Tuesday 25 August 2009

Kenny was right

I've been following the Lockerbie coverage, and have had discussions with a few people over the past weeks, political and non-political about Kenny MacAskill's decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds. The consensus is that a) he was right to do so and b) it was an incredibly difficult decision given the intense pressure and scrutiny placed on him.

Like Anne, I wasn't sure what members of my own family would think. This wasn't because of their political views, but because they're a different generation. They had seen war, they had seen terrorism, they knew of capital punishment. They welcomed the decision and accepted that compassion was important and the dignity of a dying man could over-ride a sense of vengeance.

I was disappointed but not surprised by the way the opposition MSPs (Malcolm Chisholm aside) conducted themselves. They asked the same tired questions again and again, all eager to get a piece of the action. As Ian Gray himself admitted on Newsnight last night, they came out of the session with no further information than when it began. What purpose did that serve? Calling on the Justice Secretary to change his mind was hardly likely to be successful either. It was a bit of show; Ian Gray, Tavish Scott and Annabel Goldie trying to show that they had opinions and would have acted differently, when in reality, it was impossible to have done so. I have spoken to some Labour people, and they do support the position Kenny took; their party loyalty of course prevents them from saying so.

I hope that now everyone can move on - I hear that there's likely to be another debate in Parliament next week, and I hope that those involved yesterday will think hard about what they wish to achieve. The decison is made; Megrahi will die, and it's time for the opposition in Scotland to put away childish things.


Dubbieside said...

All yesterdays "debate? what debate" showed was the total lack of principles and moral authority among opposition MSPs. (M Chisholm excepted)

Yesterday was political posturing of the worst kind. Labour were bad, but the Lib Dems were worse. Just what do they stand for? and do their rank and file support Scott and Steven?

The opposition did not even reach the level of a high school debating society.

William said...

With all respect, Alison, I don't think Scottish people will appreciate being admonished to 'put away childish things'. A convicted mass murderer has been released - 11 days served for every victim - and a lot of people are angry about it. A lot of people thought we were electing ministers to administer the justice system not electing priests to dispense forgiveness and compassion on our behalf.

I think, also, we can drop the pretence that SNP supporters would support such a decision from a Labour Justice Minister.

I think it was an awful decision that will severely damage the SNP and the Scottish justice system in the long run. Crime is a big issue for many people and it will be extremely difficult for the SNP to appear tough on it for a long time to come. Megrahi will be thrown in their face.

Indy said...

I really don't understand the whole argument that he has only served 11 days for each of his victims so somehow the decision was wrong.

Even if Kenny had made a different decision and he was kept in jail he would still only serve 11 days for each of his victims because he is dying. His body is falling apart. THAT is why he cannot serve out his full sentence, not because he has been released to die at home.

Unless you propose to surgically remove the brain from his dead body and keep it conscious somehow in a glass jar (like an episode of Star Trek I once saw) there is no possible, conceivable way in which he could serve out his full sentence. While I don't believe in a higher power handing out termimal illnesses I do agree that he is under sentence of death, it is final and irrevocable and supersedes any sentence handed down by a court.

joe90 kane said...

Crime is a big issue for many people and it will be extremely difficult for the SNP to appear tough on it for a long time to come.
- I'm glad the SNP doesn't want to appear 'tough' but rather is being compassionate and caring and animated by humanity.

I don't think Scottish people will appreciate being admonished to 'put away childish things'.
- William seems to think that being 'tough' on crime isn't childish. Presumably, being tough on crime means being manly and macho and serious or, in other words, childish.

A convicted mass murderer has been released ...and a lot of people are angry about it.
- Here is some background info on these 'angry' reactions of William -

Scots opinion rallies behind justice secretary
SNP News
24 Aug 2009

Lawyers back Lockerbie bomber decision – poll
SNP News
25 Aug 2009

Angus Reid poll on al-Megrahi
UK Polling
24 Aug 2009

William said...

'Even if Kenny had made a different decision and he was kept in jail he would still only serve 11 days for each of his victims because he is dying.'

There is a world of difference between the intervention of Death bringing about an early end to a prisoner's sentence and the intervention of Kenny MacAskill to bring about an early end to a prisoner's sentence.

People can accept that death is outwith the control of even the SNP but the early release of a prisoner, regardless of the circumstances, IS their decision. It's unavoidable, therefore, to conclude that Kenny MacAskill and the SNP considered that justice had somehow been served here.

