Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Iain Gray supports David Cameron

Labour leader, Iain Gray, has calls for an apology over the Lockerbie bomber's release. In yet another example of attacking the SNP because that is what Scottish Labour does, rather than actually thinking and being a credible opposition. Elmer Fudd has said that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill should make a public apology if the Lockerbie bomber survives for a full year after his release from prison. Why after a year Mr Gary? Wouldn’t after the 3 months he was supposed to live have been a better anniversary? And how ghoulish is it of all these Labour apparatchiks to be marking these anniversaries anyway?

Megrahi was the only person ever convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, which claimed 270 lives in 1988. Jailed in 2001, the 58-year-old was released on compassionate grounds by Mr MacAskill, who said medical advice gave Megrahi less than three months to live, on August 20th last year. Despite pleas from the US Government to keep the Libyan behind bars.

US senators are still investigating the decision to release Megrahi. Some US politicians have said they suspect BP, which has a £500 million oil deal with Libya, influenced negotiations accusations that have been angrily denied by First Minister Alex Salmond. How ludicrous is it to suggest that the SNP colluded with Labour at Westminster to facilitate a dodgy deal?

In an exclusive interview with the Dundee Courier, Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said the SNP Scottish Government must provide the US with details of how it reached the decision to free Megrahi, who has always maintained his innocence.

"We have to make it clear to the US what the basis of the decision to release Megrahi was," said Mr Gray yesterday. "I don't believe that lobbying by BP had anything to do with his release. I think it was a decision made by Kenny MacAskill and Alex Salmond and a decision I think they both got wrong.

"If we reach the anniversary of his release and Megrahi is still alive, I think Kenny MacAskill should apologise and admit he made a mistake and should apologise to the families of the victims."

Asked if he believed Mr MacAskill should resign if Megrahi survives until the first anniversary of his release, Mr Gray said, "I think the time to resign was when he made the wrong decision. I think the most important thing now is to get a change at the next election in May.

"But it's not just about the decision to release Megrahi. Just before the parliamentary recess they passed legislation to release short-term criminals from jails. Obviously, these crimes were not the same as Megrahi's but these are all people released by Kenny MacAskill."We need a change of administration, to one that puts the victims before criminals."

Talk about political opportunism? Now David Cameron can count on the idiot Gray to do his dirty work for him. The vast majority of the Scottish public do not like to see the Scottish Government bullied by US politicians with a hidden agenda the size of Texas nor do they like to see a British Prime Minister prostitute himself to that agenda at the expense of the vaunted respect he was due to show the Devolved Administrations (respect that lasted 2 and a half months). How sickening it must be to see the leader of the supposed opposition grab on to the coat tails of that agenda for very short term political gain. Let’s hope everybody sees this for what it is when they come to cast votes next May.


  1. It's called realpolitik, Cameron is using it to build a few bridges Labour had damaged, I doubt he cares about megrahi or BP to that extent. Just be thankful MacAskill and Salmond don't have to answer to anyone for their decisions, from Gray, Cameron or any U.S. senators right up to Obama.

  2. Dear All

    Iain Gray is a clown.

    If Labour were in power in Westminster, he would have keep his mouth shut on this subject.

    Opposition for opposition sake is like the little boy crying wolf.

    He would have PTA Megrahi if he was First Minster and Brown was still in Numbers 10.

    He is a clown who thinks people can't see through him.

    He is a classic advert for Scotland being too small, too poor and too stupid.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  3. they're all horrible reallyAugust 04, 2010 5:51 pm

    I agree with George. The weasel Gray just says what he's told to say and nothing more.
    These health diagnosis aren't guaranteed down to the day. If that was the case then Ernest Saunders would have sucumbed to alzheimers ( now back to full health) and Ronnie Biggs would be kicking up the daisies on Von Ryans Express ( Ronnie now playing for St Mirren ).
    Mind you MacAskill is a horrible piece of work who is happy to use Levy&McRae to do his dirty work and enjoys mentioning 'higher powers' despite being a confirmed atheist. Yes horrible Justice Secretary for a horrible administration.

  4. Iain Gray is the next First minister of scotland Alex and his band of ne'er-do-wells are toast....

    Get used to it...........losers

    Ernest saunders and Ronnie biggs were not found guilty of murdering 270 people in fact they never killed anybody..........

