Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Opinion poll findings on Megrahi release

[An article in today's edition of The Scotsman contains the following:]

Scottish voters have offered their backing for a controversial Labour election policy to jail all those convicted of carrying a knife, a Scotsman poll has revealed.

The poll, showing over 50 per cent approval for mandatory sentences for knife possession, came on the first day of Labour's fightback, which saw shadow chancellor Ed Balls drafted in to Scotland to help revive Iain Gray's faltering campaign.

Mr Balls also criticised the SNP government's release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi as "wrong" on the same day as the Scotsman/YouGov poll showed more than half of all Scots wanted him to remain in jail. (...)

Meanwhile, the same Scotsman/YouGov poll showed that 54 per cent said that the justice secretary had made the "wrong decision" to return the bomber to Libya, while 35 per cent backed the SNP minister's decision.

There were 12 per cent of voters undecided over the decision, which led to a recall of the Scottish Parliament during recess and sparked a diplomatic row with the US.

The latest poll revealed a hardening of opposition to the release of Megrahi's since the decision in August 2009, when 43 per cent of those polled approved of Mr MacAskill's decision, with 51 per cent against and 6 per cent undecided.

Mr Balls said he opposed Megrahi's release. He added: "Everyone has their own view. Personally I thought it was wrong to release Megrahi."

A spokesman for the justice secretary said that Mr MacAskill had made the decision to release Megrahi on the "precepts of Scots Law".

[The following is a paragraph from a column in today's edition of The Herald by Ruth Wishart:]

Some argue the Megrahi affair has damaged Kenny McAskill and made him vulnerable at justice, but many Scots applauded that release, and, in the context of a four-year term, he’s won over a lot of sceptics – not least backstage within the civil service. In fact, although some relationships have been rockier than others, the Scottish civil service has not been unhappy with the calibre of the outgoing ministerial team.


  1. Regarldess of his politics, Ed Balls represents the absolute nadir of modern professional politicians.

    Theres no other politician on either side as relentlesly, tiresomely party political and aggressivly tribal than Balls. Whilst at the same time been so utterly inept and bankrupt as a thinker.

    Him and his equally loathsome wife, with their grubby little property empire built from taxpayers money. They are the horrible embodiment of everything that went wrong during Labours last 10 years in power.

    Ed Ball's the 'economic expert' would be only too aware of the consequences of Megrahi's continued imprisonment and risk of death and the UK govt's relations with Libya. Especially when taken with Labour's avowed belief at the time that it "did not want Megrahi to die in prison."

    I have great issue with the manner the current Scottish Govt have dealt with the Megrahi case, but I sincerely hope they wipe the floor with New Labour next Thursday. The idea of Iain Gray as First Minister? Balls to that!

  2. A number of commentators have suggested that at PMQs today David Cameron was really addressing Ed Balls when he said Calm Down Dear!

  3. That's what he says to Hague, probably.

  4. You have to laugh at Ed Balls whose last gaffer, and the one prior to that, were up to their necks trying to get Megrahi out. Indeed Blair kicked it all off with his infamous dealing in the desert.

    Of course these polls were always going to come this week and The Scotsman will be hungry to get as many out as possible what with things looking so bad for Gray.

    And as always, the truths they all know about the doubts over the original conviction don't come into into it.


  5. Apropos the poll. 35% backing and 12% undecided is not actually too depressingly bad on this highly contentious issue when, excluding one or two notable exceptions, you consider the dearth of any reporting or comment even approaching balance on the subject from those bloated, overpaid unmentionables who masquerade as the 'respectable' face of journalism in the mainstream UK press and broadcast media.

  6. Quince, I'm odd: I don't do all this poll nonsense. I am sick hearing that "99% of Scots think....." when no one actually ever asked me!

  7. That's coz you're the 1% they didn't ask, maybe.
    More importantly, I used to deliver Ruth Wishart's laundry when she lived in Mansionhouse Road, Langside...a lady across her landing had a pet bird who lived in her hair, which caught my attention.

  8. Hah, hah, hah, hah!!!!!!! You're missing a golden vocation in stand up Bloggers, old bean.