BBC BLOGS - Blether with Brian
« Previous | Main | Next »

Redirected controversy

Brian Taylor | 10:44 UK time, Wednesday, 2 September 2009

UPDATE AT 1430: And, later, as the debate progressed, Westminster implications predominated.

As Alex Salmond was winding up the debate, a special adviser handed him a note regarding the views expressed by the Prime Minister.

Mr Salmond duly informed the chamber that Gordon Brown had stressed his respect for the right of Scottish Ministers to take the decision regarding al Megrahi - "and for the decision".

The first minister placed substantial emphasis upon the latter element regarding the decision itself: emphasis which had not been present in Mr Brown's own delivery.

Indeed, by contrast, the PM seemed to underplay an element which Mr Salmond thought crucial.

As to the debate itself, I thought it was of a relatively high standard: notably better than the exchanges during last week's emergency statement. Perhaps further consideration has added depth.

There were good individual speeches from Elaine Murray who emotively described the feelings in Lockerbie, from Malcolm Chisholm who explained why he would be voting with the Scottish Government and from Patrick Harvie who sought to return the chamber to the underlying issues.

Parties combine

The vote? Alex Salmond's government will lose as the main opposition parties combine.

But Mr Salmond can afford to discount this vote. For why?

The decision itself does not require parliamentary sanction. This is not a confidence vote - either in the minister or the government.

It will not become a confidence vote - because that might seem too nakedly partisan on the part of opposition parties.

And because Labour might now be keen to get off this topic given the discomfiture caused to the PM.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Vigorous debate under way at Holyrood on the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber.

Today's proceedings in the Scottish Parliament were opened by David Cameron.

Not, you will have calculated, the Conservative leader. We are dealing here with the Rev David Cameron of Queensferry parish kirk who was appearing in the regular prayer slot, irreverently titled by some "Thought for the Week".

Smiling gently, the Rev Cameron reminded MSPs the parliamentary mace bore the legend: wisdom, justice, compassion, integrity. A useful blend, he suggested, for political decision making, especially the tough ones.

However, the shade of his Tory namesake hovered over the debate as it got under way.

Yes, MSPs were debating a decision by the Scottish justice secretary on the fate of a man previously held in a Scottish prison.

But, especially following the publication of detailed documents yesterday, the controversy has palpably shifted south, adding to the pressure upon the prime minister - from whom we are due to hear later today.

Deft sidestepping

Thus it was that the First Minister Alex Salmond pre-empted today's debate with a point of order inviting Labour to redraft their amendment condemning Mr MacAskill's decision.

That position, he said, had become "totally and absolutely ridiculous", given disclosures that UK Ministers had been averse to the concept of al Megrahi being left in a Scottish jail to die.

The point was deftly sidestepped by Alex Fergusson, the presiding officer. But the issue had been raised - and it seemed, to some extent, to discomfit Labour's Richard Baker who opened for his party.

Challenged about the views of his party colleagues at Westminster, he said that was irrelevant. It was Mr MacAskill's decision which counted.

That was met with uncharitable guffaws - including from those who insist on just such an assertion. That's politics: things move on.

To be fair, Mr Baker rallied to close relatively strongly, accusing the SNP ministers of arrogance.

Clinical dissection

Other front bench contributors, Bill Aitken and Robert Brown, offered clinical dissection of the evidence.

Mr Aitken notably sought to extend the criticism beyond Kenny MacAskill alone by repeatedly referring to decisions taken by "the Salmond government".

Of course, Mr Aitken's Tory party is assiduously seeking to extend the controversy still further to include Gordon Brown.

Right now, right now, that is where the debate is heading. It may well revert but Scottish Ministers plainly believe that the redirected controversy assists them.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 11:16am on 02 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Not stopping for the whole thing then?

    Asked Mr Gray whether he agrees with G Brown??

    As for this bunch of numpties attempting to score political points over Mr MacAskill using the God , the emotional and the utterly hypocritical.

    It is so good to know they are so impressed with their own debating skills that they continue rumbling on.

    The man is home amongst his extended family , and that is where he should be.
    I am tired of the emotional blackmail in attampt to score points.

    I am proud of Scotland .
    I am proud of the decision made.
    I am delighted that the US government cannot interfere with our Scottish Law .
    I am astonished that D Cameron , leader of the opposition, is worried that us Scots have upset the Americans.
    I am astonished that there are those who chunter on about how he could have been in a Scottish Hospice.
    I can assure you dear reader that I would not have wanted any of my family in the same hospice, not because of Mr Megrahi, but because of the media furore and interference.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 11:18am on 02 Sep 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 11:19am on 02 Sep 2009, snappyuk wrote:

    Once again the politics of blame and recrimination are overshadowing the true issue: that al Megrahi may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice perpetrated by the US and UK governments to quickly resolve a difficult issue. In 2001, the late investigative journalist Paul Foot exposed inconsistencies and omissions in the original case against al Megrahi that would have come to light if his appeal had proceeded.
    By allowing al Megrahi freedom on compassionate grounds, the new evidence need not be tested in open court, so sparing the blushes of the US and UK governments.
    Unless and until there is a Public enquiry into Lockerbie, it is highly unlikely that the real truth will ever be known.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 11:29am on 02 Sep 2009, romeplebian wrote:

    Why they presume we are stupid and too busy watching Big Brother to take any notice bar the soundbites that pop up in the news headlines, Let them focus on closure for the victims, and this can only be done by looking at the Trial again, it will need every msp to stand behind this and not waiver if they are intent on being right and getting the truth, but its not going to happen is it ?

    The opposition looked like they were giving their oscar winning clip speeches, all dramatic but full of gone with the wind.

    If all of them can hand on heart say they are acting in the best interest of the country and the victims and have not one ounce of party politics in there , then let them declare it now and no crossing their fingers behind their backs either!

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 11:35am on 02 Sep 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Is Richard Baker Diddy of the Year?

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 11:48am on 02 Sep 2009, albeitone wrote:

    I really do despair of the Labour Party just now. Surely to goodness they can find somebody better than Richard Baker to lead on Justice, he will end up costing them votes.....starting with mine. Next time round it will be SNP who get my vote, for the first time. Kenny McAskill has handled this impossible situation as well as anyone could, other than pandering to the right wing "hangem and floggem" brigade, and he wants to change the criminal justice system for the better. He is behaving like the old Labour Party would have done, so well done.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 11:49am on 02 Sep 2009, minuend wrote:

    Brian.

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 11:52am on 02 Sep 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    sneckedagain re 5

    Yes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 12:06pm on 02 Sep 2009, deadgoatsociety wrote:

    #2, bighullabaloo,

    Ian Gray was on Good Morning Scotland this morning and confirmed he had a different opinion to Gordon Brown on the release of Mr Megrahi. Can't remember the exact words he used but it seemed pretty clear to me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 12:09pm on 02 Sep 2009, LondonSteve wrote:

    Brian.

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 12:12pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11655018 wrote:

    How many opposition MSP's are going to wail, tear their hair and bare their breasts with memories of watching Pan Am 103 aflame? It didn't happen live on TV, we didn't have images until the following morning, this was before the advent of 24 hour news. It was reported on BBC radio as a plane crash on the motorway in the south of Scotland. Similar to the Kegworth tragedy a few short weeks later.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 12:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I am listening to Ms Goldie and I am deeply disappointed that she appears to attack the doctors involved.

    I am now listening to Mr Gray on shifting sands, he looks very foolish!

    Can we now ask him Brian?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 12:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, malkyj wrote:

    "Much more significantly it's also damaged the reputation of Scotland internationally." Jack McConnell.

    Can someone please explain to me exactly how and where the reputation of Scotland has been damaged? It is a mantra that is constantly repeated but apart from the supposed displeasure of the U.S government I have heard almost nothing of reaction from other countries.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 12:24pm on 02 Sep 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    NONE of the Opposition r doing their parties ANY good. The decision was made in light of the best evidence - what cheap political points do they hope to achieve??? - I did vote Tory but after this it will be SNP for me.

    Oh, requests to get any BBC employee, or taxpayer employee as it should be, to ask ANY Labour MP or MSP a difficult question will NEVER happen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 12:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, redrobb wrote:

    Debate about the release of this Ex- Scottish Prisoner? The horse has already bolted! The bible thumping bloke failed to listen to domestic or world public opionion. Oh but then he has a direct line to a higher source! Aye richt.... Scotland v's ROW we go and score not one but several own goals. It has set independence for my country way beyond my particular lifetime! But I suppose this was a chess move in someones thinking! Of the grey suit variety!

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 12:36pm on 02 Sep 2009, Colonel Kurtz wrote:

    Brian, As william Shakespeare would have put it.

    To ask or not to ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail.

    That is the question ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 12:38pm on 02 Sep 2009, Colonel Kurtz wrote:

    11. At 12:12pm on 02 Sep 2009, EwanfromDumfries wrote:
    It didn't happen live on TV.

    I remember watching a film that night on TV and they interupted with the news of the plane crashing. So it didnt happen live but it was reported as an urgent newsflash.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 12:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 19. At 12:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    The opposition parties were absolutely disgusting. Even if you disagreed with the decision and oppose the SNP how could anyone tolerate Baker et al dragging Scotland and her justice system through the dirt and trying to make as much stick as possible for blatant political gain. Utterly shameful.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 12:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, Douglas Daniel wrote:

    Richard Baker, eh? The Labour party are really scraping the barrel of political talent if he's the best they can muster (although he complements his leader, fellow dunderheid Iain Gray, very well). If ever a politician was destined to spend his whole career as a "top-up" MSP, it is Mr Baker. He accused the SNP of arrogance, but this is a man whose leader has the arrogance to think that nobody noticed he only stated his own position on the matter categorically once the decision had been made - political cowardice and opportunism at its worst - and which, rather predictably, amounted to "fitiver's the opposite o' fit the SNP said".

    The Scottish parliament and its electorate deserve to have effective, grown-up opposition parties rather than the crop of glorified councillors currently performing so miserably against the SNP. The route to independence is starting to look almost too easy...

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 12:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, Thinkinggirl78 wrote:

    I heard Iain Gray being asked this question on Good morning scotland today, and he answered that Gordon Brown had said it was a question for Scottish ministers, and therefore, he said, he was perfectly justified in his opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 12:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, bluenose17 wrote:

    From the BBC News website reporting Gordon Brown's speech: "I respect the right of Scottish ministers to make the decision... but on our part there was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to instruct Scottish ministers, no private assurances by me to Colonel Gaddafi."

    Erm.... Should the ... not be "to make the decision, and the decision" .... Shocking editing to remove a critical part of his speech. It is clear when you listen to it what he says.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 1:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, ScotsStew wrote:

    This is too funny !
    It would appear that Gordon Brown and his ministers cannot even co-ordinate their handling of an important issue like this with his own party leadership in Scotland !
    Brown may not care that he brings scorn on himself and the Labour government once again for mishandling yet another issue and by characteristically refusing to speak fully himself on the matter, but I suspect that the Scots labour party members will be furious !

    More broadly, and in an international sense, it is the British government and not the Scottish that deserves real criticism - the fact is that Brown and Blair seem to have pursued a flagrantly deceitful policy in this matter as regards assurances given to the Americans that Megrahi would never be considered for transfer to Libya.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 1:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #15 Redrobb 'It has set independence for my country way beyond my particular lifetime!' ...well i'm very sorry to hear about your impending doom...better go out and do all the good things in life quickly.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 1:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, OWN-GOAL wrote:

    Brian.

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 1:09pm on 02 Sep 2009, karin wrote:

    ho brian

    i dont know wether this has occured to you but perhaps you could

    ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 1:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    3. At 11:19am on 02 Sep 2009, snappyuk wrote:

    "Once again the politics of blame and recrimination are overshadowing the true issue..."

    But that is not the issue. It is an issue. But it is a separate issue from the matter of al-Megrahi's release on licence for reasons of compassion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 1:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 29. At 1:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 30. At 1:23pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    Having watched the debate I was appalled at the way in which several speakers portrayed the event in Lockerbie, using sensationalism to set the scene before makeing their point on the issues at hand - the Justice Ministers decision on compassionate release.

    We all agree that there is strong feeling for the relatives of the victims, so why sensationalise their demise, that in itself is probably more disturbing to the relatives and those members should be ashamed of themselves for highlighting it in such a detailed and grotesque manner.

    I am truly saddened by the depth to which politicians will sink to grab political headlines, Malcolm Chisolm came through it all as a truly honourable member who stuck to the point of the debate.

    The only damage done to the Scottish Government has been the shameful behaviour of the majority of opposition MP's who I am sure will delight in voting down the government motion - but to what end, the decision cannot be reversed, they dont have the guts for a vote of no-confidence it just shows them in a poor light and am sure against the majority of public opinion to which they say they represent - from most polls I have seen in newspapers, on the net etc and taking account of bias from all quarters even 50:50 would be a reasonable outcome but am sure that wont be reflected in this afternoons vote.

    Have the opposition considered the big picture? How will this make Scotland look in the eyes of the real world? Scotland may have a parliament but their opposition are against their own justice system, a system that they have presided over for the past umpteen decades, no spine, no leadership, useless.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 1:29pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 1:30pm on 02 Sep 2009, deadgoatsociety wrote:

    #18 bighulla,

    Unfortunately most of your previous posts on this topic have been removed, so I can only draw on what I can see. For example, your #22 on the previous thread states:

    "Any truly impartial news organisation would ask that question of Gray.

    If the question is not asked then the BBC's claimed "impartiality" is blown out of the water once and for all!"

    Your #214 on the same thread (same as your now invisible #2 on this thread)

    "Today is the day.

    Today we see if a question that should be asked - would be asked - by any genuinely impartial political commentator, is actually asked.

    If this question is not asked let there be no more ridiculous claims of BBC "impartiality".

    Let there be no more patronising Unionist put-downs about "conspiracy theories".

    This is the litmus test that will prove BBC bias once and for all."

    Well, the question has been asked by the BBC, it has been answered by Mr Gray. I have 2 questions for you:

    Why is it so important that this question is asked by Brian Taylor?
    Given your comments in #22 & #214 on the previous thread, has your condition for assessing the BBC's impartiality on this matter been met?

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 1:35pm on 02 Sep 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    FTR I'm proud of MacAskill, the SNP Government and support as the right and moral decision to respect Scots Law and the tenets of compassion by releasing Megrahi. And what nonsense to say it has damaged Scotland or her reputation. Aside from those hypocrites going through the motions in Westminster and Washington it has enhanced our reputation and alerted many that there are at least some in the English-speaking world who are actually trying to live by much vaunted western ideals of compassion and civilisation no matter the provocation. And I say that with the greatest of respect to those families of the Lockerbie atrocity who object to Megrahi's release.

    Full Public and International Enquiry into the Lockerbie atrocity now!

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 1:38pm on 02 Sep 2009, minuend wrote:

    Brian.

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?


    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 1:39pm on 02 Sep 2009, Thinkinggirl78 wrote:

    32. deadgoatsociety.

    You put into words just what I was wanting to ask bighulla.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 1:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 37. At 1:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, snappyuk wrote:

    27. At 1:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    But that is not the issue. It is an issue. But it is a separate issue from the matter of al-Megrahi's release on licence for reasons of compassion.


    I disagree that the issue is separate, insofar as the potential embarrassment to the government from public revelations about the inadequacy of the original trial may have swayed the politicos towards releasing al Megrahi on comapssionate grounds in return for him dropping his appeal. The furore has been around whether al Megrahi - a convicted murderer - should have been released, but surely the fact that his conviction may have been unsafe would impact on the vehemence of the opposition to giving the man his freedom?

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 1:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    I listened to Dr Jim Swire being interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland this morning. He has my total respect for his intelligent, objective, rational view of the whole al-Megrahi affair. Would that our politicians and journalists had half of his integrity.
    For those here who cannot access the BBC iPlayer to listen for themselves, I will do my best to summarise what he had to say;
    Dr Swire like most of the rest of us, is very disappointed in the petty political point scoring shown by the opposition parties in Holyrood, and that Lockerbie was too great a tragedy to be reduced to this.
    He said that now al_Megrahi is gone; what has he left behind? He has left a report from the SCCRC which states that there may have been a miscarriage of justice. He has left a statement from the UN International Observer that the perverse verdict on al_megrahi could only have been reached by deliberate malpractice by the Crown Office. He also took with him the option of the 2nd appeal, which would have been the best route to get to the truth over the atrocity.
    He called for something to replace the appeal. He suggested that Alex Salmond should appoint a commission to investigate the very, very serious international allegations over Crown Office Procecution Service. He felt it was important to the relative to know if al_megrahi was actually guilty of the crime. Many of the relatives including Mr Swire don't believe he was. One of the main reasons Dr Swire doesn't belive that al-Megrahi was guilty was the break in at the Heathrow baggage area the night before the flight which had access to the Pan Am baggage area. The information regarding the break in was recorded, but was kept hidden for 12 years until after the verdict had been reached against al_Megrahi. There was no evidence led of how al-Megrahi could have placed the bomb at Malta airport. If the Heathrow information had been available then the trial would have had to have been stopped. Dr Swire, along with other relatives, wanted to know who suppressed the information about Heathrow for 12 years. Did the Crown Office know about it during those 12 years, and if so, why was this information not passed to the Defence as they were duty bound to do? He felt that Alex Salmond needs to launch some sort of commission of inquiry with the power to require members of the CO to give an account of how they behaved during those 12 years, and also how they behaved throughout the second appeal where Dr Swire felt that the CO was displaying a deliberate delaying tactic throughout the appeal. Dr Swire wanted an inquiry to find out wwhat had gone wrong with the Prosecution Service, not just with Lockerbie, but in other cases as well such as the fingerprint case. It should be a hard hitting inquiry, not necessarily with a Scottish head, but possibly someone respected internationally.
    He said that tere were so many conspiracy theories that it might never be possible to get to the truth, and that he thought it doubtful that the intelligence services information would ever be penetrated, but that an inquiry or commission would expose the al_Megrahi trial as unfair. If there is no inquiry or appeal in Scotland Dr Swire thought that the only other possible ways forward would be either to present the case to the UN General Assembly or through the legal route under Human Rights, which gives the victims falilies the right to know who murdered their families and why the government of the day failed to protect them, and why the government has refused to allow any kind of inquiry into the truth behind the disaster that killed them.
    Dr Swire gave his personal view as to why al-Megrahi dropped his appeal. He said that in talks with al_Megrahi he was impressed with al-Megrahi's desire to clear his name before he went home to his family. When he withdrew his appeal he must have felt that death was very close, and maybe that changed his mind, or alternatively, perhaps someone told him that fropping the appeal might help with his release. If the was an inquiry it might provide some answers.
    He said that Kenny MacAskill made the right decision for the right reasons, which in the long run will probably go down to Scotland's credit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 1:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 40. At 1:45pm on 02 Sep 2009, VivasEmbra wrote:

    For once Gordon Brown has simplified matters. His comment today is:
    "I respect the right of Scottish ministers to make the decision - and the decision."

    So Brian. Over to you. Can you - or one of your profession at Holyrood - ask Mr. Gray the most obvious of questions:
    "Mr. Gray, do you - like Gordon Brown - respect the decision ?"

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 1:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    I really WANT the Opposition to win the vote - then have the guts to call for no confidence which would mean an Election.

    Will it happen - not a chance - as they have NO confidence in their ability to come anywhere near the SNP - it would be great to see SNP returned with even more MSP`s that present which is what would happen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 1:52pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 43. At 1:52pm on 02 Sep 2009, Colonel Kurtz wrote:

    41. At 1:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, ronreagan wrote:
    I really WANT the Opposition to win the vote - then have the guts to call for no confidence which would mean an Election.

    That would be quite funny as it would really highlight their incompetence. Even Inspector Clouseau is less incompetent than they are.

    And speaking of him, Brian,
    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 1:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    I have removed my own comment #36 and re-written as follows:

    In my opinion, Megrahi should not have been released. If the evidence existed to clear his name, then he should have used the appeals process to clear himself...
    BUT...
    There was clearly a tacit agreement between three governments (US, UK & Libya) that Megrahi should be released, to avoid any 'difficult questions' being asked during the course of that appeal.
    Therefore, MacAskill and the Scottish Executive were left holding the baby when the music stopped in this game of 'Pass the Parcel'. They couldn't release him through Prisoner Transfer, so they released him on the only other grounds open to them - compassionate grounds.
    I understand the reasoning behind the decision - I just fundamentally disagree with it.
    The rest of the political fighting is just a pathetic attempt by ALL parties to gain political advantage from the situation.
    Just another reason why the general public are sick of politicians...

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 1:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Mr. Salmond said: "Is it in order, in terms of our procedures, since the credibility of this parliament depends to some extent on the credibility of the main opposition party, to allow the Labour Party to submit a drafting amendment, because their current position looks totally and absolutely ridiculous."

    Ha! I do like Mr. Salmond. He has a way of cutting to the heart of a matter, does he not? One can see why he Scots like him so much.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 2:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    I rather believe Mr MacAskill released Mr Megrahi because he is dying of cancer

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 2:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    44. At 1:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    I have removed my own comment #36 and re-written as follows:

    In my opinion, Megrahi should not have been released. If the evidence existed to clear his name, then he should have used the appeals process to clear himself...

    --------------------------

    Isn't that a bit unreasonable to ask of someone who is dying?

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 2:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    36. pollyowls
    I understand the reasoning behind the decision
    What? That MacAskill released him because the US, UK, and Libya wanted him freed but they couldn't do it?
    Why would he be inclined to do that?

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 2:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, Freenonbrit wrote:

    One of the remarkable things about the media coverage of this issue is the contrast with its treatment of the result of the Glenrothes by-election. The margin of Labour's victory was utterly at variance with the expectation engendered by polls and informed opinion, but the media, including BBC Scotland, saw no reason to ponder it. Then it emerged that there had been a huge increase in the number of postal votes, but despite legal proceedings elsewhere concerning the misuse of postal voting to rig elections, the media, including BBC Scotland, saw no reason to gain a clearer picture of what had been going on. Then it was found that the records of votes had completely disappeared, but again the media, including BBC Scotland saw no reason to investigate.

    Now, it may be the case that everything was genuinely above board, but my point is this: had the SNP won in those circumstances, I have no doubt that the media, including BBC Scotland, would have called the result controversial, sought out people who thought it was a fix, and left a lingering sense of suspicion for opposition politicians to exploit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 2:06pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    For those who didn't catch it, here is a very, very brief summary of Iain Gray's appearance on Good Morning Scotland:

    Gray on Good Morning Scotland
    Not asked if he agrees with Brown, however ......

    Gray on being asked if his view on this is different from Gordon Brown's view:
    "Yes it is at odd's with my view"

    Gray on MacAskill resigning:
    "It has never been about Kenny MacAskill's position"

    Gray then makes two very, very serious accusations:

    On the medical opinion presented to MacAskill Gray says:
    "A different view was taken by the four experts"

    On the police advice:
    MacAskill "misrepresented the views of the police"

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 2:06pm on 02 Sep 2009, NConway wrote:

    Oh dear Brian what is up with BBC Scotland ? This is embarrassing and I too will add ........