    Still lot lot don't give a toss for the innocent dead just as long as you can say..........

    my aren't we Scots compassionate

  5. QM is that what it’s called I? I had another charming four letter word that Cameron is full of in mind. If he does not think that Scotland is worth respecting then why bother saying he would? Just realpolitick lies to get him elected? He didn’t even win the election and he is off on his version of Evita Peron’s rainbow tour to do a power of pee heeing.

  6. George Iain is pretty charisma-less. Gray by name grey by nature. Pretty sickening to see him doing David Cameron’s spade work for him. Should be very funny if he ever gets to be first minister with the aid of the Lib Dems the perennial coalition juniors.

  7. TAHR: I don’t agree, I think the SNP are pretty much the best of them. Ian Gray is showing clear signs of David Cameron syndrome where he opens his mouth and out pours any old tosh that might get him elected to something or other. If he becomes First Minister next year he will become the most senior Labour man in the UK. Scary thought!

  8. Gray may be a fool and jester, but he is right - the SNP ought to apologise for releasing a mas murdering terrorist on faulty medical advice.

    Justice demands it.

  9. Mr MixedPickle. You clearly have very little to do now that Gordon is not around to do all that weeping.

    Good luck to you if you do win the election and Elmer gets to be FM. It should be a laugh especially if he has to go cap in hand to the Lib Dems to seal the deal. Then they can implement the Tory cuts that will twice as bad next year. The SNP do far better in opposition anyway. It’s your turn so enjoy.

  10. Dean: I’m afraid we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this as on so many things. Don’t worry though I will not be coming through to Stirling on one of my anti-Tory hunts blunderbuss akimbo. I would have though that you would be happy with an anti-Labour rant instead of agreeing with Ian Gray, where is the justice? I guess I will have to rely on that higher power that is such a good friend to Kenny.

  11. lol Munguin,

    I always enjoy an article laying into the Liebore puppet in Holyrood...a thumbs up for that!

    p.s Stirling is a thriving hub of activity if your ever up for a bit of Labour bashing ;)

  12. Dean

    But Stirling will never vote Tory, wee metal Micky Forsyth has seen to that.

  13. Dubbieside,

    Perhaps, but it doesn't need to stop me bashing Anne McGuire and her Labour cronies!

  14. I'm not sure why Iain Gray siding with David Cameron is regarded as newsworthy. Both are simply different factions within unionism and believe in the British Establishment, Monarchy, Lords and Ladies, Life Peers, the House of Lords vermin in ermine pension club and all.

    The SNP is a threat to the British Establishment which is why the Lib-Dems, Labour and the Conservatives stand shoulder to shoulder against it. Cameron, Clegg and Milliband, (Burns, Smithers and Professor Frink), are a united front.

    The plain fact is that the Labour party in Scotland fought for Tory rule from Westminster rather than an independent Scotland in the last election and this fact should be shouted from the rooftops.

  15. Dear Dean MacKinnon-Thomson

    You’re a Tory.

    Your blog says, Vice President of Stirling Conservative Union, Europeanist, and tax cutter.

    So as a Tory, you are signed up to law and order are you not?

    And as Cameron is sitting in Number 10, signed up to fairness and equality.

    So, the basis that you want the SNP Government, not Party to apologise is:

    “releasing a mass murdering terrorist on faulty medical advice”.

    Is it MacAskill fault he went on medical experts’ advice?


    Is it MacAskill’s fault that he followed due process?


    Is it MacAskill’s fault that he treated Megrahi fairly and equally?


    Law and Justice for your information are two separate things entirely.

    There won’t be an apology from MacAskill for doing his job properly and any such notion is ridiculous.

    If you have a case for complaint other than your subjective opinion, then let’s hear it.

    Cameron was sucking up to an American audience to score political points that is the extent of his ‘hug an Obama’ tactic, pure PR.

    Grow up!

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  16. Doug: it was news worthy because it was an exclusive interview for the Dundee Courier. I thought it was news worth here because it is a good example of Gray not being a proper opposition but rather being opposed for its own sake.

    I am trying to show that Labour are part and parcel of the Unionist agenda of which you speak. And that there is nothing that they will not do to push that agenda. Even side with their arch enemies the Tories.

