Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Labour's Disgrace

All his life my father voted labour.  He came from a comfortable working class background where I would think both his parents voted labour. His father was Dundonian and his mother Glaswegian so I wouldn't have expected any other political party to be considered.  That's the way it was back in the early 1900s.  Although he was orphaned at the age of nine, he once told me his political leanings were, by then, firmly entrenched, but he was always open to discussion.  By the time he died in 1988 he was very unsure of the labour party and, during one of our chats in the hospice, he said he was quite tempted to change to the SNP.  Of course he knew he'd never live to vote again because he suffered from prostate cancer which had travelled into his 71-year-old bones.

Al-Megrahi has prostate cancer.  I don't doubt that.  Since his release I've overloaded my brain with information regarding his medical condition and spoken to those who have medical experience.  Whether I think his release was right or wrong is immaterial.

But labour in Scotland, along with the unionists in Westminster and a selection of senators in America, have continually accused the SNP government - and Kenny MacAskill in particular - of impropriety regarding the release.  Alex Salmond has always said they adhered to the law.

Today's MSM exonerate the Scottish government from any wrong doing.  No apologies from the Scottish media of course but they lambast the then labour Westminster government for misleading the public.  I'm sure by now most of us who are interested will have read the dead-tree media's account and also viewed the stumbling and mumbling behaviour of Scottish labour's justice representative, Richard Baker, on Newsnight Scotland last night.

Scottish bloggers Joan MacAlpine and Lallands Peat Worrier have posed questions I would ask but I see no point in repetition.  Moridura has a clip from last night's Newsnight UK in which Alex Salmond patiently responds to Paxman.

The Scottish government have acted morally and in complete accord with the Scottish justice system. Labour have shown themselves to be reluctant to tell the truth.

My father would have voted SNP in May - I have no doubt whatsoever.  He was a man with firm beliefs including truth, morals and justice.  This incident alone shows today's labour party, in both the UK and Scotland, has none of these values.


gildas said...

Well said

cynicalHighlander said...

The British Labour Scottish branch is my desired name of Iain Gray's group had the cancer 'expert' R Simpson on Scotland at Ten spouting his usual nonsense wanting al-Megrahi's medical records. On BwB over moderated blog this post is enlightening as '18 months he is still alive' is the doctor's attack mode.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

SR, Acknowledging your belief in Scotland etc, acknowledging your father's belief in truth, morals and justice, which you undoubtedly share - to which I would add principle - I am forced to pose the question: Do any of today's political elite possess even one of those attributes?

Until we have politicians who believe and practiy.se all four of those attributes, whether as a United Kingdom, or 4 separate countries, none of us can rest easy

Dramfineday said...

Finely put SR....you have said it all.

Anon said...

None of the parties come out of this well.

The Lockerbie trial looked rigged in order to cover up heroin smuggling by the CIA?

- Aangirfan.

subrosa said...

Thank you gildas. You're out and about this evening . :)

subrosa said...

I'm not sure about the legality of releasing a person's medical records CH, unless there is a legal investigation. Labour have been shouting for that for long enough - the records I mean.

subrosa said...

I doubt if these values will ever be met by any politician in the future here WfW. These days have gone.

subrosa said...

Thanks Dram.

subrosa said...

Of the whole saga I'd agree with you Aangirfan, but in this particular part I think the SNP have come out quite well.

If the Megrahi business was taken as a whole then nobody does, least of all our justice system.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Good post SR.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Brown is culpable, but it's get even time for some:


The Cabinet Secretary has, diplomatically, gotten even, after years of living next door to a nasty little tyrant.

subrosa said...

Thanks Tris.

subrosa said...

Gus O'Donnell is part of the pack WW. He's only doing what suits him. There's a great deal more he could do aka Blair and Brown.

What about the letter he refused to give the Iraq inquiry for starters?

William said...

It's not suggestive of a proud political party advocating independence that the first time it makes a seriously unpopular decision, it scurries around trying to blame everyone else for it.

Then again, I've always said the SNP don't know the meaning of the word 'independence'.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Subrosa, of course you are right. There is selectivity, but what would you do as a loyal labour supporter? In a funny way, O'Donnell has done a Gillian Duffy and merely facilitated a flow of insight.

Brown is out of the close circle of the global elite. Blair is not and probably never will be.

subrosa said...

I see what you mean WW. That's the problem with the likes of O'Donnell having a political allegiance.

subrosa said...

To be fair William I think the SNP have handled this matter very well. They've never accused anyone but also defended themselves.

Anonymous said...

Bang on SR. I don't remember blame being thrown about by our government.

They have consistently said that they acted on medical reports and behaviour reports which is what our law demands.

