Fascist Judges 169

Three climate activists in two separate trials have been sent to jail by Judge Silas Reid using the entirely arbitrary powers of Contempt of Court, because they insisted on telling the jury that their protests had been motivated by the climate crisis and fuel poverty.

Juries are an essential safeguard from injustice by the state.

That ordinary, randomly selected people decide on guilt or innocence has been fundamental to the criminal law in the United Kingdom for many centuries.

The simplistic maxim is that the judge determines the law while the jury determines the facts. However it is often more complex than that. There are several areas of law (the misuse of computers act is an example) where a public interest defence is permissible, and the jury may find themselves deliberating on whether a disclosure was in the public interest.

Perhaps the most famous example in my lifetime was the trial of Clive Ponting under the Official Secrets Act. Clive was a member of this blog community and a fairly regular commenter here.

Clive had been a very straight and professional middle ranking civil servant in the Ministry of Defence at the outbreak of the Falklands War. He blew the whistle on the truth of the sinking of the Argentine battleship, the General Belgrano.

For those who do not know, Argentina had occupied the Falkland Islands one month before the attack on the Belgrano. A British naval task force had set sail to retake the islands. Furious diplomatic efforts were underway to find a peaceful solution, led by the United States and by Chile.

When the British nuclear submarine Conqueror sunk the Belgrano, killing 323 people, it ended the prospects of a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

The resultant Falklands War catapulted Margaret Thatcher from extreme unpopularity to extreme popularity on a frenzy of jingoism. It thus enabled Thatcherism and the destruction of both heavy industry in the UK and of the principle of the mixed economy.

The Belgrano was sunk deliberately and completely unnecessarily in order to precipitate full on war, at a time when it posed no threat to British forces and was 250 miles south west of the Falklands and steaming away from them. While there was a zig zag pattern to Belgrano’s movement to try to evade detection, the pathway is undeniable. It is the bottom-most track on this map.

The scale of loss of life was such that the UK embarked on an entirely misleading campaign to talk up the threat posed by the Belgrano, and by referring to the zig zagging denied it was heading back to the mainland and away from the Falklands.

MOD internal communications were of course quite clear that the Belgrano was heading away when it was sunk, and these are what Clive Ponting leaked to Labour MP Tam Dalyell.
(Readers of this blog will see a particular irony as Clive became a staunch supporter of Scottish Independence while Tam was a stubborn opponent).

Clive never denied it was he who had leaked the documents. His defence, when tried at the Old Bailey, was that it was in the public interest to reveal the truth.

This defence was flatly rejected by the judge. He refused, in closed court without the jury, the defence barristers’ argument that it was for the jury to decide whether the leak was in the public interest.

In his instructions to the jury, the judge directly ordered them to convict, and specifically stated that the public interest could only be whatever the government of the day defined as the public interest.

Here is an account from one of Ponting’s legal team:

Ponting instructed my firm on the recommendation of Liberty (then still the National Council for Civil Liberties). Brian Raymond, our criminal law partner, conducted the case. Brian was a pioneer in media relations. He recognised the importance of frank contacts with serious and capable journalists. The public was told Ponting’s side of the story.

The public interest defence was clearly arguable. Mr Justice McCowan at the Old Bailey trial allowed defence evidence on governmental and constitutional practice from the former Home Secretary Merlyn Rees and the eminent Cambridge professor Henry Wade but in the jury’s absence he rejected the defence submission that whether or not Ponting had acted “in the interest of the state” was an issue of fact for the jury. Astonishingly, his ruling meant that what was in the interest of the state was whatever the government said it was.

After that, conviction and imprisonment seemed a foregone conclusion. Before we came to court next morning we had a farewell breakfast at the Savoy Hotel. Our client arrived with a small suitcase containing toothbrush, shaving kit and other items he would need as a guest of Her Majesty.

While the jury deliberated, we gloomily discussed our grounds of appeal and the prospects of winning in Strasbourg. Then came the verdict. When the foreman said “not guilty” there was a gasp of amazement followed by spontaneous applause. It was an incredible result because it meant the jury had flatly ignored the judge’s direction. Plainly they thought Ponting had done the right thing.

The judge was furious. He could not actually send the jurors to prison for disobeying his direct instruction to convict, but he banned them from future jury service – which they probably weren’t too sad about.

In 1989 the UK government amended the Official Secrets Act to make plain that there is no public interest defence permissible. Nevertheless I know for certain that in the cases of both Katherine Gun and myself, whistleblowers were not prosecuted for fear the jury would refuse to convict.

Arguably the acquittal of the removers of the Colston statue in Bristol were also acquitted by a jury returning what the Establishment call a “perverse verdict”. There have been a whole series of acquittals of activists carrying out actions against the Raytheon arms factory in Belfast.

The notion of people not being allowed to explain their actions to the jury has a distinctly draconian tinge. The judge can tell the jury to ignore the arguments, and the jury can decide whether or not to listen to the judge, but to not allow the accused to put their arguments at all?

It sounds pretty fascist to me.

I do not know whether Judge Reid’s vicious approach is personal or part of a state backlash to protest, particularly over climate change. Jonathon Schofield had asked the Ministry of Justice under a Freedom of Information request whether there has been an instruction to judges. His simple FOIA request has not been answered and is now past the deadline.

I have recently finished reading Irmtrud Wojak’s biography of Fritz Bauer, the concentration camp survivor who became the most important prosecutor of the Nazis in Germany, tracking down Eichmann and putting the Auschwitz management on trial.

Bauer was repeatedly frustrated by the German legal establishment of which he was a member, and what comes strongly out of the book is that the Nazis did not have to find their own lawyers and judges. Great chunks of the German legal establishment had simply adapted themselves to applying Nazi laws.

The same legal establishment continued seamlessly post-Nazi rule, pretending nothing much had happened. As Wojak writes:

However Bauer’s views did not catch on in West German rulings, which, while acknowledging them on an ethical level, denied them legal legitimacy and accepted them only under highly restricted conditions. In many cases, the relevant rulings even went so far as to accept the validity of the Nazis’ system of norms, down to the principle of the right to self-assertion of the state.

As the UK continues with the harsh slide towards authoritarianism, it doesn’t need new judges, however far it moves toward fascism. The current legal establishment will adapt themselves to the legal framework of whatever sort is ordained by the rulers.

Anybody expecting judges to defend liberties is likely to be sorely disappointed.

They will happily remove the ability of juries to defend liberty too.


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169 thoughts on “Fascist Judges

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  • Cornudet

    With all due respect, it is far from clear that the case against Katherine Gun was dropped because of fears amongst the prosecution and their political masters that the whistleblower would be acquitted notwithstanding the direction of the “tame” judge. Rather, Ms Gun’s legal counsel were requesting documents concerned with the advice given to the government by its own lawyers, most significantly that of the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. The general assumption of most observers being that this advice might well have conceded the patent illegality of the US led attack on Iraq

  • Bayard

    “Yesterday Judge Silas Reid dismissed the jury at Inner London Crown Court after they were unable to reach a verdict on whether Cllr Giovanna Lewis, Amy Pritchard and a third Insulate Britain supporter, Paul Sheeky were guilty of causing a public nuisance by blocking the junction of Bishopsgate and Wormwood Street in the City of London on 25 October 2021.”

    Looks like another jury that’s unable to come to the right decision. Presumably the judge felt better after he’d been able to send them to gaol anyway for a different crime, one that didn’t involve a pesky, unreliable jury in its trial.

    • Cynicus

      “Presumably the judge felt better after he’d been able to send them to gaol anyway for a different crime, one that didn’t involve a pesky, unreliable jury in its trial.”
      The same jury-less “crime” for which Lady Dorrian banged up Craig Murray.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    The West walks blinded by a fog of State propaganda into increased authoritarianism.

