Yesterday’s Independent on Sunday carried an interview with Alistair Carmichael and Richard Hughes from Keane about the friendship they developed after they met on a trip with Amnesty to try to prevent the execution of American Troy Davis in 2009. Sadly, Troy was executed in 2011.
The article captures the bright and funny personality of one of our most popular MPs, along with his passionate opposition to the death penalty.
Richard Hughes sums him up like this:
Alistair is a passionate guy – it’s one of the things that makes him so charming. And he’s absolutely given me faith in the reason why some people choose to be MPs.
I followed Troy Davis’ plight only through the internet, yet even at that distance felt huge anger and sadness at a terrible injustice. Richard describes meeting Davis in his Death Row cell:
Death row was the strangest experience: airport-style security, and more walls without windows than I have ever seen. We were locked in a holding cell to meet Troy, sweating buckets. And given the circumstances, he was incredibly normal. Alistair went to shake hands with him and he said to Alistair, “I don’t shake hands, I do hugs.” And this big, strong guy gave us all hugs. He was such a charming positive guy and by the end of it I felt positive that Amnesty was making so much noise about his case, that we had momentum.
Both Alistair and Richard describe attending the vigil in London the night Davis was executed.
There is one fundamental difference between the two, though, as Alistair describes:
There was downtime on our trip, and we learnt a lot about one another: Richard is a committed vegetarian while I’m a hill-farmer’s son, and I represent some of the best suckler beasts to be found anywhere: vegetarianism is not going to be part of my life.
You can read the whole article here.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings