At the time, the group appeared to clearly be linked to two individuals: Martin Keane and Deane Syme, and this was reflected in the article.
Today, I received a legal threat over that article from Martin Keane, claiming that he and Deane Syme had nothing to do with what the SIP became, and that I must immediately remove the article or face legal action in the Sheriff Court. Here is the full text of his e-mail:
The article itself deals with details of the Scottish Independence Party or SIP. I am writing to inform you that your article is factually incorrect and indeed rises to the level of libel.
I will go through each part of the article and specify to you the factual inaccuracies in the hope that you will remove the article immediately. If you do not, then I will be required to take the matter further which may include you being summonsed to appear in the Sheriff Court.
You open the article “Tonight I became aware of the existence of the so-called ‘Scottish Independence Party’. No, not the Scottish National Party, but the Scottish Independence Party – aka Martin Keatings and Deane Syme.” – Considering the fact that your article was launched on 27/10/2014, this statement, straight off the bat is factually incorrect. Both Dean & I did consider setting up the SIP, however, based on the preponderance of evidence of the current political climate at that time in Scotland & also the fact that I did not have the time to continue forward, Dean and I both decided, 2 weeks prior to that date, that we were in fact not going ahead with it.
The group on facebook was left open to the public and the existing members of that group, to do with it as they pleased. But Dean & I’s involvement went no further than thinking about it, trying to find out if there would be enough support & indeed then deciding not to go ahead. This all happened within the 2 weeks AFTER the referendum.
Any posts after that time were down to third parties and not Dean or I. That makes the rest of your article totally false because any post, any statement, any action, any idea thereafter was nothing to do with Dean or I. The real kicker, of course, is that the situation is further confused by the fact a unionist tried to establish a party in the same name later on. You article, factually incorrect and indeed incorrectly naming us resulted in both of us receiving full blown abuse from the Yes community. Something I was unaware of until I got back from visiting my then-fiancee in Moscow.
Now it seems your factually incorrect article is dragging us into another dispute. This has now reached the point where it needs to stop. I am asking you to kindly remove the article – or, you may if you wish, remove mine and deans name from said article and put a line at the bottom that says. MARTIN KEATINGS AND DEAN SYME ARE IN NO WAY INVOLVED WITH SIP.
Its a simple case of, we had an idea, it didn’t go anywhere, someone else (the loons) decided to pick it up, you reported on it and linked us to it (which is incorrect) and then that idea didn’t work. Another loon picked it up again and the web community googled and guess what came up.
Please remove the article, or our names (with an addendum)or i’m going to have no other choice but to make this legal stephen, and to be honest I don’t really want to do that to you bud.
I’m not really sure what this is meant to mean. Martin states that himself and Deane considered setting up a party under this name, created the Facebook page and associated discussions, but then decided not to go ahead with it… which means that referencing them in the article was perfectly legitimate.
Given that the standard for defamation requires that a statement must be untrue and lower the defamed in the estimation of right thinking members of society, and that saying somebody is a member of a political party when they are not does not qualify, I would suggest that bringing an action for libel would not be the best use of time or effort.
I have clarified the original article to highlight Martin’s concerns, and that should put an end to the matter.
Tonight I became aware of the existence of the so called ‘Scottish Independence Party’. No, not the Scottish National Party, but the Scottish Independence Party – apparently set up by Martin Keatings and Deane Syme.
EDIT: I have received a legal threat from Martin Keane, claiming that he and Deane Syme had nothing to do with the ‘party’ except for its initial creation. At his request, I have clarified the above sentence, and added this notice. Read more about that here.
Haven’t heard of them before now? Nah, me neither. Although going by their Facebook page, it appears that over 34,000 people have liked them previously – presumably for some of the messages they shared during the independence referendum in months gone past. Below is an image taken from their site, describing their mission in a typically self aggrandising manner.
