When the Secretary of State for Scotland leaked a memo during the 2015 election campaign, this isn’t how it was meant to play out.
Because it wasn’t meant to play at all.
It was supposed to get smothered at birth.
Everything was supposed to just happen to coincidentally get buried over the 2015 May bank holiday weekend when it would surely be impossible for any of the clay-footed to get any kind of act together or to even figure out what the representation of the people act was. And as to ever managing to put together anything credible that wouldn’t be laughed out of the court of session, even if someone could find five grand, it was all very unlikely to come to anything surely?
Impossible that a disorganised rabble could from the 22nd of May deliver in the 4 working days left to the petition deadline of Friday the 29th May, figure out how to challenge anything. The establishment just kept everything on the side of propriety but cynically ensured too, the near impossibility of anyone being able to actually act.
But that Friday the 22nd, post election, post safely home and dry for some, the late breaking news sent a collective shock wave through the moral backbone of the swathes of Scottish society that plant their flag firmly on the scorched scrubland that is truth.
The shock on that Friday was palpable and the focus of that shock on such a small community in the northern isles was scary. This small community with an electorate amounting to the total of a Glasgow housing scheme, would have to decide whether or not to make a stand against the invasive knotweed of deceit running rampant all over the big UK and now choking their homely planticru (a peedie garden).Usually the political action can be viewed from afar and us folks up north dont need to get terribly involved with it, but that weekend brought the nub of everything that is wrong with UK politics and the West minster establishment right to the very doors of every island home.
To do nothing would mean a cowardly compliance with the lowest common denominator of behaviours, nay acceptance that as the ill-educated, cap- doffing, peasants that seemed to be our assumed character straight jacket, indeed a bumpkin population of naive forgivers, that our betters could with ease emotionally manipulate us through reinforcement of a couthy homespun if wholly patronising caricature of country folk’s ‘decency’, and thereby would cement the emotional power of the superior over the awe-struck feudal subject yet again and with it the rot that is nailed into the polished oak panels of the Palace of Westminster
Some may be further from the tattie-howking roots of their crofting backgrounds than others, but the vein of Calvinist propriety runs deep and this is the grit that currently sustains the resolve of those who find themselves, not simply in a battle for the soul of politics but for the absolute fundamentals of human behaviour that must be recalibrated by the people because the powerful and the politicians have abdicated that responsibility in droves.
This is not ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ justice must be bought because it will not be conceded. Of the four petitioners:
Tim is a disabled man with long term health problems who exists on state benefits and shares ownership of his home with his brother. The cost of justice in our society could lose him his home.
Cary is a pensioner who has managed to save enough from her life in education to allow her a modest home and a retirement in Stromness. This she could lose.
Fiona has brought up a family in Orkney and also taught generations of children, and now earns her living as a carer and part-time guide. Her home is at stake.
Euphemia is a Glasgow University law student funding her fees and maintenance through work on ferries and pubs. She stands to lose the ability to practice as a solicitor if bankrupted by the costs of this case.
The Orkney4 all know well the risks they are taking on and for each they are equally daunting.
They were the four people who within the space of time that should not have allowed any of this to play out, were able to get the correct legal documentation validated in time to allow the legal petition to proceed. Had there been more time there could have been a great many more.
This is playing out now because from the Friday to the Monday of that weekend in May the collective support which mushroomed up through social media enabled the four to thwart the impossible but technically available deadline. The latent skills so finely honed and attuned throughout the 2014 referendum year had been sharpened and polished so that from legal eagles to graphic designers, crowd fund instigators to IT nerds the collective being that is the alternative people’s skill base of Scotland was ready at the ping of a message to drop everything to help and they did.
This will now play out in the Court of Session on the 7th and 8th of September but the uncertainties remain.
There are no guarantees but there is trust among those who are part of this honesty revolution. We can trust in our own folk.
The four are doing this for all of the people of Scotland and for all those that need honesty in this world.
The staggering success of the People v Carmichael crowd fund gave the four the confidence and the financial clout to move this forward.
Tim, Cary, Fiona and Euphemia are now at the wire. This is real. And this is urgent. To ensure they can take this process over the line some more funding is needed. All that is possible is being done by them to minimise costs, but no-one is naive enough to believe that this groundbreaking process is simple or cheap. The figures are already eyewatering and set to increase. The four may need to ask again soon for their supporters to donate once more. In return their assurance will be to honour and use wisely what is given by the near 4000 financial supporters who like them believe the right thing is being done.
The four have no option but to show their financial hand and that is that they have no big backers and no big salaries to fund this action and they must be mindful of all aspects of the realistic financial scenario that could unfold. They wanted this put to bed a long time ago and the excess money to go to foodbanks because these eye-watering sums would have gone a very long way to filling a great many empty bellies in many parts of Scotland and that still remains the hope.
But if the four cannot redress the conduct of those within our political system and expose their deceit and disdain for the people they purport to serve, there will surely be an ongoing cause for much greater hurt in our society and increased pressure on the poor and needy.
If you are still willing to help please do. The time is now and Tim, Cary, Fiona and Euphemia are as ever humbled by the support and generosity of so many of you.
The crowd fund is still open for donations now: