Ann Gloag and Human Traffic 61

Scotland has no shortage of dreadful right wing judges, but as the very epitome of reactionary conservatism, one gobsmacking judgment from Perth Sheriff Michael Fletcher stands out.

In a major rowing back of Scotland’s right to roam legislation contained in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, Sheriff Fletcher ruled that plebs must not be allowed within many acres of rich people’s mansions, because the thieving commoners may rob the rich people.

That really is precisely what he ruled.

53] While I accept that it is quite possible that the average proprietor of Kinfauns Castle might not have the resources or the tastes or the interests of the pursuer in this case it is I think legitimate to infer from the nature of the premises and in particular its value and cost to run that any person using the premises as a private house would require to have very substantial resources. It is also legitimate to infer from the evidence that such a person would be likely to be the possessor of valuable objects of some kind be it furniture or pictures or jewellery or at least to infer that outsiders including those of a criminal disposition might think that the owner of the Castle would have valuable possessions. If that is so then any such proprietor would have concerns as to whether their premises were secure and thus the evidence relating to security assumes some significance. It may be that the reasonable proprietor of the Castle might not have the same finely tuned concerns about security that were offered in evidence on behalf of the pursuer and might not require elaborate precautions such as tamper detectors and other electronic devices, but I think it can be inferred from the evidence that any owner would have greater or lesser security concerns more highly developed than most other householders in the country.


[55] No one in my view would have their enjoyment of their private house ensured if they were concerned about the security of the premises either from the point of view of theft or some sort of attack. If I am correct that most inhabitants of such a house would be persons with substantial assets then I consider that all such persons would have some concerns about security and it would be expected that their enjoyment of the house would be able to be ensured only if they were happy that the security of the premises was taken care of.

“Taken care of” specifically meaning by excluding the public right to roam for many acres around their house. Because they have a big house and so are “persons with substantial assets”, and thus the law should treat them differently to the plebs.

He further ruled that, where there had been a fence erected before the passing of the 2003 right to roam legislation, that fence should be respected as the boundary where the right to roam legislation did not permit access, as that fence would indicate where the historic castle owners reasonably believed it was necessary to exclude the public in order to protect their own privacy.

Yes, he specifically stated that the Land Reform legislation could not alter the boundaries to public access previously set by estate owners’ fences, and it is historic estate owners’ opinion on where they should exclude the public, that is the only opinion that counts.

[56] Another consideration arising from the characteristics of the house seems to me to arise from the evidence again unchallenged of Mr McCleary that the fence erected by the pursuer was erected following at least for some of the way but probably for most of the way a fence which was already in existence albeit in poor condition. Mr McCleary described it as what I think could be described as a stob and wire fence with perhaps two wires and about waist height. Such a fence could not be described in any respect as a security fence but it is significant in my view that the fence was not one which surrounded the whole of the property owned by the owners of the Castle but travelled at least part of the way through the property so that property owned by the Castle was both inside and outside the fence. Counsel for the respondents argued that there was no significance in the fact that there was a fence there partly because it was erected at a time when it was perfectly possible to own land privately. I consider that it is legitimate to take into account that the fence was built on the line of an original fence, or more precisely a previous fence. It is clear that the fence would not have prevented anyone who desired to do so from entering the premises but standing its condition it was probably erected at a time when the existence of such a fence would indicate to the vast majority of people that they were coming to land owned privately. When one is trying to assess what is sufficient land adjacent to the house to afford reasonable measures of privacy in the house and to ensure the enjoyment of the persons living there is not unreasonably disturbed it seems to me to be not unreasonable to take into account the boundaries established by persons not influenced in any way by the new rights created by Parliament in relation to access across private property at least as an adminicle of evidence. It is I think legitimate consider that such boundaries were placed there on the basis that persons considered that ground within the boundary would be required to secure their privacy and enjoyment of the property especially when the fence was not erected automatically on the boundary of the land owned by the house. For these reasons I have taken the line of the fence as being a pointer to what might be considered by persons occupying the house as reasonably required for the enjoyment of the house.

Sheriff Fletcher, in a ruling since quoted by estate owners all over Scotland, ruled that Ann Gloag was entitled to fence off 12 acres around her castle as “private garden”, and keep out the little people.

He did not stop there. In a pointer to roll back the Act’s victory over repressive rulings of criminal trespass, Sheriff Fletcher stated that Mr Morris of the Ramblers’ Association should have been charged by the police with breach of the peace when he entered the gates of the estate to check on compliance with the 2003 Act, and refused to leave when asked to by a land manager in a Land Rover.

Sheriff Fletcher plainly felt that for ramblers to disobey orders from people in Land Rovers is the first step to Marxist insurrection and the guillotine.

The case was brought in 2007 by Ann Gloag, owner of Kinfauns Castle against Perth and Kinross Council and the Ramblers’ Association, to stop walkers from transiting or just enjoying her estate of Kinfauns Castle, outside Perth.

Ann Gloag’s Perth home, Kinfauns Castle.
(Please see Gordon Currie story 01738 446766).
COPYRIGHT: Perthshire Picture Agency.
Tel. 01738 623350 / 07775 852112.

Sheriff Fletcher also stuck the Council and Ramblers Association with £160,000 of Gloag’s legal costs. Probably as a result the case was never appealed – that was also a realistic assessment of the predelictions of Scotland’s estate weekending senior judiciary.

The Gloag judgment remains a huge bleeding hole in the intent of the 2003 Land Reform Act on public access to land.

Politicians huffed following this judgement about the need to amend the Act to make plain the precedence of public access –

As the Guardian reported at the time:

Yesterday, senior figures in the ruling Scottish National party, which has championed land access legislation, said the act must be reviewed and if necessary tightened, while the ramblers urged the Crown Office, which oversees Scottish courts, to issue guidance to clarify the legal position.

