'I'm not a lawyer but...'

NOVEMBER COMES TO a close and the Signet Library approaches the end of one of the busiest months in the WS Society calendar. Following the admissions ceremony and the Annual Dinner, the WS Council met on Tuesday this week for the final meeting of the year. DKS Caroline Docherty, Treasurer Roddy Bruce and CEO Robert Pirrie took the Council through the quarter’s reports and accounts before leading a break-out group session. This session discussed possible topics for the programme of events next year, including ideas for a series of public debates. Council members had many interesting ideas for possible topics, of interest to both WS and members of the public. Next year’s events programme promises to be the busiest and most diverse yet.

THE WEEK BEGAN with yet more pundits on yet more news programmes beginning sentences with “I’m not a lawyer, but…” With constitutional law dominating matters in Scotland, the UK, Europe, and the USA, and “post-truth” declared Oxford Dictionaries international word of the year, those in possession of a legal degree are being forced to listen to considerable amounts of post post-truth “truths”. Scotland’s law officers can look forward to the scrutiny of the national press when the Supreme Court appeal is heard in December. 

MEANWHILE, TESCO IN Edinburgh might want to consider legal advice on whether entrance to a supermarket is a basic human right, after it was claimed that staff at the Tesco local in Bruntsfield were forcing pupils from the local state school, Boroughmuir, to queue behind barriers whilst pupils from local private school, George Watsons, were allowed to enter unchallenged. Tesco denies the practice, although ample photographic evidence would seem to suggest the claims are not exactly unsupported.

IN “POST-TRUTH” AMERICA President Elect Donald Trump followed his own unique set of priorities, ignoring legal woes this week to demand – via his Twitter account - that the cast of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” apologise to Vice-President Elect Mike Pence. Cynics suggested Trump stoked this Twitter war to detract attention from the fact that he had agreed that same morning to pay $25 million to settle the long-running Trump University lawsuit. His tweet certainly had that effect, with Trump’s claim that the cast member at the end of the show pleading with Pence to be tolerant and protect the constitutional rights of all American citizens was “very rude” going on to dominate US news broadcasts for the rest of the day. However, the musical theme really got Twitter trending with the hashtag #NameAPenceMusical: “Oklahomaphobia”, “Fiddler with the Truth”, “Deporting Miss Saigon”, “The KKKing and I”, “Joseph Isn’t Allowed to Wear his Technicoloured Dreamcoat anymore”, and “Thoroughly Modern Misogyny” being just some of the hundreds of suggestions. 

FINALLY, US COMEDIAN Stephen Colbert suggested that Trump’s claim that he had paid a “small fraction” of what the claimants had been seeking in the litigation ($25million instead of $40million) would only be defined as a “small fraction” if you had studied Math at Trump University. 

IN OTHER STATESIDE legal news, don’t expect that Special Prosecutor to “lock up” Hillary Clinton any time soon. Or Nigel Farage to be appointed UK ambassador in Washington.

AS EVERYONE DIGESTS the momentous events of the last few months, life at the Signet Library continues to provide the comfort of timeless ceremony. Colonnades prepares to welcome guests with seasonal afternoon teas and festive and Christmas decorations will soon be appearing. Walter and Writer, after all the activity of the last month, are taking a restorative week in the Highlands next week. Walter will return in December for one of his favourite months at the Signet Library – he particularly enjoys a snooze in front of the coal fires at the west end of the Lower Library, which are lit on especially cold days. Rumour has it he has also been known to enjoy the odd mince pie.

— “Writer”

Writer's Week is not intended to represent the views of the WS Society or its members.