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    I always took you as an honest broker but not after this weeks blog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 2:08pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14123409 wrote:

    I heartily second Diabloandco's sentiments at #1.

    For myself, it seems not many have wondered whether, properly considered, the pre-decision statements from the Americans (sadly including Obama), ought rightly to be held in contempt.

    They would be so held in any proper court of law. The matter was sub-Judice and public comment from external parties should be regarded with the contempt it deserved.

    Good work from Mr MacAskill in trying circumstances. Bravo!

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 2:09pm on 02 Sep 2009, deadgoatsociety wrote:

    #39, bighulla

    Thank you for your replies, I'm not here to make political points, my interest is in the perceived partiality of the BBC and the people who speak for them. I'm genuinely interested in why you believe that the asking of this specific question by Brian Taylor will define his impartiality or otherwise. I'd welcome your response.

    Rgds,

    dgs

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 2:13pm on 02 Sep 2009, Free_By_2014 wrote:

    How much taxpayers' money is being wasted on extending this puffed-up posturing by non-entity politicians who are already (barely more than halfway through this Parliament) looking to heighten their profiles in anticipation of the next election?

    Al-Megrahi is gone, and he's not coming back.

    Constitutionally, the decision to release the Libyan was Kenny MacAskill's to take - and he discharged his duty (Opposition politicians might be reaching for their OEDs to find out what that word means) and responsibility admirably, without fear or favour.

    What are Baker, Aitken and the Diddy hoping to achieve?

    Whatever I might think about the substance of his decision (and, on balance, I think he got it right), the Justice Secretary's stock has risen significantly, and - despite looking a bit too much like Billy McNeill - I think he would be a fit successor to Wee Eck in due course.

    Any politician can take the easy decisions; when it comes time to take the difficult ones, one turns to statesmen (among whose ranks now sits KM).

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 2:13pm on 02 Sep 2009, minceandmealie wrote:

    I had a comment on the previous thread referred to the (slowly deliberating) moderators, apparently because I quoted today's Herald newspaper at some length in the context of discussion. I presume this is being considered as breach of copyright, re which I would invite any moderator reading to refer to the concept of 'fair use'.

    Anyway, the Herald is 100% behind MacAskill, having reviewed all the documents published yesterday, no doubt looking for something to attack with if they could find it. "Vindicated" is the word used. Read the rest for yourself.

    I think this has been a particularly poor day for the opposition, who are scrabbling around fairly pathetically trying to find some ground to attack from. Annabel Goldie, normally a sensible woman, attacking the opinion of the chief medical officer of the Scottish prison service and the opinon of the governor of Greenock prison? Oh, Annabel!

    The Liberal Democrats now opposed to compassion in the treatment of prisoners? Come back Jim Wallace. Please. (Back when they were a thinking party, a Liberal would surely have pointed out that if Megrahi should be made to suffer more than other prisoners because of the nature of his crime, that is only one step short of supporting torturing him.)

    And as for the Labour party, they hold all opinions, depending on individual circumstances. Those who choose to act as elder statesmen (Chisholm, McLeish) can advocate doing what is right and proper. Those most influenced by British business interests support releasing Megrahi under any pretext, but happily say 'it wusnae me mister' (Brown, Straw, Mandelson) Those who hate Salmond and the SNP to the point of irrationality (Gray, McConnell, and no doubt Curran and many more of them) oppose anything the SNP does or says using Groucho Marx as a role model ("Whatever it is, I'm against it").

    Actually that is the story of the political journey of a number of Labour MSPs, come to think of it - started out as Marxists, ended up as Groucho Marxists.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 2:15pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    47. At 2:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    Isn't that a bit unreasonable to ask of someone who is dying?

    ----------------------------------

    Isn't it more unreasonable for him to accept Mr MacAskill's decision to release him as a convicted mass murderer, then release a statement from his prison cell protesting his innocence?

    48. At 2:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:
    36. pollyowls
    I understand the reasoning behind the decision

    What? That MacAskill released him because the US, UK, and Libya wanted him freed but they couldn't do it?
    Why would he be inclined to do that?
    -----------------------------------------
    Sorry for not being clear. I should have said that I understood the reasoning MacAskill gave for coming to his decision - not that he had made the decision because the UK, US & Libya wanted him to. I think he did it mainly because he did not want any repercussions to come back to Scotland if Megrahi died in HMP Greenock.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 2:16pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Comment 32 and other's are claiming that Iain Gray was asked whether he agreed with Gordon Brown's view on Megrahi dying in a Scottish prison.

    Let's be clear - he wasn't asked this question.

    My recollection is that Gray was asked if he still held his previous view, Gray said that he did.

    It was pointed out that this put him at odds with Gordon Brown's view, Gray confirmed that his view was indeed at odds.

    In short, Gray is never given the opportunity to say that he disagrees with Gordon Brown because he is never asked that very important question.

    The symbolism of stating unequivocally that he disagrees with Brown would have been very damaging - the BBC's Gary Robertson didn't ask him the question.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 2:24pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    9. deadgoatsociety
    Ian Gray was on Good Morning Scotland this morning and confirmed he had a different opinion to Gordon Brown on the release of Mr Megrahi. Can't remember the exact words he used but it seemed pretty clear to me.
    And
    Thinkinggirl78
    I heard Iain Gray being asked this question on Good morning scotland today, and he answered that Gordon Brown had said it was a question for Scottish ministers, and therefore, he said, he was perfectly justified in his opinion.

    (we're all justified in our opinions, but were not all Ian Gray's boss in the political party which is presenting two different faces on this issue - one for political gain in Scotland and another for political gain in the rest of the UK)

    What was the question asked? Was it -
    if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?
    It doesn't sound like it given the (one) answer to be gleaned from these two posts. But clearly someone asking him a question containing some similar keywords, and him giving any kind of answer is sufficient for you.

    Also, while trying to have someone ask the leader of Scottish Labour a particular question is the event we want to happen, there is a reason we want it to happen which is beyond that particular question. What we wan't is for that question to kick start the BBC in Scotland actually putting the opposition players in this drama under the same kind of scrutiny as the government. This question, should have been asked and from the answer - analysis folowed by some more questions - it's not like they don't know the drill, but they seem to be needing reminded to apply it across the board.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 2:28pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    44. pollyowls
    In which case my 48 (response to your 36) should be viewed with regard to your 44

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 2:29pm on 02 Sep 2009, Saltire100 wrote:

    Hi Brian.

    I will also ask the same question that most people here are asking -

    Will you please ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    No skirting around the issue. No excuses. No changing the subject Matter.
    A straight 'Yes' or 'No'.

    The more debates that we have on this, and the more that comes out in the National Media, the more it seems that Mr MacAskill did get it right.

    What I want, and what most Scots want, because most of us agree that this is a miscarriage of justice, and that the truth needs to be told.
    I don't care how many CIA / FBI / Scotland Yard Officers have to be charged if it is found that they colluded to pervert the course of justice. IF...and I say IF...Mr Megrahi is innocent, then those who gave evidence, or handed evidence in, and it is found that they did so knowingly that it would be wrong, then they should be handed severe sentences. For they have lied not only to the nations of the US and Scotland, but more importantly, to the Families of the Dead.

    My second question to Mr Grey would be this - 'If Mr Megrahi does produce evidence that seems to prove that he is innocent, will he ask the UK Government to open an enquiry to get to the truth...and if he says 'No'...then, why not ?'

    He can't have it both ways !!

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 2:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    36. At 1:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    "There was clearly a tacit agreement between three governments (US, UK & Libya) that Megrahi should be released, to avoid any 'difficult questions' being asked during the course of that appeal."

    No mention of the only government that matters - the Scottish government. Your little conspiracy assumes that the Scottish government had an interest in the appeal being dropped, and/or was susceptible to pressure from the UK and US governments. In the light of events, neither of these are safe assumptions.

    Impossible as it may be for those who see conspiracy everywhere to admit, sometimes things are just exactly as they seem. The decision to drop the appeal was al-Megrahi's alone. As it turns out, it was not necessary for him to do so. My suspicion is that he could not imagine a politician having the kind of moral and political courage that Kenny MacAskill has shown and assumed that the PTA was his best hope.

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 2:34pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    56. pollyowls
    "I think he did it mainly because he did not want any repercussions to come back to Scotland if Megrahi died in HMP Greenock."

    What repercussions do you imagine coming to Scotland had al Megrahi died in prision here?

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 2:35pm on 02 Sep 2009, wilddog wrote:

    I missed the debate wher can I see it

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 2:35pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124475 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 65. At 2:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    56. pollyowls
    47. At 2:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    Isn't that a bit unreasonable to ask of someone who is dying?

    You forgot to actually answer the question posed.

    Isn't it more unreasonable for him to accept Mr MacAskill's decision to release him as a convicted mass murderer, then release a statement from his prison cell protesting his innocence?
    He has always protested his innocence. At a significant point in his journey through our justice system, when the Justice Secretary has reaffirmed publicly that al Megrahi is a convicted mass murderer, it is perfectly reasonable behaviour on his part to reaffirm that he still maintains his innocence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 2:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    56. At 2:15pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    #47. At 2:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    Isn't that a bit unreasonable to ask of someone who is dying?

    ----------------------------------

    Isn't it more unreasonable for him to accept Mr MacAskill's decision to release him as a convicted mass murderer, then release a statement from his prison cell protesting his innocence?

    -------------------

    NO. As a matter of fact, IT IS NOT.'

    It is not like he had the option of telling his terminal cancer:

    Wait a bit; I want to finish this appeal first.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 2:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    37. At 1:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, snappyuk wrote:

    "I disagree that the issue is separate, insofar as the potential embarrassment to the government from public revelations about the inadequacy of the original trial may have swayed the politicos towards releasing al Megrahi on comapssionate grounds in return for him dropping his appeal."

    The appeal was totally irrelevant to the application for compassionate release on licence. Neither Kenny MacAskill nor the Scottish government had any reason to want the appeal dropped. The decision to do so was Mr al-Megrahi's alone.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 2:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #50 Online_Ed, those are very interesting quotes from Iain Gray. For the benefit of those of us with limited access to audio and video on this website, did he expand upon them?

    I agree they are very serious accusations. In fact, they are completely at odds with my reading of the documents available on this very website.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 2:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, BrechinBhoys wrote:

    When this irrelevant furore of who said what to whom is over, are we going to be any closer to finding out who actually blew up the aeroplane?

    Megrahi says he didn’t do it. Many others and I believe him.

    Our media and politicians are failing us in not perusing this important issue.

    If the real perpetrators are not caught and brought to justice, who is to say they won’t carry out another atrocity?

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 2:45pm on 02 Sep 2009, Philip wrote:

    Dear Brian.
    Any chance you get get your old mucker to answer this question.

    "Mr. Gray, do you - like Gordon Brown - respect the decision ?"

    Just slip it into conversation over supper!

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 2:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    On the issue of Mr. Taylor asking Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al-Megrahi to die in jail, the issue was, and is, will Mr. Taylor apply fairness in his coverage. Will he ask the SNP AND Labour the hard questions?

    His refusal to ask that question unfortunately supplies that answer. No. He will not.

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 2:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, fifebirder wrote:

    Brian you might have noticed that there are many new names contibuting to this blog over the last week. In the main they support Mr Macaskills decision - this is the true reflection of Scottish public opinion on this matter. It is also a true reflection of Scottish public opinion that we no longer trust the impartiality of the BBC.
    The Scottish public want to know -

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    We want to know if you will do it and soon and we want to see the Greyman squirm while you do it. Get oan wi' it

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 2:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    44. At 1:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    "I understand the reasoning behind the decision..."


    There is no more evidence to support that claim than there is to support the notion that MacAskill was doing the UK/US governments' bidding when he granted al-Megrahi's application for release on compassionate grounds.

    A little cynicism is a healthy thing. But not when it blinds you to all but the bleakest interpretation of events. Try to at least accept the possibility that the Justice Minister did no more than he very evidently did, and for no reasons other than those that he has given.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 3:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    LIEBOUR by name and by character - a useless, outdated, spineless, leaderless, corrupt, shower.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 3:03pm on 02 Sep 2009, Philip wrote:

    With regards "The distateful scenes in Tripoli" Perhaps this report in The New York Times last week may enlighten some. Provided the link works of course.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/opinion/30qaddafi.html?_r=2

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 3:03pm on 02 Sep 2009, Free_By_2014 wrote:

    Iain Gray would be mad (mad, I say, MAD!) to give the kind of unequivocal support demanded by so many posters here, unless he does indeed want to pursue a policy of blind loyalty to the Great Leader, never questioning anything coming from on high.

    Does he go into every interview with his Numbskulls drumming "You are only following orders!"?

    Unless he can legitimately claim to know everything that Gordon Brown knows (or even everything he knows he knows), all Gray can or should give is his OWN opinion; and if that happens to coincide with Brown's, so be it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 3:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    With regard to the question to be asked of Iain Gray, I have had a previous comment removed which aksed the question and gave iain grays email address - was told it was removed as it was SPAM! Clearly Brian doesnt like being asked to ask awkward questions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 3:06pm on 02 Sep 2009, U14124682 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 3:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    19. bluelaw
    Sorry bluelaw, I meant to respond to this earlier.
    I'm with you on this. This is the aspect of the whole scenario that really bothers me the most. It cheapens our parliament and justice system, and I'm not keen to see even our opposition politicians making themselves look so small and petty, alternating between histrionics and attempts to turn any minor point into some kind of gamechanger.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 3:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, Free_By_2014 wrote:

    #72 fifebirder:

    "this is the true reflection of Scottish public opinion"

    At best, it is A reflection of public opinion - what is reflected depends entirely upon the angle (or, indeed, spin) of the 'mirror' - and likely to show the same biases as any internet-only survey whose participants are self-nominating and available to comment on a weekday afternoon.

    So, dominating will be the unemployed and the underemployed (with time on their hands), with little or no representation for factory workers, teachers, doctors, etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 3:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    56. At 2:15pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    "Sorry for not being clear. I should have said that I understood the reasoning MacAskill gave for coming to his decision - not that he had made the decision because the UK, US & Libya wanted him to. I think he did it mainly because he did not want any repercussions to come back to Scotland if Megrahi died in HMP Greenock."

    Apparently, the whole concept of compassion is so alien to you that you simply cannot comprehend that this was the reason behind MacAskill's decision. Which is sad. Because a person's humanity is surely diminished by lack of compassion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 3:12pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #74. At 3:01pm on 02 Sep 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    LIEBOUR by name and by character - a useless, outdated, spineless, leaderless, corrupt, shower.

    ----------------------

    Ah, well. There will one day be an election and they will meet the electorate. I suspect they will not have the backbone (a foreign concept to many it seems) to hurry that day. (Not applying to Mr. MacAskill who seems to have a sufficiency) Not being part of that electorate, it's not up to me the results but I'll watch with profound interest.

    A related question:

    Will there be a no confidence vote?

    I'm opening to betting that there won't if someone will take such a bet. Want to lay odds on it? They're, oh, so appalled, but ARE they willing to put their money where their mouths are? ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 3:13pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    #U14124682

    Bighulla - removed in your prime!

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 3:18pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #76. At 3:03pm on 02 Sep 2009, Free_By_2014 wrote:

    Unless he can legitimately claim to know everything that Gordon Brown knows (or even everything he knows he knows), all Gray can or should give is his OWN opinion; and if that happens to coincide with Brown's, so be it.

    -------------------------

    I see. So everyone in Whitehall knew that they were supporting releasing Mr. al-Megrahi's release but they failed to mention this LITTLE detail to Iain Gray up in Scotland.

    I think that IS very possibly the scenario. And it speaks VOLUMES.

    Oh, my.

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 3:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, Kevin wrote:

    I am sick of hearing the name Megrahi. He has gone, lets forget about it. There are much more important topics to focus on than this, it's pathetic.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 3:26pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    76. At 3:03pm on 02 Sep 2009, Free_By_2014 wrote:

    "...all Gray can or should give is his OWN opinion; and if that happens to coincide with Brown's, so be it."


    Which completely misses the point that neither Gray nor Brown are expressing personal opinions. They are representing the position of a political party. The same political party. But different positions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 3:29pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    80. Free_By_2014
    Any mechanism of gauging public opinion falls to the the same logic - is that your point, that we can't ever talk meaningfully about 'public opinion'?

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 3:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #85. At 3:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, majorMusntgrumble wrote:

    I am sick of hearing the name Megrahi. He has gone, lets forget about it. There are much more important topics to focus on than this, it's pathetic.

    ----------------------

    Oh, now. Let the opposition parties have their little day of strutting and blustering (is there a good Scottish term for that? =) ) The poor dears are feeling put-upon. The Scots don't seem to like them any more and they're feeling insecure. It's like a binkie for the baby.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 3:33pm on 02 Sep 2009, Donald_McNairn wrote:

    Every time an important and tough decision is to be made the unholy trinity will emerge united from the bowels of dispair, the unionst parties.

    SNP realease the man on the grounds of compassion, London Labour would have released the man on economic grounds, the unionist parties would have kept the man in jail to die on the grounds that they would ignore the law of their land and let foreigners dictate their actions.

    D McN



    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 3:34pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    76. Free_By_2014
    Iain Gray would be mad (mad, I say, MAD!) to give the kind of unequivocal support demanded by so many posters here
    I've not seen many (any?) posters demand that Gray give Brown his unequivocal support, just that the question be put. This way the leader of Labour in Scotland have to be upfront that the Labour party as a whole is split on this issue (very significant for the unionist party of government to be divided on a very Scottish issue), or that they do actually present a single view (in which case Gray has to back away from his stated position). Asking the question properly (and following up) stops Labour from being allowed two different postions depending on the audience they want to address.

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 3:37pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #80. At 3:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, Free_By_2014 wrote:

    #72 fifebirder:

    "this is the true reflection of Scottish public opinion"

    At best, it is A reflection of public opinion - what is reflected depends entirely upon the angle (or, indeed, spin) of the 'mirror' - and likely to show the same biases as any internet-only survey whose participants are self-nominating and available to comment on a weekday afternoon.

    So, dominating will be the unemployed and the underemployed (with time on their hands), with little or no representation for factory workers, teachers, doctors, etc.

    -------------------------------

    Actually you have it backwards. Internet surveys tend to fall on the side of the liberal/well-educated BECASUSE teachers, doctors (*ahem*) and writers sitting at their computers go on the internet. The unemployed/underemployed may not even have access and may well not have the interest to bother.

    Yes, I should be working instead of sitting here talking to you lot. ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 3:37pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    75. philandkirsty
    Great link philandkirsty! Nice to have a different perspective on al Megrahi's return to Libya.

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 3:39pm on 02 Sep 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    hi , over on another news channel they are running a piece of breaking news from Reuters that Mr Al Megrahi has been admitted to an Emergency -Room in a Tripoli hospital.
    more proof if it was ever needed that Mr MacAskill was quite correct .
    Sid

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 3:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, fifebirder wrote:

    #80 Free by 2014

    OK it is "At best, it is A reflection of public opinion" but the point I was trying to make that there had been an influx of new (to me)contributors and that the issues had struck so many people that they felt they had to make their point to combat BBC bias.

    And not all are un/under-employed. Some of us get breaks where we can add our tuppence worth while at work.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 3:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, oldmack wrote:

    Brian,
    Once more you swallowed the emotive hand wringing and bile never mind the usual hyperbole that the opposition ran with in this morning’s debate, can you remember far enough back to the days when you were at your mother’s knee in Dundee listening to the same drivel, I can and it still sticks in my throat.

    Candidates running around the city in Ford Popular’s trying to be one of the people whilst their limo’s were parked away from prying eyes, yes Brian your memory must be giving you problems, when you can’t see the wood for the trees.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 3:41pm on 02 Sep 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Brian,

    I wouldn't have thought that the release of a prisoner in Scotland on compassionate grounds could bring down a Westminster government, but there you go.

    They just keep chipping away at themselves, don't they.

    They seem to have been implanted with lemming genes or something.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 3:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, caltonite wrote:

    The Labour Party really has got itself into a terrible position concerning this. I don't doubt the world of realpolitik is out there but Scottish Labour's decision to eschew principle for what Mr Gray no doubt believed was a political point scoring opportunity has completely backfired on them and left Mr Gray revealed as a very shallow politician indeed. He and his cohorts have spent the best week attacking the decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds and Mr Gray claimed he was speaking on behalf of the "silent majority". Well now we know that his party leader, Gordon Brown, is not part of Mr Gray's "silent majority". If the Labour leader in Scotland has no idea of the opinion of the Labour leader in Westminster about something as fundementally important about Lockerbie, his political abilities really do have to be questioned!

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 3:42pm on 02 Sep 2009, minuend wrote:

    Brian.

    Will you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 3:45pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    85. majorMusntgrumble
    I am sick of hearing the name Megrahi. He has gone, lets forget about it. There are much more important topics to focus on than this, it's pathetic.
    It's not just about al Megrahi, it's about the current tate of Scottish politics, the role of media coverage, interplay of UK, Scottish and international politics, ethics and justice - surely that's important stuff.

    What do you want to talk about? Why do you want to talk about it (whatever it may be) in the comments forums of blog posts which have been almost exclusively about al Megrahi and the associated for some time now?

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 3:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, InfrequentAllele wrote:

    It's all quite simple really -

    1. The American government claims they were told al Megrahi would die in a Scottish prison
    2. The Libyan government claims they were told that al Megrahi would be released.
    3. The Scottish government claims they were told it was a decision for the Scottish Justice Secretary.
    4. The British government claims ... Oh no, nothing to do with us, we were on holiday at the time. In Benghazi actually, friendly locals, great beaches, lots of Roman ruins. And you can avoid all those dreadfully common package tourists who've simply ruined neighbouring Tunisia. We met up with this positively charming Colonel from an old established Tripoli family and jaunted off for a camel ride in the desert. All those jokes about whether Jack Straw would break the camel's back, it was such a lark. Well, until the camel's back did break. I think we have a photo of the camel somewhere, you know, before the unfortunate accident... Oh dear, I can't seem to find it now... but awwwww, look, here's some cute puppies instead!
    5. The Scottish Parliamentary Labour group claims... and the arrogant SNP wants to drown those puppies because they're English Springer Spaniels.

    It doesn't take a mental giant to work out just who exactly needs to clarify their position.

    But just in case here's a hint for the intrepid investigating journalists of BBC Scotland - It's not the Scottish government.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 3:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, anakim wrote:

    Maybe I am wrong but I don't remember many protests when the westminster government released a whole bunch of Irish and British terrorists and bombers as a result of the Good Friday agreement where the Americans were involved. It couldn't be they are just trying to get at the SNP, could it?

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 3:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #76 - "all Gray can or should give is his OWN opinion; and if that happens to coincide with Brown's, so be it."

    Free_by_2014, you miss the vital point behind this question. Brown's opinion is that it would be a "catastrophe" for Megrahi to die in a Scottish prison. Brown is the Greyman's boss. The Greyman has publicly declared that if he were FM, Megrahi would have been left to die in a Scottish prison, and expects the Scottish people to believe this.

    However, in reality, the chances of the Greyman not actually following his boss' orders and release Megrahi are precisely nil (Brown would just have him expelled from the Labour party and a new FM would take his place, one more complient with Brown's wishes). Everybody here knows this to be the case, yet BT and the Beeb allow the deceitful position of the Greyman to continue without scrutiny.

