Friday, 9 July 2010

Tory Compassion? Yes for billionaire fraudsters but no for dubiously convicted dying terrorist

Baron Forsyth of Drumlean. (You remember him? No? He was Secretary of State for Scotland for a very short time during John Major’s premiership, a service for which he went to the English House Lords.) He's has been on the telly (see Scot Goes Pop) bumping his gums about the scandalous release of Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi. That's him, the baldy one, pictured on the left.

He was concerned that Megrahi who was released on compassionate grounds because he was apparently about to die, has lasted for eleven months so far. He is convinced it seems that oil interests in Libya had a lot to do with the release. So he is condemning both the SNP and Labour for apparently pandering to big business interests and subverting the rule of law and the justice system to that end. So far so good and pretty scandalous if true. The Tories would never subvert justice to the ends of big business or those rich gnomes who may or may not fund their party. Would they?

But wait a minute is the gracious Baron not a stunning hypocrite? He was Minister of State for Scotland in the Tory government of John Major which allowed the release of one Ernest Saunders. You will all remember him as the convicted fraudster, one of the Guinness four who made a shed load of money in the 1980s through dubious financial dealings and was sent to clink for 5 years for it. However, that is not his main claim to fame, that rather comes in the fact that he made medical history by being the first and only person ever to recover from Alzheimers, a condition he was diagnosed as having while in prison and which on medical evidence supplied at that time was deemed to be incurable. So he was released by a Tory Home Secretary one Kenneth Baker (him who is only remembered as being portrayed in Spitting Image as a slimy slug) after only serving ten months. But guess what he made a medically unbelievable full recovery and has so far lasted 19 years. Thats him pictured.

At least Mr Megrahi is having the decency to actually die even if the best medical treatment that Colonel Ghadaffi could buy did lengthen his life by months, he is currently still on his death bed in Tripoli. Ernest however has sufficiently recovered to be back in business acting as a consultant to Seed International Ltd, a company based in the Cayman Islands. Seed offered investments in a variety of fields including wine, property, oil and gas exploration.

Now justice ought to be blind and so should the compassion that comes with it. So no matter whether Mr Megrahi did blow up an airliner while Mr Saunders only stole a few billion and defrauded a few people here and there the compassion shown ought to be the same. The point here is Baron Forsyth is a politicking hypocrite for spouting odious verbiage like that on prime time TV when he knows full well that his own party whizzed a googly passed the justice system in not a shocking travesty of justice but a shocking travesty of compassion.


  1. You'd think by now politicians would have learned just how quickly their stance on anything can be pulled apart and subjected to scrutiny, even stuff they did years ago.

    Good spot on your part.

  2. Baron Drumlean is particularly odious as one who has risen to where he is by being the one left over when Scottish Tories were falling like flies in the 90s, I’m sure John Major wishes he had had the Lib Dems as patsies so that he had not had to make the crap left overs of the Scottish party Sec of State. He was there for 5 mins and next hello he is a lord and telling us all how to run Scotland .

  3. QM: seems to be a common malaise among UK political classes/bloggers and the press. They don’t seem to bother looking to check that their own party has not already made a similar or worse transgression before opening their mouths to condemn. Of course in the case of Labour and the Conservatives it is quite easy to find instances where they have acted similarly but it is much more usual that they have acted much less honestly and with much worse intentions. Consistency and thinking don’t seem to come into it at all.

  4. And the BBC was perfectly happy to let him get away with it. How they all hate the SNP. Poor Nicola, against the Condems, Labour and the BBC in the form of the talentless Bumbleboy, and still she held her own.

    Some times you wonder whether it's winnable at all when you see the range of power that is ranged against us in our fight for independence.

  5. We should all be grateful to Forsyth, with the obvious exception of Thatcher no one has done more to make Scotland a virtual tory free zone.

    Even one of their own MSPs Murdo something now thinks that the tory brand (whatever that is) is toxic. I could have told him that, it has been toxic for years.

    Keep Forsyth on programs like QT, lets never forget just how toxic the torys are and always will be.

  6. Dubbie: he was and is a ghastly right wing nothing that got nowhere during Thatcher's years. And he only ended up Scottish Sec because they were forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel in 1996 (I think) and his just over a year in Cabinet office entitles him to a seat in the Lords. Despite being one of the cabinet ministers who lost their seat in 1997. It seems if we ditch them electorally they just grow another head and come back in parliamnt in an unelected form.

  7. Tris: don't worry independence will come. The minute there is no oil left we will be independent. In some ways I wish someone would hijack one of those oh so precious nuclear submarines from Faslane sail it to the oil fields and blow the lot up. We could hardly be any poorer than we are but at least we would be free!

