His fingers trembled out of fear for his family, but still a Filipino scribe exiled in San Francisco sat down at his typewriter and did something we desperately need some influential voices in our small country to do right now – speak truth to power. Or rather to the powerless, for those ensconced in St Andrew’s House know the truth about what they’ve done and what they plan to do if they get another five years in power starting on May 7.
In 1976 Primitivo Mijares wrote The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos for “all the remaining democracies in the world” as “a case study on how a democratically-elected president could operate within the legal system and yet succeed in subverting that democracy in order to perpetuate himself and his wife as conjugal dictators.” Sound familiar? It should because, if you just substitute First Minister for President and switch the genders around, that is a perfect summation of what has become of Scotland in the last few years.
The Murrells are oor ain wee version of the Marcoses, presiding over a deep-fried banana fritter republic in which there has been selective prosecution of the sole scribe who dared expose the lengths to which they were prepared to go in order to crush and destroy the only threat to their autocratic rule. Mercifully, there exists another, even more defiant, dissident who cannot be so easily silenced – because he is beyond the reach of their tentacles. Were he not in Bath but in Bathgate, rest assured he would have his Wings not only clipped by now but slowly sawn off with a rusty hacksaw. In perfect accordance with the provisions of the new Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021, of course.
How can any former senior national newspaper journalist (indeed the former head of several journalism schools) spout such nonsense, I hear my auld chums still toiling in the remnants of the legacy media mutter. Especially on the eve of a completely free and fair national election in which our esteemed First Minister – just crowned ‘reine d’Ecosse’ by Le Monde no less – will readily submit herself to the judgement of the Scottish people. To which I respond: just sit down and have a long, hard think about why the ‘Queen of Scotland’ survived to stand for re-election rather than getting ignominiously turfed out of office – as she undoubtedly would have been in any healthily functioning democracy.
Begin by pondering why so many in the media frequently refer to her affectionately by her first name and you’re on the first step to an answer. But only the first step. You need to proceed a lot further and consider why her spouse got off Scot free with seeking to pressurise the police into bringing the full weight of the state down on Alex Salmond. “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting,” wrote Milan Kundera, another brave author who wrote in the shadow of a dictatorship (in his case the Soviet satellite state of Czechoslovakia). So let’s all remind ourselves of precisely what Peter Murrell, the other half of Scotland’s conjugal dictatorship, messaged on WhatsApp to his minions at SNP HQ (of which he’s the chief executive, of course):
Totally agree folk should be asking the police questions.
Report now with the [Procurator Fiscal] on charges which leaves police twiddling their thumbs.
So good time to be pressurising them. Would be good to know Met looking at events in London.
TBH the more fronts he is having to firefight on the better for all complainers. So CPS action would be a good thing.
‘He’ was Alex Salmond, the man who trustingly empowered Murrell, Sturgeon and the whole clan of goons who have given us what Alex Bell (a former SNP government adviser) rightly calls “government by gang”. CPS is the Crown Prosecution Service, the body which is responsible for bringing to court (or not) criminal cases investigated in England and Wales. It didn’t take action against Mr Salmond down south – despite what Mr Murrell thought the Metropolitan Police were digging into – because, as it signals on its website, the CPS “prosecutes independently, without bias and works to deliver justice in every case.”
Scotland’s version of the CPS is the COPFS (Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service). Peter Murrell had no worries about how it would respond after Police Scotland (which reports directly to the Justice Secretary appointed by his wife) spent almost £1 million on an investigation into Mr Salmond’s alleged conduct which lasted almost two years and had 14 officers assigned to it. He had nae need to fret because the head of the prosecution system in Scotland, James Wolffe QC, was appointed Lord Advocate by his darling Nicola. Yes, you read that correctly. Mr Wolffe is not just head of the Crown Office prosecutors but also the Sturgeon government’s legal adviser and a member of her Scottish Cabinet – unlike his predecessor. So you might now justifiably be wondering how the people under his command could possibly prosecute independently, without bias a man who had just fought – and won – a court battle against Sturgeon’s government over an internal investigation into his alleged conduct that was judged to be unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias.” A clear and serious conflict of interest, surely?
Some members of the Scottish Parliament wondered that as well and called during a subsequent Holyrood ‘Inquiry’ for the two extremely powerful positions held by Mr Wolffe to be split – as they would be in any jurisdiction with a proper separation of powers. He rejected that suggestion, telling the MSPs he was “satisfied” he could carry on in his dual role. And he could very easily do so because that parliamentary ‘inquiry’ was stuffed with pro-Sturgeon stooges. As we know after almost seven years with barely any murmur of dissent from any of them, the SNP contingent at Holyrood are a spineless brigade firmly under the control of Scotland’s ruling duumvirate.
So it would seem are much of the Scottish media, alas, especially the dominant source of news in this country, BBC Scotland. I wrote in an earlier blog about how our broadcasters – especially at Pacific Quay in Glasgow – have been treating Mr Salmond’s new breakaway party Alba almost like they treated Sinn Fein/IRA during the Troubles by starving it of the “oxygen of publicity”. It would be amazing if some of the emaciated newshounds in the Scottish press have not been similarly muzzled by the Murrells, given all the cushy numbers in the ever expanding SNP government spin machine they can dangle before their hungry eyes.
Revealingly, the strongest challenge to Sturgeon’s unlawful regime was waged not by any of the hacks up here but by two emigre editors in London, namely Andrew Neil and Fraser Nelson of the Spectator. It was this determined duo (and they alone) who took a case to the High Court in Edinburgh that compelled her deputy John Swinney to cease withholding from members of the aforementioned Holyrood inquiry access to the documentation they required to conduct their supposed investigation. That is the sort of thwarting of democratic accountability that occurs in a country where rule of law has been replaced by law of rule. Sadly, in such circumstances, it usually takes exiles or emigres to mount the most effective challenges to such rulers.
Remember that Filipino journalist (who was also at one point a propagandist for President Marcos) tapping out his words of dissent in America whilst dreading what trauma and suffering his act of rebellion might bring upon his wife and children in Manila. Here’s a segment from the foreword to his book:
While I availed of almost any excuse not to finish the manuscript of this volume, I felt the tangible voices of a muted people back home in the Philippines beckoning to me from across the vast Pacific Ocean…It was as if the Filipino multitudes and history itself were surging in an endless wave, presenting a compelling demand on me to San Francisco, California, to perpetuate the personal knowledge I have gained on the infamous machinations of Ferdinand E. Marcos and his overly ambitious wife, Imelda
Exposing the machinations of Nicola and Peter Murrell does not carry anywhere near the same terrifying penalty as that newspaperman from Manila faced for taking on the Marcoses – yet. Scotland has been placed only under medical martial law – so far. But none of us should ever be so foolish or complacent as to lightly dismiss Primitivo Mijares’ passionate warning to “all the remaining democracies of the world.”