A decision contrary to that which was made would also have caused international outrage. If the law says that you must show compassion in such a case, and the case meets the criteria for release, then to hold the prisoner because releasing him might damage relations with the world’s most powerful nation would cause outrage amongst right thinking people the world over, most especially those who sought his release.

Much has been made of the doctors’ evidence which indicated that the prognosis was 3 months or less. Over and over doctors of all kinds have said that you can't foretell with accuracy every case. Cancer grows in the body and each body is different which is why some people live for years and others are dead within weeks.

Again, in Scotland medical records are confidential, and cannot be released.

The Mace of the Scots parliament is inscribed with the words "Wisdom, Justice, Compassion, Integrity". It’s Scots law. We kept to it.

We did not seek to blame the UK or its government, nor did we try to blame Libya. We told the world that there had been representations from Libya, Qatar and the United Kingdom, we repeatedly said that despite these entreaties we acted on Scots law, to the letter.

Everything that Alex Salmond said from day one has been borne out by everything which has been released, either by the UK or by Wikileaks. At no point has there been any attempt to deceive.

I believe that at some point AS told Jack Straw that he would make the decision. He was incorrect in that. It was not a government decision, but a quasi legal one, made by the justice secretary, a lawyer on advice from his civil servants, also lawyers. By the same token Iain Gray said that had he been the FM the release would not have taken place, equally wrong, unless he sought to interfere with the legal process. Perhaps both men were, at that point, unaware of the full legal situation and had assumed that it was like a pardon, where it is the Queen on the advice of the First Minister that makes the decision.

William said...

Tris, will you be advocating Peter Tobin to be released?

This is a man who couldn't attend his own appeal due to illness and eventually had to drop it.

Where is the compassion?

Billy said...

William you do talk the biggest load of mince.

SNP would have put their independence referendum bill forward in the Scottish Parliament but they knew they would not get it through because the English funded and run parties,Labour, Lib-Dems and Tories would have voted it down.

What has Peter Tobin got to do with anything? If he was terminally ill then he would go through the same procedure.

If the Scottish Government had treated Megrahi any different to any other prisoner then that would have opened up an expensive human rights fight in the courts wasting £millions that should be spent in our schools and hospitals.

No wonder we have so many people living in poverty in this country when we have quislings like yourself who just spend their time defending their English political party at their expense.

William said...

"If he was terminally ill then he would go through the same procedure."

Would you support him in that application?

Billy said...

Actually I could not give a toss William. If the guy was dying then who cares as they release other murderers for the same reason.

The trouble is Megrahi had nothing to do with Lockerbie and at one time even Labour would have been calling for an independent inquiry into this.

Then again there is no difference between Labour, Lib-Dems and the Tories these days. In fact I would say that Labour are the worst now with their involvement in the 7/7 London Bombings plus the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the kiddy-on war on terror.

Of course when you are in a cult you cannot see these things when you are too busy sticking up for your masters. I don't have that problem as I put the truth and facts before any political party.

Anonymous said...

The law is the law William.

The law says that if you have a terminal illness and if you have been a model prisoner then you should be released.

It isn't a question of do youlike what whe did, or do you disapprove of it.

That he is still alive may well be due to the fact that Libya, an oil rich nation with money to spare, has imported the best oncologists from Sweden and teh USA to attend him. There is no financial constraint to the drugs costs.

In Scotland he got the same treatment as anyone else. Adequate.

His life expectancy has also doubtless improved thanks to his being at home with his family.

Compassion means compassion. The law is the law.

Anonymous said...

I would support the release of any prisoner to die at home if he were terminally ill.

Revenge is not a part of the legal code of Scotand. Maybe it is of the UK or England, but here it is not.

cynicalHighlander said...

I think there is one thing that William misses "Not a danger to the public" so if he still posed a threat then the state of his health would be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Yes CH. I missed that too. And it is very important.

subrosa said...

Well said Tris.

subrosa said...

Billy, he tries to stick to the unionist line, don't you William?

subrosa said...

Good point CH.

William said...

"If the guy was dying then who cares"

I think the families of Tobin's victims might care.

I'm off me head, me.

"The trouble is Megrahi had nothing to do with Lockerbie"

The trouble is he wasn't released on those grounds. MacAskill referred to it as a 'proper investigation' and a 'lawful conviction.'

There's no point muddying the waters although Nationalists simply can't help themselves. It is pretty much their last refuge in this sorry tale.

William said...

"I would support the release of any prisoner to die at home if he were terminally ill."

I'm away to be physically sick.

"Revenge is not a part of the legal code of Scotand."

Grow up, son. Prison is a punishment. If you die in prison then that's part of the price you must pay. The victims paid the ultimate price. Why shouldn't the criminal?

Anonymous said...