    The response of the British State to the revelations of criminal misconduct by members of the Met’s, Special Demonstration Squad was the 2021, Cover Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act. This allows for, criminal conduct to be ‘authorised’:
    Reference section 5.
    5) A criminal conduct authorisation is necessary on grounds falling within this subsection if it is necessary—
    (a) in the interests of national security;
    (b) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder; or
    (c) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom

    Meanwhile in Germany Alternative für Deutschland and Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei are put on a State, “terrorist watchlist” despite neither party advocating violence.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    I was thinking earlier today about Lord Denning.
    When I was growing up, the BBC in particular used to lionise Denning because he had a West Country accent and was state educated.
    That’s right the singular senior Judge in England that was state educated was cited as proof that England was a meritocracy.
    Anyways Denning was opinionated on the case of the Birmingham Six amongst other matters, stating; “We shouldn’t have all these campaigns to get the Birmingham Six released if they’d been hanged. … It is better that some innocent men remain in jail than that the integrity of the English judicial system be impugned.”
    Social “strivers” often go the extra mile to fit in with the establishment. And if a few “paddies” have to go to the gallows to ensure Denning got membership of his favoured gentleman’s club, then tuff luck.

  • Dom

    Many will be reminded reading this of the barrack-room judge who convicted you and of those Supreme justices who backed her muddled thinking on journalism all the way. No jurors were permitted to assess their madness and inhumanity.

    As regards Germany, the post-war West German establishment was dominated by totally unrepentant Nazis. It makes their ‘antiracist’ affectations today — pretending moral superiority over someone like Roger Waters — laughable indeed.

    • Hans Adler

      The situation in Germany is a bit more complicated than that. Your analysis is a bit simplistic, basically painting Germany as a monolithic block in a way that you would probably consider inappropriate when applied to the UK.

      Yes, initially the German post-war authorities just continued from the Nazi era, just with new laws. This is not very surprising given how authoritarian and militaristic pre-Nazi Germany had been and how little the authorities had had to change in the 1930s.

      However, some of these authoritarian types actually did change their opinions, and the new generation, while not ideal, was far better. A very important factor in this was the Allied control over Germany. You can’t convince authoritarians with ethical or rational arguments. From their point of view, using such arguments proves that your position is weak; you don’t have powerful authorities to rely on. The US and two strong European neighbours reserving ultimate control over the country — that’s a much stronger argument. You better don’t openly disagree with them! (Of course the Cold War also played a role. It made this configuration less antagonistic.) This caused many German authoritarians to be in favour of a liberal democracy and against jingoism — for all practical purposes, regardless of their natural inclinations.

      Although the changes were initially superficial, they did have an effect on how the next generation was raised, and so became more thorough. Unfortunately, this effect will not last forever. When Germany became a sovereign, united country again, it seemed obvious to authoritarians that extreme nationalism would now be acceptable again. As this was never reigned in properly, things are gradually getting worse although not yet as bad as in some countries that haven’t gone through a similar history.

      If you don’t believe me, look up “Hans Schwerte” on Wikipedia for one example of what was possible. Another example is unfortunately not presented well on Wikipedia, as its article “Schieder commission” doesn’t paint the full picture. What happened there was that a group of Nazi historians in post-war West Germany got the task of painting Germany as treated unfairly in a huge historical study of the expulsions of Germans after the war. They felt that they had to work very precisely and scientifically to achieve this (even inventing a new method that became standard), and did this so meticulously that they actually convinced themselves of the opposite! (At this point their funding was cut off, and the last volume was never published.)

      Germany does not have an antiracist consensus today, but German antiracists are mostly 100% genuine. In fact, we had only a very short colonial period, and even the racism of the Nazis was mostly very targeted to specific groups, while being quite ambivalent to the tiny minority of black people living in the country at the time and being very friendly with the Turks, for example. When it comes to Jews, the German authoritarians are divided into philo- and antisemitists.

      I had to consult Wikipedia on who Roger Waters is (I have heard OF Pink Floyd but not even consciously heard anything BY them — not my style of music) and what you are likely referring to. On this I note that today’s Germans have grown up with a strong pro-Jewish and pro-Israel ideology which, while certainly not an antidote against antisemitism in the long run, still creates a large blind spot. There is still a general consensus that no matter how much criticism Israel deserves, Germans should be the last to make it. This makes Germany particularly exploitable by Israeli nationalists who are instrumentalising antisemitism, though fortunately moderated by a keener awareness of the dangers of the path that Israel has been pursuing — even if this awareness is often not apparent.

  • Republicofscotland

    As you well know Craig, the push is on in Scotland to do away with a jury altogether, and several Judges have gotten behind this idea, I doubt Alex Salmond would be walking around freely now if he hadn’t had a jury, a jury made up of mostly women.

    • Highlander

      Until 1939, anyone could elect to go to trial if they thought they wouldn’t get a fair trial. It was suspended by the Tories, and was to be reintroduced at the end of hostilities.
      It was never introduced, the reason was simple….. it opened the doors for bad laws and asset stripping those that couldn’t afford solicitors. Back to pagan times…… the poor, they have no redress in law, but those that could, can buy the law required. As many solicitors now work on behalf of “aims of industry”, they the solicitor can no longer be impartial.
      I had two solicitors:
      No1 had me time barred for an industrial tribunal, prior to being jailed for attempted murder.
      No2 after paying a large some of money, the day before the tribunal, told me I couldn’t win the case. He had a responsibility to ensure I had a chance to win. After taking a large sum of money.
      Myself and a friend took the case ourselves, against a QC, a HR European Manager, business operations manager and a solicitor, and won!
      I made a complaint against the solicitor No2, and the law society who answered my complaint with a litany of half baked facts that didn’t reflect my complaint!
      So much for integrity morality of honour of the law society.
      They see every one as sheep…… all to be fleeced trying to get a fair outcome.
      It’s time the law society did not investigate its own members for wrong doing, or lying!

      But I beat the Bas*ards!

        • Highlander

          If perhaps I could point out, Conscription, has already had two readings In parliament, and then sisted by the two Tory MPs. Conscription to be resurrected at any time the establishment wants fodder, to help expand their control over money, which presently is being marginalised by Russia and China, not to mention the rest of the BRICS NATIONS.
          Frightening to say, all the ducks are lined up! And we have no redress in law, and China’s bankrolling of England and America….. is stopping. The dollars and pounds collapse is a forgone conclusion. All the ducks in a row!
          Easy to send fodder (English sons and daughters) off to war, when the strategies and policies of successive Tory governments have created abject poverty. Drug infested communities, lawlessness, and all those nice things Tories use to destroy the sovereignty and pride of what was the proud English nation.
          We too share in their plight, by default!

  • DiggerUK

    To label the power exercised by judges, re contempt, as “fascist” is a misuse of the word. Fascism is way beyond the tyrannical powers exercised by the monarch’s representative in the form of a judge.

    Judges sit and represent the historical authority of the absolute monarch to deliver judgement. That is why they sit under a royal warrant (Honi soit qui mali Pense) in the court. It represents the modern state, of which the monarch is the head of; a monarch judges swear an oath of loyalty to.
    It is the badge of authority granted by royal history to pronounce judgement in the monarchs name, their ‘seal of office’ or ‘licence’ so to speak. It is a relic of the tyrants power.

    Remember, Charles the 1st was executed as a tyrant, not for treason. Treason is an offence against the monarch, not an offence that a monarch can therefore be found guilty of.
    I see no way of denying judges this ‘historical right’ they maintain short of a revolutionary act. Sorry to disappoint, but that’s just the way the world is, well, that’s the way the land lies today.

    Judges can’t instruct a jury to find a defendant guilty, but they can make sure a jury doesn’t deliver a “perverse verdict”, simply by dismissing them or not allowing them to deliver a verdict.
    Contempt powers used by judges are the right of tyrants, to be tyrants…_

  • DGP

    Going on in parallel and thematically analogous(lurch towards fascism) – the Twitter storm over Gary Lineker’s sympathetic comments about refugees, which has brought an avalanche of criticism from Tory defenders of the dismantling of ECHR. He will now be subject to a ‘frank’ appraisal by someone in the BBC (the organisation with a major Tory donating/loan brokering chairman appointed by Johnson (loan beneficiary) – that pillar of ethical government in the UK, and fellow multi-millionaire ex-colleague of Sunak, the self-declared protector of integrity in a government with luminaries of civil rights such as Sillya Braverman, Teresa (let them eat turnips!) Coffey, whose knowledge and understanding of the environment and farming is analogous to my arse’s familiarity with snipe shooting.