    That's why the hard question being put to the Greyman would show the Beeb's impartiality, because it is such a hard question.

    So, BT, will you ask the Greyman the question?

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 3:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    It is hard to tell exactly how near death the man is, but it sounds as though he is in very, very poor condition:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsMaps/idUSTRE5813XG20090902

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 3:57pm on 02 Sep 2009, GregorAddison wrote:

    I believe that Labour thought they had safely dumped this decision onto the SNP and, thinking they'd pulled off the coup of the century, got a little beyond themselves and thought they could either damage the SNP by bringing down the Justice Secretary or even the Scottish Government itself. As usual, Labour has let its hatred of the SNP blind itself. I thought last week they'd over played their hand; it seemed clear that with the release of the documents it would come back and bite them. It has.

    Now Brown has to explain why he didn't want Megrahi to die in prison - was it because he shared Kenny MacAskill's view that compassionate release was the correct decision? If so, why didn't he just say so earlier. Why stand by silently while Scotland got a mauling from all and sundry? (It confirms my view that Labour sought to damage the SNP by trying to keep silent themselves and attempt to make out that Labour take no view on such issues of British Trade and Foreign Policy - a view that is not only not credible, to believe it would be incredible).

    Alternatively, if Brown doesn't believe in compassionate release, what were his motives? As for the Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, he has said that he would not have released Megrahi had he been First Minister, either under the Prisoner Transfer Scheme put in place by his Westminster bosses, or on compassionate grounds which Gordon Brown may, or may not support. Is he not at odds with the Prime Minister? Again, it is another example of Labour playing to the galleries for short term political gain.

    I'd like, for what it's worth, to add my voice to those who want Iain Gray to answer whether or not he agrees with the Prime Minister or not, as it seems to me he is solely focussed on petty political gain. Nelson Mandela, David Steel, Charles Kennedy, Shirley Williams, Henry McLeish, Malcolm Chisholm, John Prescott, Roy Hattersley, all have agreed that Kenny MacAskill's decision was the correct one. So what exactly is it that Iain Gray thinks he has grasped that they have not?

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 3:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Robert Burns had something to say about "The unco guid".

    We saw plenty of them today. Many of the opposition speeches were gut-wrenchingly sanctimonious, always preceded by mealy-mouthed acknowledgement of the families of the bereaved (I was at such and such a place when I heard about Lockerbie....etc) when they all knew their only objective was to undermine the SNP.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 4:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #80 Oh, well, they'd fall in the liberal side of things for the majority in America (most of the time anyway). Can't speak for Scotland. Now the banker/stockbroker types are a different stripe, of course.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 4:07pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    93. sidthesceptic
    Well spotted, reuters have it online.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 4:08pm on 02 Sep 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    There is an interesting article in The Guardian by Michael White about the Megrahi events. In it he made a few factual errors and was pushing the Labour Government's case. He got a lot of flak from the majority of the posters, but I admire the fact that later he posted in his own blog, appreciated some of the contributions and acknowledged his errors. I doubt if we would get that on this blog.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 4:28pm on 02 Sep 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #104 - Gregor-
    Afternoon ,fully agree with your excellent post. the labour party just could not resist having a go at politically shafting the Scottish Government, but as usual all their best efforts are well short of the mark.
    opposition MSP'S might have short memory's the Scottish public do not!

    I would like to pay tribute to Glen Campbell who called it just right, as this week is indeed turning out to be the defining point of this governments first term!!!
    no doubt if the news from Tripoli this afternoon is correct we can look forward to Mr Foulkes appearing on a telly near you to tell us Mr Megrahi is dying on purpose!
    Sid

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 4:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    #81 Electric Hermit - in reply to my #56
    ---
    Apparently, the whole concept of compassion is so alien to you that you simply cannot comprehend that this was the reason behind MacAskill's decision. Which is sad.
    ---
    Sorry, but this was the point of my comment. I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to find 'compassion' for a man who killed 270 innocent people. Despite all opinions to the contrary, no evidence has been produced in court with sufficient weight to overturn the original conviction.
    That's why I wanted the appeal to be heard (even now, if it is possible), so that the matter can be decided.
    Until otherwise proved, Megrahi remains a convicted mass murderer. Some crimes are so heinous that, even for the most compassionate society, compassion must be tempered with justice.
    That's why I disagree with MacAskill's decision - though I accept his reasons for coming to an alternative conclusion, and I do not question that compassion may have been his primary objective, among other forces at work.
    The other grubby politicking that has followed shows no compassion to anyone - Megrahi, MacAskill, but more importantly to the 270 killed at Lockerbie and their families.
    I hope that clarifies my position. I'm sorry if you feel that lacks compassion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 4:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Just a thought. If the al-Megrahi release is affecting American/British relations so much--maybe the British troops in Afghanistan should be brought home.

    I've never quite understood it. They're dying over there--WHY?

    (Well, I'm of the same opinion of American troops, but that's an issue for another forum)

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 4:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Just heard Jim Swire on radio saying that the United Nations Observer at the trial states that:

    "The verdict could only have come about through deliberate malpractice on the part of the Scottish crown".

    This is something I have been unaware of .... until now - quite damning of the verdict.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 4:57pm on 02 Sep 2009, post_meridiem wrote:

    "(...) Mr Baker rallied to close relatively strongly (...)", i.e. relatively weakly, this being state-sponsored journalism.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 4:58pm on 02 Sep 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Discuss prospects for cooperation with the Scottish Development Corporation.

    date 02/03/2009

    "It is known that this visit comes in response to an invitation received by the Secretary from Scotland, in order to lay the groundwork for strengthening relations and cooperation and to link the development of investment between the two countries."

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 5:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11655018 wrote:

    17. At 12:38pm on 02 Sep 2009, ColonelKurtz wrote:

    "I remember watching a film that night on TV and they interupted with the news of the plane crashing. So it didnt happen live but it was reported as an urgent newsflash."

    Hi Col Kurtz, I suppose what I'm getting at, in a cack handed way, is the number of opposition MSP's who related their recollection this morning as if they had actually witnessed it live and were therefore personally scarred from the experience, much like those who witnessed the blanket coverage of the twin towers attack so often that it became part of their own memory.

    1988 was not the age of rolling 24 hour news we currently live in.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 5:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #110. At 4:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    #81 Electric Hermit - in reply to my #56
    ---
    Apparently, the whole concept of compassion is so alien to you that you simply cannot comprehend that this was the reason behind MacAskill's decision. Which is sad.
    ---
    Sorry, but this was the point of my comment. I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to find 'compassion' for a man who killed 270 innocent people. Despite all opinions to the contrary, no evidence has been produced in court with sufficient weight to overturn the original conviction.
    That's why I wanted the appeal to be heard (even now, if it is possible), so that the matter can be decided.

    -----------------------------

    You must realize that you are hardly alone in wanting the matter to be heard. All parties -- except very probably the governments involved -- wanted the matter to be heard. Because the governments involved show every sign of wanting the truth hidden, it is unlikely that it will come out in our lifetimes, if ever.

    That doesn't change the fact that the man is dying.

    Whether you can feel compassion for him or not and whether I feel compassion for him or not is irrelevant. In fact, I don't think compassion is be an emotion, but a decision. It is a decision to put mercy above vengeance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 5:08pm on 02 Sep 2009, Freenonbrit wrote:

    Brian,
    Kenny MacAskill has left many questions unanswered.
    What did he eat on the days leading up to announcement of his decision? He has given us no information whatsoever on this – the times of meals, and their content, have not been revealed. Did he, at any point, have a fish supper, and if not, why not? If he did have a fish supper, how close was the fish to Libya when it was caught? How many chips did he have with it?
    What about his times of going to bed and getting up? We have been given nothing on this either. Did he not keep a note of this in his diary for the scrutiny of the Parliament, and if not, why not? If he cannot produce these times, independently verified, does this not show gross disrespect to Parliament?
    How do we know that the doctors who attested al-Megrahi’s terminal condition were real doctors, rather than fellow prisoners, or even Libyan embassy officials? He hasn’t produced any evidence to prove their identity and qualifications. What is he afraid of? Does he not realise that unless the world is assured of their validity, Scotland’s reputation will be irredeemably damaged in every corner of the globe…….etc etc
    That’s the level of the opposition’s attack: finding irrelevant sub-issues, pretending not to know the answers and information already given. With some it’s shallow opportunism, just talking for the sake of the publicity; with others, it’s just a lack of intelligence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 5:09pm on 02 Sep 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    Grey (aka Elmer Fudd) comes across more and more as the 'Holy Willie' of our day - still trying to persuade Scotland they are predestined to be governed by Labour as it is Labour's right to run Scotland;

    "O Lord my God, that glib tongu'd Aitken!
    Who's very heart and flesh are quaking
    To think how Brown sat, sweating, shaking,
    And p-ssed wi dread,
    While Grey wi hingin lip gaed sneaking
    And hid his head!" (R Burns - Holy Willie's Prayer)

    Burns had this lot o'rogues summed up over 200 years ago.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 5:16pm on 02 Sep 2009, fifebirder wrote:

    #110 Pollyowls

    I take it you don't give a hoot about compassion then.

    Sorry couldnae resist it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 5:19pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    No surprise then that the opposition parties have defeated the government on the decision to release the Lockerbie Bomber. However I hope that the public will reflect on the crass way in which many of the opposition politician made their points. Am still extremely angry at the way in which the victims of this tragedy were described, it does no one any good whatsoever and shows up these people who peddle this type of politics to be disreputable, dishonourable, and arrogant.

    Having been a fervent lib dem supporter in the past I can no longer stomach their shameful politics, the SNP have come out of this I believe with far more integrity than any of the opposition parties despite the vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 5:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, malkyj wrote:

    73-50, a "victory" for the cringers who do not believe a Scottish government is capable of making important decisions. They would rather bend their knee to foreign powers, desperately seeking approval, than stand up for Scottish justice and the right of the Scottish government to make its own decisions. The result of this vote was not a decision in my name.

    Over the past week,Mr MacCaskill has been described on TV and in the press as "a Scottish politician who nobody has never heard of" and a "provincial solicitor". This condescending belief on the part of the chattering classes that Scotland is incapable of making tough and important decisions seems to be shared by the opposition parties. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his decision, the actions of the Justice Minister and his resolute refusal to bow to external pressure have made me proud to be a Scot. The actions of the opposition, trying to turn an unfortunate situation to petty political profit while ingratiating themselves with external opinion have induced only shame.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 5:35pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Who has been damaged here?

    SNP:
    Difficult to tell yet, there is something about Scots that deplores a mob picking on an individual. My belief is that this has done no harm at all to the SNP - although that remains to be seen.

    Labour:
    Badly dameged, no question. That Brown has been forced to effectively back the decision after the revelations contained in the documents shows just how badly Labour have misjudged this.

    But for the BBC, Iain Gray would almost certainly be following MaConnell and Alexander to the political scrapyard. The fire started by Labour has all but burned itself out at Holyrood, however sparks have ignited another in Westminster and the flames are currently licking around the ankles of Gordon Brown.

    Conservatives:
    Have at least aimed some of their vitriol at Labour in London. However Goldie tarnished a hitherto impressive reputation by joining the Labour mob.

    Lib Dems:
    Invisible throughout the affair, only noteable input was Nicol Stephen's vitriolic laden outburst in Monday's first debate.

    The BBC:
    Seriously damaged it's reputation amongst not just independence supporters but many enlightened thinkers and respected establishment figures. The decision by Taylor to ignore Malcolm Chisholm's attack on Iain Gray in Monday's debate was shocking. The nature of the debate coupled with it's profile multiplied the significance of Chisholm's act.

    The soliciting of anti MacAskill views and the conflating of Westminster deals with MacAskill's decision were indicative of a BBC working to an agenda.

    Scottish Reputation:
    Again, the extent or otherwise of any damage isn't definitive. There have been expected statements from American politicians but these were understandable. The single website 'boycottscotland.com' is proof of nothing on it's own.

    Westminster reputation:
    Unexpected collateral damage, there is evidence that the revelations in yesterdays published documents has caused a stir in America. A former justice department spokesman has accused the British Government of "duplicitous behaviour" over the horse trading with Libya.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 5:38pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Labour finally have their headlines, alas they will have little or no impact. What a difference from just over two weeks ago when Labour and others were rubbing their hands together at the thought of claiming a 'scalp'.

    Jacqui Smith has broken ranks at Westminster and basically said the decision was wrong. What does Smith think of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement?

    Labour in absolute chaos - don't you just love poetic justice?

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 5:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, Astonished wrote:

    Brian,
    I think you are about to lose the little credibility you have left.

    Could you ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for Mr. Megrahi to die in jail? If someone in the BBC won't allow you to ask the question - Could you let us know ?

    I do hope the BBC don't think they can sweep this under the carpet like the expense claims of Mr Marshall (ex-labour MP); or Mr Gray demanding Mr MacAskill resign when a Scottish prisoner escaped and then Mr Gray being allowed to make no comment when Mr Straw accepted full responsibility for an English prisoner escaping.

    The BBC's unfettered bias and lack of integrity are being exposed in the extremely partisan reporting of Mr Megrahi's release.

    Could you also let Kirsty Wark know that, in her zeal to attack the SNP,she plumbed new depths when she voiced her opinion that if Mr Megrahi lived for longer than three months then this would cause problems for the SNP. It was simply macabre.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 5:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    "The result of this vote was not a decision in my name."

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 5:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, ballinj wrote:

    It just shows you how incompetent this Labour government is when David Cameron makes an absolute howler and they don't pick up on it.

    Under what powers would David Cameron, as PM, have stopped the release of Meghri?

    And if there are powers what does this say about the current position of the Conservative party to a devolved Scotland?

    Finally given his position on opposing Scottish MPs having a say on English matters, isn't it hypocritical to get involved in a SCOTTISH matter?

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 5:49pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    110. At 4:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, pollyowls wrote:

    #81 Electric Hermit - in reply to my #56
    ---
    Apparently, the whole concept of compassion is so alien to you that you simply cannot comprehend that this was the reason behind MacAskill's decision. Which is sad.
    ---
    Sorry, but this was the point of my comment. I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to find 'compassion' for a man who killed 270 innocent people. Despite all opinions to the contrary, no evidence has been produced in court with sufficient weight to overturn the original conviction.
    That's why I wanted the appeal to be heard (even now, if it is possible), so that the matter can be decided.
    Until otherwise proved, Megrahi remains a convicted mass murderer. Some crimes are so heinous that, even for the most compassionate society, compassion must be tempered with justice.
    That's why I disagree with MacAskill's decision - though I accept his reasons for coming to an alternative conclusion, and I do not question that compassion may have been his primary objective, among other forces at work.
    The other grubby politicking that has followed shows no compassion to anyone - Megrahi, MacAskill, but more importantly to the 270 killed at Lockerbie and their families.
    I hope that clarifies my position. I'm sorry if you feel that lacks compassion."

    It is not a question of whether I "feel" that you lack compassion. You, yourself, have gone to some trouble to emphasise this lack.

    The fact of al-Megrahi's conviction for the Lockerbie bombing may be the only thing that you know about the man, but most of us, including Kenny MacAskill, are aware of the fact that he is close to death from a dreadful disease. And most of us, including Kenny MacAskill, are capable of taking this into account when we consider his entitlement to be treated with precisely the same justice as any other Scottish prisoner.

    An essential component of that justice, which you and many others have so abysmally failed to comprehend, is that the seriousness of an offence is reflected in the sentence handed down. In a civilised society it is not, and must not be, reflected in the manner in which the prisoner is treated after sentence.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 5:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Noticeable change in the stance of a family member from USA. Yes, the absolute anger at Macaskill's deciison was still there, but interestingly their fury is now turning to Gordon Brown.

    Also, a rather unexpected side effect of the 73 - 50 vote was that it seemed to placate the individual. America may view this as a kind of apology from Scotland - every cloud does indeed have a silver lining.

    Meanwhile, in Westminster a man broods ..........

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 5:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Is there no end to the idiocy of Scotland's "opposition".
    I am particularly disappoined in Annabel Goldie. Not because I believed her to anything other than a fairly pedestrian political animal but because I actually believed she was a little cleverer than the rest of them. The "gravitas" is only skin deep it appears.

    The vote was entirely predictable and very satisfying.
    You lot can keep the dolts and their tabloid opinions.
    We'll have the sensible,progressive and responsible citizens (who actually vote)

    The Labour Party is in the process of alientating the tattered remnants of its committed support.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 5:55pm on 02 Sep 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    So fifty votes in favour of Kenny MacAskill's decision. Does anyone know who the three brave souls were that voted with the SNP?

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 5:56pm on 02 Sep 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    Labour look foolish, the SNP are damaged, and the Liberal Democrat leader is at war with two former Liberal Democrat leaders.

    A total train wreck.

    Labour are down to 30% (-3) in the latest August YouGov for Scotland alone.
    SNP are up marginally 26% (+1)
    Tory are up equally marginally 20% (+1)
    Liberal Dems are up on 18% (+2)

    Conclusion? Not really the winner Labour thought it might have been! Nor has it been painless for the SNP, even with this marginal recovery its far away from the pre-Megrahi 33% highs.

    The big winners seems to be the LibDems and Scottish Cons, who have used this issue to help lift them off of the expenses scandal (this goes more for the tories than liberalDems).

    Well done Aitken, keep asking those questions, lets uncover the Brown complicity, nods and winks in this sordid affair of Labour political spin.

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 5:56pm on 02 Sep 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    If Megrahi had died in custody, the reception of the coffin in Tripoli would have sparked off unimaginable public demonstrations and subsequent retaliation against local expats. How many of us in Scotland would have been killed, maimed or injured in reprisals?

    Remember this - grieving relative Dr Jim Swire, Professor Black of Edinburgh University Law School (born and raised in Lockerbie) and UN appointed legal observer Professor Hans Kohler ALL believe that Megrahi was wrongly convicted. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), established by the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (as amended by the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997) sent the conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland.

    Mergahi might be innocent.

    The entire population of Libya believes that he was wrongly convicted.

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 6:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Brian, Ask Ian Gray, "if the decision had been a decision for the Westminster Government, would he have vehemently and verbally opposed Gordon Browns' decision to release the Lockerbie Bomber?"

    ... I already know the answer, but the point is made!

    Anyone think that Grey would not have carried out the release (on instruction from his masters) if Labour had been in power in holyrood?

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 6:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, Tom wrote:

    I found this debate incredibly dull and pointless.

    No political group appears to be willing to ensure convicted terrorists are never released early on compassionate grounds.

    No political group wanted to challenge the Scots Justice Minister either by calling a vote of no-confidence (and win).

    Has anything changed now?

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 6:02pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    #110 Pollyowls - what compassion do you have for the 290 civilians from the Iranian Airbus?

    With regard to the saltire flag waving etc for Megrahi, I was disappointed but not surprised at this, hoewever, back to the Iranian Airbus, weren't the perpetrators of that shooting down considered heroes when they returned home and given medals for their involvement? Where is the difference?

    McAskill not only showed compassion but the strength of his convictions and should be commended for that, a pity that many of our politicians are unabe to see beyond the end of their noses.

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 6:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    116. At 5:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    "In fact, I don't think compassion is be an emotion, but a decision. It is a decision to put mercy above vengeance."


    I would hope that everybody would be aware that we are not talking here about compassion in the generally accepted sense of that term, but as it applies in this particular context. A context in which emotional compassion is combined with, and to a considerable degree constrained by, considerations of law and legal tradition.

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 6:08pm on 02 Sep 2009, embrasaint wrote:

    Interesting to see the Lib Dems trotting out the Daily Mail's favoured line of "two weeks for every life". I wouldn't have believed it had I not read it on the BBC.

    (Take of that what you will)

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 6:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, Ringan wrote:

    Brian,

    Today's vote is an all-time low for the Scottish Parliament.

    The small politicians who lead the opposition parties are an absolute disgrace. Thank goodness they will never be in Government.

    BBC Scotland's part in all of this has been utterly reprehensible.

    Ringan

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 6:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    I think it's highly amusing that one week the Scot Nats that spam this blog criticise Scottish Labour for being in bed with their national party yet now criticise them for not being so.

    The Scottish people disagree with this decision.

    The elected representatives of the Scottish people disagree with this decision.

    The victims of the crime disagree with this decision.

    I don't care what Gordon Browns view was, maybe he didn't think Megrahi should stay in prison, maybe he thought we should release Megrahi but keep him in Scotland. I couldn't care less, it's nothing to do with him. It's the Scottish Executive which takes this decision, not the government.

    I'm glad we had a debate about this.
    I'm not surprised that the majority of representatives represented the views of their constituents.
    I think it was important to send out a message to the International Community that the Scottish peope didn't support this action. That's why this vote was a good thing.

    (Many of the seperatist ranters on here regularly claim that it's wrong for the people's voice not to be heard and demand democracy etc. We've seen democracy in many forms denouncing the decision. Why are they suddenly opposed to the will of the Scottish people now???)








    Seperately, I'm confused about what the furore over this prisoner transfer agreement is. Let me lay the facts out as I understand them and if someone can clarify what anyone, in any level of government national, devolved, civil service has apparently done wrong I'd be appreciative.

    We set out to have a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya for dealing with terrorists, problem immigrants etc as part of a normalising of relations (ie similar to that which we have with most of our friends). During the negotiation it became apparent that Megrahi would be eligible for consideration, the Scottish Government understandably protested and so an amended version was taken forward in negotiations which basically said (in all cases but al megrahis). The Libyans didn't like the fact that this line was in the agreement, as they thought it sent out the wrong message about their campaign to see Megrahi found innocent and released etc etc. They pointed out that we (the Scottish Government at this point) had a veto over who gets released anyway so this would be nothing other than PR, which they didn't want. It was decided that pissing off the Libyans for something that we didn't really need was pointless and contrary to the goals of our wider negotiations (which included oil, help with terrorism, combatting immigration problems etc etc) so we dropped the amendment. The amendment wasn't necessary so we didn't really concede anything, it was just causing upset to the people on the opposite side of the negotiating table.

    If anyone can clarify what I'm missing out of the above, or which of the above actions it is that the government is being criticised for I'd be much obliged.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 6:18pm on 02 Sep 2009, impeachblair wrote:

    I was at an international wedding in Sweden last weekend. There were Swedes, Germans, Danes, Spanish etc in attendance.

    I heard reports of a phone-in in Switzerland were the contributors said that having set such a fine example Scotland should be invited to join the EU (not the best informed obviously but you get the drift.).
    I was told the media in Germany was largely in favour, as was surprisingly Austria.

    While the praise is not universal, the weight of opinion in Continental Europe appears to be in favour of the decision and the way it was explained (by Kenny M).

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 6:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #131. At 5:56pm on 02 Sep 2009, deanthetory wrote:

    Labour look foolish, the SNP are damaged, and the Liberal Democrat leader is at war with two former Liberal Democrat leaders.

    A total train wreck.

    Labour are down to 30% (-3) in the latest August YouGov for Scotland alone.
    SNP are up marginally 26% (+1)
    Tory are up equally marginally 20% (+1)
    Liberal Dems are up on 18% (+2)

    Conclusion? Not really the winner Labour thought it might have been! Nor has it been painless for the SNP, even with this marginal recovery its far away from the pre-Megrahi 33% highs.