Roseanna Cunningham, a nationalist and the local MSP, put down emergency questions on the case at Holyrood yesterday. “If the Queen doesn’t require fences at Balmoral, I’m not entirely clear why they’re needed at Kinfauns. I hope we’re not going to sit by and watch this being eroded,” she said.

But nothing happened, in Scotland’s timid parliament of the bought. Instead we got the exact opposite, with the Scottish Government incoporating the Gloag judgment in its countryside access code, as a restriction.

That is just another heart-rending example of the gap between what the SNP claims to stand for, and how it behaves in government.

Anyway, “Dame” Ann Gloag, who detests human traffic across her property, has now been charged with human trafficking related to the operation of her African oriented charities, and persons brought to Scotland.

One effect, of course, of the extensive privacy and large right of access exclusion zone granted to Dame Ann Gloag, is that all domestic servants and other persons working at the castle, in whatever capacity and voluntarily or not, would be removed from the possibility of public view.

It would therefore be most interesting in terms of Sheriff Fletcher’s judgment if any of the alleged trafficking activity relates to the Kinfauns estate. Watch this space.

On the other hand I view the Crown Office, to which Police Scotland have handed the dossier, as entirely corrupt and shall be most surprised if there is a prosecution.

I ran across Ms Gloag’s interests when I lived in Ramsgate in Kent from 2007 to 2014. My home was under two miles from Manston Airport, at that time a struggling commercial airport on which many local jobs depended.

In November 2013, with the close involvement of Thanet District Council, Ann Gloag purchased Manston Airport for just £1, on the assurance that she would keep it running for at least two years.

Within a very few months Gloag had closed down the airport, with substantial harm to the local economy, and submitted plans for an extremely profitable scheme to build 1,000 homes – the first phase on just part of the massive site.

Gloag turned down a £7 million offer to buy the airport from a company willing to keep it open.

You can still find online this introduction to an ITN investigation into what happened:

Meridian investigation has discovered that after private meetings with senior officers from Thanet District Council, Manston Airport owner Ann Gloag believed there was the potential for large-scale house-building on the site.

Was that why she rejected a £7m buyout offer that would have kept the airport operational and saved 140 jobs? John Ryall has this exclusive report.

Sadly the investigation itself has disappeared. I wonder whether Dame Ann Gloag’s legal friends have been at it again?

You will gather I am not a fan of Dame Ann Gloag. But then why would she care what we think? We are not permitted within acres of her home.

Yet everything I have written above obviously is a complete fiction, because according to the BBC’s James Cook, the human trafficking charges against Ann Gloag are an incredible shock because she is the most saint-like and unimpeachable human being the world has ever known.

She is vouched for by Gordon and Sarah Brown, for goodness sake. (Gordon Brown not being at all a war criminal complicit in the awful deaths of millions of people in Iraq and across the Middle East). She is vouched for by lots of heads of charities who get six figure salaries for patronising Africans.

In fact James Cook could find nothing at all worrying or controversial to write about Dame Ann Gloag. Her cupboard is apparently full of Christ like charity and zero skeletons.

Dame Ann has been charged with human trafficking. Now I am not an expert on media contempt of court, except that I am the only living person in Scotland ever to have gone to jail for it. But now that Dame Ann has actually been charged, is it really OK for James Cook to publish that:

“A source close to Dame Ann told the BBC that the family were “victims of collusion” and had endured “a Kafkaesque nightmare for the last two years.”

The source added: “Everybody is bewildered by these accusations and the level of this investigation.

“It is deeply ironic that Dame Ann actually funds an Eastern European charity called the Open Door Foundation whose job it is to stop the trafficking of poor women into sex crimes.

“She is very attuned to the real dangers that are going on in this world.

“This is bizarre. We are dealing with technicalities.

“There are countless people who are stepping forward to support Dame Ann from around the world.”

Is that not material likely to influence a jury? And if James Cook is allowed to publish this, am I allowed to say that my position on Dame Ann Gloag’s saintliness is one of extreme scepticism?

Do read James Cook’s piece. It really is quite astonishing hagiography of somebody with so much controversy in their past, now charged with a serious crime by Police Scotland.

It is astonishing hagiography even coming from Scotland’s smarmiest sycophant and stager of false incidents.

Incidentally, I do not mean to make too much of this next as it is probably simply a muddle arising from Cook’s inability to make coherent sentences, but I did a double take on this sentence in his piece.

I give you Dame Ann Gloag. Fit to stand alongside Baroness Michelle Mone as exemplars of titled Scottish businesswomen.


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61 thoughts on “Ann Gloag and Human Traffic

    • SleepingDog

      @Xavi, the University of Leicester runs an interesting course on Country Houses and the British Empire where students can learn that the Duke of Wellington got his nickname ‘the Iron Duke’ from his precaution of boarding up his big hoose with iron shutters against the expected retribution of the mob.

      You could rephrase the legal opinion above in terms of “it might be reasonable at least to infer that many proprietors of an expensive property may harbour a criminal disposition” and therefore be keen to exclude the general public/police inspectors/enemies accrued in their wrongdoings from their evil lair. After all, the Queen used her secretive Consent powers to block the wildlife police and colonial loot inspectors from her vast portfolio of properties.

  • Republicofscotland

    I think one of the reasons Andy Wightman sort of gave up on SNP land reform promises was that he realised it was all just talk without action from the SNP government.

    “It would therefore be most interesting in terms of Sheriff Fletcher’s judgment if any of the alleged trafficking activity relates to the Kinfauns estate. Watch this space.

