Another piece for the J4MB “You couldn’t make this shit up!” file, in today’s Times:
Witches should be pardoned after the formal decision to forgive miners, Scotland’s leading QC has said.
Roddy Dunlop, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said the case for pardoning witches was “stronger” than the argument for pardoning miners.
It was announced on Wednesday that hundreds of Scottish miners who were convicted of lesser offences during the 1980s national strike would be pardoned. Campaigners welcomed the decision, which came 35 years after the protest against mass mine closures ended.
Writing on social media, Mr Dunlop said: “The case for pardons for witches is surely stronger. The miners were convicted of actual offences.
“One cannot actually be guilty of witchcraft. We should not be allowing convictions for something that could never have been committed.”
Witch hunts were carried out from the mid-16th to the early 18th century and resulted in about 2,500 people — mostly women — being executed.
Almost 300 years after the Witchcraft Act was repealed a campaign has been started for a pardon for those convicted, an apology to all those accused and a national memorial to be created.
Speaking to The Observer, Claire Mitchell, QC, stressed that in Salem, the Massachusetts town where a series of infamous witchcraft trials took place in the 1690s, a formal apology for the 200 accused and 20 executed was issued in 1957. In Scotland, where 3,837 people were accused, there has been no such recognition.
“There should be an acknowledgement that what happened to these women was a terrible miscarriage of justice,” she said.
“In Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh there are monuments to all sorts of men on horseback, and even a full-size statue of a named bear. But there is nothing to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, who died as a result of one of the most horrible miscarriages of justice in Scottish history,”
A plaque at the Witches’ Well at Edinburgh Castle marks the spot where more than 300 women were burnt at the stake. But, Ms Mitchell said, “it’s not a commemoration, not a memorial, not an apology”.
Scotland’s Witchcraft Act was in force between 1562 and 1736.
This month three plaques commemorating 380 executed women from the communities of Culross, Torryburn and Valleyfield were unveiled on the Fife coastal path at an event organised by Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland. Ms Mitchell said accusations of witchcraft were four times higher in Scotland than elsewhere, and “they cut across society, from members of the nobility to paupers and vagrants”.
You can subscribe to The Times here.
Our last general election manifesto is here.
If everyone who read this gave us £5.00 – or even better, £5.00 or more, monthly – we could change the world. £5.00 monthly would entitle you to Bronze party membership, details here. Benefits include a dedicated and signed book by Mike Buchanan. Click below to make a difference. Thanks.