    The big winners seems to be the LibDems and Scottish Cons, who have used this issue to help lift them off of the expenses scandal...
    ----------------------------
    Not a particularly great analysis although not totally off either. Let's say just a tad skewed.

    Being down only 3% for the SNP after weeks of massive attacks -- pretty minor damage and well within a margin that may be easily recoverable and within both the margin of error of most polls and within what most parties would consider normal ups and downs of doing business. I think further polls and elections will tell the real story. But I see no sign of serious damage to the SNP.

    Being up 1% for the Cons has to be good news for them, but again is well within the margin of error and hardly enough for ANY party to consider it a "big win". (I think they might have done better to defend Scotland and Scottish law rather than attack it, but we'll never know, will we?)

    The one that surprises me is the LibDems. Again it's within the margin of error, but may show that keeping your head down when the flak (to put it nicely) is flying sometimes pays. It would be nice if courage paid instead, but that's probably a political reality.

    Baring further results at elections (there is a by-election coming up is there not?), it looks like this has changed nothing in SCOTTISH politics.

    How it's going to play in the whole Westminster situation is a different thing. If this is helping the Labour party in the UK as a whole, it's hard to imagine. Duplicitous? It looks like it. And having that all over the headlines, even if it's what people already knew, is hardly a good thing for any party.

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 6:23pm on 02 Sep 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #137 embrasaint, "Interesting to see the Lib Dems trotting out the Daily Mail's favoured line of "two weeks for every life". I wouldn't have believed it had I not read it on the BBC."

    If Bush and Blair were to serve time for every life they took, then the rest of their lives in prison would still not exceed timescales in seconds for every life they caused.

    ... kinda puts it in perspective on numerous levels!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 6:29pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6818803.ece

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    I really think the SNP should resign from Government on this. The Parliament has found them wanting in their pledge to put Scotland first and also their Justice Minister has failed to uphold Scots Law. At least that's what this vote looks like to me. I mean it's not some petty political thing like the squashing of the referendum or the budget, it really goes to the heart of what the SNP are about. They should resign else they are in it for their own political advantage. As principled people, evidenced by Kenny and his decision, go now.

    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999:

    "It's the Scottish Executive which takes this decision, not the government."

    This is wrong and misleading. It was the decision of one man and one man alone, so please do not mis-represent facts to fuel your petty 'kick the nationalists moment', thank you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Senior Tory peer pressed Scotland to free Megrahi

    Former minister Lord Trefgarne told Kenny MacAskill that Lockerbie bomber's fate was of grave concern to Scottish lobbying group


    Further fascinating developments. I had apparently missed this one.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/sep/02/tory-peer-megrahi-scotland

    My. My. I watch with interest. =)

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    Totally agree with #138

    The opposition parties in Scotland have dragged this issue to a level it should not have been dragged down to.

    They have disgraced Scotland and have undermined the integrity of the parliament they serve.

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, Westie wrote:

    Two questions here
    Does Brian Actually read this blog?
    And how does one go about complaining to whatever body is responsible for ensuring BBC act within the remit of their charter?

    Talk about shooting yersel' in the fit!

    Complain about this comment

  • 149. At 6:33pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    139. At 6:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    "The victims of the crime disagree with this decision."

    The victims of the crime are dead.

    "I'm not surprised that the majority of representatives represented the views of their constituents."

    The majority represented nothing more than their own petty partisan interests.

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 6:33pm on 02 Sep 2009, Colonel Kurtz wrote:

    115. At 5:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, EwanfromDumfries


    I agree with your points about the MP's, I was just being a bit pendantic regarding the news anouncement, appologies

    Complain about this comment

  • 151. At 6:37pm on 02 Sep 2009, malkyj wrote:

    Just been watching Reporting Scotland. The graphics behind Jackie Bird showed Megrahi as the centrepiece with the Lockerbie wreckage on one side and a picture of Libyans waving the saltire on the other. is this constant reminder of the inappropriate use of our national flag really necessary? It seems to me to suggest that the BBC is taking a partisan rather than an objective view of events.

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 6:40pm on 02 Sep 2009, Ringan wrote:

    Brian

    NCA999 may snap out of his confused chortling when he finally realises that the Scottish Government has survived this despicable onslaught and the pressure is once again all on Gordon Brown.

    Ringan

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 6:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, jusmasel wrote:

    I see a slight problem appearing that seems to have escaped your notice. If Megrahi is dying, terminally ill, shaking hands with his undertaker etc then why do the Libyan doctors think chemotherapy is going to work? I think the future of the SNP is now entirely in the hands of Megrahis doctor. Keep him alive until the next election then Labour wins.

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 6:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #144. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    I really think the SNP should resign from Government on this. The Parliament has found them wanting in their pledge to put Scotland first and also their Justice Minister has failed to uphold Scots Law. At least that's what this vote looks like to me. I mean it's not some petty political thing like the squashing of the referendum or the budget, it really goes to the heart of what the SNP are about. They should resign else they are in it for their own political advantage. As principled people, evidenced by Kenny and his decision, go now.

    -----------------------------

    It would be even more fascinating from my point of view to watch the Tories and the Labourites scrambling to put together a government (could they POSSIBLY trust each other that far) and avoid an election--if I understand what the results would be.

    These parliamentary goings-on tend to leave us simple-minded Americans with our "we do it every 4 years" a bit in the dark. =)

    I'm sure that their oh so carefully avoiding a vote of no confidence was intended to avoid that. But it would liven up politics no end!

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 6:55pm on 02 Sep 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    #144

    If there is an election now, the unionists parties will be soundly booted out of our parliament, as they deserve to be. They have disgraced our country with this pantomime show, basing all their complaints on contrived and disingenuous points which have been and are now being disproved.

    So, yes, I think a Scottish election should be called immediately.

    Complain about this comment

  • 156. At 6:58pm on 02 Sep 2009, TLJ wrote:

    The shame of Scotland is that compassion has become party political.

    Complain about this comment

  • 157. At 7:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, calmac12000 wrote:

    Once again the Scottish Parliament has shown itself unable to raise the level of our national assembly beyond the level of school playtime, petty party politics. I truly despair for the soul of the Scottish Labour Party and can only assume Keir Hatdie to be twisting rapidly in his grave.

    Complain about this comment

  • 158. At 7:07pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #153. At 6:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, jusmasel wrote:

    I see a slight problem appearing that seems to have escaped your notice. If Megrahi is dying, terminally ill, shaking hands with his undertaker etc then why do the Libyan doctors think chemotherapy is going to work?

    ---------------------------

    Where did you see details of his treatment to know that he is receiving chemotherapy?

    Just curious.

    Complain about this comment

  • 159. At 7:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    153. At 6:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, jusmasel wrote:

    Ah. I SEE. The BBC claims to know the details of his treatment.

    Permit me my skepticism that they have any clue exactly what medications he is receiving.

    Complain about this comment

  • 160. At 7:13pm on 02 Sep 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #144 Handclapping, "I really think the SNP should resign from Government on this."

    I somehow doubt your Unionist freinds agree with your sentiment... they are far too scared of any fresh Scottish elections.

    Anyway, since Grey would have done the same thing under pressure from G Brown, who would you vote for anyway?

    *;o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 161. At 7:17pm on 02 Sep 2009, opinia wrote:

    I am appalled by the continuing media hype about the release of MrMegrahi.The decision was made on grounds ofcompassion and mercy which are part of Scots Law.I can see only political posturing in the continuation of speculation as to why etc. I am disgusted by the attitude of Mr Gray, a Labour MSP who should be representing the views of his voters and not cynically trying to score points for a future election. Imagine him in cahoots with the Conservative party. Does he think his electors would agree?I am also shocked at the Liberals, who historically were a party to support human rights and personal dignity,voting against a decision which supported human dignity. This ability of Labour and Liberal politicians to side with the Conservatives,has lost them my vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 162. At 7:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    I'm truly appalled by the incredibly poor quality of the opposition at Holyrood.

    None of them have what it takes to be in charge in Scotland because they can't move without reference to their Westminster leaders. Their naivety, lack of independence of thought and inexperience of operating autonomously and in Scotland's interests makes them a liability.

    Seems to me we need another opposition party.

    Complain about this comment

  • 163. At 7:27pm on 02 Sep 2009, enneffess wrote:

    132. At 5:56pm on 02 Sep 2009, michaelhamilton wrote:

    The problem with people saying that Megrahi is innocent (I personally believe he had involvement of sorts) is that MacAskill stated clearly when announcing his release that he was guilty.

    They are not going to run an appeal or a public enquiry. That entails the risk of accusing another country of involvment. Regardless of any evidence of USA/UK it would be a Scottish enquiry making findings about another country.

    Nor do I buy the assumption that had he died in custody we would have had waves of suicide bombers flooding in from Tripoli. The whole affair was low key until the leak that he was going to be released.


    All today has achieved is to show up the opposition in a meaningless debate.

    There are more important issues currently at stake.

    Complain about this comment

  • 164. At 7:33pm on 02 Sep 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #153 jusmasel- you really need to get out more or at least get your information from more than one source.

    just because the BBC in their infinite wisdom choose not to tell us all the information that is available dosen't mean it is not out there.

    unless the next election is going to happen in the next month you won't have anything to worry about. Mr El Megrahi has today been taken to ER in a Tripoli hospital. I wonder why the BBC chose not to tell the nation ????
    Sid

    Complain about this comment

  • 165. At 7:41pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    Just a quickie off-topic message -
    the greasemonkey script to assist in responding to comments now has autoquoting of selected text. If you want it, it's at userscripts.org as usual.

    Complain about this comment

  • 166. At 7:41pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    144. At 6:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "I really think the SNP should resign from Government on this. The Parliament has found them wanting in their pledge to put Scotland first and also their Justice Minister has failed to uphold Scots Law. At least that's what this vote looks like to me."

    Your susceptibility to the propaganda being spewed out by the unionist cabal is hardly necessary or sufficient grounds for an entire government to resign.

    Example:

    "I believe we should make clear that there were fundamental errors in the management of this process and therefore the decision to release Mr al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds to Libya is one we cannot agree with," said [Scottish Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker[. - SNP defeated over bomber release

    You just accept this as gospel. More critical readers note the complete failure to identify any of these supposed "fundamental errors".

    Complain about this comment

  • 167. At 7:45pm on 02 Sep 2009, Robabody wrote:

    We should have a vote of no confidnce right enough - in the opposition parties!

    Complain about this comment

  • 168. At 7:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, reaktor303 wrote:

    #151 yes I was thinking this but haven't been looking closely.

    My thought were BBC only ever play the walking down the stairs and saltire footage looped around reports. Drop in something about hero's welcome and mythical world outrage.

    Whereas Sky are mixing it up, or playing the recent hospital footage.

    As I say I haven't looked that closely. Maybe I just want it to appear like that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 169. At 7:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    I have not had time to read through all the comments but from what I heard on the radio clips and the reporting by the BBC I have to ay that not only am I disgusted but also, shall we say angry because how I feel would not pass the moderators.
    Any damage done to Scotland has been and is being done by the opposition parties and by the BBC acting as the cheerleader for said parties, the politicising of this decision despite the fact that even those in opposition seem to agree he should be released is disgusting. Of course the vote was along party lines, they made it political but the whole argument and line of attack changed as the blame seemed to shift toward Westminster, what happened to the vote of no confidence, what about Baker demanding Kenny should resign.
    If as the opposition claimed they are speaking for Scotland did they not vote to bring the government down and allow us to vote them into a position of power. They have shown once again that it is party before country unless by country you mean Britain, certainly not what is in the interests of Scotland.
    As for the BBC their standing is now as low as it has ever been, all claims to be impartial now as they say, "tatties ower the side", they are now to be disregarded completely as a trustworthy source of news and information.
    Personally this has made me even more determined to fight for independence, and indeed not only am I going to renew my membership of the SNP, the reminder for which came by post today but I am going to pay more than the requested amount. That's right I am a member of the SNP, proud to be and will continue to be until such times as we are a free country, after that I will decide who I vote for but one thing I assure you it will never be for any form of Labour party, Scottish or otherwise.

    Complain about this comment

  • 170. At 8:12pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    163. At 7:27pm on 02 Sep 2009, Neil_Small147 wrote:

    "The problem with people saying that Megrahi is innocent (I personally believe he had involvement of sorts) is that MacAskill stated clearly when announcing his release that he was guilty."

    Kenny MacAskill is the Justice Secretary. Even if he harboured personal doubts about al-Megrahi's guilt it is simply inconceivable that he could publicly express misgivings about the verdict. It was essential that MacAskill emphasise the fact that compassionate release on licence in no way resembles an acquittal. Despite his efforts, a surprising number of people continue to be confused on this point.

    Complain about this comment

  • 171. At 8:19pm on 02 Sep 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    From the Times:

    The health of the Lockerbie bomber is deteriorating so fast that European cancer specialists are being flown to Tripoli in a chartered aircraft to treat him, Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi's brother has told The Times.

    "He's in a bad situation. The last check-up was very, very bad... He's dying," said Mohammed al-Megrahi, who doubted his brother would live another month. "We are really worried about him, but it's the wish of God."

    Seems its about palliative care and not recovery or 'miracle cure' pity people swallow Labour propaganda hook line and sinker....

    Complain about this comment

  • 172. At 8:19pm on 02 Sep 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Watch the Daily Record tomorrow. This is what today's debate was about. Getting propaganda into that rag to fool the masses.

    'Blether with Brian' seems to have morphed into 'Brian's a blether'.

    Complain about this comment

  • 173. At 8:28pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #166 Electric Hermit
    [Deep Breath]
    As the people of Scotland are sovereign and have put their trust in their elected representatives in our Parliament in Holyrood and our Parliament has found our Government wanting, in that they have disgraced our country in the eyes of the world, and they have also found their Justice Minister has failed to keep Scots Law and process, then, as honourable people who have failed to put Scotland first and to uphold the always independent Law of the Scots, Salmonds SNP Government should go and let Parliament appoint a new First Minister and, if Parliament fails, to take the matter to the people for resolution.
    [Blue in face, breathes again!]

    Complain about this comment

  • 174. At 8:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, Carrots are not the only vegetables wrote:

    With Opposition politicians (esp. Labour) pushing any agenda for which they have no responsibility, anyone would think that there was a by-election in the offing.

    Oh, there is?

    What a coincidence...

    Complain about this comment

  • 175. At 8:44pm on 02 Sep 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    165. mrbfaethedee
    "Just a quickie off-topic message -
    the greasemonkey script to assist in responding to comments now has autoquoting of selected text. If you want it, it's at userscripts.org as usual.
    "

    testing, works.

    Complain about this comment

  • 176. At 8:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #173. Although I would LOVE to know where the Justice Minister failed to uphold the law. The last I knew compassionate release is part of the law. They changed it when people weren't looking? *raises eyebrows*

    From what I've seen, you might be appalled at how many people would LOVE to see the outcome of a new election--although I suspect not your beloved opposition. Or do you seriously think they didn't have a reason for not making a no confidence vote?

    I see no reason why Mr. Salmond should give them what they don't have the guts to get for themselves, except that it would be fun for me. They could STILL have a no confidence vote if they managed to find their... Well, I won't mention what they need to find. Only metaphorically, of course. ;)

    But elections would be fun to watch. I'll sit here and wait. la de da de da

    Still lacking a no confidence vote, are they?

    Complain about this comment

  • 177. At 8:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, enneffess wrote:

    170. At 8:12pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:
    163. At 7:27pm on 02 Sep 2009, Neil_Small147 wrote:

    "The problem with people saying that Megrahi is innocent (I personally believe he had involvement of sorts) is that MacAskill stated clearly when announcing his release that he was guilty."

    Kenny MacAskill is the Justice Secretary. Even if he harboured personal doubts about al-Megrahi's guilt it is simply inconceivable that he could publicly express misgivings about the verdict. It was essential that MacAskill emphasise the fact that compassionate release on licence in no way resembles an acquittal. Despite his efforts, a surprising number of people continue to be confused on this point.

    ---------------

    I know the position he was in. But a lot of people want an enquiry - some for political reasons - which to me causes more problems than they would ever solve.

    Complain about this comment

  • 178. At 8:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    124. At 5:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, astonishedII wrote:

    Could you also let Kirsty Wark know that, in her zeal to attack the SNP,she plumbed new depths when she voiced her opinion that if Mr Megrahi lived for longer than three months then this would cause problems for the SNP. It was simply macabre.

    Can anyone confirm this? Name of programme and date would be helpfull.


    Complain about this comment

  • 179. At 8:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, jusmasel wrote:

    ""RE #153 jusmasel- you really need to get out more or at least get your information from more than one source.

    just because the BBC in their infinite wisdom choose not to tell us all the information that is available dosen't mean it is not out there.""

    Think you should get out more - try looking at the Sunday Herald - it was Megrahi himself who said he was starting Chemo

    Complain about this comment

  • 180. At 8:48pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    "Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: "Tonight's vote is a clear message to Alex Salmond that the SNP Government's decision to release Mr Megrahi back to Libya is not in the Parliament's name, nor is it in Scotland's name. Mr Salmond's boast that he stands up for Scotland is in tatters." "

    Ah so the opposition have held a referendum of the Scottish people to come to this decision? A foolish statement that may well come back to haunt them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 181. At 8:51pm on 02 Sep 2009, ratzo wrote:


    173, handclapping

    try reading the law and then come back with an informed opinion instead of merely hyperventilating:

    http://www.jonathanmitchell.info/2009/09/02/compassionate-release-in-scotland-the-actual-policy-and-the-law/#comments

    Complain about this comment

  • 182. At 8:55pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 183. At 8:55pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    144. handclapping
    "At least that's what this vote looks like to me. I mean it's not some petty political thing like the squashing of the referendum or the budget"

    It's much more petty than that!
    That's why they couldn't make any claim of fundamental flaws, or badly mishandled actually stick - they couldn't demonstrate it! All they had to say is that they didn't like that the SNP government had made the decision, and all they could do is demonstrate that when they band together they can defeat the government on anything.
    Surprise! it's minority government.
    So, abandon all principle, drag the parliament and the justice system through the mud without demonstrating any failure of the Justice Secretary in due process or handling of it (no, unproven assertions don't count), all to score some cheap political points. Oh, but the capital they squandered in so doing!

    "Justice Minister has failed to uphold Scots Law". All he did was follow due process and make a decision. The decision is his by conscience, so are you asserting that he failed to follow due process? Why didn't you give the opposition your secret information? Because they failed to present a case that he failed to follow due process. Also, perhaps someone can inform me whethere or not that would just be illegal? If so why did Gray/Goldie/Scott not bring charges?

    Complain about this comment

  • 184. At 9:03pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #179. jusmasel wrote:

    I was the one who responded so I suggest you address me.
    --------------------------------------------
    153. At 6:47pm on 02 Sep 2009, jusmasel wrote:

    I see a slight problem appearing that seems to have escaped your notice. If Megrahi is dying, terminally ill, shaking hands with his undertaker etc then why do the Libyan doctors think chemotherapy is going to work
    -------------------------------
    I finally found the reference and you--strangely enough--left out part.

    "The main advantage of chemotherapy is that it improves the symptoms. If Mr Al-Megrahi has bone pain, he would get significant benefit from the Docetaxel chemotherapy drug treatment.

    "It would extend his life expectancy, but it is not curative. If he has metastatic prostate cancer, there is evidence that chemotherapy can improve survival by around a month or six weeks, and improve the symptoms he has. It's very, very difficult to be as precise as three months."
    -----------------------------
    IF you bothered to read the article then (if their comments are accurate) there is good reason for giving Chemo to someone who is dying. It will reduce his symptoms and SLIGHTLY increase his lifespan.

    But you knew that--DIDN'T you. =)

    Complain about this comment

  • 185. At 9:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, S_Scott wrote:

    I posted my first comment on this blog yesterday. I asked Brian if he would ask Iain Gray if he agreed with Gordon Brown that it would be wrong for Al-Megrahi to die in a Scottish jail.
    It has been removed, as have many others, due to it being 'spam'.

    It's quite enlightening to find out that asking a political journalist to ask the leader of the opposition a glaringly obvious question is considered no more than junk.

    I'll re-phrase, shall I?

    Brian,
    Could you ask Iain Gray, if he was First Minister, would he have disobeyed the leader of the Labour Party (his boss) and kept Al-Megrahi in jail until he died?

    Complain about this comment

  • 186. At 9:13pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Expanding on my comments in #184: More from the Sunday Herald article. (No, I don't usually read the Sunday Herald):

    "However, another leading prostate cancer expert who provided an independent medical assessment of Megrahi in June said the convicted bomber did not have long left.

    Professor Karol Sikora, medical director of care group CancerPartners UK, said: "Mr Al Megrahi has a very aggressive form of prostate cancer that has spread widely. Although he initially responded to treatment, this is now no longer working.

    "We believe he has only a very short period of time to live. We believed an urgent decision on his future was needed as further medical deterioration is likely to take place very soon."

    Professor Sikora said that chemotherapy would only adds weeks to Megrahi's life..."

    http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.2528186.0.megrahi_how_long_has_he_really_got.php

    For anyone who wants to read what they have to say about it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 187. At 9:15pm on 02 Sep 2009, skint wrote:

    #181 Thanks for the link, makes a mockery of the oppositions argument that McAskill failed to uphold the law. as #183 says, why have charges not been brought agianst him - all bluff and bluster with no content, why oh why is Brian not raising this with the opposition parties?

    Complain about this comment

  • 188. At 9:24pm on 02 Sep 2009, enneffess wrote:

    182. At 8:55pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online_Ed:

    Three things:

    One, stop making personal attacks.

    Two, stop making unsubstantiated assumptions.

    Three, check out the law with regards to harrassment on the internet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 189. At 9:24pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    "if Parliament fails, to take the matter to the people for resolution."

    Then let the peoples sovereignty take due course, for it has never been clearer that sovereignty is our best judge.


    Complain about this comment

  • 190. At 9:28pm on 02 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    On the ball JR!

    Visit Moridura , he has an interesting scenario regarding the BBBC.

    Complain about this comment

  • 191. At 9:34pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    131. deanthetory
    "Well done Aitken, keep asking those questions, lets uncover the Brown complicity, nods and winks in this sordid affair of Labour political spin."
    You've got to be kidding me!
    Forget all the rest of your post, you're not serious! "Well done", what, as in overcooked, unpalatable?

    What questions? Quote them for us so that we can all see Aitken's cutting probes into the deals being done and suchlike.

    Bill Aitken MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Justice:
    Why is it that the Salmond Government was so adamant that Mr Megrahi could NOT be released under the Prisoner Transfer Agreement but then said he COULD be released on compassionate grounds.
    PTA: Not to act as a patsy for the UK which the USA asserts had made pre-trial aggreements regarding prisoner transfer. Legally prevented by an outstanding crown appeal?
    Compassionate release: because he was eligible and passed successfully through all the stages of that process right up to the point where the Justice Secretary is left to make the decision according to our laws.