    The level of irony/hypocrisy/absurdity is now at a level never before encountered in politics of the modern era. I include the Nixon/Kissinger/Bush/Cheney/ Obama/Trump/Campbell/Blair/Sturgeon eras in this.
    The collapse of common civic values such as the quality of justice and tolerance for opinion that is not concordant with the dominant political ideology is alarming. I can’t actually provide an explanation for this process. Power has shifted to the right. There must be some causation although this seems extremely difficult to identify – my guess being some connection to declining exploitative opportunities due to the decline in environmental conditions and more intense international competition, less favourable/more disrupted climate conditions/more disrupted social conditions and fewer or ever more complex technical conditions.
    The perilous situation vis-a-vis refugees on boats has some very simple solutions but one must suspect that the Tories don’t want a solution as they prefer to whip up outrage over a bogus issue for electoral reasons. They require the whipped-up frenzy or indignation of the Tory leaning electorate to sell them the false agendas they offer through the gutter press. I think a solution is within easy reach, simply by offering free safe passage to the UK, and creating an efficient asylum system. That would immediately isolate the large numbers of Albanians we are told are flooding into the UK under false pretexts. Illegal immigrants really need to evade legitimacy, so offering the chance to achieve legitimacy instantly isolates them. The business activities of people smugglers would be eliminated at a stroke of a pen, chartering the vessel to provide free safe passage.
    I realise that forceful, punitive suppression appeals more to the ideological zealots of the ERG et al than pragmatic liberal measures that actually solve problems.

      • Jenny

        Squeeth, the Tory-leaning electorate that only votes Labour when it, too, becomes Tory. It was Labour that brought in ATOS, the WCA, and quotas that immiserated and murdered the disabled. Keir Starmer is absolutely vile!

        • Squeeth

          There has never been a democratically-elected government in Britain. No governing partei has received 50% of the votes of the electorate +1 and only got 50% of the votes of those who can’t be bothered to abstain +1 (55% actually, in 1931). The electorate doesn’t lean towards any of the Tory parteis, only the fascist electoral system does that.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      I think you may mean Therese (with a couple accents on it; can’t be arsed with diacritics) Coffey*, DGP. I assume that Sillya Braverman is your waggish name for our Home Secretary. If not, I can inform you that she’s Suella. She was actually christened Sue-Ellen – yep, after the character from Dallas.

      * Even though Coffey has a French name, she can’t really be French because, as the diet book has it, French women don’t get fat – although, unfortunately for them, as Julie Burchill reminds us, their husbands still **** about anyway. (Let’s see if I can slip that joke past the mods this time.) Like your scribe, she also has a PhD in chemistry, which, before going into politics, enabled her to get a senior position at Mars UK – chief product taster, most likely.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Highlander, and for your kind words or word. A satisfied customer – that doesn’t happen every day.* I generally try not to be fattist, but when Coffey was made Health Secretary by Liz Truss, I thought: the Tories really are just trolling the electorate now. What next? Damian Green as Minister for Online Safety? Fortunately, it was only for 50 days, so all she managed to do was openly admit to illegal prescription drug dealing.

          * In these dark times, I probably should attempt more sub-(pre-woke)-Frankie-Boyle-esque jokey comments on here, rather than getting into intractable arguments with Bayard about .22 short or 5.45×39 mil ammo or whatever. We’ll see how it goes.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Squeeth, and for the advice. I can’t stick to .303 as I don’t currently have a firearms licence, and that’s also not a calibre generally favoured by the local riff-raff in the some of the less touristy parts of Leeds where I used to live. Anyway, .223 Rem is more than enough for me, as I found out during my brief sojourn in fly-over Amerikkka. Don’t panic – as a legal alien, I was being supervised at all times on the rifle range.

          • Squeeth

            See Breaker Morant

            Harry Morant: Like this? Well, no sir, it wasn’t quite like this. No-no. No, sir, it wasn’t quite so handsome. And as for rules, we didn’t carry military manuals around with us. We were out on the veldt, fighting the Boer the way he fought us. I’ll tell you what rule we applied, sir. We applied Rule 3-0-3. We caught them and we shot them under Rule 3-0-3!

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks again for your reply Squeeth. Not seen Breaker Morant – I’ll put it on the list. Staying with film, Happy Birthday to Sir Michael Caine, who’s 90 today – as is Quincy Jones. Apparently, not only were they born on the same day, but in the same hour, which they discovered whilst working together on The Italian Job.

      • DGP

        As always your pithy tersity (yes I know- but I like it) is an improbable mixture of the esoteric merged with banal erudition.
        I am not very surprised to hear that Ms Bravermen’s parents were so inspired by the ground breaking psychological TV drama production- “Dallas” about a group of in-breeding teuchters from the deeper recesses of Moray in the north-east of Scotland.
        I have an interesting story about Dallas (about cats and certain celebs) but I hesitate in the face of your diacritique, but to please you I could add a circumflex over the second a in Dallas to give it a hint of garlic scented Gallicness.

        More Gallic revelations re Ms Coffey. In my defence, I am pretty sure I have heard the name Teresa and not Therese (with or without its acute and graves) used freely on the madia to denote her and her farmyard qualities (possibly a slighting reference to her bovine appearance). Your joke about ‘the French’ is remarkable only for its inoffensive nature so I’m sure no self-respecting mod would be spurred into censorship by such a mild stereotypical rebuke.
        On a more serious note – I chucked out the suggestion of providing free safe passage to refugees/asylum seekers to spark comment but having given it a little thought I actually think it may be a better plan than the utter inhumane shambles unfolding at the moment.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply, DGP.

          Re: ‘As always your pithy tersity (yes I know- but I like it) is an improbable mixture of the esoteric merged with banal erudition.’

          I think that’s a compliment. If so, thanks.

          Never been to Dallas, Moray – or Dallas, Texas for that matter – but I did used to quite like Dallas Dhu whisky back in the day – only drink neat spirits on special occasions now. Not sure if they still make it. I don’t watch much politics stuff on the telly-box these days but, from what I have seen, since, without an autocue, half of the political correspondents on Beeb News, Sky etc don’t appear to be able to get through a sentence without looking down at their notes or tablet, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most of them do think she’s called Teresa rather than Therese. I’m not sure that my (or rather Julie’s) joke is completely inoffensive, but thanks for the support – and thanks to the mods for letting it through as well.

          I doubt whether Rishi’s plan will stop the boats as I’d imagine most people who are prepared to risk their lives on them will be fairly happy to disappear into the black/grey economy, chopping up vegetables for around £5 an hour or whatever and sleeping in a cupboard, without needing any recourse to the asylum system. This is probably why, despite astronomical rents, a curry in King’s Cross only costs a bit more than one in some fly-blown West Yorkshire backwater – though to be fair, half of the latter places are really just fronts for light & dark dealing profits* and thus not particularly concerned about being competitive on price.

          Love to the family.

          * Speaking of which, I don’t imagine you’ll have come across this recent bonkers story from the Bradford Telegraph & Argus. Why would anyone who’s at that level leave 30 kegs of (probably) uncut smack and a hundred grand in cash in some smackhead’s flat so he can help pay off a drugs debt? Surely, nine times out of ten, he’s just going to do a runner with the lot. Must be special needs the pair of them. When they get out, I’ll have to try and track them down and see if they’re interested in buying a golden bridge in San Francisco.


          • DGP

            Hi Laag. I think (i.e. not sure) that the distillery was no longer producing but some barrels were stored which provided a source for bottling. Again, I ‘think’ the distillery was reinvented as a museum, or it may have been revived for distilling due to the upsurge in distilling activity in recent times.
            I had some connections to the area a long time ago so my information may be out of date or wrong.

