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Showing posts with label Salmond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salmond. Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Megrahi Release decision and questions of guilt or innocence

The comments that followed my blog yesterday on Megrahi attempted to focus on his guilt or innocence. As always when the Megrahi Release is discussed, those who are passionately committed to either supporting or challenging the Megrahi verdict and hold strong views on his guilt or innocence want to have their say. Nothing of what I have said about Megrahi's release focuses on this aspect, other than incidentally.

I therefore must make it clear that if you have something to say on his guilt or innocence, you must do it elsewhere – however important the issue of his guilt, it is off topic and irrelevant to the release decision.

I have therefore re-stated my position on Megrahi below, as already expressed to a regular, welcome and respected contributor to my blog.


I don't want to discuss Megrahi's guilt or innocence because I have nothing useful to contribute to the torrent of 'facts', opinions and conspiracy theories that abound. I want to believe that justice was done, and if it wasn't, or there are other guilty men, I want to see them brought to justice. I support Dr. Jim Swire in his clear-eyed search for that truth, but I can add nothing useful to his detailed arguments or research.

But whatever Megrahi's guilt or innocence, I hold no brief for the man - he was a member of the intelligence services of a brutal murderous regime for decades, a regime that, given his position, he must have known the exact nature of, yet remained with and profited from.

No one can be a member of the intelligence services of such a regime and not commit appalling acts that offend against humanity.

In spite of all that, I supported the decision to release him on compassionate grounds. In conflating the argument over his guilt or innocence with that decision, we blur the essence of the debate on the release decision, when it fact it is starkly simple - he was released under Scots law on compassionate grounds in the firm belief that he was guilty.

It is that single act of humanity and compassion, expressed through Scots law by a Scottish Justice Minister that above all else distinguished us, our civilisation and our values from the regimes that we abhor. It is a source of sadness and regret to me that Scottish politicians representing the unionist parties in the Scottish Parliament were, and still are, unable to make that vital distinction, any more than their masters in the UK parties at Westminster are, and the Scottish Press and media.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Herald - the fearless, objective voice of Scotland. Aye, right ---

What's the big story today? The Independent gives the answer in its headline and lead story - MPs and expenses: the final damning verdict - 'Culture of dishonesty at Westminster allowed politicians to line their pockets

The figures tell the sorry tale - a majority of MPs (52%) are named by Legg as making excessive claims, and a total of £1.16m must be repaid. In other words, most of our elected representatives in this corrupt Parliament and decaying democracy are guilty of ripping off the people who elected them. This cesspit was presided over and defended by one Michael Martin, a Labour MP who held the office of Speaker, who resigned in disgrace, and who is now a Lord.

The highest dodgy claim was made by a Labour Baroness, Barbara Follett. A number of Labour MPs, including notable Scottish examples, are in disgrace over their claims, and will not contest their seats at the general election. Some may face criminal prosecution.

Is this the big story in the Herald? Of course not - something had to be found to obscure the evidence of the rotten political system in this United Kingdom; the Scottish people had to be focused on something else and quickly, and the Herald rose to the challenge, closely followed as always by STV.

The STV newsreader quaintly described the number of MPs on the fiddle as "over 300". Well, yes - if you regard 390 as simply being "over 300". Perhaps "almost 400" might have been closer to the truth.

The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister had been fund raising for the SNP through a method used by political parties everywhere throughout political history - fund raising lunches and dinners with senior party figures. I was going to say time-honoured - or hallowed by time - but frankly these practices are neither honourable nor hallowed. I wish my party wouldn't use them, especially when they involve the use of Parliamentary premises. However honourable the intent or the implementation, they smack of favours for cash.

But this example must be placed in context. The SNP is faced with hostile media, biased to the Union. The kind of donors eagerly and profitably solicited by the major parties would not support the SNP, nor would the SNP accept their tarnished support. But the Tories have a long record of this, indeed one might almost say it is what Tories are all about. Labour is up to its neck in it, through its noble Lords and its MPs and Cabinet Ministers, often getting into bed with the very people that are profiting from the UK's lunatic and suicidal wars. The LibDems recently accepted a massive donation from a convicted criminal and refused point blank to give the money back.

Nonetheless, this kind of thing is a bit of an own goal. Gonnae no dae that again, Alex and Nicola?