    He has admitted his guilt by dropping his appeal. Indeed the Justice Secretary has made it clear that he believes that Mr Megrahi is guilty.
    Admitted guilt by dropping his appeal!
    This is from your shadow Justice Secretary deanthetory! Well done indeed!

    I'll not go through his entire tapestry of insinuation and hyperbole in one go, I'm sure there'll be plenty opportunity as the discussion over this continues.
    I'm glad you think he did well deanthetory, it is exactly this kind of pontificating fool that will, with Goldie showing her true colours too, that will prevent the tories reengaging meaningfully with the electorate in scotland.

    Complain about this comment

  • 192. At 9:37pm on 02 Sep 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Following post 182, and several by another couple of posters, I am leaving this blog.

    Comments aimed at me by certain individuals are personal attacks.

    Such behaviour on a blog ruins any chance of a debate. People are entitled to their views, and entitled to comment on others views.

    What they are not entitled to do is to make sustained attacks every time a post is made. The comments have no relation whatsoever to whatever I've posted.

    Particular thanks to oldnat, as he is a shining example on how to debate properly. Disagreed a lot, but not once has he resorted to petty insults.





    Complain about this comment

  • 193. At 9:44pm on 02 Sep 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Lockerbie

    "Vincent Cannistraro - CIA task force officer in the brutal Nicaraguan campaign at the heart of the mid-1980s Oliver North Iran-Contra scandal. A training manual of invasion and killing of innocent citizens was the basis of the North-CIA programme. He minuted "the anatomy of a lie" to try to cover up US government involvement in Nicaragua. Anti-Libyan propaganda chief at the White House. Worked with Congressman Charlie Wilson using secret funding in tranches of $300 million to arm the Afghanistan Mujahadeen and Osama Bin Laden. Head of the CIA Lockerbie team."

    Complain about this comment

  • 194. At 9:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #176 JRMacClure
    #181 7leagueboots
    #183 mrbfaethedee
    Parliament has determined, by 73 to 50 or whatever, that there were fundamental errors in the management of this process. I am not going against the Parliament. This is a democracy and if Parliament has so determined then it must be so. Wee Eck and his gang must go and let Parliament cure these errors by appointing a new First Minister, or, if they can't, disolving themselves and letting the people decide.

    Complain about this comment

  • 195. At 9:58pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    139. NCA999
    "I think it's highly amusing that one week the Scot Nats that spam this blog criticise Scottish Labour for being in bed with their national party yet now criticise them for not being so.
    "
    Perhaps you should get a real sense of humour then ;)
    They get criticised not for being in bed with the national party, but for toeing the National Labour party line when that line is seen as putting Scotland's interests after the UK. Fine for a UK party, but if the Labour party in Scotland want to say that they put Scotland's interests first then there are going to be times when it is an untenable position, because by definition a UK party will from time to time put UK interests over Scotland's.
    Now they are being criticised for being two-faced over this, one face for Scotland and another fro the UK.
    This cirticism is not inconsistent, you may not agree with it or like it NCA999, but it isn't inconsistent.

    "The Scottish people disagree with this decision."
    You know this how? I assume you mean either that some polls you like more than the polls I like told you so, or because parlaiment voted so makes it so. Representative democracy isn't a direct line to the people on each issue - we put people in and hope they do the things we want them to. You can't look at any vote in any such parliament and say "the people [insert-own-view-here]".

    "The elected representatives of the Scottish people disagree with this decision."
    73 of them do, the ones that had nothing to lose by disagreeing. The other 50 included the one who had to make the decision, had to follow a well specified process to do so, and had to expose themselves and their government to great criticism if the decision they felt to be right was unpopular.
    Take your pick.

    "The victims of the crime disagree with this decision."
    Most do. Hardly unexpected, and a good reason to leave decisions like that in the the hands of the legal system.

    I wish I could agree that a debate had been had NCA999. It wasn't it was just a last chance for the opposition to make such strong and well supported assertions that they couldn't bring themselves to go for a vote of no confidence. Sad.

    Complain about this comment

  • 196. At 10:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    117. Freenonbrit

    "That’s the level of the opposition’s attack: finding irrelevant sub-issues, pretending not to know the answers and information already given. With some it’s shallow opportunism, just talking for the sake of the publicity; with others, it’s just a lack of intelligence. "
    Exactly Frenonbrit - Mountains out of the molehills, ignore responses, and drag it all through parliament in self righteous indignation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 197. At 10:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    120. skintybroko
    "
    Having been a fervent lib dem supporter in the past I can no longer stomach their shameful politics, the SNP have come out of this I believe with far more integrity than any of the opposition parties despite the vote.
    "

    Yes, itegrity is the quality which endures, and can be counted on without needing to first be sold to you. I think the people of Scotland will understand this at a fundamental level in future elections.

    Complain about this comment

  • 198. At 10:04pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    173. At 8:28pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "...our Parliament has found our Government wanting, in that they have disgraced our country in the eyes of the world, and they have also found their Justice Minister has failed to keep Scots Law and process..."

    You still haven't grasped what was going on. There is no evidence to support either of these contentions. Absolutely none. And no member of the "opposition" even attempted to present evidence to support such allegations during today's debate or anywhere else. All they have done is repeat the calumnies and distortions often enough for the seriously gullible to be convinced that they must be true.

    Today's vote had nothing whatever to do with the decision to release al-Megrahi on licence for reasons of compassion. It had everything to do with the petty politicking of some thoroughly despicable people.

    Alex Salmond knows this. Kenny MacAskill knows this. Grey, Goldie and Scott know this. Every informed commentator on Scottish politics knows this. Virtually everyone contributing here knows this.

    Are you beginning to feel lonely?

    Complain about this comment

  • 199. At 10:06pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Anyone wondering what the outburst from Neil Small is about will have to wait to see if the mods actually remove ny comment at 188.

    Let's see if I can give you all a clue to what I said.

    1. I'm taking my leave of the blog to work on Newsnet Scotland - Edition 3.

    2. The Megrahi poll is nearing 400 votes.

    3. I suggested that someone who at least claims to be impartial should take over Brian's blog.

    There, I'll leave it to your imagination to try to work out who claims to be impartial.

    I am of course guilty of using the internet to harrass - well most of us are. The target being those BBC reporters who aren't as impartial as they should be.

    Thanks to the many people who have managed to locate the Newsnet Scotland contact address and have sent messages of support and gratitude.

    Complain about this comment

  • 200. At 10:07pm on 02 Sep 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Thanks to the many people who have managed to locate the Newsnet Scotland contact address and have sent messages of support and gratitude.

    Complain about this comment

  • 201. At 10:10pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    141. JRMacClure
    "The one that surprises me is the LibDems. Again it's within the margin of error, but may show that keeping your head down when the flak (to put it nicely) is flying sometimes pays. It would be nice if courage paid instead, but that's probably a political reality."

    I think you're right about the tactic in the context of polling, but at the elections bleating along with the largest herd just for a sniff of power, doesn't cut it any more. The electorate abandon the libdems as the libdems trade their principles for position.

    Complain about this comment

  • 202. At 10:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    Annabel Goldie declared: "Tonight's vote is a clear message to Alex Salmond that the SNP Government's decision to release Mr Megrahi back to Libya is not in the Parliament's name, nor is it in Scotland's name."

    On the contrary. Neither Ms Goldie nor any of the other petulant critics who disgraced Parliament today speak for me or anyone else in Scotland outside their pathetic little circle. All they have demonstrated today is a petty triumph of narrow-minded faction and a sickening readiness to sink any principles, or indeed commonsense, they may once have possessed for mere political spite.

    Complain about this comment

  • 203. At 10:16pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    175. cynicalHighlander
    Thanks cynicalHighlander!
    Also re your #144, do they mean Murphy?

    Complain about this comment

  • 204. At 10:20pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #198 ElectricHermit
    No.

    Complain about this comment

  • 205. At 10:21pm on 02 Sep 2009, parsman wrote:

    Just an observation. During the furore over MP's expenses I heard people talking baout it everywhere - in the pub, at the bus stop, by the water cooler, even on the street.

    I haven't heard ANYONE discuss the release of Al Megrahi in that kind of situation. I believe it is not an issue which has excited the people of Scotland to any great degree. They are interested but don't believe it is the disaster or the botch up that the opposition parties obviously hope it is.

    Complain about this comment

  • 206. At 10:22pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    181. 7leagueboots
    Excellent link 7leagueboots.

    Complain about this comment

  • 207. At 10:24pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Can I just point out that the Scottish governments minority rule is subjected to the possibility of defeat on ever issue they pursue and even when they follow the Scottish law and due process like the release of Al, Megrahi, the opposition will continue to try and force the governments hand.Clearly the Scottish labour party, the Scottish conservatives and the Scottish lib/dems have no sense of due process, nor Scottish interests and what must happen now!, is that the people of Scotland get to decide on their sovereignty and future.

    Devolution is the victim of this on going issue,Scotland needs to be able to make it's own decisions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 208. At 10:29pm on 02 Sep 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    203. mrbfaethedee

    That's who I suspect but have been unable to find any comments in our media which is rather strange unless.....

    Complain about this comment

  • 209. At 10:30pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #207 derekbarker
    Thanks derek. You're a good lad and your heart's in the right place.

    Complain about this comment

  • 210. At 10:31pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    194. At 9:54pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "Parliament has determined, by 73 to 50 or whatever, that there were fundamental errors in the management of this process."

    List these "fundamental errors".

    I won't hold my breath.

    You clearly don't understand how the "game" is played. Apart from the fact that they are terrified to face the electorate, the reason the unionist cabal did not make this a vote of confidence is that they would then have been required to substantiate their plainly ludicrous claims.

    There is absolutely no reason for the Scottish government to resign. Not here in the real world. Get over it!

    Complain about this comment

  • 211. At 10:32pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    194. handclapping wrote:

    #176 JRMacClure
    #181 7leagueboots
    #183 mrbfaethedee
    Parliament has determined, by 73 to 50 or whatever, that there were fundamental errors in the management of this process. I am not going against the Parliament. This is a democracy and if Parliament has so determined then it must be so. Wee Eck and his gang must go and let Parliament cure these errors by appointing a new First Minister, or, if they can't, disolving themselves and letting the people decide.

    --------------------

    OH?? They made a No Confidence vote?? WHEN??

    Because nothing short of that would require such a thing. A vote that there were "errors in the process" is NOT a No Confidence vote. In fact, they seem to be very carefully avoiding such a thing. I'd like some evidence that "errors" somehow mean a government "must go".

    Now mind you *I* wouldn't mind seeing it. I'd actually enjoy it no end. Please. Have an election.

    I'm still waiting for that No Confidence vote and the Tories and Labourites to find their missing "tackle" and vote to bring it about. ;-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 212. At 10:33pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    You only have to look at the released evidence from the Scottish and UK parliaments pertaining to Al, Megrahi's release, that had new labour been in power in Scotland, then for sure, Mr Gray would have released Mr Megrahi under the PTA set up by Blair and confirmed by the foreign office and the home office.

    Complain about this comment

  • 213. At 10:35pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    204. At 10:20pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "No."

    Then you lack awareness of your situation. Nobody else is calling on the Scottish government to resign. Nobody.

    Complain about this comment

  • 214. At 10:36pm on 02 Sep 2009, MartinOfBothwell wrote:

    So was Malcolm Chisholm the ONLY Unionist politician to vote with his own true conscience on this issue?

    Shame, shame, shame on Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems today. They will suffer electorally for this cynical betrayal of Scotland.

    Malcolm Chisholm should declare himself independent. Shame on his "comrades", some of whom agree with him but who didn't have the courage to vote with him.

    Complain about this comment

  • 215. At 10:41pm on 02 Sep 2009, ratzo wrote:

    206. mrbfaethedee wrote: 181 - Excellent link.

    Yes. I was struck by the comparisons with other legal systems and the reference to the European Court of Human Rights.

    Everyone claiming some understanding about the entire Megrahi affair should read it.

    That's why I referred the excitable mr handclapping to it - but apparently the effort of reading it is beyond him.

    Complain about this comment

  • 216. At 10:43pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #213 ElectricHermit
    Nobody else is calling on the Scottish government to resign. Nobody.
    You're getting warmer. Have they given him an excuse?

    Complain about this comment

  • 217. At 10:44pm on 02 Sep 2009, LYDIA-REID wrote:

    Diabloandco

    Well said

    At last, we have a government willing to stand up for compassion as opposed to vengeance.

    I am aware the SNP are so careful to state that the decision made was entirely on compassionate grounds but I was so glad some other SNP MSPs referred to the fact that he may very well be innocent.

    He is home to die with his family and that is where he should be.

    To allow any area or hospice to try to treat this man compassionately is a ridiculous suggestion. Not only costly but neither safe nor sensible. Would anyone want to die with a media circus camped outside waiting for you to die. Your family harassed for news in a strange country as you die.

    I can imagine the criticism if Kenny had flown to America to see the relatives there, the cost would have been criticised and he would have been accused of posturing on the world stage.

    The debate in parliament today, said a lot for the stature of the SNP, they held their nerve in the face of parliament full of MSPs trying to make a political point, over the life or death of a man dying of cancer. The other parties have shamed our country and parliament.

    I have a serious objection to the Labour party saying that the SNP do not speak for the people of Scotland, well they speak for me and every other person I have spoken to about this issue.

    I think it will be hard for most people to appreciate the desperation a cancer patient and his family feels towards the end.. They want the Chemo, they are always living in hope that it will not just reduce the pain at the end, they hope for a miracle which rarely happens.


    Complain about this comment

  • 218. At 10:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Really it's too much to expect the opposition to stand up to the SNP and actually force and election. They won't stand up to us Americans and we're a long way away. How firmly can they kiss our arses and apologize for following Scottish due process?

    I mean who ELSE was Aitken talking about in that "mistake of international proportions" remark. "OOPS! We pissed the Americans off!" Or maybe someone else has been yelling about it and I didn't hear? =)

    Complain about this comment

  • 219. At 10:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    194. handclapping
    "Parliament has determined, by 73 to 50 or whatever, that there were fundamental errors in the management of this process. I am not going against the Parliament. This is a democracy and if Parliament has so determined then it must be so. Wee Eck and his gang must go and let Parliament cure these errors by appointing a new First Minister, or, if they can't, disolving themselves and letting the people decide."

    Parliament has determined nothing. Parliament has voted on certain amendments to a motion. Parliament could vote that the Moon is in fact made of green cheese, it would not make it so, despite what you believe about the powers of a parliamentary vote.
    That is why if the intent had been to force the government out of office they would have tried for a vote of no confidence in the government - that would have been an unequivocal vote by the rest of parliament that they felt the government had let parliament and Scotland down.

    Complain about this comment

  • 220. At 10:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    #178 On-Line Ed

    Wark asked Salmond on Newsnight, I believe 25 August, if the SNP would have a problem if Megrahi did not die within 3 months.

    Freedom

    Complain about this comment

  • 221. At 11:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, gogsagain wrote:

    As a lifelong socialist I am disgusted with the Scottish Labour party's stance on the Megrahi affair and in particular the hypocritical and political point scoring arrogance of Richard Baker. This vote far from restoring any credibility to Scotland has only served to humiliate us and make us a laughing stock. Whether the decision was right or wrong we should have stood behind the decision as a nation. I will definitely NEVER vote for a labour candidate as long as Baker and Gray have anything to do with it. I would say to them to do the honest thing (for once) and join the tory party. Mr Salmond and MacAskill you have come out of this with dignity and credibility!

    Complain about this comment

  • 222. At 11:00pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #209 handclapping

    Not usually accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve, anyway a head in front on this issue I would say.

    Complain about this comment

  • 223. At 11:02pm on 02 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    216. At 10:43pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "Have they given him an excuse?"

    Has who given whom an "excuse" for what?

    There's a fine line between cryptic and incomprehensible. If you look over your shoulder you may just be able to see it in the distance.

    Complain about this comment

  • 224. At 11:02pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    215. 7leagueboots
    "Yes. I was struck by the comparisons with other legal systems and the reference to the European Court of Human Rights."
    I have absolutely no legal backgorund at all, so it was very helpful to see it presented within a broader picture of other legal systems. I was also struck by (if I have understood it correctly) the sense of legal obligation not to withhold compassionate release.

    "Everyone claiming some understanding about the entire Megrahi affair should read it."
    I agree, and anyone caring to comment on it.

    "That's why I referred the excitable mr handclapping to it - but apparently the effort of reading it is beyond him."
    I think he's probably feeling a bit under seige at the moment - despite the opposition alliance's glorious victory. I do sincerely hope he reads it though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 225. At 11:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, commandlinegamer wrote:

    Listening to Good Morning Scotland, and later to Newsdrive it sounded to me that Iain Gray was given an easy ride while Nicola Sturgeon was pressed repeatedly on the 'questions' still unanswered. On Newsdrive,
    there was also an American politician interviewed who apparently would have been quite happy to have Megrahi sentenced to death.

    Unfortunately, I didn't hear the whole programme, but I imagine in the interest of fair and balanced reporting they would have had someone else on advocating the more humane sentence which he received.

    Complain about this comment

  • 226. At 11:05pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    218. JRMacClure
    lol!
    But seriously, yes i agree.
    "How firmly can they kiss our arses and apologize for following Scottish due process? "
    but lol!

    Complain about this comment

  • 227. At 11:06pm on 02 Sep 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    There were a lot of people in the Labour Group at Holyrood that I doggedly continued to entertain some respect for - Cathie Jamieson, Pauline McNeil to name but two - but no more.
    They disgust me.
    And I hope I never have to need some compassionate reaction for the still GP Dr Richard Simpson.
    The Tories did not dissappoint me. You cannot be let down when you expect absolutely nothing from them in the first place.
    I cannot find the words to describe the LibDems

    Complain about this comment

  • 228. At 11:11pm on 02 Sep 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    SNP defeated over bomber release

    Taken from the twelfth version of this story.

    "In a further development, a lawyer who represents the families of Lockerbie victims in the US is planning legal action to force the US government to publish details of its correspondence with London and Edinburgh in the run-up to Megrahi's release."

    Complain about this comment

  • 229. At 11:14pm on 02 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    Well Brian,
    Now that the Scottish opposition are ensconced in the fuzzy afterglow of their 'victory', will you now turn your attention to them?
    Their motivation?
    The evidence to back up their assertions?
    Their understanding of the legal process?
    The impact their decisions have had on the reputation of Scotland and its parliament?

    All scrutiny the SNP government has fallen under.

    plus another...
    Their position with regard to their UK parents? (Gray/Brown for an obvious example).

    Complain about this comment

  • 230. At 11:19pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #219 mrbfaethedee
    Shame on you for bringing our Parliament into disrepute. That the Moon is made of green cheese is in no way connected with the votes on the amendments. The Government made fundamental errors in process, made a mistake of international proportions, all the circumstances were inadequately considered and the anouncement was not made to Parliament. This speaks of such gross incompetence that the First Minister should resign and let the Parliament appoint a new First Minister, or, if they can't, have an election

    Complain about this comment

  • 231. At 11:29pm on 02 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    I think the point handclapping makes, is that the parliament rightly or wrongly voted the government down on a very serious issues, which also has international as well as national interest, so why aren't the opposition donkey's calling for a vote of no confidence?

    Do they have the confidence of the public????????

    Complain about this comment

  • 232. At 11:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    re 215,217

    Read the legal links again and think this through. Releasing Magrahi to a heros welcome in Libya was not the only choice. Putting the victims families through the hell of watching the convicted terrorist being welcomed like a conquering warrior was not showing compassion to them

    None of the legal opinion says that the timing of the release and the decision to release him to Libya were forced by law. Simply they were not.

    Compassion would have been better balanced by releasing him closer to the end of his life, once he required continuous palliative care. That would have served the need for compassion to the prisoner and served the need for compassion to the victims families.

    There are other options that would have satisfied the law. However the decision was made without fully considering the possibilities. Today parliament got it right, the affair has been very badly handled.

    Despite Greenock boy trying to get his mates to vote on on-line polls, despite Snecked again touring around Scotland voting on all the local polls he can find the public generally believe the affair was botched badly.

    I really hope this is the end of the Magrahi affair, some of the ultranat posts on this issue have been quite disgraceful. Some of the supposed new posters that have appeared are even more ubernat and as Neil_Small has said resort to personal attacks every time they are found wanting, which on this issue is frequent.

    I hope Neil thinks again, a few nutters should not stop reasoned debate. However I hope a new topic is posted soon before the lunatics completely take over the asylum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 233. At 11:50pm on 02 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    I keep telling you--a No Confidence vote would require the possession of something (or somethings) they are lacking. Aren't you people listening?

    It isn't the confidence of the public (well, they *may* not have that either--it looks like they don't think so) but they don't have that rather essential "twosome" that I hear gets chilly under those kilts some of you lot wear. ;-)

    In the case of the females, only metaphorical ones are required. Heck, metaphorical ones one do for the MALES now that I think about it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 234. At 11:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 231

    Given the intelligence level of the current crop of politicians in Holyrood, of all parties, if every time somebody made a complete mess of handling an issue we had a general election, I would be surprised if we had a government that lasted for more than 6 weeks.

    That is not the way a mature democracy should work. The vote was the correct way of showing that the majority of people reckon the issue was botched badly by Salmond and co.

    Lets face reality here, with the exception of a few from across the spectrum most MSP's are no better than and probably worse than many local councillors. No party is over burdened with political talent in Holyrood. The current crisis showed the SNP under pressure, they are a 3 or 4 trick pony at best, no more. Labour would like to have at least 3 or 4 tricks but in reality have none. the libdems are a joke and the Tories are just really a pressure group.

    End of issue.

    Complain about this comment

  • 235. At 00:02am on 03 Sep 2009, johnp32 wrote:

    Can we,as an electorate, demand a public inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing? Well done to MacAskill on his decision.

    Complain about this comment

  • 236. At 00:04am on 03 Sep 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Patrick Harvey, in his appeal for a free vote, seemed to know that there were politicians in all the parties who disagreed with their parties policy. They bottled it. Why did the Tory abstain instead of voting with his conscience?

    According to our Brian there was no possibility of a vote of no confidence in today's debate. The SNP took the initiative by calling for the debate before the opposition could get rallied. I suppose then it must be theoretically possible for the opposition to call for another debate where they would be able to have a vote of no confidence. If so, if they are so sure of their ground, why don't they?

    Complain about this comment

  • 237. At 00:07am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    230. At 11:19pm on 02 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "The Government made fundamental errors in process..."

    List them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 238. At 00:09am on 03 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    Of course if Kenny had turned down poor Mr al-Megrahi, Westminster would have had to abrogate the Scotland Act and get the Secretary of State for Scotland to release him as required by the European Convention on Human Rights which Saint Tone had incorporated into our constitution which would have had fundamental errors in process, made a mistake of international proportions, not had all the circumstances adequately considered and the anouncement not made to Parliament, but that is neither here nor there because it was Kenny who made the decision and not the SoSfS.

    Complain about this comment

  • 239. At 00:14am on 03 Sep 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    One strange thing I noticed about the debate was that very quickly no one was giving way to interventions. It started off with one or two, but it seemed to me that when the speakers saw that some were getting away with it, they also declined and were allowed to get away with it. Salmond and others were left with their mouths open several times, unable to make a repost. Was it deliberate dumbing down?