            The connection was that I was sent to the area to investigate the genetic identity of a “very large black cat/Puma” that had been shot by a local farmer. My visit coincided with Ian Botham passing nearby on one of his charity walks. There was a huge posse of reporters/tv crews monitoring his every move but he was abandoned by these intrepid seekers after truth when word leaked out about the unveiling of the beast. They all turned their attention to the event at the farmyard. A host of reporters all stood around in the sharny dubs mostly wearing their delicate footwear. Some lady members of the press even attended in their high heel Gucci’s. There was a distinct tension and air of expectation as the farmer went to retrieve the enormous feline from an outhouse. Dumping it in front of me, I very quickly determined that the poor dead feline was a black feral moggy/ wild cat cross. There was a considerable sense of anti-climax so, not to be deterred, the TV crew summoned up a long stuffed cat mounted on a board. That was placed as a backdrop for my interview where I broke the news that there was nothing exotic about the dead animal. (The countryside by then was full of feral cats and these sometimes interbred with native wildcats in some more remote areas).
            There was an unexpected bonus – a few weeks later I received a cheque for 250 pounds for my appearance on ITV News, which had been edited to about 7 seconds so I only ever heard from others that they had seen me on the box. I never saw it myself.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply DGP. Yes, according to Wiki, the Dallas Dhu distillery appears to have closed in 1983 and is now a museum – so they must have been old bottles I was sampling: one of my former housemates was into rare whiskies, obstensively for collection, but he ended up getting pissed a lot and then opening them and sharing them about.

            Interesting story about the former ‘Beast of Moray’ – I’m sure you can guess who the current one is. I think that conservationists are quite worried that, due to cross-breeding with feral domestic cats, there may soon no longer be any purebred Scottish wildcats left. It’s probably not the end of the world though.

            Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

    • Stevie Boy

      Illegal immigration is apparently insignificant when compared with legal immigration: 30,000 Vs 500,000 annually. The real question is how can ‘we’ afford such huge numbers coming into the country without any associated infrastructure updates, ie. Doctors, hospitals, housing. And, how can we with all our current problems afford the £10 million per day to just accommodate the illegals who make it here ? We have now had three pakistani/Indians (Patel, braverman, sunak) telling us they would sort out this mess – they are all liars !
      Regardless of the ethics we cannot afford this mess and yes it has all happened on the Tories’ watch, but Labour would be no better, maybe worse. So argue all you want but if your solution doesn’t cover the costs then it’s just more hot air.

      • MrShigemitsu

        The U.K. govt is not financially constrained, but resource constrained.

        The U.K. needs better real resources to provide the services you mention, and that deliberate scarcity due to continued austerity creates intense competition at the lower margins – hence the opposition amongst certain sections of the population, who are also competing for those scarce resources, against immigrants.

        Of course improving the supply of real resources is part of the solution, and immigrants could contribute to that if they were permitted to work, but this would also require significant govt funding – something the main parties are all now ideologically opposed to.

        The blame for all of this lies in decades of neoliberal austerity at home and neoconservative wars and exploitation abroad.

        There was a tiny window of opportunity a few years ago to vote for a govt that opposed both, but that was missed and the chance has now gone.

        Expectations for any improvement, at least in the short and medium term, if not forever, are best abandoned.

        • Jenny

          And if the numbers coming in were 50 million, you’d still say it’s fine – “we just need the system to change”. Pathetic! We didn’t have our own people – including children! – going into hiding for fear of their lives in the past or films being banned up and down the country “for the safety of our staff and customers”.

    • John Main

      Not everybody accepts that there are many refugees on these boats.

      Not everybody accepts that France is a despotic hell hole that must be escaped from.

      Two awkward facts that rarely get debated.

  • Alan Watson

    The FOIA request by Jonathan Schofield has now received a – rather unhelpful – reply indicating that the Judicial Training College lies outside the Act:

    “Statutory responsibility for the provision and content of training for the judiciary, including magistrates, rests with the Lord Chief Justice, the Senior President of Tribunals, and the Chief Coroner, under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and Coroners and Justice Act 2009 respectively. Training responsibilities are exercised through the Judicial College.

    Judicial training content and materials are provided by and for the judiciary. The judiciary
    and Judicial College are not public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of
    Information Act (they are not listed under Schedule 1 of the Act) and requests concerning
    training materials and the content of training for the judiciary are therefore outside the
    scope of the Act.”

    No information is offered in relation to any communication between the Government and the Judicial College (which should be covered by the Act). It appears that a further, more specific and carefully worded, request will be required. There will no doubt be another long delay as “promptly”, which is required by the Act, seems almost invariably to be interpreted as being at least as long as the statutory maximum period for response…

    • steph

      Agreed. I’m no legal expert and I don’t know what motivated Judge Reid’s seeming change of tack since 2019, but I’d hazard a guess it has something to do with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, which explicitly abolishes the common law offence of public nuisance (see section 78. subsection 6) and codifies a new statutory offence of public nuisance. Whether there is explicit guidance from the government to the judiciary on how to apply the law remains to be seen, but I for one would be most interested to see it, as the law as it’s written would seem to allow a defence of “reasonable excuse”. (viz: “It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1) to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for the act or omission mentioned in paragraph (a) of that subsection.”)

      That Judge Reid has seemingly taken it upon himself to decide what constitutes “reasonable excuse” strikes me as an abuse of the judicial process – as many in the legal profession have pointed out. It is of course for the jury to decide what is “reasonable”, having heard the evidence put forward by the defence. Yet this judge has denied them that right, and so the right to a fair trial.

      Whether or not this makes Judge Reid a fascist, what has happened in these court cases bears the hallmarks of fascism and makes a mockery of the oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. It has the fingers of the government all over it; instead of dealing with a problem (and there is no greater problem than the climate and ecological emergency) it seeks to silence those who dare to raise their voices in the only way that seems commensurate with the problem.

  • Roger

    Craig Murray’s account of the Belgrano sinking is nonsense.
    1. A “peaceful solution” (different from complete surrender) was impossible after Argentina captured the islands by military force.
    2. The Belgrano’s mission was to attack British ships in the task force. Its precise path during tactical manoeuvring is irrelevant.
    3. Argentine Navy sources after the war regarded the Belgrano sinking as a normal part of war.

    When you enter a war in any armed vehicle, with a mission to attack somebody, you accept the risk of being attacked.
    “In 2003, the ship’s captain Hector Bonzo confirmed that General Belgrano had actually been manoeuvering, not “sailing away” from the exclusion zone.[28] Captain Bonzo stated that any suggestion that HMS Conqueror’s actions were a “betrayal” was utterly wrong; rather, the submarine carried out its duties according to the accepted rules of war.[29] In an interview two years before his death in 2009, he further stated that: “It was absolutely not a war crime….” (Wikipedia; see the wikipedia article for references.)

    • GratedApe

      If a negotiated withdrawal was impossible, why did the UK keep offering peace terms after that?

      Thatcher said the ‘main motive’ for authorising the sinking has been to protect the boys in our Navy. But in the war after it there were hundreds of casualties.

      The communicated addition to the exclusion zone rules had referred to “approach”. That can’t have just meant approach to manoeuvre near the exclusion zone, because that would be the same as just expanding the exclusion zone.

      • Pears Morgaine

        There’s a widespread misunderstanding about the Total Exclusion Zone (TEZ) declared by the British on 30th April. Inside the zone ANY ship or aircraft was liable to be attacked without warning, the Soviets took that seriously enough to withdraw the two submarines they’d sent to spy on proceedings to a safe distance. That did not mean that any enemy, ie Argentinian, ship or aircraft outside the zone was safe from attack.

        It’s also not true that the Belgrano was heading for home nor that it posed no threat to the Task Force. In 1994 the Argentine Navy admitted that they’d tried to stage a pincer attack on the British with, as Craig’s chart shows, the Argentine carrier ’25th of May’ approaching from the north and the Belgrano group, which included two Exocet armed destroyers, staging a feint from the south. However the wind was too light for the carrier to fly off any aircraft so both groups withdrew for the night with the intention of trying again at dawn the next day. It was at this time that the Belgrano was sunk. The idea that the British did it deliberately solely to provoke a shooting war is farcical.