  17. It was blatant electioneering on Gray's part.

    You're right, though, Munguin. Since day one of the SNP government Labour has opposed in order to oppose. They would have even opposed a measure which also appeared in their own manifesto in order to make life difficult for the government.

    It would be nice to think that the Scottish people would be bright enough to see that, but I am beginning the think that there's something in the water here that compels people to vote Labour no matter from what height Labour pees on them.

    I simply can't understand anyone who voted Labour 30 years ago seeing a single similarity with the party now. They are traitors to the people who established them and who fought to establish them. They are a shameful bunch of opportunists and arriveists.

    And, a vote for them more often than not brings a Tory government and a bunch of useless Scottish MPs who do nothing but draw their wages. They are a waste of money. The sooner we reduce the number of Scottish MPs the better in my view.

    10 should be enough for all they have to do.

  18. George Laird,

    I disagree, MacAskill did not follow due process and procedure, despite your subjective contribution.

    By visiting the bomber in prison, he showed his inability to appreciate the rules. He was not required [or expected] to visit the prisoner - yet he did this anyway. Not following procedure.

    Besides that, ministerial reponsibility demands that he take full responsibility for his decision, and given his was dependent on the bomber perishing in 3 months [what happened there?] he has no choice. Ministerial responsibility over his decision has to be applied. He chose not to gather more medical opinions before deciding to release.

    MacAskill should apologise.

  19. Jings Munguin, Mr Gray is so last week! Can't he find something topical to whine about?

  20. I doubt that there will ever be a meeting of the minds between Washington and the Edinburgh government over the Megrahi release. Not least because (as you discuss here) there seems to be no real meeting of the minds between the Edinburgh and Westminster governments. Very few Americans believe the claim that the humanitarian release was absolutely REQUIRED (rather than just PERMITTED) by Scots law. Some politicians in London don't seem to believe so either. (Not to mention some Scots who contribute to the comments here.) So it can never be settled to American satisfaction. In retrospect, it seems that the perpetrator of such a horrendous crime, whose victims were 70% Americans, should never have been tried in a Scots court, with imprisonment in a Scots prison. I doubt that any American will ever believe that if a man had killed 270 people in, for example, an Edinburgh nightclub, that the government of Scotland could not have found some way to keep him in prison.

    It's a difficult issue, but it must be understood the extent to which the Megrahi release (on "HUMANITARIAN" grounds) is a bitter slap in the face to so many American families.....the majority of which are in New York and New Jersey.

    Anyway, the Senate hearings on the matter which had been scheduled for August 29 were cancelled in the face of "stonewalling" (in Senator Menendez' words) by the British and Scottish governments. Kenny MacAskill and Jack Straw refused to come to Washington to be grilled. And for that matter, Salmond apparently even refused to allow members of his government to be questioned by US senators in Scotland. So the New Jersey senators (Menendez and Lautenberg) have raised the stakes by vowing to continue their to include ALL aspects of the release.....and not just the matter of BP influence. In refusing to allow any member of his government to testify in person, Salmond had nevertheless agreed to answer "formally and in writing" any additional questions which might arise. So in a letter to First Minister Salmond dated Monday, August 2, Menendez and Lautenberg submitted four detailed questions. The full text of this letter is now posted on Senator Lautenberg's website.

  21. Danny; what I don’t understand is why these Senators decided to wait almost a year before launching their enquiry. To a point just short of Senate elections and a time when President Obama is less popular than Richard Nixon and a convenient scapegoat and public enemy number one was at hand in the shape of BP. You have to admit that smacks of a hidden agenda. The time for a real enquiry would have been in August last year when American ire was surely higher than it is now. Is it really fair to all concerned to whip the whole thing up into a frenzy again. It looks to me like an effort to divert attention from the real issues that ought to concern Americans. I’m not saying that US politicians are any more guilty of this than UK ones or indeed any politicians. A cynical popularity grab is just one of the tactics in these people’s arsenals.

  22. Danny, sorry but ye're talkin rubbish here. Are ye suggestin that if a Scot gets murdered in Texas or Nebraska that the case should be tried in a Scottish court? Of course not. The victims of the Pan-Am bombing died in Scotland so the case should happen in Scotland (or the wee bit of the Hague that was temporarily forever Scotland)

    What interests me is the reaction of the families of the Scottish victims. I dinnae feel a desire for 'revenge' was their main driver, unlike their American counterparts.