I'm afraid a lot of people don't see it that way.

joe90 kane said...

I'm afraid a lot of people don't see it that way.
- The foreign-owned corporate news media, for instance, whose owners don't live here and who don't pay a penny in taxes - yet consider they have some kind of personal mandate, becuase of their wealth, to tell the public what to think.

It's unavoidable, therefore, to conclude that Kenny MacAskill and the SNP considered that justice had somehow been served here.
- Since when has justice not included humanity, care and compassion?

BellgroveBelle said...

William - my comment about being childish was specifically in relation to the behaviour of the main opposition parties yesterday, I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. This is an issue of the utmost gravity which deserved better than their petty and politically motivated comments.

11 days for each victim, or 11 and a half days should he die in prison doesn't change what happened all those years ago. Compassion is written into our law, and as such it can and should be administered.

William said...

Alison, will that compassion be extended to people like Peter Tobin and Robert Black? Would you like to see it extended to such people should the situation arise?

joe90 kane said...

Should the situation arise that compassion be extended to those who need compassion, then why not William?

Although I have to say, this thought experiment seems a bit circular.

Each case is judged on its merits.

Mind you, Tony Blair head of the UK Government, couldn't wait to shake the hand of Megrahi's supposed boss Gadaffi.

Should British Prime Minister's have shook the hand of a dictator, whose London embassy staff shot a policewoman dead, who supplied the IRA with semtex and who was involved in Lockerbie and whose terrorist agent was still in prison in a Scottish jail?

Whose 'crime' is greater William - the SNP-minority Scottish Government's or the British Prime Minister's?

joe90 kane said...

Unelected Lord Mandlson shows compassion to the son of the terrorist dictator boss of Megrahi -
Mandelson spoke to Gaddafi's son
BBC Politics
17 Aug 2009

Swanning around in yachts, knocking back cocktails whilst getting a suntan and hob-nobbing with Gadaffi Junior - alright for some.

I wonder if we should do this with other murderers and their accomplices and bosses - maybe William might want to enlighten us all, but I doubt it?

G Laird said...

Dear Alison

Kenny MacAskill had a decision to make; he made the right one.

Next case.

Some people say it was a difficult decision, it wasn't in my opinion, it was quite straight forward.

This had to be done.

If the decison had to be made by Richard Baker of the Labour Party, well that is a different story.

He can't even get the concept of justice round his head!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

joe90 kane said...

I thought these might be of interest -
The BBC and Kenny MacAskill
Kenneth Roy
Scottish Review
31 Aug 2009

Bogus BBC megrahi poll Scotland?
Ken Waldron
media lens messege board
01 Sept 2009

all the best BB

Anonymous said...

I find it incredible that David Cameron stated this morning that he was looking fo an inquiry into how the whole release of al megrahi was handled.

Present day enquiry required surely into the whole Lockerbie Bombing. If the data collected after the bombing nearly 20 years ago is run on present day computers, I have no doubt that it would throw up some interesting results. But we don't really want to go there do we?

The whole episode smacks of double standards - Scottish Government criticised for making a compassionate decision, whilst the UK and USA governments make the insensitive decision to make public appearances in the Gadafi's tent.

This is all old news in the US - one day front page to satisfy morals and then glad to move on. I am sorry but that is how it is.

As for the BBC Poll i really do not know who they asked. I asked about 50 people in the course of 3 days after al - megrahi's release. I would have said that about 70% understood the decision.

I was a Labour supporter up until about two weeks ago when Brown sold out Scotland.

joe90 kane said...

Just for the record BB,
with regards to the BBC-commissioned poll which it couldn't wait to make public -
45% of Scots back MacAskill’s decision on Megrahi
The Herald (Glasgow)
04 Sept 2009

all the best

Scotsman said...


Everyone will never agree on what Kenny McCaskill's decision was.

As a Scottish Resident born & raised and a lifetime supporter of the SNP, I can say for the first time in devolution I was ashamed to be Scottish.

The sight of waving Saltires welcoming home a convicted terrorist is beyond my wildest comprehension, and it is an image that is imprinted in my mind.

The decision undermined our judicial system, all those deaths were in vain and ruined our reputation the world over- for what-a poxy few barrels of oil?

I respect everyones view on this- yours, Williams and indy's and Joes. But the release of Al Magrahi along with young babies arm still clutching that teddybear in Lockerbie will never leave me.

I will never vote SNP for what they have done, I certainly will never vote Labour and most definately not Conservative. I am running out of people to vote for!