Auld Alliance


EDINBURGH this week was filling up with French rugby fans in anticipation of the six nations match between Scotland and France on Sunday 11 February in the city’s Murrayfield stadium. The WS Society has throughout its long history always been a strong supporter of the celebrated ‘auld alliance’ between the two countries. There was a poignant reminder of the depths of the bonds between the two at a ceremony in the French Consulate, now neighbouring the Signet Library in West Parliament Square, on Wednesday. WS Chief Executive Robert Pirrie was amongst the guests to see Scottish World War II veterans receive France’s highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur. The presentations were made by the French Consul General in Scotland, Emmanuel Cocher, who spoke of the gratitude of the French people. In his address to the veterans, Monsieur Cocher said, ‘We were a a nation that lost everything and through your service you gave us back not only our freedom, but out institutions and our values’. On the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June 2014, the then French President François Hollande announced that France’s hightest civil and military honour would be awarded to all British veterans who fought for the liberation of France between 1944 and 1945.

ON MONDAY this week, European matters were also occupying the thoughts of Scotland’s Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC. Welcoming Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union to the Scottish Crime Campus in North Lanarkshire, Wolffe said that membership of the EU helps the fight against crime in Scotland. Mr Wolffe added: ‘Collaboration across jurisdictional boundaries is an expression of our solidarity in protecting our societies and our people from harm’.

THERE CAN BE no question that legal matters of state are dominating the political discourse in America at the moment. Some of the most newsworthy names in the US just now are government lawyers, from special prosecutor Robert Mueller to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or former head of the FBI James Comey. As the nation obsesses over whether President Donald Trump will agree to an interview under oath with Mueller as head of the Russia Inquiry, well-sourced stories in The New York Times suggest the President’s personal lawyers are urging against such an interview since they fear it is a ‘perjury trap’ to catch the notoriously inconsistent Trump in a provable lie. As comedian Stephen Colbert pointed out – hypothetically – ‘It’s not a perjury trap. It’s just perjury’. 

MEANWHILE, in an avalanche of legal stories, a vintage judicial witticism had been rather overlooked. Former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are both currently under house arrest before their criminal trial sometime later this year on charges of money-laundering and falsifying records. At a hearing on Tuesday Judge Amy Berman Jackson refused to release Manafort from his house arrest. She noted she had received a letter from his doctor, requesting that Manafort be allowed to leave the house to visit his local gym for the good of his health. Refusing the request, Berman Jackson commented Manafort had ample opportunity to exercise: ‘While he is subject to home confinement he is not confined to his couch.’

— “Writer”

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