    On the other hand I view the Crown Office, to which Police Scotland have handed the dossier, as entirely corrupt and shall be most surprised if there is a prosecution.”

    I think you’ve kind of hit the nail on the head with the second sentence here.

    • DGP

      Andy Wightman was Green, and they parted ways over the gender issue. He was not fully on board with the green gender perspective. Its a shame because he was an asset to the Greens and SNP and brought expertise and experience and purpose to the issue of Land reform.
      I have no confidence that the SNP are intending to devote any political energy to land ownership and management. All SNP/GREEN energy seems to be expended in the bogus and passing gender issue.

  • JohnA

    As someone who grew up with Allemännsrätten, the Swedish equivalent of right to roam, as long as you leave a place as you found it and are not too intrusive on the living space of the property owner, you can camp/roam anywhere in Sweden. However, when you are lugging a backpack with sleeping bag, tent, primus stove and other overnight essentials, I doubt you would be on the prowl to loot valuables from the homeowner to further burden your backpack.

    • Stevie Boy

      As though a thief would give a toss about land access rights. This is purely about keeping the great unwashed away from the thieving, corrupt, rich bar stewards.

      • Taxiarch

        Stevie: quite! Oiks need to be kept in their hovels not left to wander and ‘case the joint’. This Whiggery needs to reminded that money is not always power.

  • DGP

    I wish, when I read your blogposts, I could stop my head spinning and my spirit from sinking into my boots. For anyone interested, Andy Wightman contributed hugely to the current “Who owns Scotland” BBC series.fronted by Martin Geissler. Two episodes are available on iplayer. There may be more episodes still to come. It lifts the lid ,very slightly, on the hopelessness of our SNP government on meaningful issues such as land ownership and how the land is managed.
    As an entirely off topic aside. Sturgeon was on Sunday Kuenssberg today but I was quite struck by her dress. She was wearing a red two piece suit which I would have expected to see on a rather stuffy, conservative, posh, aunt visiting the church.For a relatively young person it seemed overly formal and overdressed. I wonder why? Her message to LK was that the UK gov was stoking a culture war by using section 35 when the very opposite point was made by this article Hmm-chin stroking-I wonder who I believe

  • john

    Gotta love the Scottish caste system.

    I remember when wind-power was kicking off, the cafuffle over proposals to install wind generation within sight of Gleneagles
    no such horror was solicited by building a concrete monster a mile away from Dumbarnie Links in Leven

    Of course,’s latest energy policy is riddled with such tone deafness, in addition to technical ineptitude

  • Cornudet

    I first became aware of the Gloags around the turn of the millennium when a spat raged in the Observer after one of its journalists, Christian Wolmar published a book on the meteoric rise of the company, Stagecoach, founded by the family and the ruthless means propelling it. I haven’t read Wolmars book but I recall that the issue was that the tome read as something like an hagiography when others felt that scathing condemnation of the Gloags was the order of the day, along with the transport privatisation which facilitated their wealth acquisition, to the general detriment of the endemic residents of this isle. At the time it seemed outlandish for a professed left liberal journalist to be accused of being a shill for capitalism red in tooth and claw but in the days since the Observer and its Scott Trust stablemate the Guardian has presented the far graver spectre of journalists acting as shills for the neocon establishment, with Luke Harding and Simon Tisdall in the forefront. I recall a piece on what was alleged to be a smear campaign against the White Helmets in which their chief facilitator, James Le Mesurier, was repeatedly referred to under the proform, “the humanitarian,” whereas my own view is that Le Mesurier was a political fraud and a financial fraudster and quite possibly took the coward’s way out when investigation in the Netherlands and elsewhere was set to conclusively expose him as such. Although one is tempted to simply ask how educated seekers after the truth can be so gullible – even Lee Harvey Oswald knew he was “just a patsy” and publicly proclaimed the same – a lot of acquiesce by the soi disant left in journalism is no doubt due to a lack of financial clout to conduct earnest investigations and defend the aftermath in court against both civil and criminal suits. It is infinitely cheaper and easier to become the passive conduit of the line peddled by the Gloags and other vested interests in the capitalist, imperialist state

  • J Galt

    And of course the privatisation of the National Bus Company and its Scottish equivalent the Scottish Bus Group was not an utterly corrupt exercise which handed valuable public assets to favoured “entrepreneurs” who then proceeded to strip them of lucrative property sites to developers whilst at the same time stripping the employees of hard won terms and conditions in order to squeeze as much profit as possible out of what should be a public service operated in the public interest.

    That’s how low grade petty capitalists can afford to kid on they’re the 19th century aristocracy!

  • Sandra Crawford

    The profound irony of it. Ann Gloag is a child of Margaret Thatcher, who was gifted the nationalised bus companies and gifted a london bus terminus for a cheap £12,000.00. The reason she owns this castle is similar to many of the Russian oligarchs, she has been a massive beneficiary of cheaply bought priceless national assets. Her company, stagecoach, got massive subsidies – high powered government money to run buses. When that subsidy gets cut, as happened recently, they just cut the routes, not their rent and profit. So ironic that The Gloags have lived on the fat of the public purse for so long should not even offer people the right to walk outside their castle. TAX IT ALL AWAY, like Attlee did. But the neoliberal Gordon Brown, just as bad as Thatcher in keeping buses private and even adding the London tube, is just as shameful in his approval of the Gloags as was in his approval of foreign wars. Michael Hudson, a brilliant US economist has much to say about the Gloags and Thatchers privatisation of buses in this article (it starts a little way into the article).

    • Squeeth

      @ Sandra Crawford. Atlee did not tax it away, you’ll find that as direct taxes went up the loopholes got bigger. The Atlee regime imposed new taxes on the working class. You should look at tax receipts rather than nominal liabilities.