  23. Munguin....I entirely share your feelings about the motives of politicians. Actually, I think that this got trotted out again as a political issue as a part of the hue and cry against BP. There was surely lots of political hay to be made by bashing BP. I think that the larger issue of the Scottish government's decision to release Megrahi (apart from the issue of improper BP influence) was sort of a tearing of the scab off an old wound.

  24. Sophia......I really don't disagree at all. I'm sure that the matter of legal jurisdiction was correctly applied according to the letter of international law in such a high profile case. I had thought that the question of jurisdiction involving an international flight and the nationals of so many countries was not all that clear cut at the time. But I may well be wrong about that. I don't really remember it personally. And I don't seem to be able to Google up any clear discussion of the issue.

    The question of "revenge" that you make is a good one. But for Americans, I think that the operative word is "compassionate." The grounds on which he was released. Compassion for one so utterly devoid of compassion for his victims is bitterly ironic. He didn't deserve any compassion as far as I am concerned.

    And then we have the picture of Kenny MacAskill so scrupulously applying the finer points of Scottish law to the case. I have no problem with that of course. But as we hear more and more about it (from the Prime Minister of Great Britain for example), it seems that MacAskill had some discretion in the matter. (Yes, I know that domestic British politics, and the separate English and Scottish legal systems enter in here.) But I do maintain, again quoting the example I gave, that if the bomber had killed 270 people in Edinburgh (rather than 11 in Lockerbie and 259 on an international flight), Kenny would have managed to find a way to keep him in prison.

    All that said, the Scots may simply be a more compassionate people than the Americans. After all, about 2/3 of the states still have the death penalty. And states like Texas, just LOVE it.

  25. S/R: yea as usual he is well behind the times, he only seems to get the script after it’s been well and truly played out by everybody else, including it seems the Tories. Shame!

  26. Well Danny if that is the case then these Senators bringing it up again a year later must be like rubbing salt into the newly opened wound.

  27. Yes Munguin.....It's a fait accompli now. So what's the point? Well as you point out, one of the purposes of Senate investigations is to be able to yell at people who did things you don't like....for political gain. Hard to believe that the good Senators really thought that they could take testimony (whether in Washington or Edinburgh) from sitting British and Scottish officials. Egg on their faces over that. The picture may have been muddied of course by the finger pointing by Cameron, Gray, et al. But the finer points of British politics and Scottish vs English law should be something that US Senators understand. Then again, one never went broke betting against the intelligence of a US Senator. ;-)

  28. LOL @ Subrosa.

    Spot on, brilliant comment.

  29. Dear Dean MacKinnon-Thomson

    “I disagree, MacAskill did not follow due process and procedure, despite your subjective contribution”.

    You have the right to disagree.

    However you added in the word, “procedure” when my exact quote was:

    “Is it MacAskill’s fault that he followed due process?”

    We know, he followed due process because Megrahi was released.

    “By visiting the bomber in prison, he showed his inability to appreciate the rules. He was not required [or expected] to visit the prisoner - yet he did this anyway. Not following procedure”.

    So, could you post a link that says MacAskill is not allowed to do this?

    If we are talking rules, then you will no problem publishing a link.

    It may have not been ‘custom and practice’ in the past but that doesn’t make it a rule!

    “Besides that, ministerial reponsibility demands that he take full responsibility for his decision, and given his was dependent on the bomber perishing in 3 months [what happened there?] he has no choice. Ministerial responsibility over his decision has to be applied”.

    He did take full responsibility for his decision and he isn’t dependent on Megrahi perishing in 3 months.

    No qualified medical doctor can accurately predict death from cancer, they can give estimates based on their qualifications and experience; it isn’t an exact science.

    “He chose not to gather more medical opinions before deciding to release”.

    As I understand numerous medical opinions were sought and given.

    “MacAskill should apologise”.

    For not being able to accurately predict death?

    Can David Cameron accurately predict death?

    What about Andrew Langsley, the English health Minister, can he do it?

    Talk sense.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  30. Looks and talks like Shadwell to me.

  31. Shadwell is better looking Bugger