Sustainable Shetland has been duped by the courts and the legal profession. I am a keen supporter and no criticism is intended. Congratulations are in order for their amazing fund-raising activities, but we continue to ignore the elephant in the room.
The lofty decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session about the Viking Energy windfarm suffers from the same universal, but ill-informed presumption that accompanied the St. Ninian’s Isle Treasure case and the salmon farmers’ case. The parallels with the salmon farmers’ case are striking – get the protesting party down a narrow path, fill them with the false hope of an early victory, then clobber them with a verdict that forces them, if they want to take it further, to spend even more money that they don’t have. It is an establishment tactic that worked well in the past – why change it?
There was only one question that needed to be asked – does the court have jurisdiction (authority)?
These are the incontrovertible facts as set out in my book ‘Stolen Isles’:
1. Until 2011 the question of whether Shetland is part of Scotland had never been tested in the courts.
2. In 2011 I challenged the court’s jurisdiction on the basis that Shetland is not part of Scotland.
3. There was a hearing to decide the court’s jurisdiction.
4. In spite of the fact that the court heard no proof that Shetland is part of Scotland, the sheriff decided he had jurisdiction.
5. The sheriff’s decision was supported at appeal by four law lords.
6. In the absence of proof, the decision of the sheriff and its support by the law lords are null and void – it is as if they never existed.
7. No court has ever been shown proof that Shetland is part of Scotland.
8. Without that proof, all court decisions concerning Shetland are null and void.
The Scottish government did not have the authority to grant the Viking Energy application in the first place. Lady Clark of Calton had no authority to pronounce on the case in 2012 and Lord Gill et. al. had no authority to consider the case in 2014. In the absence of jurisdiction their decisions are null and void.
The simple question that needed to be asked, that would have stopped the case in its tracks was “What proof is there that Shetland is part of Scotland?” The facts are now in the open and there is no excuse for not asking the question.
Of course, that question could not justify the massive legal costs and would not be in the interests of the law firms to ask. Why allow a simple question to get in the way of a fat fee? However, all is not lost. In law, it is never too late to challenge a void judgement – never too late to challenge jurisdiction. The cost of doing that will be far less than going to the Supreme Court and is not a course willingly offered by the legal establishment (can’t rock the boat old boy!).
The ability of the establishment to close ranks is being ever more tested. Their nasty secrets are being revealed and they are losing their credibility. The days are numbered when they could convince us that what is best for them is best for us and that their members must be protected at all cost. It is only our blind compliance that enables it to continue.
Like Sustainable Shetland, we can continue being duped into the notion that Shetland is part of Scotland if we wish. The UK and Scotland will certainly encourage us to do so because it is in both their interests. If we want to work on fact, not ill-informed presumption, we need to wake up to the difficult fact that neither Scotland, nor the UK has any legitimate authority here. Unquestionably they exercise power, but that is backed, not by law, but by naked force. Is that what we want, or should expect?