      • seydliz

        The law will hang a man and flog a women who steal a goose from the common but let
        the greater felon loose who steals the common from the goose
        the law says we must atone when we take things that are not our own
        but lords and ladies fine may take things that are yours and mine.
        things never change under capitalism!

  • Bayard

    As Frank Wilhoit put it: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect. Most of us belong to the latter and Ms Gloag belongs to the former.

    • nevermind

      Well said Sandra, we call them carpetbeggars in Norfolk. When Tories are in power, some ruthless individuals will fill their pockets, raiding subsidies and or longterm contracts from local authorities and politicians.
      Norwich should entertain to bring back a tram that shares existing track and runs electric within the City, but the county is blue rinse deep freeze, sheeple and stoic stick in the muds. Holding on to what little power they can project, they have no expertise to even plan such a 21 century modern commute transport system. Encouragingly a much older than me Mrs. Gloag will have to face the inevitable …. she can prick her receipts on Satans horns.

      • Cornudet

        I hope and trust that Ms Gloag’s conveyance to the nether regions will be cheaper and quicker than the transport system she and her ilk have foisted on the British public

  • DiggerUK

    If Brian Souter and Ann Gloag had done the equivalent to former state run transport services in Russia they would be called oligarchs.
    I don’t know the matching Gaelic term…_

    An earlier post referred to the “Scottish Caste System”…power to the people!! Pure class comment …_

    • Bayard

      “Oligarchs” is the most accurate term. After all, the UK, like all European countries, with the possible exception of Switzerland, are oligarchies. They are certainly not democracies. What power do the demos have, apart from choosing which representative to ignore them for all but the last six months of their elected term?

      • Jon Cofy

        In Switzerland the voters can hold a referendum at any time

        Referendum decisions over rule enacted legislation

        This is the difference between democracy & tyranny

        Oligarchs love Switzerland

  • Greg Park

    Come on Craig. Gordon’s the son of the manse with a social-democratic soul, remember? A moral giant who brought integrity to public life. If he’s vouching for a human trafficking vulture capitalist like Dame Ann it shows she must be a good egg at heart. After all he also strongly vouches for Lord Alan, the People’s Sir Tony, Baron Digby Jones, An Sang Su Chi, Lord Dacre etc etc. No doubt James Cook too.

    • DGP

      Indeed. I take a passing interest in G.Brown because our paths crossed in our late teens in Kirkcaldy. Not closely but more ‘knowing the same people’ and a common interest in left wing politics. Canvassing in Fife for Labour was interesting because one would often knock a door only to be greeted by a torrent of abuse from the CP member who had emerged. Brown must have absorbed some of the very left wing mindset or tradition of his area of birth. He toddled off to Edinburgh University and produced a series of quite radical pamphlets and made a name as a left wing firebrand in the student Politics world, he slightly famously stood for election as Rector of Edinburgh, which seemed rather radical as the post of rector had typically been reserved for some kind of celebrity or contemporary comical turn to front the rag week and judge the student beauty contest.. Technically the rector represented the student interest but the reality was that the University courtt more or less ignored or at best were polite when advising the rector what to do. Brown comes from a very radical viewpoint but the interesting stuff is all about how he managed to slough off his leftward marxist perspective to become an instrument of American foreign policy over Iraq and supporter of the egregious Greenspan policies which led to the financial debacle that climaxed with the 2008 Lehmann collapse and the taxpayer bale out of RBS, HBOS and Nothern Rock, then run by arch crook and ultra right wing ultra neoliberal/quasi fascist Nick Ridley. Brown knew exactly how the banks were operating at the time but was utterly useless in taking control of the unsustainable activities of the banking system.
      Brown appeared on TV in the run up to the Iraq war to say that he had made £6 billion available from the contingency fund to support the military enterprise/adventure, . History will record him as a willing pawn of global plutocracy and he will always be remembered for his hilarious appearance in the commons to announce his saving of the world. He was a laughing stock. Truly a loathsome narcissistic individual with mental health problems ,and possibly worse even than Boris Johnson. He also prepared the ground for the 2010 Tory takeover.
      Ms Gloag,if she had any integrity, would distance herself from the s embrace of Mr Brown. On the other hand, Brown must tremble at the thought of an embrace from the embalmed grasp of Ms Gloag.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        The former Northern Wreck Chairman is Matt Ridley, DGP, or the 5th Viscount Ridley of Blagdon & Blyth in the County of Northumberland to you and me. I think you may be confusing him with his uncle, the Thatcher-era Tory minister Nicholas Ridley, who wasn’t particularly keen on ramblers as it happens. Anyway, if the former is a quasi-fascist, he’s certainly on the liberal wing and, as he’s yet to be found guilty of any criminal offence in a court of law, describing him as a crook, let alone an arch one, constitutes libel.

        All of which gives me another chance to plug his latest book ‘Viral’ (co-written with Alina Chan) which is very good on the origins of Covid-19. Five used copies are currently available on Amazon, should anyone prefer not to give him any money:

        • DGP

          I stand corrected – more than one Ridley is surely unfortunate. As for being a crook-it depends on definitions. driving Northern Rock into virtual bankruptcy and risking the savings of the bank’s customers is possibly Ok with you. I guess I have to distinguish between indictable offences and matters that occur under the surface, and I guess Ridley has not faced formal charges.
          You, from your comments, are content with the circumstances that led up to the 2008 banking crisis- which was obviously the unfortunate consequence of unlucky financial conditions and nothing to do with dishonesty or racketeering.
          As for the book- I wonder why they are being given away free? Here is a review-
          My guess is that it is a speculative and sensationalised account intended to generate controversy and thus sales. I’ll put it on my audible list.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply DGP. Lord Ridley has almost certainly not committed any crimes in relation to Northern Wreck, which was able to pursue a reckless lending policy, along with most other UK retail banks, because of the systemic dismemberment of the lending regulations in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The people who were being dishonest were people like those applying for self-cert mortgages, claiming to earn on average £50k or so a year when in reality they barely made £25k etc.