    • terence callachan

      Don’t be stupid Roger, how old are you ? I lived through this debacle as an adult. Anyone at that time could see clearly that the Belgrano an ancient old ship was incapable of attacking British ships. It had 300 infantry on board.

      • Stevie Boy

        Thatcher had two choices: diplomacy or war. She chose war to ensure she could hold onto power, without war she would have been removed as her government was in trouble. It was a political choice, with all the dead sacrificed to enable her to cling on as PM. The heights that politicians careers achieve is proportional to the pile of bodies they stand astride.

    • yesindyref2

      Thatcher was hated in Scotland, largely justifiably. Where I live on the Clyde she destroyed industry, and for instance Scott Lithgow was going to be the “flagship” of Trafalgar House but instead was rapidly asset-stripped.

      That coloured and still does, accounts of the Falklands War which was very unpopular mostly in Scotland. What that means is that sinking the Belgrano was and is still, seen to be a disgrace, a war crime even, but what people don’t think of is that the Belgrano and destroyers, a carrier and destroyers armed with the Exocet, and land-based bombers with air to air refuelling tankers, were going to target the two carriers – Hermes and Invincible I think. THAT was not just air cover for the fleet, and landing craft to come, and troops once landed, but supplied helicopters for anti-submarine work.

      Even without later disclosures I was of the strong opinion that it was very touch and go in the Falklands. Had the carriers been sunk, the whole fleet could just have been sunk as well, unless there was time to surrender (there wouldn’t have been time to withdraw).

      And the innocent Belgrano had 18 6 inch guns capable of firing massive armour piercing shells 15 miles – that’s about Ardrossan to Brodick, ex US Navy light cruiser of a type used in the 2nd World War. Plenty of room for plenty of shells.

      The Conqueror from memory had to wait hours before being given firing permission, and considering the speeds and concealment problems, had scant hours left to fire the torpedoes which sank the Belgrano.

      The British would be very reluctant to admit the vulnerability of that task force; it was incredibly vulnerable to attack and even total destruction, including troops, and including our very own Keith Brown.

      • Lapsed Agnostic

        In spite of what the OP states, the Falklands War didn’t catapult Thatcher to extreme popularity in the rest of the UK either, YIR2: the Tories’ share of the vote actually went down from 43.9% in the 1979 general election to 42.4% in the 1983 one, even though the economy had begun to grow again. What enabled them to increase their majority substantially was the SDP splitting the Labour vote. So our host should be blaming Shirley Williams & co for a decade of Thatcherism. Much of British heavy industry was already on the way out long before 1983 though – it just wasn’t competitive.

      • Squeeth

        I was there too and thought that the Navy jumped at the chance to scotch John Nott’s “defence” review by going to war down south. As I remember it, Thatchler’s popularity was already increasing before the War of the Comb.

      • GratedApe

        There seem to be different claims about the risk of losing sight of the Belgrano – whether US satellites or Peruvian intercepts were keeping them informed in time. Meanwhile the news was reporting Peru President saying both sides are about to sign a seven-point ceasefire.

        I don’t understand why the Junta sailed their ships out there without sonar if they knew the Brits had several modern subs there and if they did interpret ‘approach’ to include planned approaches.

    • Highlander

      Interestingly, to get world opinion back on side, they had Welsh soldiers stay on a ship, in full view of the enemy, and the French Exocet massles so they could be maimed, burnt alive, and killed…. by “order” of Thatchers PR gurus. Over ruling the military commanding officers in the field, on these ships!
      Aye….. ignorance is bliss so they say or is it just the facts?
      I care about the inhumanity, of my humanity to my fellow man, not my political bigotry, nor my systemic educated bias, try it.

  • Squeeth

    The last time I saw anything about trial by jury was forty years ago, about 4% of trials were heard by juries, the rest were determined administratively via plea bargains. A couple (?) of years ago, the Tories (officials) made opting for a jury punishable if the defendant was still convicted, which looks like double-jeopardy before the fact.

  • Crispa

    I remember reading about this case and thinking it an arbitrary judgment since the reasons for the protest would seem to me to be a matter of fact without which a fair trial could not be heard. The link to the Dorset Eye suggests there is much more to it concerning the actions of the CPS in bringing the prosecutions in the first place, which certainly could be politically motivated, though this does not explain the bizarre actions of Judge Reid.
    The article ends with: “In the eight previous Insulate Britain jury trials for public nuisance charges, two trials so far have resulted in acquittals, four have resulted in a guilty verdict and two have been deferred. The first Insulate Britain jury trial was deferred until June 2023 after Judge Reid dismissed the jury and asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether proceeding with the trial was in the public interest.
    The Crown Prosecution Service has chosen to summon a total of 56 supporters to answer at least 201 charges of Public Nuisance across at least 51 jury trials the last of which is scheduled to begin on 4th December 2023. These trials are planned to be heard across Inner London, Hove, Lewes and Reading Crown Courts and we estimate will take up around 1428 hours of court time”.
    Not sure about fascism here, but it does seem that the justice system has got its knickers in something of a twist.

  • Clark

    Hello Craig, I hope you are well. Thanks for posting about this. Sorry I haven’t commented for so long; I’ve been immensely busy and had operating system problems. I shall now read your article…

    • Clark

      Sorry, I should clarify. Brian, to whom I refer above, is a friend of mine who was in the navy at the time of the Falklands war. Brian wasn’t assigned to the Task Force, but his best friend was, and was killed.

  • Clark

    Craig wrote:

    “I do not know whether Judge Reid’s vicious approach is personal or part of a state backlash to protest, particularly over climate change. Jonathon Schofield had asked the Ministry of Justice under a Freedom of Information request whether there has been an instruction to judges. His simple FOIA request has not been answered and is now past the deadline.”

    It seems that the FOIA request was answered today:


    It also seems that it was not personal. From Schofield’s original FOIA request:

    “In December 2019, when trying three Extinction Rebellion protestors who had glued themselves to a DLR train, Judge Silas Reid was reported as praising their “purest of motives” for a “noble cause”. It is my understanding that the accused were allowed to mention in court why they had taken the action they had as part of their defence.

    – The same Judge Reid is reported in January 2023 as having barred Insulate Britain protestors from making any reference to climate, insulation or fuel poverty in defence of their protest.”

    • Clark

      From Crispa’s comment above (19:47), the quote from the Dorset Eye:

      “The first Insulate Britain jury trial was deferred until June 2023 after Judge Reid dismissed the jury and asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether proceeding with the trial was in the public interest.”

      So I think Silas Reid is not a fascist; something else is going on, and it would be interesting to find out what.

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      “– “In December 2019, when trying three Extinction Rebellion protestors who had glued themselves to a DLR train, Judge Silas Reid was reported as praising their “purest of motives” for a “noble cause”. It is my understanding that the accused were allowed to mention in court why they had taken the action they had as part of their defence.

      – The same Judge Reid is reported in January 2023 as having barred Insulate Britain protestors from making any reference to climate, insulation or fuel poverty in defence of their protest.”
      Extinction Rebellion are managed opposition.

      • Clark

        “Extinction Rebellion are managed opposition.”

        (rolls eyes) So what if they are? Don’t oppose?

        Odd, how conspiracy theory seems to serve the establishment. If you attend Extinction Rebellion meetings you’ll learn how to organise with other people, how to oppose non-violently, you’ll learn your legal rights. You’ll learn how to be a right pain in the arse to the establishment, how to create publicity, how to exert economic pressure, and you’ll meet loads of others who’ll do so with you. So sit at your keyboard and disparage those who take action instead.

        • joel

          “a right pain in the arse to the establishment”

          Really? Their silence on the US blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines has been absolutely deafening. That world-historic attack released untold quantities of the top greenhouse gas — methane — into the sea and atmosphere. One of the greatest acts of environmental terrorism in all history. I am not singling out Extinction Rebellion however. There has been a uniform silence from all the familiar loudmouth environmental so-called activists. It has all been extremely clarifying for anyone with eyes to see.

