Speculative Society of Edinburgh

A question for reasoned speculation.

Having been largely responsible for bringing the Spec to the attention of the public in 2002 as a result of my public petition to the Scottish Parliament (PE306) I am keen to set the record straight on the, somewhat limited, extent of my knowledge on the subject, which was brought to my attention by two members of the Faculty of Advocates who responded to my survey regarding declaration of Masonic membership by stating that the Spec was a far bigger problem in the justice system given the number of judges who were members and the fact that they must come across their brethren from business in the Scots courts.

I am also keen to set out what we have gleaned about this secretive organisation, which came mostly from a vanity publication the society had published in 1968 to celebrate their bicentenary. LINK

This book is a starting point to a full examination and poses a question to those who visit the blog.

The question being, how do you find the Spec? ARE THEY KNAVES OR FOOLS, CUNNING CONSPIRATORS OR BUMBLING BUFFOONS? To see the two opposing arguments in detail click on the link in the drop-down menu at the top of this page.

When I first researched the membership of the Spec, one of the most high-profile members on the internet was Ewan Brown. Ewan, a director of Noble Grossart and Lloyds TSB was chairman of ENTICO (Edinburgh New Transport Initiative Company) which later morphed into Tie (Transport Initiatives Edinburgh) an arms-length company set up by Edinburgh City Council but dominated by big business, which always had the majority of directors on the board.

Ewan’s photos were everywhere touting his favourite theme, trams. Trams from Leith to the airport, and trams to the new Forth Road Bridge, linking with the light railway/tram lanes on the multi-modal bridge. Money was no object as congestion charges and punitively high bridge tolls and toll road revenues would provide the cash. The brave new world of trams and tolls was dashed when the Edinburgh public overwhelmingly rejected congestion charging and the general public did the same with road/bridge tolling. Seeing what was coming Ewan alighted from his seat as chairman of the board of Tie before the trams fiasco crashed into the buffers.

PR pics of Ewan’s tram days are now collectors’ items.

But, we got the bridge that was crucial to Ewan’s master plan anyway, whether we needed it or not. And, like the much-curtailed, late and over-budget tram project, it is on record as the world’s most expensive. LINK

So when Ewan Brown was honoured with a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours list one can only assume it was for his services to Scottish banking as Chairman of Lloyds TSB. That was a success wasn’t it?

Not in need of knighthood, because he already was given his gong by Maggie Thatcher, was another ex-extraordinary Spec member Sir Nicholas “Niki” Fairbairn, who despite his public opposition to homosexual activity LINK has been named as being a visitor to the Elm Guest House where vulnerable boys from care homes were abused by high-profile public figures.

I knew Niki slightly, but well enough to say I’m wouldn’t be surprised by anything that this trew-wearing Tory did, but I had to reconsider that view when I read of the depths of depravity that he had plumbed with another QC and fellow Spec member, Robert Henderson. LINK

One might be forgiven for questioning whether the fraternal bonds of the so called “sodality” favoured the findings of the Nimmo Smith inquiry in which Robert Henderson featured prominently, but that would be just speculation.

The Spec certainly chose an appropriate motto: “Semper Honos, Nomenque Tuum, Laudesque Manebunt” Translating as “your honor, your renown, and your praises will last forever” (Virgil)

With Ewan’s trams, Niki’s trews, and Henderson’s abuse of trust we certainly won’t forget these extraordinary members of the Spec in a hurry!


Breaking News!

Prominent member of the Spec Humphrey Errington is in the news again after 16 fall ill in E. Coli outbreak linked to blue cheese. LINK.

Some years ago, in an interview with the Glasgow Herald in 2002, Speculative society extraordinary member Humphrey Errington said the self-styled ‘sodality’ was composed of ‘some complete oddballs and rogues‘ and has ‘a whole lot of completely antiquated customs‘, such as not recognising decimalisation and imposing fines for not attending in units of seven or eight pence.’If I felt in any way it was a club of cronies getting together, I wouldn’t have belonged to it.’
Earlier in 1995 Humphrey had proved that he was innocent of producing sub-standard cheese when  he scored a victory over Council when controversial Sheriff John Douglas Allan (See Magic Circle Affair) said: “It does not appear to me upon the evidence that the Lanark Blue cheese failed to comply with food safety requirements … The cheese is not likely to be injurious to health.” Dismissing earlier rulings that it should be destroyed, he said some 63,000 portions had been consumed in 1994 without illness.


See also HERE: The Speculative Society of Edinburgh for fuller details.

Update 2nd November 2017 On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration we have posted a new  blog posing the question “Was Israel created in Edinburgh – by candlelight?” LINK