            Most chairpersons of FTSE350 companies have little idea what’s going on on a day-to-day basis within their companies – they just attend a few board meetings a year and then enjoy long, expensive lunches. They’re employed mainly because of their business and/or political connections. During the financial crisis, no depositors lost any money in NR or any other UK retail bank.

            In my opinion, Lord Ridley would be within his rights to sue you for calling him a crook. If your avatar features a picture of yourself and appears elsewhere on the interwebs, you shouldn’t be too difficult to track down. Quite recently, someone was sued for a flippant tweet about a fairly minor political figure, who he accused of considerably less. He ended up owing nearly half a million in damages and costs, thereby losing almost everything he owned including his London flat. I may be wrong, but I’d say this is the UK’s most-read wide-ranging anti-Establishment blog, and you never know who’s reading.

            Here are the rules: If you are sued by a member of the British Establishment (and you don’t get much more Establishment than the hereditary peerage), you will lose. If you sue a member of the Establishment (even a relatively minor one), you will lose: even if the judge finds that you have been defamed, you will be awarded no damages, but will have to pay your opponent’s six-figure legal fees, possibly with a 50% uplift because the judge a) believes that her lawyers deserve a big pay rise; b) likes twisting the knife (see Wings over Scotland Esq* vs. Kezia Dugdale).

            I’d say that the Scottish Establishment being able to brand someone, say for instance, a paedophile in the national press, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, and that person having no comeback unless they’re prepared to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds, is a far greater threat to the general public, than that public not being able to access less than 1% of a landowner’s estate around his or her private dwelling-house.

            Hope you enjoy reading the book. If not, you can’t have many complaints if it was free.

            * I don’t follow Scottish politics that closely, so Wings’ latest offering is something of an eye-opener. It appears as if large parts of the Scottish political class are effectively at the beck and call of axe-toting maniacs (who inter alia may have a sideline in amateur chemical synthesis of sex hormones). Large parts of Scotland being run by axe-toting maniacs is, of course, nothing new – but back then they tended to draw the line at advocating lethal violence against (cis)-women.


  • Roger

    Granting rights to people because they are “persons with substantial assets”, as the ruling explicitly does, is inconsistent with the principle that all citizens should be equal before the law.

    But if you think about it, that principle never really applied in the UK. You can’t really bring a civil lawsuit effectively, or defend yourself properly against one, unless you have a lot of money for lawyers.

    • wiggins

      Laws are like spiders webs; said the Scythian philosopher Anacharsis…They will catch the weak and the poor, but, would be torn to pieces by the rich and powerful.

  • Ian Chisholm

    Erosion of the Freedom to Roam legislation cannot be allowed. It was brought in by a Labour Scottish Parliament and admired by many countries. Look at Englands Dartmoor where even that wee space is owned by an individual. Its just morally wrong….imagine if the air we breathe was owned? I think its a disgrace that costs can be awarded to the lower….obviously designed to stop common folk from using the Law such as it is to protect our Rights and Common. I dont know why that Sherriff is still in the job….surely some way of sacking the sickeningly political judgement.
    The nuSNP should amend the legislation to clarify….the scope of …curtilage in the Act. Fat chance. And I speak as an ex active member of the snp for 45 years.

  • Justin

    Redevelopment of Manston Airport into housing never happened. Planning permission wasn’t granted. It was mostly used as a lorry park over the last decasde.

    The greenlight was recently given to reopen it as a functioning airport, following the dismissal of the last legal challenge against the plan (on environmental grounds).

    “Manston Airport set for take-off after legal challenge snubbed” – Kent Online (17/01/2023)

      • Justin

        Ann Gloag didn’t own Manston Airport when it was used as a lorry park; she had sold her majority stake in 2014, having already lost millions in operating costs. The housing redevelopment plans submitted by the new majority owners, Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, were rejected and in 2015, following French strikes and trouble at Calais, they agreed to adapt the runway for use as an overflow park for up to 4,000 lorries. In 2019 they sold the airport to RiverOak Strategic Partnership (RSP), who had submitted revised plans for reopening as an airport. While those plans faced legal challenges, the parking capacity was expanded to 6,000 lorries to handle the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. It was then adapted for use as a (highly controversial) migrant processing centre.

        Over a 16 year period of commercial use, Manston Airport made an operating loss of £100 million. Ann Gloag purchased it for £1 in October 2013 after other commercial buyers (including RyanAir) pulled out. She found the business was losing up to £100,000 a week, and in mid-March 2014 a 45-day consultation period started to consider options for closure. The council proposed a compulsory purchase order to maintain the service, but it wasn’t deemed financially viable. In a public letter to the Thanet Gazette in August 2014, Gloag denied that she had bought the airport with an intent to sell, arguing instead that she didn’t realise how deep its problems went when she bought it and that it simply wasn’t possible to keep it open, so the sale to Cartner and Musgrave went ahead.

        UKIP gained control of the council in May 2015 with a pledge to reopen the airport, but their consultations subsequently determined it would not be financially viable. Following the rejection of Cartner & Musgrave’s redevelopment plans, and in view of the French strikes and road blocks in Calais, they instead signed an agreement in August 2015 to use the runway as a lorry park for ferry backlogs, to be known as Stone Hill Park. Several UKIP councillors defected to other parties over the issue, with the result that UKIP lost overall control of the council in October 2015.

