Friday 15 January 2010

Is this what it takes for Labour to take notice?

As readers may recall, Labour had nothing whatsoever to say about organised crime back in Glasgow City Council in November.

The SNP group put down a motion, and Labour Councillors childishly refused to turn up to the meeting.

The SNP Government has been working hard to tackle organised crime at many levels, and the Cashback initiative has also sought to turn the proceeds of crime into benefits for local communities.

When organised crime is allowed to grow, ordinary people suffer. It shouldn't be that members of the public risk getting caught in the crossfire when they're out to get their messages. Since the shooting of a man earlier this week at lunchtime in the car park of a Glasgow supermarket, Labour MSP Paul Martin has found something to say on the matter.

Paul Martin (Glasgow Springburn) (Lab): Yesterday, in broad daylight, a man was shot dead outside one of Scotland's busiest supermarkets in the Robroyston area of my constituency. Does the First Minister agree that the time is now right for the Parliament to show leadership by standing up to such unacceptable gangland activities? Will he arrange for the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to meet me and anyone else who has an interest in the issue to discuss how we can take the most effective action to deal with the unacceptable activities of the gangland networks?

The First Minister: The justice secretary will be delighted to attend such a meeting with the member. I know that the member will want to support the initiative on the serious organised crime task force, which is designed precisely to address such behaviour across society. That task force is long overdue, but now that it is coming into being as part of our battle against organised crime, it deserves the support of every member.

I do hope Mr Martin has been in touch with his colleagues in the Council to make sure they're on board...


Anonymous said...

Lockerbie bomber released and to return to Libya a free man
The Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, has been released from prison in Scotland and can return to Libya a free man after serving eight years of his life sentence.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced his release on compassionate grounds in a press conference.

Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, could be on his way home within hours to spend his dying days with his family.

Sources at a military airport near Tripoli, Libya, said that the plane which will take him back home was en-route to Glasgow Airport earlier today, suggesting he could leave this afternoon.

Megrahi, 57, was convicted of killing 270 people in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight. Some 189 Americans were among those who died in the airliner explosion.

The decision to free him is likely to cause outrage in the United States, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped he would stay behind bars.

A White House spokesman said the Obama administration "deeply regrets" the decision.

Mr MacAskill made the announcement at the Scottish Government's ministerial headquarters in Edinburgh.

He had been considering two applications – one for Megrahi to be moved from Greenock prison to Libya under a prisoner transfer agreement, and a separate application for him to be released early on compassionate grounds.

He rejected the first application, and opted for the latter course, meaning Megrahi is able to return home a free man.

In the build-up to his decision, Mr MacAskill came under intense US pressure to keep Megrahi behind bars.

On Wednesday a cancer specialist called for an "urgent" decision on Megrahi's future.

Professor Karol Sikora, who visited him in prison, said the Libyan had an "aggressive" form of prostate cancer which was no longer responding to treatment.

"We believe he has only a very short period of time to live," said Prof Sikora, who assessed Megrahi last month.

But Mrs Clinton said it was "absolutely wrong" to release Megrahi, and American relatives have been fiercely critical of the reported plans.

Speaking on Wednesday, before his release, she said: "We are still encouraging the Scottish authorities not to do so and we hope that they will not."

Megrahi successfully dropped his appeal against conviction on Tuesday.

The Times reported that Megrahi would be flown back to Libya on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's private jet.

Tripoli-based Afriqiyah Airways, which runs Colonel Gaddafi's personal Airbus A340, contacted Glasgow airport yesterday to report that it would be collecting "a special passenger", the newspaper claimed.

However, the flight was cancelled during protracted negotiations over his fate.

Another plane is reported to have left a military base near Tripoli for Glasgow, carrying Libyan journalists.

Megrahi's wife Aisha told The Times she was "very happy" at the prospect of her husband returning to his homeland.

It was also reported that the convicted bomber had called his mother in Libya and told her he hoped to be with her by Ramadan,

Hajja Fatma, 95, told the Tripoli Post in Libya: "I do not close the house's door at all. I am expecting him to enter at any moment.

"Eleven years I did not spend the holy month of Ramadan with him, I am waiting for that day when he comes back."

She maintained that her son was innocent of killing 270 people in the Lockerbie bomb, saying "he would not slaughter a chicken".

Ted Harvey said...

I see that Anonymous (they are so often anon aren't they?) rather wonderfully proves your point.

He or she rants on a great length and detail about something that illustrates how some people will talk about anything, anything, - even international affairs - rather than actually square up to, and get serious about street level organised crime in cities that Labour has dominated and run for the best part of a century.

... and of course Scotland's credibility and stature, beyond the discredited USA and UK, has been enahnced greatly by the decenct and civilised way in which its Scottish Government dealt with the Megrahi case - all in sharp contrast to the increasingly discredited original conviction of Megrahi that the USA's CIA and UK intellegence services largely concocted.

Now, can we get back to the actual subject of real, organised, crime on the streets of Labour-run Scottish cities?

Anonymous said...
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