  8. I opposed the release of Megrahi, but I understand why others come to a different view.

    I would say that 'hypocrite' and 'politician' tends to go hand in hand across all party boundaries...the problem with government is politics.

    But that QT was depressing as a Tory, and I mean it.

    Lord Forsyth: "we will all have to take a cut in our living standards"

    My reaction: "For f@*£ sake! Does this guy realise what he is saying????!!!!

  9. But I do agree with Forsyth on one thing, let us hold the referendum on independence. Let the people decide, end the issue one way or the other.

  10. I don't think Michael Forsyth ever really knew what he was saying. I've never liked him or his slavish devotion to all things Thatcher and Thatcherite.

    I wonder how Lord Sir Forsyth's own standard of living will be affected... I suspect not too much.

    I noted the other day that the Lords has voted to continue not to ask for receipts for expenses... because they are all gentlemen and above reproach I suppose...

    I've only two words to say to that. One is Mick and the other one is Martin. OK, to be fair I'd better say another five words....Lucius Edward William Plantagenet Cary (that,s Voscount Falkland to the likes of you and me)

    There: Fair's fair.

  11. Dean: have you anything to say on the release of Saunders? That’s what this post is really about not Megrahi. Why did Kenneth Baker’s slimy heart melt for one chiselling millionaire who was just faking an incurable terminal condition and went on to a long and lucrative life. While other Tory hearts (yours and Lord Forsyth’s) would not be in anyway effected by the site of a bed ridden invalid who really is dying of Cancer but who has survived against all odds for almost a year probably in great deal of pain. Strange thing that Tory compassion.

    I think also that the label hypocrite fits the usual ruling parties the Tories and labour like the proverbial glove. Because they have been in power for so long it is usually easy to find an instance of them doing something similar or worse when they cry foul. They should really check before they do but then that would mean actually working wouldn’t it and the like of Gove are not very good at that are they? The Lib Dems seem to be getting into the hypocritical mantle just fine of late. I’m not seeing the SNP hypocrisy but am sure you could enlighten us all with what you think it is. But be careful wont you and not fall into the same trap as Lord Forsyth, make sure that your instances of SNP hypocrisy cannot be trumped as above by your own party’s examples.

  12. Dean; I am surprised I didn’t think you had any objection to people’s living standards going by the board. Three strikes and your out wasn’t it? Although of course you never made clear what the three strikes were but you did make clear what the out was i.e. starvation and penury.

  13. The newRight - the new censorsJuly 10, 2010 9:01 am


    Dean is perfectly clear on where he stands on freedom of speech anyway. He blocks or deletes any criticism of his blog posts. Maybe this is the new Right we have to look forward to ? ; )

  14. Any sensible right-thinking person would want a totally independent inquiry into Lockerbie instead of giving us their bullshit about a dying man.

    Why is the numpties like Forsyth not speaking out for the victims families who are calling out for one or is it because his party are involved in this miscarraige of justice.

    Same as the Labour tube Richard Baker - not interested in justice - only trying to make himself look good by scoring political points - only succeeds in making himself look like the tube he is though!

  15. Munguin,

    I did specify what the three strikes were, maybe you ought to go back and read it? I stated they were job offers.

  16. The newRight - the new censors said,

    I am blocking only anon postings, as I find them usually prone to spaming my comments section.

    Please sign in an continue to comment

  17. Munguin,

    I do not know enough about the release of Saunders, and the case to comment.

  18. newRight = censorshipJuly 10, 2010 3:00 pm

    Dean said..

    " I do not know enough about the release of Saunders, and the case to comment"

    How convenient. It would take you about 10 minutes to google the case. He was a thief who faked alzheimers to get out of jail.

  19. newRight = censorship said...

    Unlike you it seems, I prefer to actually read up thoroughly before commenting, and intend to trust more than just some internet webpage ...

  20. Billy:

    I would like an inquiry into Lockerbie, but of course no one will back one because I guess it will make Scottish Judicial system look bad if the outcome is in any way different from what the courts found.
    I am suspicious that the CIA, operating I imagine with the approval of London pretty much took charge and had all the evidence quarantined in a warehouse. I’m suspicious that the result of the trial was pretty much what the Americans wanted to hear. I suspect that the Scottish Legal system may have been subverted by pressure on a compliant Prime Minster from the American President.

    The trouble is I now believe nothing that any of them say. They all want what is best for them... and care not a fig about anything or anyone else.

  21. NewRight but same old s****July 11, 2010 12:39 am

    Dean said..

    "Unlike you it seems, I prefer to actually read up thoroughly before commenting, and intend to trust more than just some internet webpage ..."

