THIS WEEK'S PANEL
IAN RANKIN has been described as the UK's number one best-selling crime writer. Dubbed the “king of tartan noir”, he was born in Fife and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh. His first novel about the fictional detective John Rebus was published in 1987 to little acclaim. Sixteen more followed with the final Rebus novel, Exit Music, published three years ago. He has written two novels since then: The Complaints and Doors Open, which became his bestselling book in the UK so far. He published a graphic novel, Dark Entries, last year. It has been estimated that the author now accounts for 10% of all UK crime fiction sales; many titles are also international bestsellers, having been translated into twenty-four languages. The books have earned him a series of awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement. He has been awarded an OBE for services to literature, while in 2005, at Tartan Week in New York, he was named ‘Icon of Scotland.’
JIM MURPHY is Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, having won 160 votes in the Shadow Cabinet elections. He was co-chair of David Miliband’s leadership campaign. Until the general election he had been Secretary of State for Scotland for two years. After this week’s announcement of a treaty with France he said he supported international co-operation but he had some questions: “We share common threats with countries such as France, from terrorism to cyber-attack. Interdependence, however, is different from dependence, and binding legal treaties pose big questions for the Government. We know British aircraft carriers won’t have a strike force on them for a decade. Is the treaty going to usher in an era where we are reliant on our allies to fill in the gaps in the Government’s defence policy?” He studied at the University of Strathclyde and was President of the NUS in 1995, when the union ceased opposing the abolition of the student grant. After working for a time in insurance, he entered Parliament in 1997, as MP for Eastwood and is currently MP for East Renfrewshire. He has served as Europe Minister, Employment Minister and as a minister in the Cabinet Office.
MICHAEL MOORE is Secretary of State for Scotland, a Cabinet post he was handed after the resignation of David Laws in May and the subsequent promotion of the then Scottish Secretary, Danny Alexander, to the Treasury. His father was a Chaplain in the British Army and he was born in Northern Ireland. He studied at the University of Edinburgh before going on to work for the then Liberal Democrat MP, Archy Kirkwood. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant and became the Liberal Democrat MP for Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale seat in 1997. He is now the MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk and, before his current job, had served as a spokesman on foreign affairs, transport, defence and international development.
ROSEANNA CUNNINGHAM became the Minister for Environment in Scotland last year, having served as an MSP for the SNP since 1999. This week she announced that she is enshrining in wildlife legislation the concept of vicarious liability, whereby employers are culpable for the acts of their workers. Only by “pointing the arrow” at landowners, rather than gamekeepers, she said, would the number of raptors found poisoned on Scotland’s shooting estates start to fall. In 2004, she was thought the favourite to win the SNP leadership election until Alex Salmond threw his hat into the ring. In the end she polled only 14% of the vote and was relegated to the backbenches, a decision the Daily Record thought “puzzling”, given that she was “one of the Nationalists’ best performers, one of the few politicians who is instantly recognisable by their first name only”. Until the leadership election she had been deputy leader of the SNP for four years and she won 'Parliamentarian of the Year' in 2000. Her views on the monarchy have led her to be known as "Republican Rose", after she described the Queen as resting "at the apex of the class system".
Any Questions? with Jonathan Dimbleby is the topical debate programme in which guests from the…