    Complain about this comment

  • 240. At 00:24am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #234. At 11:59pm on 02 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 231

    Given the intelligence level of the current crop of politicians in Holyrood, of all parties, if every time somebody made a complete mess of handling an issue we had a general election, I would be surprised if we had a government that lasted for more than 6 weeks.

    That is not the way a mature democracy should work. The vote was the correct way of showing that the majority of people reckon the issue was botched badly by Salmond and co.

    Lets face reality here, with the exception of a few from across the spectrum most MSP's are no better than and probably worse than many local councillors. No party is over burdened with political talent in Holyrood. The current crisis showed the SNP under pressure, they are a 3 or 4 trick pony at best, no more. Labour would like to have at least 3 or 4 tricks but in reality have none. the libdems are a joke and the Tories are just really a pressure group.

    End of issue.

    ------------

    An interesting analysis, Northhighlander. I think some of the SNP are better than you give them credit for but maybe that's because they're at a distance and I'm used to our useless American lot. We can't even manage universal medical care.

    Let me ask you this. Are the lot in Westminster any better? And that's not sarcasm--I'm really curious about your opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 241. At 00:31am on 03 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #234 northhighlander

    Yes! there is a question about the calibre of MSP's, most people recognise that.

    Northhighlander, the last Tory government introduced the current system of prisoner release way back in 1993, it was amended by the devolution settlement and extended by the Blair and Gaddafi PTA, indeed Jim Wallace, from the lib/dem coalition government used the compassionate law to free a child killer and Jack Straw used the law in England to fee Ronnie Biggs on compassionate release. So Northhighlander, both the labour and conservative parties voted against their very own legislation, a bit of a surprise that, is it not?.

    Northhighlander, giving politicians that type of power is controversial, but hey! who is calling to amend the law in that area?.

    Northhighlander, there is no doubt that the situation was initiated by the UK government, however if we ever do get a new enquiry and the truth is properly aired and Al, Megrahi is found not guilty will you sigh and accept justice can be wrong and cruel.

    Complain about this comment

  • 242. At 00:33am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    232. At 11:46pm on 02 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    "None of the legal opinion says that the timing of the release and the decision to release him to Libya were forced by law. Simply they were not."

    Nobody is claiming that it was. As far as I can make out you are the only one parading this particular straw man.

    "Compassion would have been better balanced by releasing him closer to the end of his life, once he required continuous palliative care."

    You seem to imagine that metastasising cancer operates to a strict timetable. The fact that al-Megrahi is reported to be in drastic decline so soon after his release totally punctures this argument. Which won't stop you trotting it out ad nauseam, of course.

    "That would have served the need for compassion to the prisoner and served the need for compassion to the victims families."

    The families (why do I find myself compelled to capitalise this?) were not the ones making the application. It was al-Megrahi's circumstances that the Justice Minister had to consider.

    "There are other options that would have satisfied the law. However the decision was made without fully considering the possibilities."

    This is the Tory/BLP alliance line. So I suppose you are obliged to toe it. But, just as you and your fellow amateur propagandists have yet to detail any of the alleged procedural errors, so you have yet to point to a single viable alternative option or show that the genuine options were not adequately considered.

    It's all accusation and no actuality with you lot. But what really irks is that you have such contempt for the people of Scotland as to imagine they don't notice the complete lack of substance in the anti-Scottish government propaganda.

    Complain about this comment

  • 243. At 00:46am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #232 northhighlander

    We do agree on things from time to time. That Neil Small should return is one of them.

    As to the quality of MSPs, I would simply make 2 points.

    The quality would be better if some of the Unionist politicians saw governing Scotland as more important than governing England, and more important than running an interventionist foreign policy. With Independence we get to choose from a wider range within the political class.

    I don't think you are exhibiting the Scottish cringe "we don't have the ability to run a country", but your comment could certainly be interpreted that way. The sad reality is that in most countries, the quality of the backbenchers is pretty woeful.

    Complain about this comment

  • 244. At 00:52am on 03 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #237 Electric Hermit
    I have no idea what they might be. If the Parliament voted that there were, then that's democracy for you. Unfortunately there is no process like an appeal to the SCCRB(?) for getting justice, you just have to wait for an election and get even. Unless the Government resigns first, of course.

    Complain about this comment

  • 245. At 00:54am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #242 Electric Hermit

    It is not appropriate to charge people with allegiance to a particular party, unless it is demonstrably true.

    I have frequently had disagreements with northhighlander, but I do read what he says -

    "The current crisis showed the SNP under pressure, they are a 3 or 4 trick pony at best, no more. Labour would like to have at least 3 or 4 tricks but in reality have none. the libdems are a joke and the Tories are just really a pressure group."

    With a healthy cynicism for politicians of all parties (which I share), he actually gives more credit to the SNP than the others.

    Complain about this comment

  • 246. At 00:54am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    I mean, I seriously doubt that the you can meet the stupidity of some of ours. I would have readily traded you (thank heavens former) Representative Bob Ney, convicted 2 years ago of conspiracy and the brilliant legislator who mandated, as Chairman of the House Administration Committee, that "french fries" be renamed "freedom fries" on House of Representatives food service menus, to indicate displeasure with France's lack of support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Do you REALLY have any that bad? I doubt it. =(

    Complain about this comment

  • 247. At 01:08am on 03 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    230. handclapping
    Apologies.
    Now that you simply restate those assertions i see they are proof indeed.
    I too can now look forward to immanent resignation of the defilers of Parliament.

    Complain about this comment

  • 248. At 01:14am on 03 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 241 Derek

    Derek Ronnie Biggs is a very good example of getting it right. He was released when he needed 24 hr medical care and that was never going to change. He can't speak or walk. It is right and compassionate to release in that circumstance. He wouldn't be walking down the steps of an Aircraft waving and cheering.

    Today parliament voted on how this was handled.

    Re 240

    Westminster lot are little better, although given the larger number there is a few more credible politicians amongst their number. However the expenses scandal has tarnished them all, few are respected in any way.

    I feel this affects the type of people who enter politics, many are put off by the image cultivated in Westminster and the woeful standards of debate in Holyrood. I also feel that the PR voting system has ensured that Parties decide a large portion of the entrants now and I am unconvinced this is good for the parliament.

    Salmond is the only politician of note in Holyrood, he is streets ahead in debating ability of the opposition. However his weak spot is when under pressure he comes across as arrogant and very rude. However this is rarely exposed due to the ineptitude of the opposition which in turn is bad for democracy.

    The rest of the SNP stars have mostly had a shot in opposition and none stood out. Nicola Sturgeon is a good minister, first class but was average as leader.

    We need decent opposition but it looks unlikely before the next election.

    Complain about this comment

  • 249. At 01:24am on 03 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #247 mrbfaethedee
    No need, I'm not good at explaining myself. It's always best to have a look round the corner. A mirror on a stick if you're in bandit country. Goodnight.

    Complain about this comment

  • 250. At 01:25am on 03 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #248 northhighlander

    Parliament voted against the release of a prisoner, what happened at Tripoli airport was a matter for the Libyan government.

    Northhighlander, did those people who gathered at the airport, wave their flags to support of a mass murderer or were they showing signs of thanking Scotland for it's show of compassion and mercy, if indeed Tripoli was showing signs of supporting human rights, then that alone is a mile stone in their continued international growth.

    Complain about this comment

  • 251. At 01:26am on 03 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 243 oldnat

    I am most definitely not saying we can/t run our own country. I am saying that we lack talent in parliament. Many potential people don't obviously see this as a career.

    There are many reasons for that, but it is an issue that we need to deal with. Democracy is suffering form a general lack of participation. Look at the Euro elections in most areas more than 70% didn't vote.

    When you see my 248 I am quite honest in my interpretation of our politicans, as I see it. I doubt you will agree with all of it.

    We need some political thinking and ideas that will get people engaged again, get them to realise that politics is important. As we enter the post recession a lot of things need to change, no-one in Scotland is really making that change in thinking.

    I suspect those in Westminster will wait until the election campaign kicks off in earnest before telling us their big ideas, if they have any.

    But in Scotland we can and should be starting to think of the future and how we deal with the new challenges in delivery of public services, how we rebuild our economy, how we deal with higher education funding to name but a few.

    However we are still trading in the politics of the last ten years, we are not progressing into the new world yet.

    Complain about this comment

  • 252. At 01:29am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #248. northhighlander wrote:

    Re 241 Derek

    Derek Ronnie Biggs is a very good example of getting it right. He was released when he needed 24 hr medical care and that was never going to change. He can't speak or walk. It is right and compassionate to release in that circumstance. He wouldn't be walking down the steps of an Aircraft waving and cheering.

    Today parliament voted on how this was handled.

    ---------------

    Northhighlander, I can understand your point. But we're talking cancer here. Cancer patients can sometimes linger for a while but they frequently deteriorate very quickly. Having had someone die of cancer in my family, I know how reluctant doctors are to give a time frame and how unpredictable it can be.

    One of the physicians who treated al-Megrahi was quoted in the Sunday Herald article that I linked to earlier:

    "However, another leading prostate cancer expert who provided an independent medical assessment of Megrahi in June said the convicted bomber did not have long left.

    Professor Karol Sikora, medical director of care group CancerPartners UK, said: "Mr Al Megrahi has a very aggressive form of prostate cancer that has spread widely. Although he initially responded to treatment, this is now no longer working.

    "We believe he has only a very short period of time to live. We believed an urgent decision on his future was needed as further medical deterioration is likely to take place very soon."

    Professor Sikora said that chemotherapy would only adds weeks to Megrahi's life..."

    When he had cancer specialists saying an urgent decision was needed and deterioration would happen "very soon", to me his decision looks pretty reasonable.

    The truth is that this was used as a political football and nothing more. I honestly believe that. Would it have made the slightest difference if Mr. MacAskill had waited a week or two (and even that might have been too much)? I don't see that it would have. They still would have hammered him on it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 253. At 01:31am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    But that is, as we say in these parts, beating a dead horse. On to other things, one hopes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 254. At 01:31am on 03 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 250 Derek

    Think how the victims families felt. That is why the law is written to give politicians a say in such matters.

    I am not aware of Libyan public opinion. I think they do what they are told most of the time, political opposition is not a life enhancing career in Libya.

    Complain about this comment

  • 255. At 01:42am on 03 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    #254 northhighlander

    Yes! good point, the victims families have been somewhat pushed aside, as the political football got kicked about, however Northhighlander, there was support from some of the victims families to release Megrahi, on compassionate grounds and some wanted a better justice, for their lost ones.

    Again yes! Libya is a one party state, do they do opinions? internally! probably not, externally probably yes!.

    Complain about this comment

  • 256. At 01:44am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    244. At 00:52am on 03 Sep 2009, handclapping wrote:

    "I have no idea what they might be. If the Parliament voted that there were, then that's democracy for you."

    Complete drivel! Empirical facts are not subject to a vote. This is not Stalinist Russia. Either there were "fundamental errors" or there were not. Evidently, there were not. Otherwise at least one of you people who keep banging on about them would be able to give an example.

    Yesterday's vote was a bit of political gamesmanship on the part of those who put party before parliament and people. In constitutional terms, it is meaningless. Don't try to make it something it isn't.

    Complain about this comment

  • 257. At 01:44am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    My gut feeling is that the SNP attitude was that this HAD to be done so go ahead and get it over with and get it behind them. It may well have been the best decision possible. There was no way a political party wins on this kind of issue.

    In fact, by handling it with relative dignity and firmness, I think they came out of it as well as it was possible for anyone to. At least no one is calling them cowards or that they hid and few are now saying that they didn't believe what they did was right--even those who strongly disagree. Since that's lot to be said for a political party, I don't see how they could have handled it a lot better.

    So, I guess I respectfully disagree, Northhighlander.

    A strictly political-amateur American opinion. :)

    I HAVE to get some work done and everyone has gone to sleep except us US bound folks and the insomniacs in the crowd. *waves*

    Complain about this comment

  • 258. At 01:49am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    245. At 00:54am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "It is not appropriate to charge people with allegiance to a particular party, unless it is demonstrably true."

    I didn't. But please don't let inconvenient facts deter you from your high-minded lectures.

    If someone chooses to identify themselves with the lies being peddled by the Tory/BLP alliance then they had better be prepared to take the flak.

    Complain about this comment

  • 259. At 01:49am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #251 northhighlander

    We are probably broadly in agreement.

    The tyranny of the party machine needs to be broken, and that means creating electoral systems that are more difficult to control.

    I wouls want to oust both of the systems that Labour introduced for the Scottish Parliament. Both FPTP and party lists were designed to allow the parties to control the public, instead of the other way round.

    Even the multi member constituencies used for local government have the problem that parties put up enough candidates for their hoped for number of seats, but no more, as they will split "their" vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 260. At 02:18am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    254. At 01:31am on 03 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    "I am not aware of Libyan public opinion. I think they do what they are told most of the time, political opposition is not a life enhancing career in Libya."

    Ignorance is a vacuum waiting to be filled with whatever lies those in power choose to peddle. As every good propagandist since Goebbels knows, you have to keep it simple. Leave no grey areas. Total demonisation of whoever is the target for the "Two Minute Hate".

    The Libyans I have spoken with consider our political system to be massively dis-empowering compared to theirs. We vote once every four or five years and then the rest of the time we pretty much do as we are told. Even if the telling is sufficiently subtle to escape the notice of many.

    In Libya, people can expect to be involved in the political process on an almost daily basis through a tiered structure of representative and delegate committees all of which feed into the formulation of policy. The fact that, ultimately, everything is subject to the approval of a ruling council and leader is not effectively all that much different from a cabinet and prime minister.

    I can well imagine Ghadaffi being jealous of the power wielded by the likes of Tony "The Weasel" Blair.

    Complain about this comment

  • 261. At 02:20am on 03 Sep 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Well done the SNP government and those who gave their backing to the decision (and did so for the right reasons).

    At least I now know that there is a true worth to my vote and that there are those who will endeavour to represent myself in a fully honerable, right and just way!

    Peace to all the families of the Lockerbie tragedy and I hope that the full truth will finally provide solice to you. However, I am saddened that the 'opposition' tried to use the families grief as some sort of political-emotional pawn in the Holyrood debate today... this was absolutely and by far the worst and most dis-heartening aspect of this whole story to emerge.

    Not only does this dis-respect the families of those who were lost, it dis-respects those who were lost!

    Al Megrahi is dying, that is a fact. I as a Scot, am glad that we were able as a people, not to extend the punishment for the Lockerbie crime to his children and his wife. Whether he was guilty or not, those who loved Al Megrahi as a father or husband, do not deserve to be punished for something they had nothing to do with.

    The question everyone should ask themselves is that, although the past has been full of horrific events, do we want to continue this to the future by repeating the same anger driven mistakes... or do we want to break the cycle?

    I suggest 'break the cycle' ...purely for selfish reasons, as I want to see a better world for myself... not more of the same!!!

    Ps. Everyone remember that Politicians are the cause of most of the worlds ill's... not the cure. (despite what they try to convince you of!)

    Complain about this comment

  • 262. At 02:28am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    257. At 01:44am on 03 Sep 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    "My gut feeling is that the SNP attitude was that this HAD to be done so go ahead and get it over with and get it behind them."

    The SNP did not choose the timing. Mr al-Megrahi did that. By the very nature of the thing, the Justice Secretary is compelled to act promptly on any application for compassionate release which lands on his desk. Because by the time it reaches that stage the application has already been through a vetting process which ensures that only the most irrefutable cases for compassion get through.

    When it suited them, the Tory/BLP alliance were accusing MacAskill of "dithering". Now, they accuse him of being too hasty. Two-faced doesn't begin to cover it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 263. At 02:29am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #258 Electric Hermit

    Interesting that you see "high-minded" as an insult, while I take it as a compliment.

    Fortunately, the arguments for indepencence are valid within themselves and, I believe, the majority of Scots will come to agree with them. However, unless people are persuaded then our cause will fail.

    I will be deeply sorry if that happens, and your style of attacking may well be a contributory factor if Scots are not persuaded.

    The reason I post is to persuade our countrymen/women that independence will free us all from the imperialist structure that is the UK.

    I'm not sure why you post at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 264. At 02:36am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #260 Electric Hermit


    "Ignorance is a vacuum waiting to be filled with whatever lies those in power choose to peddle. As every good propagandist since Goebbels knows, you have to keep it simple. Leave no grey areas. Total demonisation of whoever is the target for the "Two Minute Hate"."

    And in a previous post of yours "If someone chooses to identify themselves with the lies being peddled by the Tory/BLP alliance then they had better be prepared to take the flak."

    Ghandi was a very powerful propagandist and (unlike you) never peddled hate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 265. At 02:50am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    263. At 02:29am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "I will be deeply sorry if that happens, and your style of attacking may well be a contributory factor if Scots are not persuaded."

    I make no apology for attacking lies and those who peddle them.

    Complain about this comment

  • 266. At 03:02am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    264. At 02:36am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "Ghandi was a very powerful propagandist and (unlike you) never peddled hate."

    If you see "hate" then it can only be that which is conjured from your own mind. Since I harbour hatred for no-one, I naturally cannot accept your facile labelling.

    Notwithstanding the pompous sanctimony (and suppressing the gag reflex it induces), if someone claims as fact that there were "fundamental errors" in the procedure followed by Kenny MacAskill, I will vigorously challenge them to substantiate that claim. And if their feelings get hurt in the process, I will happily leave it to you to offer the poor dears counselling and camomile tea.

    Complain about this comment

  • 267. At 03:17am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #262. At 02:28am on 03 Sep 2009, Electric Hermit wrote:

    257. At 01:44am on 03 Sep 2009, JRMacClure wrote:

    "My gut feeling is that the SNP attitude was that this HAD to be done so go ahead and get it over with and get it behind them."

    The SNP did not choose the timing. Mr al-Megrahi did that. By the very nature of the thing, the Justice Secretary is compelled to act promptly on any application for compassionate release which lands on his desk. Because by the time it reaches that stage the application has already been through a vetting process which ensures that only the most irrefutable cases for compassion get through.

    When it suited them, the Tory/BLP alliance were accusing MacAskill of "dithering". Now, they accuse him of being too hasty. Two-faced doesn't begin to cover it.

    --------------------
    EC, I did not say that they chose the timing. Please don't argue with something I didn't say.

    But they probably could have put the release off another few weeks--until the man had to be carried onto the plane on a stretcher with an IV drip in his arm within moments of death.

    That is a fact.

    It would have done them no good and would have been a dishonorable act. I do believe that Mr. MacAskill was acting within his conscience.

    But they are also politicians and putting it off would have gotten them nothing. They still would have been attacked with less time to recover from the damage of massive attacks and would have acted against their own consciences. My point was that they had no reason to try to put it off--which Northhighlander was saying they should have.

    Both things can be true at the same time.

    You know you seem to think that EVERYONE but you is attacking the SNP. That is not true.

    Complain about this comment

  • 268. At 03:17am on 03 Sep 2009, finbarthesage wrote:

    I believe that this blog should continue until the First Minister is replaced.
    Kenny MacAskill used Scottish compassion as his excuse for freeing al Megrahi but, as a resident in Scotland for many years, I fail to recognise that as a differentiating attribute.
    Consider the Trump issue, the First Minister took action to over rule the Aberdeenshire council who rejected the Trump plans, now there is a move to make a compulsory purchase order on peoples homes to build, of all things, a golf course. Where is the Scottish compassion here?

    Complain about this comment

  • 269. At 03:23am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #268. So you are saying that compassionate release does not happen in Scotland except in this case?

    Interesting. But not true.

    Mr. MacAskill needed no excuse. He did his duty as Justice Minister.

    If you want to campaign against Mr. Salmond over the Trump issue that is certainly your right. It has nothing to do with Mr. al-Megrahi's release.

    Complain about this comment

  • 270. At 04:13am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #268 finbarthesage

    Always worth being accurate.

    The First Minister didn't overrule the Aberdeenshire Council. He kept scrupulously out of the process, and the decision was taken by the appropriate Secretary of the Cabinet.

    Also, if you remember, the decision was not that of the Council as a whole, but of their Planning Committee on the casting vote of the Chairman.

    The decision, either way, was going to be controversial, but I rather like Governments which consider the pros and cons of issues, then make decisions (right or wrong, in my view).

    It makes a refreshing change from New Labour's government by focus groups, as to their electability if they make a decision one way or the other.

    Complain about this comment

  • 271. At 04:32am on 03 Sep 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    I asked a few questions of the Nat ranters on here and didn't really get much of an answer.

    I asked why you attack the Labour party for siding with the National party when they are disagreeing with you but attack them for disagreeing with their National party when the party is, apparently, agreeing with you.
    To this I got one responce saying:

    "They get criticised...for toeing the National Labour party line when that line is seen as putting Scotland's interests after the UK."

    "Now they are being criticised for being two-faced over this, one face for Scotland and another fro the UK."

    So eh yea, I take you back to my point. One minute you want them to disagree with the national party when and the next minute you don't. This is apparently determined by "when it's in the national interests". A rather flaky definition but using this as the most recent example of this contrast your definition of national interest seems to be, agreement with the SNP line.
    Your position is most definitely inconsistent mate.


    There was a few odd responses. Thomas Porter attacked me, in the typical Scot Nat conspiracy theorists everyone's out to get us routine, over some semantics. Apparently I said that it wasn't a decision for the government but for the scottish government when apparently what would have been technically correct to say was 'it wasn't a decision for the home secretary but was a decision for the Scottish justice minister.'
    Whilst I would argue, on the semantics, that both take their decision on behalf of the executive, which takes decisions on behalf of parliament, the amusing response from Thomas claiming that this was somehow a conspiracy to try and mislead someone about the SNP is not only a bit pathetic but rather annoying given that there was some actual serious and grown up points being made. I give you my absolute word Thomas that I have no clue what you're talking about in your claim that the above sentence was trying to score a political point.

    Note to Thomas, please don't continue this discussion. I'm really not interested in a debate on semantics/technical details. It's not relevant to the discussion which is whether Megrahi should have been released. Please lets move on.


    I had one response to my point that these people were representing their constituents and that was to claim that they somehow weren't.

    Apart from the fact that all of the polls show the Scottish people quite overwhelmingly against the decision, it's unfair to attack them for voting on party lines. Every single SNP MSP voted in favour of MacAskill. Whilst I have doubts about the ability of most SNP MSPs, and for that matter most other MSPs, to form a reasoned and sensible position on something without being told it by their leaders I think it's highly unlikely that each and every one of them would really have taken the same decision in the same circumstances. This was most definitely not a black and white case. You keep claiming it shouldn't be about party politics, then why were the SNP voting on mass as well?



    My final question, and I'm both surprised and unsurprised that nobody answered this one, was,

    What exactly is it the government (the national govt not the SNP) have done wrong here? Genuine question. I can see clearly where scope for debate is about both MacAskills decision (because early release isn't an absolute right - it is a subjective decision) and the process he enacted, notably the meeting with the man, the sermon on the mount speech, the press releases and failure to stop the welcome home party.

    Whilst I think MacAskill was wrong, I can see where the issue of contention is, I'm confused as to what it is G.Brown is supposed to have done wrong. (Please note I do not and never have voted Labour - this isn't a political question).