          • Bramble

            Not standing with the Ukraine has become a highly dangerous position for those trying to oppose the Establishment. How support for a blatantly fascist state led by an openly Nazi (in the historical sense) cabal which tricked people into electing them by promising peace escapes me. But there you are, today we parade our anti Nazi credentials by supporting Nazi policies at home and abroad and attacking those who point this out.

          • joel

            Bramble, indeed, but I have become sceptical of suggestions these people do oppose the establishment. Look at the Geen Party this weekend for example, the most radical fringe of mainstream politics. Its members (not just the party elite) voted to abandon opposition to Nato, an organisation which stockpiles nuclear weapons and has a foul history of degenerate violence.

            Witness too the eco warriors’ silence on the giant toxic explosion in Ohio recently. Taking their cue from the Biden administration and xorporate Democratic party and MSM.

          • Clark

            Joel, it’s up to you; you can get involved and thereby help influence the direction of the movement, or you can sit and disparage from the comfort of your keyboard.

            Do, please, get involved; I’m working overtime showing the environmentalists how their objectives converge with those of the peace movement. We live in an environment steeped in propaganda; it pervades our language and thoughts, none of us are free of its influence. We cannot expect others to understand the same things as ourselves; we have to meet, connect and educate each other. For instance, if you think that the Nordstream methane release was globally significant, I have some very bad news for you. Far worse is Europe’s return to coal, and the vast leakage from US and Qatari LNG transported by ocean tankers, to make up for gas piped from Russia. The war in Ukraine is producing an emissions disaster, but considering the propaganda you can’t expect environmentalists to understand that NATO provoked it; you have to get in there and show them.

          • joel

            I am not naive, they understand it very well. They understand it and are showing very clearly where they stand. At core. One more pro-establishment, western chauvinist cadre. Whether you choose to accept that or not is up to you.

          • Clark

            Joel, who is this “they” you refer to? I talk to lots of people, environmental activists and otherwise, and I’m telling you; quite a few understand the constant NATO push for war, but more don’t.

            You’ll achieve nothing by griping about others and acting all superior. Really, you’re not making much sense. Are you saying that Green members understand, but voted pro-NATO out of spite or bloody mindedness?

  • Ruth

    Anybody expecting judges to defend liberties is likely to be sorely disappointed.’ Anyone expecting judges to be just/honest in the face of cases involving state crime is very likely to be extremely disappointed.

  • Aden

    principle of the mixed economy.

    So how much debt has the socialist welfare state racked up? That’s the major part of your mixed economy.

    Ah yes, off the books. The biggest accounting fraud ever, dwarfing Enron, and Maddoff. £14,000 bn owed. £600,000 per tax payer. Annual rate of increase, 10%. Another £60,000 for each tax payer to bear.

    30% of taxes now goes on the pensions and the borrowing. Borrowing run again by the public sector side of the mixed economy.

    So Craig, how are you going to pay your fair share of those debts?

    PS. The judges won’t deal with the fraudsters

    • terence callachan

      Aden, read something about the subject before you do this. Every government has debt, and the debt is to itself because it prints the actual money used in the transactions that build the debt. Governments never ever clear debt; they simply increase or lower taxation to control it.

    • Highlander

      Rose tinted glasses and political bias isn’t a recipe for factual debate.
      A mixed economy came about because those that fought two world wars wasnt going to allow the establishment full reigns on the levers of power.
      Slavery was to be a thing of the past, homes fit to live in, free medical treatment for all at the point of need etc, racism, bigotry, ignorance, greed and selfishness were the tools of the establishment to reinstate economic slavery, in England, using English voting patterns.
      The last, legacy, from your grandparents…. the NHS…… is about to be transferred to private ownership, by one signature on a piece of paper signed by the minister of health. Ooh yes, legislation was passed, to allow that minister to transfer that….. Tory…. cash cow!
      But as you can take pride in your thinking, as you watch, the YouTube videos, as one can in America….. police arresting patients, thrown out of hospitals, instead of receiving medical treatment. Dying in cells or sidewalks or at bus stops for the inhumanity you expose in your argument.
      Have a nice day.

    • Highlander

      90% of the governments social security budget is paid to OA pensions.
      Why….. self regulation, all these victims lost there OA pensions because of self regulation of the pension industries, by Tory governments deregulation of the pension industries.
      But you’ll be glad to know, the coffers of the establishment members and oligarchs….. grew!

    • np

      Aden – do you have any money in your pocket? If so, it’s part of the so-called “national debt”. The government’s liability is your asset!

      That’s true of the whole amount – all of the ”national debt” is owned by somebody and forms part of their wealth (except the large amount which is owed by the government to itself, which politicians and the corrupt British media never mention!).

      However it isn’t as visible because it’s mostly in the form of (interest-bearing) IOUs known as bonds rather than (non-interest-bearing) IOUs known as cash.

      But you’re right about our “socialist welfare state”. Labour and Tory governments have given billions and billions of pounds to the biggest welfare recipients – the crooked banks and bankers, suppliers of PPE, pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms and American arms manufacturers. What can we do to stop this?

  • Jeremy Dawson

    Re “perverse verdicts”, or “sympathy acquittals”:
    In R v Wang ([2005] UKHL 9) https://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/2005/9.html
    paras 15-16 the court seems to view favourably the acquittals of such as
    “Ponting, Randle and Pottle”

    This case is getting towards 20 years old, I’d appreciate any pointers to anything more recent.

    Obviously, if the jury can acquit on grounds of its own choosing, then it must be allowed to hear information on the possible such grounds. So I’d also be interested to know whether there are any precedents about a judge forbidding parties from arguing their case in the way they choose.

    Finally, let me quote on “perverse verdicts”:

    Time and again, when judges and law officers, mounted on high horses,
    have been riding at breakneck speed towards some convenient despotism,
    those shadowy figures – not particularly good nor especially true –
    have risen from the bushes beside the highway and flung a gate across
    their path. They are known to historians as the Gang of Twelve.”
    — E.P. Thompson, “The State versus its ‘Enemies’ (1980), 107

    • Jimmeh

      > Obviously, if the jury can acquit on grounds of its own choosing, then it must be allowed to hear information on the possible such grounds.

      False premise; juries are required to judge a case on the evidence presented to the court. And the judge’s main function is to enforce rules of evidence in the conduct of a trial. The jury doesn’t conduct an inquisition, in which it can choose what evidence to hear.

      The appearance that juries can convict or acquit on grounds of their own choosing is an illusion, resulting from the fact that what happens in the jury room is secret. Runaway juries are however illegal.

  • Peter Hall

    I have never expected any part of the establishment work for any other thing than the establishment.
    As a famous song writer wrote it: I and I no expect to be justified, by the laws of men.

  • JuryPower

    Isn’t it true that the entire British system of governance is built upon common law, where the jury is the very foundation of democracy and freedom? For the system to have any legitimacy, everyone must be judged by a jury of their peers. The additional little known aspect that appears utterly astounding, is seemingly where a jury can not only judge the guilt of anyone standing trial, but can also judge the law that brought them to trial and decide to nullify that law if they deem it unfair. You can see why the establishment would keep quiet about that part, and use terms like ‘perverse verdict’ to describe such a verdict, or just try and pervert the course of justice and undermine their own legitimacy by not allowing a jury to hear the accused’s side.

    • terence callachan

      Of course it is JuryPower … for a judge to deny a person the right to say why they did what they did is unjust; it’s as simple as that. Yes, you can make a law that says a judge can do it but it doesn’t change the fact that it is unjust.
      What we have here is a discretionary power being used to an extreme level for political reasons. It’s proof that judges are directed by government, they might blow their cheeks out and say they are independent thinkers and decision makers, but their actions prove they are not.
      Craig is right: you cannot trust them.
      It’s nothing new. It’s just that these climate change protesters are in the news.
      Many others have been treated this way but didn’t make it to the front page of the newspapers.