        The public inquiry in 2017 heard evidence from independent experts Avia Solutions that the airport could not be made commercially viable. However, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit altered the economic landscape, and in 2019 the airport was sold to RiverOak Strategic Partnership (RSP) who aimed to convert it back to an airport, initially as an air freight cargo hub. (If the hub proves to be sustainable as a business, they plan to relaunch a commercial passenger service.)

        Following the no-deal Brexit in 2019, administrative chaos at the ferry ports prompted the government to enact Operation Brock which expanded the parking capacity to 6,000 lorries. The need for extra capacity was later exacerbated by strict covid travelling restrictions which closed the French border. The MP Sir Roger Gale made a public apology after falsely claiming that Stone Hill Park (Cartner & Musgrave) had received £8.5m from the government for this service; in fact the money was paid to the new owners RSP.

        Manston Airport was subsequently used as a temporary processing centre for refugees and asylum seekers, with almost 3,000 people crammed into a space with a maximum capacity of 1,000. Diseases were rife and food and water were sometimes scarce, generating very negative headlines for the Home Secretary at the time, Priti Patel.

        Now that the final legal challenge to reopening as an airport has been dismissed, RSP’s plans for an air freight hub have a clear run. Questions over its financial viability may soon be answered in practice.

        • Bayard

          ” In a public letter to the Thanet Gazette in August 2014, Gloag denied that she had bought the airport with an intent to sell, arguing instead that she didn’t realise how deep its problems went when she bought it and that it simply wasn’t possible to keep it open,”

          Either she didn’t do her due diligence, which was very foolish, or she was lying.

    • Bayard

      “that something like 50% of the land is owned by fewer than 500 people,”

      However that’s 50% of the land by area, which can be seen to be a practically meaningless statistic if you compare the value of an acre of grouse moor with the value of an acre of land within Edinburgh’s city walls.

  • SleepingDog

    Well, I suppose some people would say: what is the point of riches if the Law doesn’t recognize you as a superior personage with vast legal privileges especially over the poor (invariably represented as covetous, envious and lazy, albeit often bold, energetic and enterprising when raiding the rich)?

    It is not unconnected to SLAPPs, where Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post recently identified London as being an especially favoured (but not uniquely so) destination for the rich and powerful shopping for friendly anti-defamation verdicts. That comes after the Twitter — Deep State report. Essentially, vast inequality is monetised in reputational and international terms, rather the reverse of the idea “with great power come great responsibility”. If you’re rich enough, few people will be able to afford to openly criticize you or hold you to account.

    Uneasy lies the coronet, or whatever DBEs wear.

  • Stevie Boy

    Isn’t it interesting that all these disgusting, scumbag, rich types that made their fortunes off the back of oppressed and badly paid staff whose rights they had manipulated to their benefit need security guards and security fences. It’s almost like they know they did unspeakable things to get where they are and are therefore terrified that joe public might seek retribution.
    Reminds me of the differences between, say, Jeremy Corbyn and virtually any other politician. Whilst JC can and does use public transport and is open to approaches from and discussions with the public, most other politicians travel in blacked out Limo’s surrounded by security staff.
    Most of the rich and powerful know they are corrupt, liars and thieves and they know that we know they are too – and they fear the day of reckoning, may it come soon.

  • Piotr Berman

    “In November 2013, with the close involvement of Thanet District Council, Ann Gloag purchased Manston Airport for just £1, on the assurance that she would keep it running for at least two years.

    Within a very few months Gloag had closed down the airport, with substantial harm to the local economy, and submitted plans for an extremely profitable scheme to build 1,000 homes ”

    I see two possibilities: Thanet District Council consisted of idiots at that time, or it is a case of “regulatory capture”, i.e. kickbacks. This is how privatization on Russia and Ukraine created gang-related billionaires, grabbing public assets.

    • Stevie Boy

      Piotr. The rot is much deeper than the local government level, it is all pervading from the top down.
      Consider the take over of Cadbury’s. Again promises made about jobs and factory closures. All ignored as soon as the contracts were signed. Also, consider the asset stripping and intellectual rights thefts of our defence industry.
      One has to seriously consider that it is the establishment’s plan to destroy our country and way of life !

      • Bayard

        “This is how privatization on Russia and Ukraine created gang-related billionaires, grabbing public assets.”
        “Consider the take over of Cadbury’s. Again promises made about jobs and factory closures. All ignored as soon as the contracts were signed.”
        What do those two things have in common? Unsurprisingly, the operation of US business interests.
        “Also, consider the asset stripping and intellectual rights thefts of our defence industry.”
        That’s only the latest manifestation of a process that has being going on since the US “helped” us in WWII and kicked off with the theft of our nascent computer industry. We are just having done to us what we did to our colonies in the days of the British Empire.

  • Dominic Berry

    Interesting to look at the rest of the media, including the Guardian, which never fails to fail, going,
    “Oh but she’s one of the goodies! She does lots of charity stuff and she’s the co-founder of Stagecoach buses”.
    A quick google of customer reviews of Stagecoach buses suggests she ought to be charged for that too.

  • nevermind

    I asked them in German to provide a link to their Hamburg4Assange campaign. thanks

    [ Mod: I don’t understand the request. You said:

    “Hi Mods. If you do not like comments in German to Hamburg4Assange, why don’t you delete what is there as it is inconsequential to ask them for their link.”

    This phrasing is extremely vague. What exactly are you referring to by “what is there”? Where? So you mean a BTL comment or something else?