Feel free, William, to be sick if you wish. Dying in prison is not necessarily part of the Scottish way, which is why this man didn't.

Incidentally there are many cases in England, which appears to have the same compassion clause in its law, where a person has been released and gone on to live. Recently Biggs and before that Saunders come to mind.

And William, you are, if you want to, and it makes you feel better, at liberty to tell me to grow up, but please don't call me son. I don't like being patronised, and I'm not your son, thankfully.

subrosa said...

William, I know you like to take on us nationalists and I admire your courage, but please take it easy. Once you start down the personal insult road you lose your side of the argument.

Jo G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
subrosa said...

Jo, I know you've deleted your comment but I have a copy in my email. Just want to say I support your every word.

Jo G said...

Ohhhhhh Subrosa, I did a fresh post but I couldn't have submitted it properly as it hasn't come through. Will re-do.

subrosa said...

Jo, I still have your original. I can email it to you if that will help.

Jo G said...

I have to say this. Had the SNP done the right thing Megrahi's appeal would have been heard. They do not come out well in this at all. Far from it.

There is an official report by the SCCRC available which lists SIX grounds which question the original conviction and suggest strongly that there was a miscarriage of justice. That the SNP have worked as hard to ensure the appeal was never heard, that the SCCRC report would never see the light of day, makes them every bit as responsible as the Unionist Parties that neither Megrahi, or Scotland, will see justice over Lockerbie.

That the SNP were as desperate to keep the truth hidden as their Unionist counterparts is something many SNP supporters are in shock about and have been for many, many months now. If anyone could have done this, it was Salmond.

I want justice over Lockerbie and I want the SCCRC report published. Megrahi's human and legal rights were denied him over his second appeal and that is a fact.

The whole hoo-ha about the release was a diversion from the big issue which was the original conviction. That still is the big issue. The "revelations" from O'Donnell are no such thing. We've known since 2007, when Blair was dealing in the desert, that Labour were up to their eyes in this. But gloating about it is foolish. For how can we ignore the fact that the SNP could have pulled the rug from under the lot of them by publishing the SCCRC report and insisting the appeal must be heard yet bottled it for reasons they still haven't made clear. Only one thing is certain: they had nothing to do with justice.

On Lockerbie only one person in the SNP can hold her head high and that is Christine Grahame. As for me, I still can't understand how Salmond or MacAskill can keep on saying the original verdict was sound when they both know exactly what the SCCRC findings were. They also therefore must know that the verdict was anything but sound.

Jo G said...

Got it sorted now Subrosa.

subrosa said...

I see that Jo. Excellent post btw. I was going to mention Christine Grahame in my reply to you but there was nothing to reply to. :)

What has so disappointed me exactly what you highlight. Did you read Kenneth Roy today about the SCCRC report? Fiddling with legislation yet it's very possible it still won't be published.

No, what I hear from friends is that they can't understand why Salmond insists he supports the conviction when most people know it's unsafe in some way. That's what disappoints me more than anything.

If Salmond had called for an independent inquiry that would have slightly ameliorated the issue. He didn't. He's covering for someone and not interested in Scotland's reputation of fair justice.

Jo G said...

I will never understand it Subrosa.

The "clean hands" thing made the SNP the only Party who could sweep the murky facts out over Lockerbie and they had all the tools to do it. The SCCRC report was by a group, part of the judicial establishment, but independent of it. Something in the region of £1 million funded their investigation and three years of work.

For the first time it would have been made public that the US PAID $3 million to the Gauci brothers for their testimony at the trial. (A Scottish court would not have accepted them as reliable witnesses because it would have introduced bribery into proceedings. But the Scottish Court in this case wasn't told about the cash for testimony arrangement.) We would also have been told about the break in at Heathrow Airport on the morning of the day Pan Am 103 was to be blown out of the skies. (That information was withheld from the trial.)

We had a justice system here in Scotland which sat on Megrahi's appeal for more than two years. Why would the judiciary not want the appeal heard? Why would the political establishments north and south of the border also not want it heard? The answer to that is with Megrahi's appeal almost certainly upheld we would then no longer have a "Lockerbie bomber" to refer to.

I don't like the idea of any Party seeking to make capital out of a subject like this however I am convinced that the SNP, had they taken it on, would have swept all opposition in Holyrood - and Westminster - aside due to the public support behind them to get to the truth about Lockerbie. I still believe I was right to think so. I also still believe Salmond was the man to do it. It has been painful to witness all of this and to see so many politicians, many of them lawyers, ignoring the significance of the SCCRC report and the legal and human rights of Megrahi being denied without a whimper.

I read Kenneth Roy on it and Ian Bell in the last week too. The observations of both never miss and hit the wall.

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