    Before I reply I'd just like to say that I have no agenda against you and won't bother you again on your blog. I just love debating politics but if that's not your bag then don't worry I'm not interested in your blog.

    I've just re - read the comment that you deleted ( google cached) and can't see anything wrong with it. I picked 8 quotes out of your post to show that you are rude to anyone who isn't Tory and that it was hypocritical of you to say that I was 'shameful' for daring to take you to task over the constitutional thing.
    I had a myriad of things to debate with you but won't bother now. I'll just give you a sample of what I was thinking..

    1. How ironic that a Tory uses 'Manchester miners' to back up his argument. Maggie killed mining in the 80's and we now rely on increasingly expensive Polish coal.

    2.'Saloon Bars'. WTF ? You're not John Wayne are you ?

    3.Why is it that you can't spell yet you get to be something in the Tory party ? Won't Gove sack you ? It's plagiarise you eejit . You can't even copy a word from your own comments .

    4. Why would anyone trust your webpage when you delete comments without mentioning it and block 'anonymous' posts ?

    5. Why would fake emails used with openID etc be any less anonymous ? My IP address is available.


    Sorry to take up your blog space but I've noticed that you indulge Dean so I know you won't mind ;)

  22. "At least Mr Megrahi is having the decency to actually die even if the best medical treatment that Colonel Ghadaffi could buy did lengthen his life by months, he is currently still on his death bed in Tripoli"

    And therein lies the biggest flaw in this bit of unusually irrational (for this excellent blog) Tory bashing. Megrahi, released on the dodgy word of, so we are told, your own prototype Scottish government, could live for another decade. Hardly a deathbed.

    He's a convicted mass murderer who's now effectively got away with it for the sake of a BP contract, as brokered by Mandelson.

    Saunders fiddled the books and didn't get away with it. The father of a close school friend of mine was the one who blew the whistle on Saunders at Guinness - and told me all about it. He said Saunders got caught up in a scam that was bigger than him and that he was not a bad man as such, just, when confronted with real pressure, weak.

    But I suppose that wouldn't matter to the writer of this particular post. The facts aren't important.

    Only the chippy attitude and the "nationalism" really count, right? I absolutely admire this blog and at least one its contributors, but this is just feeble.

    Feel free to disagree, naturally :)

  23. ex guinness drinkerJuly 11, 2010 3:31 am

    Denverthen said..

    " he was not a bad man as such"

    You need to research Saunders. Read all the reports from his friends and enemies. Then come back and report. He was an evil , lying thief who robbed from the poor to give to the rich ( ie him) . It would put you off drinking Guinness forever. The thieving barsteward even managed to con the medical staff that he was at deaths door . Before going on to make a miraculous recovery from alzheimers and live another 20 years.
    Get a life denver !

  24. @ex guinness drinker:

    Easy tiger. I wasn't defending the offender Saunders, just reporting what the man who took over Guinness from him two decades ago said to me about that sad episode - and pointing out that to me (at least) there seems to be a misassociation and false equivalence at work in the original post.

    I could be wrong, of course, (I often am) but I don't think so in this case. But if I am, then I will try jolly hard to do better next time and "get" some kind of "a life", as you so compellingly advise.

    I gave up the black stuff as well (much as I love it) about five years ago, by the way. For health reasons I just drink gallons of relatively decent French wine nowadays ;)


  25. ex guinness drinkerJuly 11, 2010 4:19 am


    Yes get a life and educate yourself you effin ponce. Don't believe the b******* what you is told man.
    Respect - pow !

  26. "Effin ponce" eh? "Educate yourself" eh? "Respect" is it?


    Pots and "gangsta" kettles, bright boy. Pots and kettles.


  27. Denver: I’m sorry that you think this is just unadulterated Tory bashing laced it seems with an unabashed nationalist agenda. I thought I had made clear that this post was a comment not on Megrahi or indeed Saunders but on Lord Forsyth and the fact that in my opinion he is a hypocrite for lambasting the SNP (and Labour) for doing something similar to his own party when it was in government and he was a minister in it. If that is Tory bashing for no good reason then I hold my hands up as guilty. I was endeavouring to direct the reader’s attention to the nature of compassion and its use as a political football. I cannot divest myself of my own bias although I do I can assure you try.

    It seems that there is plenty evidence one way and the other concerning Mr Megrahi. I hear for example that his condition is worse and that they have stopped giving him his medication (I think it was in last week’s Sunday Post), that would indicate to me that he is in fact dying and not only that but likely to do so soon. You on the other hand have latched onto a differing report that he will last for another ten years. In this case its horses for courses and you must forgive me the slip shod method that allows me to use the interpretation I want to strengthen my case. I will of course allow you the courtesy of using your interpretation to counter what I say and will take great pleasure in engaging in a discussion of the point with you.