There have been a whole number of groups springing up recently that are claiming to be stepping in to the void where Labour once stood; to be ‘for the people’ like no other organisation has; to ’empower local communities’ and so forth, so this isn’t really a big surprise. On the face of it, the Scottish Independence Party seems like just another group with big ideals who got a decent recognition for sharing some positive messages via social media. Idealistic, naive, and ultimately doomed to failure.
Tonight however, they revealed their real intentions.
In a post on Facebook, they set out a list of policy positions that they seemed to be considering as part of their push towards some sort of post-referendum step to formal establishment as a party.
The post itself seems to have disappeared from their timeline, but is still accessible here (since been removed).
Have a read for yourselves what they have in mind for a future independent Scotland.
These are IDEAS for POLICIES which our members have been debating on our website. In no way are these set in stone. We need YOUR help to decide which ideas are good and bad. If we’ve missed anything or if you’ve got an idea you’d like added to the list then please fire away!
1. Allow teenagers to get jobs at 15 as opposed to 16.
2. Lower the age to 16 to purchase beer & cider in pubs. (ID required) This will get the youngsters used to drinking so that when they come of age to purchase HARD alcohol from the shops/pubs & nightclubs etc, they won’t obliterate their insides.
3. All officers will be trained in the use of firearms. They will be required to carry them and will subsequently be armed officers who will the be protecting this country on the frontline.
4. Remove Police Community Support Officers as they’re a waste of money & require police backup whenever things go south.
5. Remove the TV licensing fee or lower it as it’s a nuisance and some people struggle to pay it each year.
6. Lower the retirement age. (Self explanatory really.)
7. Death Penalties for Murderers & Convicted Paedophiles. (We don’t need them clogging up the prisons.)
8. Improve the education system despite it being excellent already. (Hands on education/REAL life skills education) – Our education system needs an overhaul. Instead of kids sat looking at a board and being told what to learn and then repeat it in several exams. Learning should be more about on going assessment, asking questions, critical thinking etc and politics should be a part of the curriculum. That way we can take the power from the elite who baffle everyone with jargon and give it to the future generations. Employers are coming out in their droves to complain that kids are coming out of school with no real work place applicable skills. This drastically needs to change.
9. Get rid of speed cameras & bring in a minimum speed limit, not a maximum speed limit.
10. Legalise prostitution. This would be done from registered facilities which pay tax. It would allow girls far more protection and could lower disease rates and drug issues linked to the “profession”.
11. Legalise Cannabis. This includes growing cannabis however DRUG DEALING will still be considered a criminal offence & may get you some time in jail. Honestly, smoking a plant without any added chemicals is considered illegal whereas cigarettes which are known to contain carcinogens are legal. In an ideal world, we’d ban cigarettes but obviously a lot of people would disagree with this. Weed is healthy and has been known to cure things. There have been no deaths from weed EVER yet we see people dying from smoking cigarettes each year.
12.The prison system needs toughened up. They ain’t in there as a reward so they should stop being treated as such. Strip out the pool tables, games consoles, tv’s etc. This would hopefully stop people reoffending & getting thrown back in jail as it’s an easier ride than everyday life. If we removed all the gear then they would be dreading going back to prison.
13. Voting for 16 year olds.
14. Set up an oil fund.
15. A number/licence plate system for cyclists as well as an insurance system for bike riders. We can identify all other vehicles on the road but there is no way of knowing who is riding a bike if they happen to do something they shouldn’t.
16. Allow terminally ill patients to have euthanasia as an option. It’s rather condescending that those without any conditions or terminal illness are the ones who make the decisions regarding those living in severe pain etc. Just as life is a human right then choosing to end your own should be a right also.
This would not be for those suffering depression or having a bad day at work. It would be for people medically diagnosed with terminal, progressive and/or debilitating diseases.
17. Publicly owned services. Public railway,public water, public energy, public oil etc.
18. A nationalised central bank with our own currency. (Suggested by someone in the comments below.)
19. All workers should get a single minimum wage. An 18 year old pays the exact same prices as a 30 year old so why should they not earn the same amount for the same job. Just as females should be paid the exact same as men for the same job. (Suggested by someone in the comments below.)
