Monday, 4 March 2013

Abdelbaset Megrahi, Keith O'Brien and Kenneth Roy

[What follows is an excerpt from a special article published today on the Scottish Review website by the magazine’s editor, Kenneth Roy, under the headline The media assassination of Cardinal O'Brien:]

[T]here are many sound historical precedents for being instinctively suspicious of the sort of unholy consensus we have in the Scottish media today. I've never much liked the consensus: it so often tells a half-truth. So I intend to say a kind ungrudging word about Cardinal O'Brien, a man I've never met.

He and I shared a common interest in the case of Megrahi, who was convicted – probably wrongly – of the murder of 270 people at Lockerbie. We both signed a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for the conviction to be re-visited and for a public inquiry to be instigated into the scandalous state of the evidence against Megrahi. It was not one of the more popular petitions ever submitted to the parliament. I seem to remember that it was signed by about 1,200 people, very few of whom were public figures. [RB: When the petition closed, having been offline for some considerable time, the number of signatures was 1646 -- one of the highest numbers achieved by any Scottish Parliament ePetition.]

Many who privately harboured doubts about the safety of the conviction preferred, in the Scottish manner, to keep their heads under the parapet. Keith O'Brien stuck his above it. I admired him for it. I thought it was the action of a brave and principled person. That does not make him any less of a hypocrite in his sexual conduct. But then we are all such a mass of contradictions. Only the journalists are squeaky clean. What's new?


  1. Mr Roy is clearly as innumerate as he is illiterate.

    Robert Forrester (JFM).

  2. Your actual words, if I recall correctly.... ;)

  3. You are quite the very last person whose recall I would fault.

    Pip, pip.

  4. Are you both commenting on a different article?

  5. No. Why would you think that?

  6. Same article, definitely. Call it reflections on recidivism. Maybe it's the tight weave of the repartee that's throwing you.