    I’m at a loss to understand your interpretation of “getting away with it”. Both were convicted and both were released on compassionate grounds. So to my way of thinking neither of them in fact got away with it at all. Your friend’s associate convinced the Tories that he had Alzheimers, an incurable condition that worsens rapidly and for which there is no cure, no respite, and no recovery. To such an extent that he was released from a five year sentence after 10 months, clearly the implication being that he would not survive the rest of his sentence. He then made a full recovery and went back into business. Now you are right I don’t have all the facts, maybe he thought he did have Alzheimers, but you must allow that it is possible that he faked the condition in order to escape jail and that the Tories colluded in this or were duped by it. Now the SNP may have been similarly duped or indeed may have colluded to let him off for whatever reason unknown. I like to think, however, that they did in fact release him for compassionate reasons. If that proves to be untrue then I can assure you I will have serious reservations concerning my continued support of the SNP. I don’t think I can say fairer than that.

  28. Ex Guinness drinker:

    Hey man... take it easy please. My take is that we can have all sorts of views on here without resorting to people "getting a life" and calling people "effing ponces". It's over the top.

    I disagree with denverthen on this point. I think that Saunders was one of these guys who gets what he wants because he's rich.

    There are similarities between the two cases in that there is no doubt that he was confirmed by doctors, appointed by the Secretary of State (in the English case) and the Cabinet Secretary (in the Scottish case).

    In both cases they prognosis was grim; in both cases the government minister acted on the law.

    Both, I assume, took legal advice and medical advice and matched the two. In both cases the legal/medical evidence demanded release under English Law and Scots Law resectively.

    Mr Saunders had a condition which, as Munguin says, was incurable and progressive, leaving him in a situation where he didn’t know if it was Paris or Tuesday afternoon. In an act of compassion, as dictated by English Law, he was released to sink into madness and to die what is, no one would deny, a horrible death. Instead after a reasonable period he recovered from his death sentence and went on to become a business consultant. A medical impossibility...? Well no, nothing is impossible, but certainly highly improbably. Indeed one of his co-accused said that he planted the idea of mental illness in Saunder’s head telling him that he should feign mental illness in order to obtain early release. Gerald Ronson suggested that this wouldn’t be too difficult for Saunders “because besides being a psychotic liar, you are mentally deranged”.

    If Mr Saunders had had a scrap of decency he would have dedicated the rest of his life to trying to help doctors find what had in fact cured him of the horrific affliction which got his release.

    Mr Al Megrahi was dying of cancer. Again the law in Scotland demanded given the prognosis, that he be released to die in his own home. He was reckoned to have less than 3 months to live were he kept here and treated under the National Health Service, Scotland. He was instead sent home to his family which would of course be a boost to him, and where he could be treated with the very best drugs and cancer specialists his oil-rich country could afford. It was reported that President Qadaffi had oncologists flown in from Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. Undoubtedly these two factors (together with teh fact that even the most eminent of doctors can get it wrong, because cancer has a “mind of its own”) has given him longer to live.

    But, unlike Mr Saunders who, 19 years after his descent into darkness is a consultant and has made a shedload more money, Mr Al Megrahi is now, according to the Sunday Post, a short time away from death. Treatment has been ceased and palliative care is being given.

    Any idea that teh governments of arch enemies Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond acted in accord is pretty farfetched, but again not impossible. Just as Saunders’ men on the outside could have got at doctors examining their friend and advised them that it would be financially advantageous for them to put aside any doubts they had about the veracity of Mr Saunders’ claims.

    The point Munguin was trying to make was that the good Noble and Rt Hon Lord was making political capital out of the case, forgetting that a very similar case existed when he was in government. Once again showing that the politicians, even old retired ones like Forsyth treat us like our heads zip up the back.

    Incidentally I think that the idea of making political capital out of the deaths of so many people is repugnant in itself.

  29. Oh after all that I really meant to say...

    ... Please can we all treat each other with respect on here.

    Even if things can get a bit heated, let's keep some measure of respect and not resort to personal insults to people we don't even know, because their views differ from ours.

    Otherwise we'll end up with a few people on here who will just agree with every word that Munguin or I write..

    And that would be............... boring.

  30. ex guinness drinkerJuly 11, 2010 11:25 pm


    Apologies to yourself and denver !
    Must have had too much guinness last night :)
    Just re read my posts. Ponce ? ha ha no idea where that came from :)

  31. ex guinness drinker...

    LOL. Apologies accepted from this side mate. Saturday nights are dangerous times to post.

    Denver's a good lad. I'm guessing he'll be cool.

    Most people like a guy that can say sorry.