      • JuryPower

        Yes, whilst they may exercise such tyrannical control in practice, it simply proves, by their own constitutional rules, that their system of governance has clearly broken those rules, becoming corrupted, and is therefore not a legitimate system of government. The role of the ‘judge’ within the judicial framework, is only supposed to be as a convener, to convene a trial with a jury of the accused’s peers and to advise on matters of law. The legislature, judiciary and executive can’t legitimately collude and make up laws that undermine their own constitution and the sovereign rights of free citizens. But because they appear to do this in practice, I guess its all ample evidence that Scotland should legally use as clear justification for establishing an alternative government that does uphold the law and our constitutional rights. People clearly came before a system of government that was established to serve them. If it can’t do that then it needs to be replaced. Its the duty of free people to replace it.

        • John Cleary

          Unfortunately the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy without a constitution*.

          What does that get you?

          Anyway, the judges are quite clear in what they are doing:

          When judges are sworn in they take two oaths/affirmations. The first is the oath of allegiance and the second the judicial oath; these are collectively referred to as the judicial oath.
          Oath of allegiance
          “I, _________ , do swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles the Third, his heirs and successors, according to law.”
          Judicial oath
          “I, _________ , do swear by Almighty God that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign King Charles the Third in the office of ________ , and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.”


          Notice that the judges serve their “sovereign King Charles the Third”. The sovereign determines what is the public interest in any matter, by definition. Just because it is called “public interest” (eg public interest immunity certificates) it does not mean in the interests of the public as commonly understood.

          If you don’t like what the judges are doing then take it up with Charles. Preferably before he swears publicly to uphold “law and justice in mercy”** at his Coronation

          * The precursor to the “International rules-based system” that has no rules. Funny how that works.

          ** Does not apply to Julian Assange

          • JuryPower

            The constitution is based on common law which even predates the magna carta. I’m quoting what the common law link in my first post has to say on the Monarchy

            “In a Democratic Common Law-based governing system, the Head of State is the most senior public servant in the land and they have many important functions – but one of these is more important than any other.

            Before stating what it is, we need to understand that all legislation that is proposed in the legislature (Parliament) in the form of Bills has to come before the Monarch to be ratified.

            This mechanism is called Royal Assent in Britain. Importantly, however, the Monarch has the power to refuse that assent to a Bill of parliament, meaning they can block it. When people first hear about this, they often feel edgy and irritated, because they feel that this would be blocking the will of our ‘representatives’. But it is meant to be there as a protection mechanism. Think about it…

            The Monarch’s most important role is to prevent the formation of legislation that infringes on the rights and liberties of the people and on the constitution.

            It is to prevent too much power coming from politicians! Given that most people rightly don’t trust politicians – maybe this is a good thing!

            Now the powers-that-be will claim – as in fact they do on the parliament website – that, whilst the King or Queen has the power to refuse assent, they wouldn’t do this because it is now regarded as a mere formality. Decided by who exactly?

            Parliament cannot write itself into constitutional authority

            Remember, that this is how the constitution was set-up to work. They are disregarding it and are getting away with it. Why? Because we, the people, aren’t owning the constitution and defending it. We haven’t cared enough!”

            Even if the King ratifies the law, any jury legitimately has the final say on the law. Even if the accused is clearly guilty of breaking it, the jury can instead decide, based on their conscience, whether the particular law broken is a just law and the defendant is guilty, OR WHETHER THE LAW IS UNJUST AND SHOULD BE NULLIFIED. We all at least better understand how this system should work, as the reference for gathering evidence and bringing the existing office holders to account. None of them are above the law, otherwise they are outlaws and should be treated as such.

          • Highlander

            Very interesting, thank you.
            I quote …When people first hear about this, they often feel edgy and irritated, because they feel that this would be blocking the will of our ‘representatives’. But it is meant to be there as a protection mechanism. Think about it…

            But one little fact……Princess Diana did say he was going to murder her in a car….. even Shalor of MI6 fame, agreed, they used the same plan that was going to be used for murder of Serbian “Milošević” even giving the plan number.

            I am very dubious about giving absolute power to one individual with a proven and very limited intellectual abilities. His child-like actions over a pen a point in question. I could go on, but this family has no honour, it’s amoral, and degenerates; just ask Andrew – I bet he misses that sixty million!
            Of course there is his family’s inbreeding, and ancestors have proven the simpletons this family extrudes.
            But the family’s murder of brothers, wives and simpletons a family trait, one only needs to ask the Duke of Argyle! Some of them are survivors after crawling back into the house after being thrown off a cliff!
            Aye, these international rules based order…… first regurgitated by
            Lord Salisbury and Earl of Elgin ancestors while demanding the right to sell and market heroin to .Chinese addicts.
            I suppose homemade addicts are easier to create today, as we have no parents able to stand up for their own children!
            A sixty year war on drugs….. do I need to say, it doesn’t work? But then too many people – judges, Police officers, solicitors, accountants – are becoming wealthy. Why destroy the golden goose…..when parasites are murdering your children?

            MMMmmmmm…. sorry, RANT over!

          • John Cleary


            You keep on about a “constitution”. Where is it? Can you show it to me?

            If you say there is a constitution, why is it not written down? I have a copy of the Irish Constitution, so I know what is and is not there. Why not with the UK?

            If something is not written, then how can persons agree what is in there and what is not.

            Before you use that word again, show me where I can find it DEFINITIVELY.

            After many years of searching I have concluded that IF all of the elements of the “British Constitution” were brought together for the people to read and understand, then the entirety of the ruling establishment would hang from lampposts by the morning after.


            She did indeed declare that “My husband is planning ‘an accident’ in my car – brake failure and serious head injury”. She also told us the reason why – “in order to clear the path for him to marry…”

            Then the path was indeed cleared. And now, despite the clear precedent from 1936 that divorcees are barred by God from ascending the throne, he gets his way.

            WHEN, exactly did God change His mind?

            That is a serious question. The British monarchy looks to God alone for their right to rule. There is no statutory basis for the British monarchy. The Windsors rule in the name of the Christian God.

            What a sick mess we are in!

    • Jimmeh

      > a jury can not only judge the guilt of anyone standing trial, but can also judge the law that brought them to trial and decide to nullify that law if they deem it unfair.

      That’s not true. Juries can’t judge or change the law. They are required to judge a case on the evidence placed before them, and *only that evidence*, in the context of the law as explained to them by the court. How they proceed to make that evaluation is opaque; we can speculate that sometimes a jury decides in the secrecy of the jury room that they will break the law; so the decision that a jury has returned a “perverse verdict” can never be based on evidence.

      • JuryPower

        It is true. Its known as ‘annulment by jury’ (or jury nullification). I know it may seem surprising and even hard to believe at first, though is quite a profound revelation and genius system of checks and balances when you consider the implications. Alas, the establishment have done a good job of mis-educating the masses and obfuscating such knowledge (even from those who should know better)

        There are many case examples. Heres just a couple


        • Jimmeh

          Can’t be bothered with random Youtube videos. The ukcolumn.org link, despite the domain name, is about a judicial ruling from a US court.
          Juries in the UK are required to judge the case on the evidence presented in court, in accordance with the law as explained to them by the court. UK juries aren’t allowed to work out for themselves what the law is; they are not lawyers.
          UK jurors aren’t allowed to discuss cases outside the jury room; so there’s no way to know whether jury nullification has actually occurred. There is no such rule in the US, and jurors commonly talk to reporters outside the courtroom.
          Consequently, if a jury finds the accused Not Guilty, we have to conclude that they took the view that the accused did not commit the offence of which they were accused, however outlandish that conclusion might seem.
          The Ponting case is the preeminent example of presumed jury nullification in the UK.

  • Mac

    “As the UK continues with the harsh slide towards authoritarianism, it doesn’t need new judges, however far it moves toward fascism.”

    I have always known this… and they don’t need new police either.

  • Kit Bee

    Excuse my ignorance but I think this has a lot to do with the jury that acquitted those who tore down a statue in Bristol?? Obviously Juries cannot now be trusted by our ruling class to produce the ‘right’ outcomes.

    • iain

      That may very well have been the motivating case in England. I remember its outcome infuriated powerful forces of reaction who are used to getting their own way in everything.