    I've quoted what I wrote above since nobody responded to it. The following is my understanding of Gordon Brown/ the govts actions on this. Can someone please point to which thing it is that people feel they should have done differently?

    We set out to have a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya for dealing with terrorists, problem immigrants etc as part of a normalising of relations (ie similar to that which we have with most of our friends). During the negotiation it became apparent that Megrahi would be eligible for consideration, the Scottish Government understandably protested and so an amended version was taken forward in negotiations which basically said (in all cases but al megrahis). The Libyans didn't like the fact that this line was in the agreement, as they thought it sent out the wrong message about their campaign to see Megrahi found innocent and released etc etc. They pointed out that we (the Scottish Government at this point) had a veto over who gets released anyway so this would be nothing other than PR, which they didn't want. It was decided that pissing off the Libyans for something that we didn't really need was pointless and contrary to the goals of our wider negotiations (which included oil, help with terrorism, combatting immigration problems etc etc) so we dropped the amendment. The amendment wasn't necessary so we didn't really concede anything, it was just causing upset to the people on the opposite side of the negotiating table.

    Which bit of the above do people have a problem with?




    The final point which I wish to make is about the BBC. All of the Nat Conspiracy theorists on here regularly revel in claiming that the media is biased against them.

    I regularly challenge them to the point that if this were really the case, and the media didn't represent the people's views, why were they remaining as the mainsream media and why are more pro-nationalist news organisations not thriving. This is the simplest, most basic point about how capitalist democracies work. If your, everyone's conspiring against us, theories really were true, the problem would naturally resolve itself which it clearly isn't.

    Secondly, the role of the media is to act as a check and balance on government. They regularly slaughtered the previous Scottish executive for being incompetent baffoons. They regularly tear down Gordon Brown for being the same. Why should the SNP receive any differently, the only reason I can see is that it's because you agree with the SNPs main agenda therefore any criticism shouldn't be allowed.

    Finally, I have one challenge to make. Out of all the times I have asked this I've only ever seen one response on these blogs. What do you reccomend the BBC do differently. The only responses I've ever seen are along the lines of "They should be more pro the SNP every now and again". That's a direct quote from one of the posters on here who was complaining about BBC bias, reccomending that a biased BBC was a good thing, as long as it agreed with him. Can someone please provide me an example headline they disagree with and suggest a better, less biased, alternative which they think would have been fairer please.

    Complain about this comment

  • 272. At 04:35am on 03 Sep 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    re: oldnats point on government taking decisions/being accountable.

    I agree. I think it's one good aspect of the SNP exec that they stand up and be counted for what their position on issues are.

    I disagreed with how they behaved over Aberdeenshire council, I also disagreed with their final decision on releasing al megrahi.
    At least however they took the decision themselves and stood up for that decision.

    Complain about this comment

  • 273. At 04:58am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    I can't discuss a couple of your issues because I don't know and have no opinion on them. I'm neither a Scot nor a nationalist. Sorry.

    However, I think your argument as a very serious and basic flaw when it comes to the BBC.

    You make the argument that "the media is to act as a check and balance on government." You follow this up with comments that they slaughtered the previous Scottish executive and Grodon Brown.

    So they are being biased in this coverage. You just admitted that.

    Well, it happens I DO NOT think it is the job of the media to be a check and balance.

    It is the job of the media to report the truth as best they can so people can make informed decisions--not decisions based on bias and prejudice. If the news media gets it wrong--fine. That is human. But when they are deliberately twisting the facts in order to act as a "check and balance" then they are by necessity lying to the people.

    There have been a number of comments on biased stories and you can go back and find them. In particular, the one that was not only pulled but taken out of the archives and all links to it erased except for the News Sniffer one was particularly egregious. If you want to find the posts discussing it, that is up to you. I'm not going to look it up for you.

    And personally all I ask in a news source is that to the best of their ability they give balanced reporting. Ask the hard questions of BOTH the party in power and the opposition.

    No. The news media does not have the right to hide parts of the news in order to skew stories and refuse to ask important questions of the opposition because they want to destroy the party in power.

    That, sir, is wrong.

    Complain about this comment

  • 274. At 05:09am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #271. "I asked why you attack the Labour party for siding with the National party when they are disagreeing with you but attack them for disagreeing with their National party when the party is, apparently, agreeing with you."

    I assume in this you're talking about the Iain Gray's differences with Gordon Brown. First, the BBC refused to ask him about it. If the SNP had split, you can BET they would have asked--in attack mode. (Yes, I think they are biased just as you admitted)

    Second, there was an appearance--true or not--that Mr. Gray did not KNOW the position of the national party. Surely if he had, he wouldn't have been left standing quite so flat footed. This did not seem to speak well of the communications with or the treatment of the Scottish branch of the party.

    One could hardly miss noticing it.

    You really need to get over your fixation on "nats". You do a heck of a not more insulting and heckling than they do. And your fixation on going around insulting or trying to insult everyone who disagrees with you doesn't prove your case, you know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 275. At 05:12am on 03 Sep 2009, Donald_McNairn wrote:

    271 - Labour have no raison d’être. Post clause 4, they are a self serving loosely knit bunch of careerist who would sell their granny to a glue factory. Labour have no morals, no sense of country, are not embedded within the communities they supposedly serve and will chase short term headlines / gain. Personification of this is, Gray, Baker and the Alexander’s. Unforgiveable from my perspective is that they will do Scotland a disservice at every opportunity to present union in a favourable light.

    You ask what should the BBC do?

    - BBC Scotland should put Scotland first, it should be a exemplar of journalism, not a judge and jury over independence on every policy the Scottish government presents.

    - Be even handed with the elected government of Scotland.

    - Not to be a propaganda tool for Union

    - Not to repeat verbatim what their masters in London labour have told them to lead on.

    - Be neutral and impartial

    - Not whip up anti-Scottish feeling, e.g. fan the flames of Scottish boycotts.

    - Present both sides of a story

    - Probe the opposition, what would they do?

    - Promote Scotland internally and internationally

    - Treat the nationalist community with the same respect as unionist counterparts

    - Last, but not least, conduct themselves in Scotland as other national broadcasters would do in any other country, and not sell us down the river for cheap political points.

    D Mcn

    Complain about this comment

  • 276. At 05:43am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #272 NCA999

    Your comment is appreciated. I don't necessartily support the SNP Government on everything, but I do find it refreshing that they take decisions and stand by them (and sometimes even accept that they can't get sufficient agreement to proceede with their policies - seems like grown up government to me!). Taking decisions isn't actually easy. There are pros and cons in every issue.

    I'll take issue, however, with some of the points in yopur previous post.

    "I asked why you attack the Labour party for siding with the National party when they are disagreeing with you but attack them for disagreeing with their National party when the party is, apparently, agreeing with you."

    Apart from our obvious disagreement on what is the "National" (Scottish?/British?) party, I think you misunderstand what the serial question was all about. I have no problem with the SNP being subject to hard questioning. That is what a democratic media should be doing. However, the same standard of questioning needs to be appliede to opposition parties as well, and the BBC seems to be poor at equitable cynicism! The Labour party is a unitary organisation with a single leader in Gordon Brown. If the Labour Party in Scotland is taking a wholly divergent position on al-Meghrahi from the UK position, then that is a critical political fault line wiothin Labour that a decently investigative media should be exploring.

    "Apart from the fact that all of the polls show the Scottish people quite overwhelmingly against the decision"

    Exaggeration, I'm afraid. The polls show a variety of opinion - exactly what one would expect. Indeed, if there had been polling about whether al-Megrahi should have been hanged, then I would have expected that to have been the majority position in the polling. I like a system of justice that transcends our immediate and continuing desire for vengeance. If you disagree then you are free to campaign for a change in the law. However, you may find that impossible if Scotland/UK is to remain a member of the Council of Europe.

    Re your points on normalisation of relations with Libya? I have no problem with that process. It is absolutely normal. Where there is a difficulty is with relationships with the USA. Every country tries to play their position to the maximium advantage - not necessarily "moral" in the eyes of their citizens (for whom their government gas demonised that country!), but normally a worth while process.

    Why did the US Government offers "millions of dollars" to Scotland (according to the Indy)? That would scupper the British oil companies in Libya, and allow the US companies increased access.

    As to your final point on what the BBC should do differently? To repeat - they need to hold opposition politicians to account in exactly the same way that they should do with governments. That includes Brian's use of phrases such as "not yet" for evidence that doesn't exist for a supposuition he has made. Bad journalism always needs to be condemned.

    Complain about this comment

  • 277. At 05:54am on 03 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    Donald does have some fair points, I mean not many in Scotland are interested in what the English cricket board get up to and why on earth we up here in Scotland only get as little as half hour slots of news is beyond me, you know the people of Scotland dont pay a reduced licence fee, however more often than not the people of Scotland have to accept a reduce viewing, in terms of national sport, media and culture, if England had a festival as successful as the Edinburgh festival, it would probably get more viewing time than eastenders, christ! just look at how much viewing time Chelsea flower show gets, it's about high time we the people of Scotland demanded our own Scottish broad-casting company.after all we do pay for it!.

    Complain about this comment

  • 278. At 06:18am on 03 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    And another one just for the record.How can Blair or Brown be proud of their goverance.Take sport, football, some players earn as much as £150,000 per month, when most 18 to 30 year olds probably earn as little as £20,000 per ann, think about it! the football player earth more in a month than an average persons earns in 7 and half years. Is that the type of society we want?.

    Complain about this comment

  • 279. At 06:34am on 03 Sep 2009, neebour wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 280. At 06:39am on 03 Sep 2009, NCA999 wrote:

    #277

    "Only get as little as half hour slots of news"
    That half hour slot of news follows the half hour slot of national news. Do you really think we should have half an hour on national and international issues then longer on solely scottish issues. The 6:30 showing of Reporting Scotland is the worst of the day, because there's only really 15 minutes of news for them to report. As such the rest becomes about either Rangers/Celtic or Mrs Mcmurtries's wee dug being stuck up a tree.

    If anything Reporting Scotland should be cut from half an hour to 20 minutes. It doesn't need half an hour as it's only reporting on domestic issues, those which haven't already been covered (although duplication of reporting is actually a serious gripe I have with BBC Scotland).

    As to the narrow minded view about Cricket. The first time that SNP woman brought it up it was pointed out to her that more people in Scotland had watched the Ashes than had voted for the SNP in the previous election. Whilst that was meant as a joke point, in all seriousness lots of people like to watch the ashes as a great sporting event. An awful lot more watch it than watch River City.

    We, apparently, have more cricket players in Scotland now per head of popn than they do in England. Remarks like yours are ill conceived and seem more anti english than pro scottish to be honest.



    Onto the debate though, oldnat.

    With regards to the point about Scottish Labour siding or not siding with the rest of their party.
    My argument is this, if Scot Nats would really prefer to see Scottish Labour taking their own decisions more often (as they regularly claim when criticising them for not doing so) then why are they attacking them for taking a different position from the government?
    Scottish Labour (or really the Lib Dems but nvm) made education free in Scotland, despite the fact that UK labour didn't do so anywhere else, they made care for the elderly free in Scotland, despite the fact that UK labour didn't do the same anywhere else.
    Clearly they're a national party, with national issues but if the Nats keep claiming it's a good thing to have devolved decision making then they shouldn't be criticising when someone actually does it.

    That said I would take issue with the claim that they are disagreeing with the national parties stance. One person above said the issue of incompetence was that Iain Gray "didn't know his parties stance". He didn't know it because his party didn't have a stance on the issue. So far all we've heard is that some cabinet ministers have came out for it whilst some have came out against. As for Gordon Brown, he hasn't expressed an opinion on the subject. Some junior minister apparently said in a negotiation that GB "didn't want to see him die in prison". Despite the fact that we don't know exactly what that meant, it was said in a negotiation (by someone else) when it was known that saying so would be of no binding consequence. It's like a Spanish minister saying to Alex Salmond whilst on a trade mission "My countries leader is a big big fan of whisky, drinks it every day". This doesn't commit the government of Catalin to buying large amounts of Whisky from us.

    Re: exagerated polling point. That may be fair enough, but really the point is this. MacAskill stood up and claimed, overtly or not, that he spoke for the Scottish people in our desire to release this man. Whether or not you think the polls show we are overwhelmingly opposed to it, it's certainly the case that there isn't majority support for this decision. As such it's not wrong for the MSPs to vote, in a vote designed to show that the Exec didn't speak for the parliament or the people on this decision, in a way which they believe in, and which they believe to be representative of their constituents views.


    On the media point. I would slip in first off that by "check and balance" I didn't mean that it's not their job to inform us but that the way they keep a check and balance is by keeping us informed of everything, asking the difficult questions etc.
    In any society I would expect 75%+ of the questions and topics raised by the media to be about the government. This is because it's them that are doing the governing. The opposition don't do anything. All they're doing is the same thing that the media are doing which is questioning the government. Informing us whether some Labour MSP changed his mind on something yesterday does nothing to further the public good, informing us whether some government MSP changed his mind on something does.
    There is comparatively very little news/stories/critique of the Tory party at a national level either. Equally if you look at most countries in the world the majority of the news coverage is questioning the government. Around election time this levels out because then we need to know about the other parties but right now it's what the government are doing that affects us.

    With particular reference to this blog though, looking at your example, I would make the point that blogs are more of an opinion piece than diktat news. PLEASE KEEP READING BEFORE JUMPING ON "WE DONT LIKE BRIANS OPINION". What Brian Taylor, Nick Robinson and all of the other similar people do is they offer opinion on events, from an inside perspective. Brian never offers views on what should or should not be done on a policy. He offers views on what will happen. These blogs are useful because they provide a different perspective to our political world, an observational, inside baseball if you like, version. Whilst I can't see a "not yet" above, the point is that when Brian says that it's because he believes there's a good chance that whatever it is will happen in the future. As our inside man he is providing us with that insight.

    He may be right, he may be wrong. This experiment with blogs lives or dies I feel on how often people get things right but the point is that it's supposed to be observational opinion. Don't always expect that to have the same neutral tone of "this happened, then this, then that, then finally this, then they adjourned".

    As a side note nobody has yet given me a headline they disagreed with and a suggested better version.

    Complain about this comment

  • 281. At 06:59am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    August 24, 2009 The headline on Brian Taylor's blog:

    Government unlikely to fall - yet

    It is dishonest because there was no chance the government was going to fall, and he knew it. There was no way on EARTH the opposition dared bring down the government and bring on an immediate general election. That was dishonest on the face of it.

    "There is comparatively very little news/stories/critique of the Tory party at a national level either."

    Which is EXACTLY what is being complained about. Cameron and his ilk should not be given a free walk in the park from the BBC. NONE of the parties should be.

    I still say that is wrong.

    Complain about this comment

  • 282. At 07:00am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    "As a side note nobody has yet given me a headline they disagreed with and a suggested better version."

    I references the one on News Sniffer. If you really wanted to know, you'd go find it. I personally have no intention of going through the posts to point you to what you can find yourself with a little looking.

    Complain about this comment

  • 283. At 07:03am on 03 Sep 2009, TuscanRJBH wrote:

    As one who watched the debate .. Im deleighted with Kenny MacAskill, Alex Salmond, and the SNP in General compared to the Unionist Opposition .. they seemed to have Direction, and put their case well.

    The opposition in general seemed on one hand to agree that Mr Al Magrahi should have been allowed to die outside of prison, but still in Scotland. Maybe even that would not have made the US happy... but really.. who cares what the Yanks think? Afterall it was the shooting down of flight 655 that caused the whole thing.

    Well done Mr MacAskill the SNP and Scotland...Im proud of you and proud to be Scottish.

    Complain about this comment

  • 284. At 07:08am on 03 Sep 2009, Tom wrote:

    NCA999:

    "My argument is this, if Scot Nats would really prefer to see Scottish Labour taking their own decisions more often (as they regularly claim when criticising them for not doing so) then why are they attacking them for taking a different position from the government?"

    In this example it's for political benefit rather then standing up for Scotland (which I believe is what the people want to see from Scottish Labour). The moment Iain Gray said, "If I were First Minister..." it was clear where Scottish Labour stood, despite on whether the decision to release Al Megrahi as right or wrong, how do you feel about Scots Labour seeking political advantage?

    I also disagreed with the vote in Parliament. If I were an MSP I would be looking to ensure the lockerbie questions are finally answered, whilst ensuring convicted terrorists are never released on compassionate grounds again. However nothing will change, this will happen again so what was the point in the vote? It's done nothing then show the opposition disagree (which we knew already) with the Scottish Government. (baring in mind it's not party policies, was it a free vote?).


    Complain about this comment

  • 285. At 07:10am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #280 NCA999

    "If anything Reporting Scotland should be cut from half an hour to 20 minutes"

    You do want to cause problems for the Beeb, don't you? Any ideas what BBC Scotland should fill the 10 minute gap wioth while BBC London fills its half hour slot with relevant news for them? When I was a lad the Beeb had a filler of accelerated filming of "London to Brighton in 3 minutes" Maybe we could run that 3 times?

    Alternatively, BBC Scotland could present a full hour long programme which would draw on the entire news network which we pay for. It's largely a function of prioritising which news items take priority. Do you really think that coverage of the problems with English SATS delivery should headline news delivery in Scotland?

    Your response to me, I'll deal with separately.

    Complain about this comment

  • 286. At 07:11am on 03 Sep 2009, U11769947 wrote:

    NCA999
    Currently 32 council in Scotland not to mention the wider EU and the rest od the world and you prefer 40 mins of london based issue, well who is all rosey with the English rose.You seem completely stumped on the cricket issue and very ignorant towards games like shinty or ice curling.

    You also seem ignorant to the divisional gaps between bankers and factory workers or football players and apprentices.

    The narrow mindness that you refer to, comes from your blinkered attitude toward internationlism, you simply incasing yourself in the Britnat role of boom and bust and class society.A second rate student in an old grey suit, look give the cob webs a shake, I did, see the light and demand a beeter place for all society, right now! your playing the part no one else can understand.

    Complain about this comment

  • 287. At 07:19am on 03 Sep 2009, john wrote:

    The widening of this "quasi judicial" decision which would have taxed everyone (apart from Labour who's Scottish Prime Minister, Tony had already agreed to letting the guy get back to Libya), the widening of this to include Salmond or The Scottish government illustrates how utterly self-serving and cynical the oppositiona are. To use this, the deaths of 200 odd people as a hammer to hit the SNP when it was the Justice minister making a NON POLITICAL decision is shameful. These parties and their leaders should how petty and childlike they are. Not to mention lacking in taste. For this is bad taste petty politics. Parochail and small minded.

    As for Peter Fraser, telling us Scottish ministers should have ran across to the US to get "permission" to release this guy, I can only think what a grovelling individual. To belittle this country and its 1000 years of judicial development is disgusting. He may lack self confidence or indeed confidence in his country and countrymen, I do not.

    We proved we are a mature nation. We take the law seriously, not changing it to placate other powers or bullies. HE may grovel and fain shame but I am proud that we proved we have strong and uncorruptable beliefs and that Kenny Mackasgil (A man i don't really like) stood up for them. HE had backbone, soething the other psycophantic leaders don't.

    Complain about this comment

  • 288. At 07:31am on 03 Sep 2009, neebour wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 289. At 07:41am on 03 Sep 2009, TuscanRJBH wrote:

    The US tried to force the Verdict they wanted from the Scottish parliament ... The net result is that they intend to boycott Scotland. well eating into the profits of Diageo is pretty small beer compared to what happened to Iraq.. The poor Iraqis had the American version of "Democracy" thrust upon them .. while the Yanks took over their Oil...

    Maybe we should be grateful that at least the same might not happen to Scotland.

    Complain about this comment

  • 290. At 07:45am on 03 Sep 2009, oldnat wrote:

    #280 NCA999

    I'll apologised in advance for the effect of 2 American Martinis on my thought processes!!!!

    However, Labour in Scotland needs to decide whether it is a UK party with a Scottish branch (its current position) or a Scottish party that supports the Union with England. Either would be a valid position to take and indeed under various leaders it has taken variant positions concomitant with both those stances.

    Henry McLeish took a highly principled and "inedependent" stance. Jack McOnnell desired a minimalist role for government (not a bad position, in my view). Wendy Alexander epitomised the conmflict btween Labour in Scotland and UK Labour, and fell s a result. Iain Gray is so anodyne that he is difficult to characterise.

    Does he have different views from UK Labour, or is he just a clone? That is the point of the oft repeated question. It's not important in itself, but is significant in that he seldom gets asked the hard questions that all politicianjs should be subjected to.

    Complain about this comment

  • 291. At 08:07am on 03 Sep 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #232 - "Compassion would have been better balanced by releasing him closer to the end of his life, once he required continuous palliative care. That would have served the need for compassion to the prisoner and served the need for compassion to the victims families. "

    By all accounts, northhighlander, what you'd have been satisfied ifhe had been released this week instead of last week.

    Does a week really make that much of a difference?

    Complain about this comment

  • 292. At 08:21am on 03 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    NCA999, going for the Booker Prize ?

    Brevity is the soul of wit!

    Complain about this comment

  • 293. At 08:53am on 03 Sep 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #280 - "or Mrs Mcmurtries's wee dug being stuck up a tree."

    And there we have it, the Scottish cringe in full flow. We're too stupid, too talentless, too provincial to produce 30 minutes of news.

    ----
    "if Scot Nats would really prefer to see Scottish Labour taking their own decisions more often (as they regularly claim when criticising them for not doing so) then why are they attacking them for taking a different position from the government?"

    The issue has been pointed out to you many times. You choose to ignore it because it blows big holes in your argument. Either that or you really just don't get it.

    Gordon Brown is of the opinion that it would be catastrophic for the UK if Megrahi died in a Scottish prison. This means it would effect not just Scotland but England (along with Wales/Northern Ireland) as well. The Greyman is on record as stating if he were FM (etc.), in direct opposition to Brown. Brown is the Greyman's boss. It can't be emphasised enough that the word used was "catastrophic". Not just embarressing, not mildly discomforting but catastrophic (check the definition in a dictionary before you continue). This wasn't a case of Gordie expressing a preferance, it was an emphatic statement of what he wanted to happen.

    Now that we have established the relevant facts here, let's consider the probability of the Greyman telling Gordie where to go and that Megrahi will stay in prison in Scotland. The chances are exactly nil. Gordie would tell the Greyman to get Megrahi on a plane back to Lybia and Megrahi would be on a plane quicker than you could say "Passports Please". It's simply disengenous to suggest otherwise.

    The are a couple of important issues here:

    1 - Did the Greyman know Gordie's position on this? If not, it shows the Greyman is an irrelevance, not even worthy of being briefed on the national government's position on this. If he did know, he was simply lying to the Scottish people.

    2 - Based on this, why was the difficult question never put to him? The Greyman was able to repeat his assertion without challenge. Is it because BT knew it would blow a hole the size of the Clyde tunnel in the Greyman's assertion?

    ----
    "Informing us whether some Labour MSP changed his mind on something yesterday does nothing to further the public good,"

    Claiming, as BT did in an earlier blog and on national news, that the opposition was "united" and "unanimous" when it was quite demonstratably not does nothing to further the public good either.

