I went however to the Jim Wallace Speech yesterday. Free CPD (lawyer's joke). The Herald asked me to blog on the event but then didn't publish it. So I'm in the huff. Here it is anyway. My first ever attempt at reportage. Eat your heart out Woodward and Bernstein.
At the Ancient University of Glasgow this evening, gathered a stellar audience anxious to feast on the pearls of wisdom and insight likely to be offered by that almost legendary figure, Lord Wallace of Thankerness, Advocate General of (all) Scotland.
Top lawyers; not quite such top lawyers, and would be top lawyers of the future assembled in the company of a few miserable specimens of humanity who were not lawyers at all, to hear a definitive assessment of whether the Parliament of one of our (not quite so) ancient nations could legitimately block the Parliament of our other, even more ancient nation, from conducting a popular plebiscite on what is quaintly known as “Independence”.
I am sure I speak for many of the assembled company when I say that it would be altogether preferable if these matters were left entirely to the lawyers. Regrettably, modern mores demands a wider accountability, or so we’re told.
Nonetheless, the event itself did not disappoint, excepting the interventions of some of the top lawyers of the future who appeared to be unaware of the distinction between the sovereignty of the Scottish people and the sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament. Or, indeed, who in one case, seemed ignorant of the provisions of the Peace of Westphalia. As for the interventions of the laity, the less said the better.
Lord Wallace covered familiar territory: Whaley v Watson; AXA Insurance v The Scottish Ministers; Martin and Miller v HMA . Only someone unfamiliar with modern Supreme Court Jurisprudence would have learned anything new. And few in the room fell into that category.
Nonetheless, the real interest lay not with those who spoke from the floor but those present who kept their own counsel but who furiously took notes in anticipation of their potential role as actual, rather than academic or (worse still) internet gladiators in the fight that might yet be to come. For, if you knew the audience, the gladiators were all in this preliminary arena.
And yet the most interesting contribution from the floor? From Alan Dewar QC: “This should not be decided by the Courts, the politicians need to sort it out.
What kind of talk is that! Some of us have a living to make.