Solicitor under fire for calling Alex Salmond an ‘ars*hole’

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By Judge John Hack on

War of words rages north of the border — and perks up independence debate — following inflammatory tweet

A prominent Glasgow lawyer has sprayed oil on the referendum debate north of the border by calling Scotland’s independence champion Alex Salmond an “arsehole”.

Mike Dailly — who bagged the “solicitor of the year” award from legal magazine The Firm in 2011 — has created an independence vote social media storm by tweeting:

Dailly is the chairman and principal solicitor at Govan Law Centre, where he has been a fixture on the Glasgow legal scene for at least the last eight years. He also sits on the board of the Scottish Housing Regulator, an independent body reporting to the Scottish Parliament.

But owing to his social media outburst, the former award-winner is understood to be facing pressure to resign. An article in Glasgow’s Evening Times reports that the regulator’s chairwoman asked whether Dailly would stand down.

But the tough-talking and opinionated Scot says not on your Nelly.

“We have article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights for a reason,” he told the newspaper. “It provides the right to freedom of expression, but it would seem if you attack the First Minister you get sacked.”

The housing regulator chairwoman passed the buck to Scotland’s devolved government: “It is not my place to ask any board member to resign. You’d have to speak to the housing minister,” the paper quoted her as saying.

At last count, Dailly’s inflammatory comment regarding Salmond’s qualities had garnered more than 90 retweets and 30 favourites.

But not everyone is amused. @megzaz suggested to the twittersphere that they should stop following Dailly, commenting that “Hes [sic] not nice, not funny, verbally abusive, essentially an arse”.

While @legalWeasel adopted this more considered position: “You might say that; but it doesn’t form an argument for, or against, independence, any more than the fact we have a Tory PM…”

Nonetheless, at least Dailly is livening up the debate when so many Scottish lawyers are understood to be keeping schtum. According to a recent article in The Times, partners at heavy-hitting Scottish law firms are running scared of the nailing their colours to the pro-union mast out of fear of offending independence-supporting associates and administrative staff.

But the article goes on to suggest that soon there won’t be such a thing as a large Scottish law firm, as so many big players have been taken over by global firms south of the border. So even if the Scots vote for independence, their big law firms are likely to be forever English.