[What follow are excerpts from an article by The Herald's Scottish political editor, Tom Gordon, published today on the Herald Scotland website.]
An outspoken lawyer tipped to replace Labour MSP Wendy Alexander last night branded his own party’s policy on knife crime “absurd” and defended the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
Ian Smart (...) a past president of the Law Society of Scotland, even went so far as to say that the parliament needs to be more than just a home for former councillors.
His remarks could make his bid to replace Alexander as Labour’s candidate in Paisley awkward for Scottish leader Iain Gray. (...)
Smart, 52, was a founder of Scottish Labour Action, the pro-devolution movement which also included Alexander and Jack McConnell. A respected lawyer practising in Cumbernauld, he became president of the Law Society in 2009. (...)
Smart was equally forthright on law and order. Despite Gray criticising the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi in 2009 on compassionate grounds, Smart said he supported the decision by SNP justice secretary Kenny MacAskill to free the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.
“Faced with the medical evidence that Kenny had at the time, personally I would have made the same decision,” he said.
He said the way the issue became politicised, dividing down party lines, showed “the worst aspect of Scottish politics”.
[A Scottish Labour politician thinking for himself and not just parroting the party line! Whatever next? A willingness to look at the rottenness of the Megrahi conviction, maybe?]