    ----
    " the point is that when Brian says that it's because he believes there's a good chance that whatever it is will happen in the future."

    Yet on national news he has consistency said it won't happen. Is this because he doesn't have the conviction of his own words? Or perhaps it's a ghost writer bloggin in BT's name. Or perhaps it's because he peddles one message for BBC Scotland and anothe on national news. Whatever the reason, you have chosen to simply accept it. That doesn't mean the message is unbiased.

    Complain about this comment

  • 294. At 08:54am on 03 Sep 2009, U14125311 wrote:

    #292, Diabloandco:

    "Brevity is the soul of wit!"

    And the soundbite is the enemy of reasoned debate!

    Complain about this comment

  • 295. At 08:54am on 03 Sep 2009, Colonel Kurtz wrote:

    Not seen any news but did brian ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    Complain about this comment

  • 296. At 09:03am on 03 Sep 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    All these people blaming KM for releasing Al Megrahi on compassionate release are just nit picking. Had Al Megrahi not had prostate cancer i think he probably wouldn't have been released. This would have left the majority happy i.e America, the families of the dead, Al Megrahi himself. Off course then if he had to be released under the prisoner transfer agreement bashed out by Labour and Kenny refused, he would have been attacked by Labour anyway. At the end of the day there are a lot of people who want this story ended no matter what and the last thing they wanted was for the second appeal to go ahead. Jim Swire on the radio is asking for AS to push for an enquiry and that's correct but since Milliband has decided to stop some of the evidence being aired, it wont get very far.

    Complain about this comment

  • 297. At 09:09am on 03 Sep 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    morning all, well, good to see the yanks are coming back for another go ,another senator who wants to see his name up in lights.
    SATIRE ALERT
    how dare such a little country not do as it is told by the worlds only superpower. apart from anything else what is this compassion crap about? if we had got him to the good old USA he would have fried years ago end of.
    SATIRE ALERT OVER
    at least we are starting to understand this special relationship c-rap it all goes one way, it all goes east to west or wannabe superpower to real superpower
    Sid

    Complain about this comment

  • 298. At 09:36am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #295. At 08:54am on 03 Sep 2009, ColonelKurtz wrote:

    Not seen any news but did brian ask Iain Gray if he unequivocally agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail?

    ----------------

    OF COURSE HE DID! HAHAHA! I'm so funny.

    Complain about this comment

  • 299. At 09:50am on 03 Sep 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #280 "My argument is this, if Scot Nats would really prefer to see Scottish Labour taking their own decisions more often (as they regularly claim when criticising them for not doing so) then why are they attacking them for taking a different position from the government?"

    Because the truth is that had Labour had been in power in Holyrood, Gray would have released Megrahi... not because of the due process of law, but because he was ordered to by his london paymasters.

    Simples!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 300. At 10:03am on 03 Sep 2009, ianmac1903 wrote:

    I cannot understand why a day was wasted debating and voting on this issue. Surely if it was an issue to vote upon, then the votes should have been cast prior to the decision being made . . .

    In a minority government the justice secretary's decision was always going to be the wrong one . . . this is just pathetic point scoring.

    I would not have liked to make the decision, and I am still unsure if the right one was made or not, but a duly elected parliment should stand by it.

    The decision has not harmed Scotland, but the bickering over whether it was right or not will.

    Complain about this comment

  • 301. At 10:10am on 03 Sep 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    Maybe they are all to busy, but with the exception of Malcolm Chisholm, who has answered me, and indeed, agreed with me, I have had no reply from the following regarding my complaints on the way the BBC handled the Megrahi case. I highlighted perceived unbalance in reporting.

    Silence from the following;

    Danny Alexander, MP.
    Mary Scanlon, MSP.
    John Munro, MSP.

    I wonder why?

    Complain about this comment

  • 302. At 10:18am on 03 Sep 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    271. NCA999
    Here's what I actually said -
    "They get criticised not for being in bed with the national party, but for toeing the National Labour party line when that line is seen as putting Scotland's interests after the UK. Fine for a UK party, but if the Labour party in Scotland want to say that they put Scotland's interests first then there are going to be times when it is an untenable position, because by definition a UK party will from time to time put UK interests over Scotland's.
    Now they are being criticised for being two-faced over this, one face for Scotland and another fro the UK.
    This cirticism is not inconsistent, you may not agree with it or like it NCA999, but it isn't inconsistent.
    "
    I didn't respond to your original post to defend my position - i haven't been posting long enough to have the two positions that so annoy you - click on my name and go back over my posts if you don't want to take my word for it. I posted to offer an alternative opinion that what you present may not be as straightforward as you made it. It was made in the spirit of discussion, which is what I erroneously understood you to be looking for.

    I may not be the best at explaining myself, but I'm pretty sure that if you had wanted to you would see that that what I am saying is that Labour don't get criticised one way simply because they are in line with the national party, and also criticised simply because they are out of line with the party, but instead that it happens when they are in line or out of line nad it happens within a particular context. I also tried to keep it as neutral as possible - I don't agree with the unionist parties, but I see the line they have to walk presenting as a Scottish group with Scotland's interests at heart, until union interests take over - nationalists will of course sieze upon it when the opportunity arises - why would they not. The position of the nationalists preseents natural opportunities by which they get attacked too.
    The reason I state that it is not inconsistent is because your simplistic presentation of Labour being criticised when they are in step and when they are not, just ignores the fact that it is actually based on the context in which they are in or out of step. I therefore stand by my line that the thing you describe isn't actually inconsistent, it only looks that way if you over simplify.

    I should also mention that I replied because given your liberal use of the word 'rant', I assumed that you would rather a discussion over the points that concern you. I engaged with your post in that spirit, and went on to answer three more of your points according to my opinion.

    When you cast about the word 'rant' and 'ranter' you might want to consider how taking efforts to offer an exchange of viewpoints with you, without any inflammatory language, results in a response from you that is very defensive (in the sense of - you sound like you've just been attacked), and in the form of posts measured not in lines but screens. Rant indeed.

    Thanks for the lesson though, newbies always need them. I see now, that a naive approach to engaging with people of different opinions has limited mileage when some posts appear to simply be bait.

    Complain about this comment

  • 303. At 10:21am on 03 Sep 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    There is a very interesting piece by David Maddox in todays Scotsman.

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/opinion/David-Maddox-Losers-emerge-.5613015.jp

    Some of the more telling parts if you do not wish to read the whole article.

    "Losers emerge winners as opposition leaves leadership virtually unscathed"

    "three main opposition parties said they disagreed with the decision, they were phrased in a way that made them very weak and related to issues of process"

    "The amendments were, in reality, a nit-picking exercise over the process of how the decision was reached. "

    "Holyrood Labour, the main opposition, was once again left high and dry by its colleagues in the UK government.

    The revelations that Gordon Brown and his Foreign Secretary David Miliband supported early release made Scottish leader Iain Gray's principled stand against it look ridiculous."

    As Maddox is usually with the Glenn Campbell and Alan Cochrane school of nat bashing, this article is remarkable. If David Maddox can report this it highlights how shallow and pathetic the opposition were yesterday. Nit picking indeed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 304. At 10:29am on 03 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Yoyoy, a moot point my friend BUT when there are those on a blogsite who would write essays ,a gentle reminder that they won't be read does not go amiss!( Particularly when those essays " out word " the original)

    Complain about this comment

  • 305. At 10:31am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    297. At 09:09am on 03 Sep 2009, sidthesceptic wrote:

    morning all, well, good to see the yanks are coming back for another go ,another senator who wants to see his name up in lights.
    SATIRE ALERT
    how dare such a little country not do as it is told by the worlds only superpower. apart from anything else what is this compassion crap about? if we had got him to the good old USA he would have fried years ago end of.
    SATIRE ALERT OVER
    at least we are starting to understand this special relationship c-rap it all goes one way, it all goes east to west or wannabe superpower to real superpower
    Sid

    --------------------

    Now, now. The Tories and Labourites were groveling so nicely yesterday that I'm sure we'll soon get over it. Mind you the LibDems just stood there looking a bit dimwitted and I swear I heard who couldn't have been Alex Salmond muttering something about some some numpties being claw baws which made no sense but you Scots do talk funny.

    Anyway, I'm sure we American's won't notice the wee SNP and LibDems and when Mr. Brown comes over for the G20 summit we'll let him apologize nicely.

    Complain about this comment

  • 306. At 10:35am on 03 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 280 NCA 999

    The question of Scottish Labours ability to take independent decisions is a pot the SNP obviously want to keep on the boil. Alec doesn't want Iain Gray making a habit out of being independent it would rob him off his most often used line of attack.

    However when we have a change of government in Westminster as it looks like we surely will, this will become much less of an issue. The ground will shift quite considerably and offer Iain Gray many more avenues of attack that are at present closed as he does not want to attack a UK labour government. However he will be able to use the politics of opposition in much the same way Salmond did previously.

    However the real question in my mind is Gray up to the task? He has barely landed a blow so far, this crisis should have allowed him to shine, it hasn't really.

    You know how bad the opposition is when Annabel looks good. Of course her situation would also change dramatically if there were a tory UK government.

    Complain about this comment

  • 307. At 10:45am on 03 Sep 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    Re 296,297

    there is a line Salmond could and should take on an enquiry. the Scottish Judicial system has come out of this rather poorly with a lot of serious questions needing to be asked over the procedure and length of time everything took.

    It would be reasonable and indeed sensible to have an enquiry into the judicial process.

    I agree a full scale enquiry would be difficult and wouldn't get far. the truth will almost certainly remain buried.

    297

    Our relationship with America should not be characterised by a few extremists on either side. we have made a decision we were entitled to do, it has caused upset amongst some but won't change the relationship for ever. We share much history with America, we share a lot culturally, that will not change.

    Nor should we want it to. We benefit a lot from trade with America so in this situation we should try to minimise the effect of the spat, in much the same way Alec Salmond is trying to do. Not respond to one rant with an equally ridiculous one. Certainly hope you don't get foreign relations in the unlikely event of an independent government.

    Complain about this comment

  • 308. At 10:48am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    271. NCA999

    You're pretty grumpy for your side having supposedly won in parliament yesterday. Where's the crowing and going on about how you must have been right all along?

    Am I missing something? =)

    Complain about this comment

  • 309. At 10:56am on 03 Sep 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    *choke* I can't believe I just posted that. I think I've been drinking.

    #303. At 10:21am on 03 Sep 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    There is a fascinating piece by David Maddox. You don't suppose the Scotsman is actually going to stop bashing the SNP? Surely not.

    Complain about this comment

  • 310. At 11:05am on 03 Sep 2009, Dean MacKinnon-Thomson wrote:

    I notice that part of the SNP legislative agenda includes yet more crofting reform. Isn't there a risk that politicians interference with Crofting in Scotland has been an aspect to condemn and not congraduate Holyrood?

    I mean, there have been endless rounds of land reform, crofing changes and even the disasterous abolition of Scotlands strong, historic and proud fuedal system (which did more for Crofters than the present 'bills' will ever).

    Damn Holyrood for yet another assault on rural Scottish life by a bunch of urban middle classers....!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 311. At 11:09am on 03 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Yoyoy, both Shakespears and I have a found a "soundbite" which we found interesting ,

    "It's a flagship begging to be scuttled"

    we thought we should share it! Like it???

    JR , just what kind of insomniac are you?
    Can't remember whose" soundbite " this belongs to " We never sleep"
    but it seems to apply to you!


    Keep 'em coming!

    Complain about this comment

  • 312. At 11:23am on 03 Sep 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 313. At 11:29am on 03 Sep 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    "A Black Farce"
    Was how the vote in the Scottish parliament was described last night on Newsnight Scotland by Iain Macwhirter.

    from Media Watch

    "To imagine that Scotland has come all that far down the civilised road was impossible as we watched all these closed faces of minds long since made up. This was not about Megrahi,but about cheap and despicable political point scoring ,which robbed Scotland for the moment at least of its moral leadership of the world,as noted by Nelson Mandela. The sheer wretchedness of these moral and political pygmies was commented upon by Dr Jim Swire on Newsnight Scotland. Labour under the non leadership of Ian Gray had boxed itself into a complete corner and publicly disassociated itself from the London leadership of Gordon Brown. The ever opportunistic Fib Dems, forever without a principle other than self- seeking and self -interest, had long since made up their minds. Perhaps the most revealing was the Tories. We have quietly come to believe the Tories in Scotland have mutated into almost half decent human beings. Not so, they told us yesterday. The vile spectre of Margaret Thatcher hung all over them as the shrill voice of Annabel Goldie reminded us of permanently closed Tory minds. A rather sad day for Scotland,but what is already emerging is that it is not the SNP that is going to pay the political price for this black farce."


    Complain about this comment

  • 314. At 11:29am on 03 Sep 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    JR , there is a piece by RT news which has some bloke called Wayne , blackening the name of our First Minister , by saying Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond are very good friends etc.etc.and several other untruths about Scotland.
    You will find the piece on Old Holborns blogsite , though I hesitate to direct a stranger to Old Holborn.

    I would appreciate it if you would go get 'em!

    Complain about this comment

  • 315. At 11:30am on 03 Sep 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    All the outraged huffing and puffing yesterday from the three stooges but at the end of the day did any of them have the cojones to blow the SNP house down?

    Not a bit of it.

    If they're so convinced they're right and that they speak for Scotland, why are the unionist oppostition at Holyrood so afraid to put themselves in the hands of the Scottish electorate?

    Complain about this comment

  • 316. At 11:45am on 03 Sep 2009, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    310. deanthetory

    "...disasterous abolition of Scotlands strong, historic and proud fuedal system... ...Damn Holyrood for yet another assault on rural Scottish life by a bunch of urban middle classers....!!!"

    Careful Dean, your mask is slipping...

    (respectfully doffs cap and tugs forelock)

    Complain about this comment

  • 317. At 11:54am on 03 Sep 2009, snowthistle wrote:

    NCA999.
    "As a side note nobody has yet given me a headline they disagreed with and a suggested better version."

    A bit off topic but relevant to the discussion about the beeb. The article that appeared during the expenses scandal about MSPs claiming for rememberance wreaths. There was a picture of Alex Salmond above the story with a caption that said he was not one of the MSPs who claimed but 15 others did. That in my view showed very blatant bias and I can't see how anyone could argue it did not.
    Does anyone else remember that story?

    Complain about this comment

  • 318. At 11:55am on 03 Sep 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    Well, they say you learn something new every day. Normally this is a good thing, but yesterday I found that it isn't always.
    I learned yesterday that there are 73 people in the Scottish Parliament who don't have the honour and integrity to be there.
    73 people were prepared to put petty political party politics above the soul of our very nation.
    A very sad day for Scottish politics. They should be ashamed of themselves. I am ashamed for them. I am ashamed for the country.
    I'm sure they are all very proud that they won their vote. They have certainly lost mine. I hope the people of Scotland can now see them for what they are; small minded, blinkered, self-seeking little people who have done our country down.

    Complain about this comment

  • 319. At 1:42pm on 03 Sep 2009, raisethegame wrote:

    First Minister's Questions - the opposition party leaders all went on the Lockerbie issue with Annabel introducing a 'new' element. She has some letters from the Qtar Gobernment with mentions of Magrahi - she was not quite saying his release was tied in with trade deals between Alex Salmond and the Middle East state but that was the inference and it was soundly slapped down by the FM. Incidentally, Angus MacLeod of the Times while acknowledging the many layers of the story wasn't convinced Annabel's latest effort had enough 'legs' to run.

    Complain about this comment

  • 320. At 2:13pm on 03 Sep 2009, luibeg wrote:

    Has Auntie Bella not lost her way on this.? For her original stance was that compassion was OK, but keep him in a UK hospice before sending him back to Libya in a box. - Not so much a hospice, as a half-way house policy?

    But now she thinks that Scottish-Qatar relations could be of such worth as to justify bending the Laws of Scotland, and worth offending relations with the USA?

    Is she another victim of the Credibility-Crunch? - A story with no legs, and not even one solitary leg to stand on.

    Complain about this comment

  • 321. At 2:42pm on 03 Sep 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Congratulations to Malcolm Chisholm for showing the rest of his mob what conviction is.

    Shame on the rest of the rogues who have politicized a likel-innocent man dying of cancer!

    Those with reason to be particularly ashamed include the fogettable Tory who backed Chisholm in the debate, but would not break the party whip during the vote, and the three Fib Dems - who publicly backed the decision, along with those in their party of substance at Westminster - but then voted to condemn the decision in the extremist rhetoric tabled by the Brit-Nat Liebour-in-Scotland B team.

    Complain about this comment

  • 322. At 5:07pm on 03 Sep 2009, Richard wrote:

    I truly believe that compassion provides the basis of human survival.

    - Dalai Lama

    From DailyDalaiLama.com today. Says it all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 323. At 10:46pm on 03 Sep 2009, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:


    So, there it is. Our Parliament "deplores" [to use STV's Bernard Ponsonby's craftsmanlike pre-empting language] Kenny MacAskill's decision to free Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

    Actually, what is most deplorable is the morally weak and partisan nature of this thoroughly predictable vote.
    In direct contradiction to the maturity, assuredness and integrity of the original decision, this result does no credit whatsoever the institution, serving only to make Scotland's Parliament look insular, indecisive, and pandering to reactionary criticism.

    Whatever 'outrage' our apologist poodles were attempting to appease, their collection of disparate arguments betrayed little better than a blind prejudice against Mr MacAskill's every action and motivation, distasteful insinuation in place of substantiated reasoning, and the almost limitless fabrication of imagined 'deals' to free Megrahi.

    Their 'unanswered questions' serving only to disseminate distasteful suspicion, as distinct from coherent evidence, over their trumpeted 'mis-handling' of the case, relying heavily on a whitewash of ad-hoc 'allegations' in the underlying cause of 'proving' the final decision to be incorrect - a subjective point, fundamentally coloured by a skewed and self-serving BBC opinion poll - which, of course, they singularly failed to do.

    The machinations of our unionist politicians over this issue have only served to reinforce my trust and belief in both the philosphy and substance of the original decision - which I believe to be right and true, with or without the support of respected senior figures including Nelson Mandela, which would be hard to surpass in terms of international endorsement - whilst serving to diminish their own trustworthiness, discrediting themselves and the stature of the Parliament in the process.

    Perhaps most tellingly - this 'censuring' of the Scottish Government - trumpeted gleefully on the front of this morning's unionist tabloids - could not have been delivered without the contrary posturing of the Labour group, directly opposing the stance and behaviour of its own London leadership - allowing them to crassly crow "Not in my name!"

    This staged 'apology' of a result, however predictable, is certainly not in my name, nor I suspect in that of any Scot who believes in essential trust between a people and their government, in the better qualities of humanity, or in any way recognises the courage and integrity of this upstanding decision, and the man who made it.

    I would encourage all who wish to express our views as a people, as distinct from those MSPs who voted against Megrahi's release, to sign the petition supporting Kenny MacAskill's decision.

    [Online petition:"Scotland supports Kenny MacAskill's compassionate justice"]
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/CompassionateJusticeScotland?e

    Complain about this comment

  • 324. At 10:59pm on 03 Sep 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    82. scotslawyer

    From Nr Blog

    Complain about this comment

  • 325. At 00:05am on 04 Sep 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    This is from today’s Scotland Live on BBC Radio Scotland. It is a comment with to which all decent people can relate. It is from the former British Ambassador to Libya, Sir Oliver Miles.

    Speaking of the debate yesterday and the position taken by Scotland’s combined opposition he said “If I can make a personal comment on this, I find this rather extraordinary and rather disgusting because it seems to me that it was never intended, by the court for example that Megrahi should die in jail”. He also said “To say that ‘he should have died in the prison’, seems to me the polite equivalent of the bar room language of ‘hanging is too good for him, throw away the key’. He continues “Now, I am frankly shocked, shocked, that all of our UK parties seem to by vying with each other to be more vindictive of the other” and he finished by saying “It’s enough to make me vote Scottish Nationalist, and I’m as English as they come.”

    His remarks merely underline that this in not and never has been a political issue, is not a nationalist versus unionist issue, is not an England versus Scotland issue. It is a civilized versus barbarism issue and the united Scottish opposition disgraced Scotland yesterday.
    When I left the Labour party , fifty years ago as a teenager, and joined the SNP I always entertained the fullest expectation that the Labour party in Scotland would eventually surely follow me. I contested elections against Labour in Lanarkshire on the best of terms with my Labour opponents many of whom I counted as friends. The Labour Party asked me to rejoin and stand for them - with a guarantee of success. I was a counting agent in St John’s Grammar School in Hamilton when Winnie Ewing won and despite the trauma that Labour experienced that night the was little nastiness and a shared understanding that both Labour and the SNP has decent causes which afforded a degree of mutual respect.
    But time has rolled on and my optimism about Labour has diminished with every passing year. Yesterday marked a depth of disgusting and cynical political expediency that I never believed that Labour could stoop to.
    Labour is finished in Scotland. The SNP is well along the road, not of beating it but of replacing it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 326. At 00:30am on 04 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Brian:

    I am glad, with the redirection of the controversy on this issue...Also, I am glad, with the Statement of Gordon Brown on the Scottish Government right to make its own decisions.....

    =Dennis Junior=

    Complain about this comment

  • 327. At 7:16pm on 08 Sep 2009, romeplebian wrote:

    @608 JR

    "Incidentally, there was nothing cowardly about a commander leaving the field although I can't say the same about his fleeing the country without even trying to negotiate terms for the people who had served him. And as for his being "Italian" as Nelson put about himself: "Being born in a barn doesn't make you a horse." He was not Italian. Now his behavior after the battle and later in his life was close to unforgivable but his fleeing the battlefield was not wrong. (His sexuality was irrelevant and King William was probably homosexual. So what?)

    And the highlands did not "slip" into poverty. It was pushed into it by the seizure of stock and lands. "Slip" would imply that it somehow happened without the upper classes of both Scotland and England giving it a good HARD push. Conditions in the Highlands actually compared to conditions in Ireland during the Potato Famine which occurred in both countries. Meanwhile Queen Victoria was showing up at Balmoral and just LOVING Scotland. *throws up*
    "

    BPC was a coward the records in the mililtary archives at Edinburgh castle report him flapping about at the back of the Jacobite force being told to hud his wheesht but he fled like the big scaredy cat that he was.

    and "slip" is a tomato tomato thing :)depends how steep the slope is



    Complain about this comment

  • 328. At 3:09pm on 10 Sep 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    Why did gadaffi thank his personal friend GBrown, tha Queen and Prince Andrew for their help in persuading the scottish government to release Magrahi?

    Just an after thought...hmmmmm.

    Complain about this comment

  • 329. At 3:13pm on 10 Sep 2009, Phil_Anthropponent wrote:

    280
    "As to the narrow minded view about Cricket. The first time that SNP woman brought it up it was pointed out to her that more people in Scotland had watched the Ashes than had voted for the SNP in the previous election. Whilst that was meant as a joke point, in all seriousness lots of people like to watch the ashes as a great sporting event. An awful lot more watch it than watch River City."

    Yeah, but why does the fate of the universe seem to depend on it?
    Bet a lot more would have watched scotland play football.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.