20. Reduce poverty with the eventual aim of no more food banks. ( Suggested by someone in the comments below.)
21. Legalise handguns, rifles etc. (Not semi-auto or fully auto rifles, only bolt action)
22. Possibly bring back National Service in the event of an Indy Scotland. (Have to serve between 6-12months in either the Army, Marines or Navy etc.)
23. Child benefit and all associated money capped at 2 children for people who ARE NOT working. (Families earning tens of thousands a year just for having several kids is not fair on working families or the system as a whole.)
24. Mandatory driving re-test for old age pensioners (Free of charge by the government) so that they understand all the current driving laws and don’t possess a risk to other motorists or themselves.
25. Segregated schools – What this means is that any pupil who is out of line or unwilling to learn gets three chances to show that they’ve been good in class. If they continue to disrupted then they’ll be placed into a completely different section of the School with the rest of the idiots and kids who think they can disrupt the learning of others. Basically, this would mean that the people who want to learn are able to do that in a controlled environment and those who wish to muck around can be sectioned off elsewhere. Once the kids who have been disruptive or not engaging in class work have improved their overall attitude to school & class work, they can be placed back in their previous class.
26. No Nuclear Weapons on Scottish Soil.
27. Protection for the sick, weak & vulnerable.
28. Better pension & state benefits.
29. No lords that govern Scotland.
30. Make sure that all school children are able to play a musical instrument for free as well as helping students with grants etc.
More policies are likely to be added & some will be improved on. This is just a very basic list of CONCEPT IDEAS for POLICIES so bear in mind that everything is subject to change.
That’s right. Should this bunch of lunatics ever manage to drag themselves up from the mud long enough to actually form some sort of coherent political force, it’s reassuring to note that they would primarily be fighting for those extremely important causes to the ‘needs of the people’ such as eh, bringing back the death penalty, enforcing a minimum speed limit, and who could forget… legalising rifles. (Not semi-automatic or automatics though; that would just be silly.)
The complete lunacy of what is contained above is so far beyond the grasp of any sane person that it’s not worth even considering in any further detail. Whilst one or two of these might seem controversial, yet acceptable, in isolation, the cumulative total of even a portion of the ‘concepts’ to be found within are enough to give fundamentalists on all sides of the political spectrum wet dreams and nervous glances.
So what’s the problem? They’re muppets. Big deal.
The real danger of the Scottish Independence Party is that they have managed to garner such a prima facie establishment of credibility through the high numbers that have ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ their page. On my own friend list there was about ten people who, upon seeing the list published above, immediately removed their connection – embarrassed at the association. Some of them didn’t even realise they had inadvertently liked the page at some point in the past, probably having done so after seeing a passing post related to the #indyref, and an overall positive surface message with which they could relate.
The Scottish Independence Party will tell you that the policies above are merely suggestions by members to be discussed, and that they are giving an open platform for people to get involved in politics, rather than to have ideas shot down at the first hurdle based on ideology or controversy (Indeed, they have edited their statements multiple times to – at least attempt – to make this clearer). However, what they won’t tell you is that they are actively moderating the comments on their post to ensure that dissenting voices are not heard. If you wish to question why the suggestion that homosexuality should be re-criminalised won’t be added, for example, you would find yourself blocked, and the criticisms removed.
Everyone has the right to hold and express extreme ideas. That’s not the issue here. What’s dangerous about the Scottish Independence Party is that they are operating under a false veneer of credibility to peddle selectively chosen, ill-informed, non-sensical and fundamentalist positions; censoring those who call this into question; and doing so whilst claiming to give a voice to the voiceless.
and eh, who are these chumps? Some sort of edgy upstarts threatening to up-end the Scottish political apple cart? This comment on Reddit sums it up:
Check the list of pages you like. You might be surprised.
You can see which of your friends likes them by following this link: