Why I’m delighted Wings over Scotland blogger must pay Kezia Dugdale’s costs – John McLellan

Pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell lost his case against Kezia Dugdale. Picture: PA
Pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell lost his case against Kezia Dugdale. Picture: PA
Share this article
Have your say

Not that she votes for me, but I’m delighted one of my constituents has won a tremendous court victory over an attempt to force her to pay £25,000 for speaking her mind. Instead her adversary now faces a legal bill of over £100,000 for a case it was very clear from the outset he would lose and now he’s bleating about how unfair it was that she used a top QC to defend herself.

My constituent is former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale who successfully defended a defamation action against her by Wings Over Scotland blogger Stuart Campbell who didn’t like her labelling him a homophobe for a tweet about Scotland Secretary David Mundell’s sexuality.

There was enough legal precedent to tell Mr Campbell, who regularly publishes aggressive attacks on the many people with whom he disagrees, that the courts do not look kindly on stone-throwing glass-house dwellers and the dismissal of his case by Sheriff Nigel Ross was entirely predictable.

But zealots never see anything other than their own point of view and equally predictably Mr Campbell is set to appeal, which will mean a hearing in the Court of Session. On the basis that the higher court will reach the same conclusion, those who crowd-fund Wings Over Scotland shouldn’t expect much change from £300,000.

But the Scottish Labour Party, which abandoned Ms Dugdale on the grounds of escalating cost, underestimated just how cheap loyalty could have been.

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale: My defamation case win was a victory for free speech

READ MORE: Independence blogger ‘horrified’ at homophobia claim by Kezia Dugdale

No end in sight for Seafield site chaos

The problems created by the new access arrangements for the Seafield recycling centre have predictably worsened now the holiday season is in full swing and staycationers get on with household tasks.

Long tailbacks are now commonplace because people from the Leith direction must turn right across a constant stream of traffic and what was a few hundred yards for Cragentinny residents is now a three-mile round trip. And it will stay like that at least into autumn because the problem won’t be discussed again until a report goes to the next council transport and environment committee in September.

The problems were so obvious that the desire to separate private motorists from works vehicles must have been prioritised and my bet is, despite the massive inconvenience, the idling engines, the fumes and the sheer bloody-mindedness of the whole thing, that nothing will change.

Waiting in lines

How long does it take to paint a couple of yellow lines? Over two years if you live on Ulster Crescent at the top of Holyrood Park, where what is supposed to be a turning area for services has instead turned into a car park for commercial dog walkers.

Residents have been pressing the council for a solution for over two years and now face yet another delay due to a bureaucratic error. It’s possible, just possible that they might be painted by September. Residents have waited so long they should be painted gold.

Caravans clubbed

Eyesore doesn’t begin to describe the impromptu caravan encampment on King’s Place at Seafield, now featuring a two-storey shack and disfiguring what should be a special place for residents. More a hostel for itinerant workers than a travellers’ site, discussions between councillors, council officers and police have been going on for years, but a permanent solution seems as far off as ever.

And a community litter-pick is scheduled for the area at the end of the month. We’re gonna need bigger bags.