Thursday, 5 May 2011

Iain Gray accuses Alex Salmond of lacking judgement

[This is the headline over a recent report on The Telegraph website. The following is an extract:]

Iain Gray has delivered his most personal attack yet on Alex Salmond by arguing his handling of the banking crisis and release of the Lockerbie bomber exposed “fundamental flaws” in the SNP leader’s character and judgement.

The Labour leader said the other defining moment was when Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was released in August 2009 on the basis he had less than three months to live. However, the terrorist remains alive in Libya more than 20 months later.

“I think people should be wary of any politician who claims ‘moral authority’,” Mr Gray continued.

“The last time the SNP appealed to ‘moral authority’ was when they released the Lockerbie bomber. They were wrong about that and most Scots agree that was the wrong decision. That’s another example of poor judgement.”

[The following is a snippet from Peter Cherbi's blog A Diary of Injustice in Scotland:]

How about the Lockerbie case and the long running controversy over the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi’s conviction and release. Despite all the calls for independent inquiries, calls for, & half hearted attempts at the release of documents to answer the many inconsistencies in the case, nothing has changed other than the fact Mr Megrahi was released back to Libya on compassionate grounds by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, so conveniently avoiding any further progress in Mr Megrahi’s appeal at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh, where the gritted teeth of the judges (one looked like he had bruxism) was much more obvious to most who saw the spectacle rather than any hope the court would turn its attention to matters at hand and quash a verdict which many around the world question. Last time I checked, this farce happened under an SNP administration.

[Any further posts on this blog between now and 10 May will be from internet cafes in the capital of Namibia, Windhoek.]


  1. Iain Gray can say what he likes. Andy Kerr is gone. For East Kilbride that is an awesome gain for the SNP!

  2. And they just took Hamilton too! This is amazing.

  3. On the Hamilton result I have regrets. I think, personally, that Tom McCabe is one of the Labour people who could help to rebuild the Labour Party in Scotland.

  4. And Clydesdale! For Lanarkshire, this is awesome. The SNP didn't even dare put McCabe's (Hamilton)seat on their target list yet they've won it.

  5. I'm anxious to see the demographic swing in the after election analysis. In Glasgow, Master stroke by Salmond courting the Catholic vote away from Labour culminating in wearing the Papal tartan tie (besides other initiatives) - and being Muslim friendly by being seen to stand up to the US in the Megrahi release.
    Wonder how he will coax away the Rangers vote from the Tories to swing the independence vote. Don't laugh btw - I'm in a multi-ethnic office where I see this all panning out, even if it's anecdotal at the moment.

  6. Salmond did not "court" the catholic vote or, indeed, the muslim vote. Salmond courted the Scottish vote across the board and last night he got it.

    I'm not laughing here Blogiston. Because your comment is not remotely funny. We have enough problems with sectarian bitterness without comments like this. Very disappointed in you.

    Last night's result was a response to how the SNP have governed over four years. It came from across the board and there is no evidence whatsoever for your assertion that the voting pattern was associated with the religion of any voter.

    It is thoroughly depressing to be feeling happy at the achievement by the SNP last night and then to read a comment like yours which drags the religion of voters into it.

  7. A number of reasons why the vote went as it did:

    The collapse of Labour as a serious opposition at Holyrood.

    Their failure to accept consensus politics as the mature approach and their decision, instead, to wreck good policy simply because it was an SNP proposal. Major example of that was the SNP policy on lower class sizes which LABOUR COUNCILS actively prevented by reducing teacher numbers.

    The work put in by the SNP government to deliver council tax freezes, free prescriptions, to lift the threat on vital A&E services in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. Their belief that good change can come if people work together.

    The evidence that Salmond has a talented team around him while Labour struggles to keep a Leader who can command respect never mind a whole team. Gray was their third Leader in four years.

    The punishment dealt out to the Lib-Dems for their coalition with the Tories.

    The very low turnout in places last night.

    The rain yesterday.

    The vote for the SNP came from coast to coast yesterday right across Scotland for all of the above reasons and more.

  8. [Any further posts on this blog between now and 10 May will be from internet cafes in the capital of Namibia, Windhoek.]

    Professor Black, before you leave Namibia on 10 May 2011, could you please go to Windhoek's main library and ask about Namibia's Yellowcake Road to Lockerbie.

    I'm hoping the library has the DVD of this World In Action documentary which was broadcast by Thames Television on 10 March 1980: 'Follow the Yellowcake Road' ("Investigates the secret contract and operation arranged by the British-based Rio Tinto Group to import yellowcake [uranium ore] into Britain from the Rössing Mine in Namibia, whose major shareholders are the Iranian and South African governments.")

    'Follow the Yellowcake Road' is the final piece of the Lockerbie jigsaw which blames Iran and apartheid South Africa for the targeted assassination of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, and thus for the sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.

    Please let me know whether or not you are able to obtain a DVD of this WIA documentary.

  9. Not been sectarian Jo G - I'm witnessing in the office (where I work) what I'm reporting. Tribal tendencies have been broken lately. You need to get out more and STOP BEING SO READY TO TAKE THE HUMP! Obviously, touched some raw nerve with you - but I stand by what I say. If you're scared of discussing tribal affiliations in Scotland you've got your head in the sand.
    I'm very disappointed in you for being so narrow minded.. a bit like the people who quietly approve of Lennon being victimised.

  10. Blogiston you call me narrow minded when you sink to the level you have in your analysis of the vote? You put this historic event down to catholics and muslims?

    It is recognised across Scotland today that all parts of Scotland participated in the move towards the SNP and the reasons for it. I provided a few above. Your own analysis is the narrow minded one.

    As for Lennon and Celtic, I am not interested in them or in Rangers or the Old Firm in general. When it comes to sectarianism both sides are equally culpable. Personally I'd merge the clubs. They are an embarrassment to Scotland.

