Saturday, 16 October 2010

MacAskill blast at US

[This is the headline over a report in today's Scottish edition of the The Sun. It reads in part:]

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill yesterday defended his record over his decision to release the Lockerbie bomber.

He told delegates at the SNP party conference he had "upheld the laws and followed the values of Scotland".

And he sparked huge applause when he hit out at US senators who tried to order him to Washington to face a grilling over the compassionate release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Mr MacAskill said it was a "great privilege" to be a member of the Scottish Parliament.

He added: "It is to that institution that I am answerable. To no other, irrespective of their status. Scotland's not the biggest country, but it's our homeland and we are proud of it."

[A snippet in The Scotsman reads as follows:]

The Kailyard Cup for the couthiest contribution to conference yet again goes to Kenny MacAskill. The old Scots saying "If ye fly wi the craws, yi get shot wi the craws" was how he summarised legislation cracking down on lawyers and accountants who turn a blind eye to crime.

Kenny added his own wee gem: "We've not got the best fitba' team in the world but they're oor team and we're proud of them. Scotland's not the biggest country in the world, but it's oor ain hameland and we're all proud of it."


  1. "If ye fly wi the craws, yi get shot wi the craws"

    A very good phrase but MacAskill should think when he utters it. It could as much apply to him as to those he applies it to, especially when it comes to Megrahi.

  2. The sentence,

    "If ye fly wi the craws, yi get shot wi the craws"

    is perhaps especially relevant to Mr MacAskill in the context of his mentioning:

    "cracking down on lawyers ...who turn a blind eye to crime."

    Something not recorded in the Justice Department note of the meeting I attended on 6 July 2009 is that at its end I raised with Mr MacAskill the conduct of the Lord Advocate concerning the CIA cables.

    Was that conduct not criminal, and did the judges and Mr MacAskill not turn a blind eye?

    I did not talk to him about the apparently criminal activity of Mr McNair of the CIA, or the staff he supervised, in giving the false written descriptions of withheld evidence.

    Was it proper of the defence, or adequate in respect of duty to act in the interests of their client, not to draw the attention of the judges to the actions and omissions of the CIA records custodian and perhaps other CIA staff, the Procurator Fiscal, the Advocate Depute and the Lord Advocate, with a view to a warning and/or sanctions, and/or action for contempt of court, and/or a mistrial being declared?

    I note that the Lord Advocate went on, having already been found out as giving multiple, varied and detailed false statements to the judges about the contents of cables, to give further false or misleading information about the numbers of cables not disclosed.

    It might be argued that the failure of the judges to take action on his first set of falsehoods may have made the second episode more likely.

    In any case, it might be argued that the defence and/or the judges should have acted in line with the principle that the behaviour raised justifiable cause for concern about the suitability of these persons to be involved further in the prosecution, bearing in mind the low regard that might reasonably now be held of their reliablity for providing adequately complete or accurate information on other matters important to the fairness and/or outcome of the trial.

  3. This is a point that has always baffled me. Did you get any sort of an answer?

  4. Exactly Matt. And that is why, when MacAskill uses such phrases he turns the spotlight on himself as much as anyone else.

  5. It is a bit like running with the fox and hunting with the hounds. That too was an old favourite of my mum's.