presentation for manning big call centres for the new consolidated police forces in Scotland. I had very bad vibes about the implementation and never applied. Within weeks the awful case of people being left to die a slow death in a car because of call centre mix up happened.

    The creation of Police Scotland resulted in the disbanding of the Association of Chief Police Officers which at a stroke eliminated senior contrary voices, those which tend to be suppresed in a monolithic structure with a single head. Control one and you control the entire body.

    “In September 2017, BBC Scotland reported that Police Scotland had compiled an illegal database on over 10 per cent of the population.[98] By early 2019, the London Express reported that, despite public outcry, no details had been removed, but a further 162,520 people’s details had been illegally added.[99]”

    A Home Office report in 2017 indicated that the rate of deaths in police custody in Scotland was four times higher than in the rest of the United Kingdom.[100]”

    • Penguin

      Nobody died due to a call centre mix-up.

      An uninsured scumbag with not even an MOT or Driving licence drove his car into a tree, killing himself instantly and injuring his equally culpable girlfriend so severely that she eventually died in hospital.

      A passing motorist reported an abandoned vehicle, which is why it took 3 days before there was a response. There was no mistake in call handling or recording or in any procedure.

      That could have been me or a member of my family being wiped out by johnny yuill. No sympathy for criminals who self-delete.

      This case is like the accusations against Alex Salmond. The lies are endlessly repeated to swamp the truth.

      • Bayard

        What’s your source for the information that the MSM appear to have missed? What was the Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House doing apologising if it was as you say?

      • Jack McArthur

        Did you even bother to read the link I provided? “Scottish Labour’s justice spokeswoman Elaine Murray has renewed calls for an inquiry into how a couple were left in a crashed car for thee days, despite witnesses calling police” “We need to get to the bottom of why it took police more than 72 hours to respond to an emergency call”. “Firstly I want to apologise to the families of John Yuill and Lamara Bell and to the people of Scotland for this individual failure in our service. Everyone in Police Scotland feels this most profoundly.– Sir Stephen House”

        There are two kinds of penguin. The lovable and the evil like the character in the Batman movies

  • X_Sticks

    Yet another story of Scottish injustice. We’re turning out to be world leading at injustice it seems.

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