    No raw nerve here Blogiston. Just disgust at your inaccurate assessment of the situation.

    No need either for me to get out more. I'm out quite a lot and what I saw in my workplace and in my neighbourhood was a major disillusionment with Labour and a new respect for how the SNP government have administered our affairs in the last four years against all the odds. In short I saw people making their decision in a healthy way and not on the grounds of religion or race.

    Many SCOTS incidentally applauded Salmond's courage in telling the US where to go with their so-called "inquiry" into Scottish affairs re Megrahi as did many Scottish newpapers. That was about Scotland and Scots and you insult Salmond by suggesting it was about muslim votes.

    The SNP just reached 65 seats. If you're suggesting catholic and muslim votes brought that about I suggest you do some studies in the very small portion of the overall Scottish vote those two groups represent. That too will turn your analysis on its head and prove that the whole of Scotland voted as it did for pretty much the same reasons. Its people did this together.

  11. I'm disappointed too Blogiston that I stuck to politics in this discussion and did not go the personal insult route as you did.

    You've accused me of being narrow-minded, uninformed, afraid to discuss certain issues and your "raw nerve" jibe was intended to imply goodness knows what about me.

    I did not take the hump: I put my case using facts and my facts are mirrored in every commentary I've listened to since these votes began to emerge last night. And I did not insult you. I do not think your personal comments were needed.

  12. Jo G: You are very selective in what you care to be insulted over.
    And easily insulted too.
    But your accusation that I am sectarian is a disgrace because I comment on the demography of the vote, and future vote BTW!! (if you actually read on past your prejudice). I am not condescending to any majority or minority - and I will not discuss further with you - because I should have learned from your last hissy fit. Talk to the hand !

  13. Blogiston, go back and see what you said.

    You implied that catholics voted for Salmond because he wore a papal scarf. Consider the implications of that statement alone! Consider how condescending it indeed was. You implied catholics didn't think through their politics: they just voted for Salmond because he wore a papal tartan scarf and that Salmond won them over that way! What is not insulting about that statement?

    I have not been remotely prejudiced in my comments. Where is my prejudice? You are deluded. I have shown no prejudice in anything I have posted. But no wonder you cannot defend yourself other than by insulting me further. You wrote the post. You ignored the politics behind yesterday's result which I set out for you.

    No hissy fit here Blogiston but you're going the personal insult route again towards me. That is the sign of a hissy fit when you attack a person. Not a good look. But I understand why you don't want to talk about it any more. If I had committed such a post as yours to print I would be mortified.

    I will repeat: I did politics during our exchanges. You have ignored the reasons I provided for the result yesterday and opted to insult me and to get personal. Very immature but your statement initially is there for all to see. As are my responses to it which were based on the political history made in Scotland yesterday. I did not insult you. I stayed with politics.

    But as I said, I understand why you want to end this discussion with me. You will see nowhere in commentaries today any reference to catholics and muslims taking the SNP to victory. What is being stressed and what is causing shockwaves is the fact that Scotland from coast to coast took the same political decisions regardless of class or religion.

  14. I don't live in Scotland but I had gained the impression that the Labour party has turned increasingly anti-Catholic in its policies (whether schools or adoption agencies).
    Did not Alex Salmond stand beside a certain Pope recently in Edinburgh "besides other initiatives"?
    Is Blogistan's observation not reasonable that these initiatives might influence traditional Labour voters?

    Remember that culture comes from cult.

  15. "But your accusation that I am sectarian is a disgrace"

    OK. You're a liar. Produce your evidence that the SNP was "courting the Catholic vote".

  16. How delightfully quaint of everyone to be getting so hot under the collar about the finer points of a retarded democracy that bears more resemblance to a feudal remnant than any comprehensive expression of the will of the people in 21st century Scotland. I have just now had a gander at the turnout figures. Pitiful! What was all that guff about having a Scottish parliament back in Edinburgh? A referendum into the bargain no less. Bugger, it almost looked like Switzerland for a moment! All these constituencies are hovering at around the 50% mark. On top of which, the national figure for spoiled ballot papers seems to be about 140,000 (7% of the turnout). Frankly, I think that that qualifies as divorce and as the one result worthy of serious concern. Clearly nobody gives a toss. And, what's more, it's certainly not because nobody gives a toss!

  17. Quincey where did you get that figure for spoiled votes in Scotland? I've not seen it mentioned this time around although I realise it was a feature last time around.

  18. Dear Jo G,

    Well spotted. My apologies. Double-checked the source and discovered that I'd read an update record rather than the date of the original posting of the page, result: the figure for spoiled ballot papers I mentioned relates to 2007. I, nevertheless, still stand by the other criticisms. For seats to be averaging 53 to 56 or so percent turnout is a dreadful comment. Root and branch structural reform of the constitution is required: reforms which would have major democratic, social, parliamentary and economic implications, and which would certainly politicise everyone on the electoral role. None of which is likely to happen anytime soon since the current system of self serving consensual corruption that we call democracy and which alienates the very people it claims to represent lubricates the wheels of state so satisfactorily (as Filipe Gonzales more or less put it once).

    Sorry, it's Sunday, gone and put on my rose tinted glasses again.

    Toodle pip.

  19. Quince, you should have checked.

    And rose tinted glasses will not help those of us who seek justice for Scotland and Megrahi. Get a bloody grip!

  20. Vronsky: There was a good wee bit in a number of papers last year (including The Times) about how to detach traditional leanings toward Labour specifically mentioning the Papal visit. Google it. Fifteen to twenty demographic areas to target was mentioned too.
    I don't take kindly to your accusation of me being a liar - since I'm neither that nor a sectarian. That tone just adds heat and not light.