      In Scotland however demonisation of juries is attributable solely to the acquittal of Alex Salmond for non existent sex crimes. A carefully selected, majority female jury failed badly in its duty to the Unionist establishment, wrecking a long term fit up in which a great deal was invested.

      The rage of one entity in particular following that acquittal is probably incalculable. Our host Mr Murray suffered more than anybody from her backlash.

  • Highlander

    Donnie of Pebble Mill at one, a current affaires program, clearly stated one month prior to Argentines invasion, of the islands…… that Argentine was going to invade. Intelligence services didn’t know but the man fae Skye did!
    I seem to remember that old pony….. from the Iraqi pogroms!
    This was a black op, well planned, and the racist bigots of the population of england were manipulated using the deaths of English men, and baynetted young boys, from Argintine ….to re elect thatcher, aye….. you should be proud of yourselves.
    Ooh… and if anyone is interested…. one can listen to reports of the demise of Colin H Jones…..VC…..and hear the truth! But then, one shouldn’t be one of those beating the drums of war…. or baying for blood…. young boys blood based on lies.

    • Mac

      “Donnie of Pebble Mill at one, a current affaires program, clearly stated one month prior to Argentines invasion, of the islands…… that Argentine was going to invade. Intelligence services didn’t know but the man fae Skye did!”

      Is this true? Bloody hell… Donny Macleod. That is a blast from the past. Honestly I’d never noticed he’d disappeared. But I see he died of a ‘heart attack’ in 1984. I guess that could not have been long after he broke the invasion story.

  • Willie

    The reality is that murder, mass murder by the state for whatever reason is justified. That is what the state believes.

    The Belgrano was an act of mass murder for political reasons directed and sanctioned by the state.

    Not dissimilarly nearer home the murder of individuals like NI lawyers Pat Finnucaine and Rosemary Nelson is again state sanctioned murder. It is the British way and woe betide, as the piece shows, anyone who tries to expose state sanctioned murder.

    Or Willie McRae. Another murder many believe to protect the political establishment.

    So where do people go to secure a rule of law, to ensure acceptable state behaviours. Or do we just slide down the 1930s German model and hope its someone else and not us on the receiving end.

  • Ebenezer Scroggie

    In the case of the trial of the two Libyans accused of involvement in the bombing of PA103 (Lockerbie) the Chief Prosecutor was allowed to hand-pick three (+1 spare) Judges whom he could trust to deliver him his chosen verdict.

    Other than Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s no country other than Scotland allowed the Prosecutor to choose his own Judge(s).

    If you Google “Scotland’s worst judge” you will find his name.

    The indictment had charged that the two accused “conspired together to cause the explosion ….”. The judges found Fhimah Not Guilty of conspiring with Megrahi and they found Megrahi Guilty of conspiring with Fhimah. Figure that one out!

    We abolish the jury system at our peril.

    If the judge in the Salmond case had been allowed so to do, I have no doubt that she would have convicted Salmond and sentenced him harshly. Only a jury saved him. She knew that no jury in Scotland would have found Craig Murray guilty of Contempt, so she used the getout of prosecuting him under civil law which does not allow a proper jury trial.

    I say again: We abolish the jury system at our peril.

  • Tony

    “The resultant Falklands War catapulted Margaret Thatcher from extreme unpopularity to extreme popularity on a frenzy of jingoism. It thus enabled Thatcherism and the destruction of both heavy industry in the UK and of the principle of the mixed economy.”

    But how long does the popularity from a seemingly successful war actually last?
    It did not last long for George H.W. Bush after Gulf War I and it lasted an even shorter time for Winston Churchill in 1945.

    What I think actually happened is probably this:
    The Conservative popularity reached the bottom in late 1981 and then began a slow recovery which was then boosted by the Falklands War. After the war, the ‘Falklands factor’ gradually tapered off whilst the Conservative Party recovery continued for other reasons such as the economy.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      After the Argies invaded, Tony, the Tories went from third in the opinion polls, behind the SDP/Liberal alliance and Michael Foot’s Labour, to first virtually overnight, before the Task Force had barely set off. It was a rally-round-the-chief thing. However, even after winning in the Falklands, they never attained much more than 50% in the polls, and they actually got a lower share of the vote in the 1983 General Election than in 1979. As I mentioned in an above comment, what led to them increasing their majority significantly was the SDP splitting the Labour vote.

      • Squeeth

        As usual the Thatcher regime was saved by the fascist FPTP voting system. Thatcher never had a majority or a proportion of the voters who didn’t abstain greater than in 1979. Note also that Michael Foot was adamantly opposed to the Argentine regime when it invaded the islands.

        Someone at college told me that 250,000 people packed onto Plymouth Hoe which proved that a majority supported the task force. someone asked about the 250,000 people who encircled Greenham Common and did that mean that there was a majority against nuclear weapons. Bit of a stony silence after that.

        • Pears Morgaine

          He could’ve pointed out that it was 30,000 people at Greenham Common and that they’d come from all over the world.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Squeeth. I wouldn’t say that FPTP is particularly fascist. If anything, it benefits centrist parties* as the expense of extremist ones. For instance, I’d say that the PR system in the Knesset is a big part of why Israel is currently in the state that it is.

          Enjoy the weekend.

          * I mean genuinely centrist, rather the current economically authoritarian-right / socially libertarian-left bastardisation of the term in Western Europe.

      • Tony

        Labour’s general election campaign broke all records for utter incompetence in that election.
        It was always likely that Labour would lose.
        However, there was absolutely nothing inevitable about the scale of the defeat.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Tony. In 1983, Labour lost around 50 seats. Compare that to the 178 (adjusted for boundary changes) lost by the Tories in 1997 – and they didn’t have to deal with some of their big beasts breaking away to form a rival party. Of course, if Labour had run on a more centrist manifesto in 1983, they would have been able to claw some votes back from the SDP, and won a few more seats – but almost certainly not enough to make much difference.

  • Gordon Hastie

    “Furious diplomatic efforts were underway to find a peaceful solution, led by the United States…” I remember Alexander Haig jet-lagged and talking even more gibberish than usual. Which isn’t necessarily to say the USA was an honest broker; in any case Mrs Thatcher wanted her dirty little war. Today, of course. the execrable Blinken is criticised by one of his “colleagues” for not lifting a diplomatic finger.

  • TFS

    1. Didn’t we find out recently, that the fleet was carrying nuclear weapons
    2. In relation to the juries, isn’t there a concept of Jury Nullification?

    • Leftworks

      It’s really a US term, but, yes. It’s what Craig Murray calls a “perverse verdict” above.

      “Jury nullification is the conscious and deliberate decision of a jury to acquit a defendant despite the jury’s awareness that the defendant is guilty based on the facts and on the law.” It is an extremely important part of the legal system, bringing a democratic disapproval to unjust laws or discriminatory enforcement.

      “It is the duty of the Judge to tell you as a jury what to do, but you have the power to do exactly as you like” was written by John Mortimer, but attributed to “a great Lord Chief Justice of England”. It encapsulates jury nullification very well.

  • Goodwin

    I sincerely hope that if, God forbid, you find yourself, or a loved one, in the back of an ambulance and your way is blocked by a climate protester you will remain magnanimous. Please do not pretend that you speak for the majority of ordinary, randomly selected people.

    • Stevie Boy

      I believe it was the MSM that told us all that climate protesters were blocking ambulances and maybe killing our grannies ! They never lie or exaggerate to push their agendas so it must all be true and I believe every word I’m fed. Hanging is too good for them, don’t you think ?

    • Bramble

      But presumably not blame the government(s) whose austerity policies have led to the near collapse of the NHS and the deaths of (it is calculated) some 500 people due to the lack of staff, resources and funds.

      • Stevie Boy

        500 you say ! Give them some credit, I think you’ll find the incompetent NHS have killed more than that – unless that is a daily estimate …

        • Bramble

          I give them the credit for having saved my life. And those of many other people I know. Back the government’s privatising manoeuvres if you like – I don’t.

          • frankywiggles

            He’ll also win if he backs Labour. British democracy has very quickly returned to being nirvana for neoliberals.

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