    Hamburg4Assange has no comments in the main blog, though he/she did create a discussion forum topic titled “Are You Julian Assange? Charles the III King of England” – is that what you’re referring to? If so, why didn’t you post the request there rather than under Craig’s article on Ann Gloag? And what exactly is your justification for deleting someone else’s forum topic?

    There have been no recent “comments in German”, to my knowledge, either here or in the forum.

    “it is inconsequential to ask them for their link” – It isn’t easy to make sense of this. Do you mean that Hamburg4Assange hasn’t responded to something you wrote in German? If so, where? Was it a message you sent privately?

    Please be more precise when making requests. ]

    • nevermind

      I tried to write a comment to the Hamburg4Assange thread and failed.

      In no way do I want to irate or tie you up any longer. Thanks for the attention.

      [ Mod: Thank you, that’s important feedback. Others have reported difficulties posting in the forum, due to unsolvable captchas or discarded submissions. ]

  • DGP

    As pointed out by Lapsed Agnostic,(La Ag) I have not been clear about the, Ridley nephew/uncle family connection. -Matthew being the one associated with Northern Rock bank (nephew) and Nick Ridley(uncle), a member of the Thatcher government. So apologies for that unintentional error.

    I was also reprimanded by LaAg over my description of M Ridley as a crook. La.Ag. pointed out this was libellous and I risked ruin if MR chose to follow up and pursue me for that transgression. So to put the record straight, I know nothing about the inner working of MR’s mind, whether virtuous or not, nor the operation of the Northern Rock bank . when it was under MR’s direction.So apologies for any misunderstanding.

    I probably need to confess that I have a reflexive reaction/(rejection of) to the huge inequalities in wealth that exist at the moment.
    I believe these conditions are very detrimental to the great majority of people and to the democratic principles that we are supposedly governed by, and are attributable to the actions of a relatively small number of political and business actors who have achieved positions of wealth and influence out of all proportion to their virtue and quality of judgement.These are the very people who risk the continuation of the life systems of the planet or take us to the edge of nuclear war. It creates a very perilous set of conditions for many disadvantaged, powerless individuals. If I hear of great wealth, my inclination is to ask myself-was that fortune amassed by fair means or foul, my instinct being that great wealth is rarely virtuous.

    The run on Northern Rock was one of the first indicators in the UK that all was not well in the world of finance. While I am sure there are technicalities which escape me, at the time of the financial crisis there was a great deal of adverse commentary about the high street banks’ business methods.
    So thank you, LaAg for your explanation concerning the Lord Ridley’s(MR) innocence. Your post suggests that MR was too far above the day to day activities of the bank to have any knowledge of them, although I am incredulous that the money making schemes employed by his bank were beneath his dignity to know anything about. . As LaAg says MR’s role was taking an overview and listening to the reports of his immediate underlings at meetings. The picture you paint is of an uninformed, disdainful overlord of the outfit that, seems distinctly shaky. Indeed I think I would find your depiction of a haughty dullard more insulting than any suggestion of sharp practice.

    At the time, there was a great deal of comment and it beggars belief that the retail banks’ policies and methods were a matter of mystery to the individuals at the apex of the schemes. I use the last phrase guardedly. as it may hint at an enormous modified property pyramid shaped scheme, named after an Italian American financial fraudster, which was possibly one of the roots of the financial crisis.Heaven forfend that I could possibly inadvertently malign some of the wonderful philanthropists that run our political and financial systems.

    So firstly. let me say thanks, on Lord Ridley’s behalf, for LaAg’s exculpation of him, and for pointing me in the direction of the truly villainous fraudsters who formed the base of the scheme and were so stupid that they believed the sales patter of the assorted intermediaries, commission agents and brokers flogging the mortgages on behalf of the banks which, of course, were operating entirely within the regulations then set, at least partly, by the erstwhile teenage marxist Mr Brown. He played a large part in determining the domestic banking regulatory arrangements through which flowed the tax receipts which he hoped would allow him to bribe?(persuade?) the electorate and provide an election victory. I also have to acknowledge the major part played by operators/banks in the United States. It was astonishing to enter the US at that (pre 2008) time and see the lavish advertising for the Royal Bank of Scotland in prime sites(Times square) all over New York, (then under the direction of Fred Goodwin).

    RBS- a name so familiar to people from Scotland, with a reputation as a rather cautious family bank with a long pedigree of family and small business banking seemed rather incongruous as a big player in the cut throat banking environment of the US. I must remember however, La.Ag’s caution and state clearly that, like Lord Ridley, Fred knew nothing about the way the bank he controlled was operating. Poor old Sir Fred, just another victim of rotten luck and the wicked activities of these villainous financial lilliputians, who got their just desserts for forcing these banking institutions off their road of righteousness.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Thanks for your reply DGP. Though this is one of widest-read UK blogs, fortunately for you, I doubt whether Lord Ridley or his lawyers are regular readers, especially of the comments sections. I never said or implied that he was a dullard – in fact I’m of the opinion that he would have been one of the smarter FTSE350 chairpersons – but I doubt whether, among his many other interests, he had time to go through Northern Rock’s books in great detail.

      Even if he had, NR’s accounts had been signed off with a clean bill of health by its auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers just months before it went tits up. So if he had piped up in a board meeting to suggest that the bank sell off its US sub-prime (mostly AAA-rated) mortgage-backed securities – having worked out that most of them were composed of reconstituted NINJA* loans secured on crack houses in West Baltimore and the like – along with most of its UK mortgage book, thereby substantially reducing its profits, and then keep the monies raised to one side just in case the money markets seized up and the bank was no longer able to roll over its borrowings, his concerns would have been easily dismissed.

      The entire nature of fractional reserve banking is unstable: at any point in time, depositors can elect en masse to close their accounts and attempt to withdraw their money from a given bank – perhaps in response to unfounded QAnon/Pizzagate-esque rumours that it was being used as a cover for a paedophile ring – thus leading to that bank’s bankruptcy, which would occur even if its chairman had an IQ of 180.

      * No Income, No Job or Assets

      • Bayard

        Funny how all these captains of industry (and finance) justify their vast salaries by emphasising the responsibilities of their position, but when the shit hits the fan, suddenly it’s “but I doubt whether, among his many other interests, he had time to go through Northern Rock’s books in great detail.”

      • dgp

        LaAg- The Inference was mine- You said that you doubted that the gentleman bothered much about his business.I was incredulous that a bank would go so spectacularly bust with competent and alert directors and chair. Here is the link to the comment at the time. I think it is difficult to avoid the very critical narrative from the time of the financial crisis.I might mention that Northern Rock was bailed out by the Taxpayer to the tune of 16Billion. I wonder how far that would have gone to fixing the NHS nurse pay problems., so you may have been right that Mr Ridley was asleep on the job. I am not convinced that the high esteem you obviously regard him in, is merited.I suspect that he was very happy to receive his 315kpa emoluments for chairing some meetings with his cronies. I notice that he appears to have been given the position on some kind of hereditary principle, (sometimes called nepotism), taking over from his father, although I am sure the business niceties of some kind of formal adoption were observed. He also inherited the family estate on the death of his father.I am not familiar with the exact procedures that positions within the Lords are passed on through the family line, but I must admit to being very hostile to the principle of hereditary peerages and even the Lords itself.
        I admit that much of my impression is prejudiced. I appear to be much less impressed by inherited wealth and position than you are. My instinct is to resist or deplore the inherited privilege of the gentry. Likewise the inherited privileges of peerage. Although I did not see it mentioned on his wikipedia page I would hazard a guess that he attended one of the exclusive ‘public’ schools’ before going on to Magdalen at Oxford., a well trodden path of the privileged. At any rate I feel that I can say with confidence that the financial crisis of 2008 was the result of a Ponzi racket involving property and mortgages, and I find your assertion that the individual concerned was an innocent bystander is utterly risible, or your explanation that the main culprits were the people who falsified their mortgage applications. Another utterly risible position from you.
        He has close family connections to another Tory who left the public sphere over doubts about the ethics of his behaviour in public office- Owen Paterson.According to one report Ridley was some kind of political Guru to Paterson. Here is the link to Paterson’s wiki page.
        At the moment we are all watching yet another Tory Scandal involving onetime Chancellor with a very loose grasp of his role in government

        There is a certain irony that he is(was), like me, a geneticist.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply DGP. As I stated above, banking is inherently unstable, and no one can predict the future. Even large, long-established banks like Lloyds, HBOS & RBS would have gone bust during the financial crisis without huge amounts of government intervention. Unlike the situation with RBS, the UK government ended up *making* billions out of NR.

          NR shareholders will have voted to accept Lord Ridley’s pay-packets at the AGMs. Most hereditary peers do not sit in the House of Lords today – their peerages are just titles. The ones that do have to be appointed. I’m not particularly impressed with Ridley’s wealth or status – I just usually enjoy reading his popular science books. There would have been little he could have done to prevent what happened to NR, so in that sense he was largely a bystander, who will have lost out when his no doubt considerable shareholdings became worthless. There’s no evidence that NR’s accounts were being falsified, so the only people that were being dishonest were those applying for self-cert NR mortgages with false credentials. Nothing I’ve stated in this thread is risible in the slightest, let alone ‘utterly risible’. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  • Crispa

    At least Ann Gloag won’t be able to allow fox hunting on her land, the banning of which is at least one good thing coming from the Scottish Parliament as presently constituted.

  • Jon Cofy

    Is this a fair description of Craig Murray & Alex Salmond?

    “victims of collusion” and had endured “a Kafkaesque nightmare for the last two years.”

    “Everybody is bewildered by these accusations and the level of this investigation”

    I fail to see why anyone would doubt that this prosecution is other than normal in Scotland

    Perhaps it should be heard by one Leeona Dorian creator of the fabled Dorian Jigsaw

    Leeona could abandon the jury & borrow the sorting hat from Hogwarts & send the accused into guilty house, innocent house, not proven house or corrupt house

    Wonderful madness
    Scottish Justice

  • Reza

    Was Sheriff Fletcher the judge who was caught in flagrante with a deer on the grounds of Kinfauns Castle early one Sunday morning in August 2009?
    Interestingly the story can no longer be found online.

  • Ebenezer Scroggie

    The major flaw in the drafting of the Countryside (Scotland) Act was that the drafters failed to define “curtilage”. Instead they left it for the Sheriffs to define on a case by case basis.

    Of course judges will tend to prefer the rights and privileges of very wealthy landowners over the oiks. That is to be expected and that’s what tends to happen.

    The law should have specified some distance from a dwelling, say 150 metres which is what the Norwegian equivalent law says is an acceptable distance for wild camping and is used as a rough guideline to an acceptable walking distance from a private house.

    Another problem is that there three types of Right of Way in Scotland. The strictest, ie most generous to law-abiding and responsible walkers, is the Judicial RoW. That is one which has been tested at Court . Less than 3% of RoWs in Scotland have that status.

    Then there’s an Asserted RoW. It’s one in which somebody has recorded that a RoW has been in continuous and habitual use for more than 21 years. Finally there’s a Claimed RoW. That’s the weakest and is the one most likely to be either ignored or refuted by a hostile landowner.

    The way the law was passed in 2003 pretty much guaranteed that a Gloag type situation would rapidly emerge. Clumsy lawmaking, in my non-legal opinion.