Tag Archives: kenny macaskill

The weirdest evening I’ve ever had at taxpayers’ expense

Kenny MacAskill at Scotland's Future LivingstonWell, last night was a weird evening. And I know what weird is. I go to the Glee Club a wild, rude, drunken end of Liberal Democrat Conference singalong and Doctor Who conventions.

This, though, was the Scotland’s Future taxpayer funded Scottish Government independence event in Livingston, held in a local hotel. It was hosted by Training and Youth Employment Cabinet Minister and local MSP Angela Constance who was lovely, as she always is. She also had that clever political talent of under-promisng and over-delivering. She said …

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Why we need Liberal Democrats: Consensual Stop and search of under 12s in Scotland halted

Police stop and searchThe Scottish Liberal Democrats aren’t in Government at the moment. Despite that, the small Parliamentary group has had quite an impact in the past 3 years. Willie Rennie has had Salmond squirming at First Minister’s Questions over his associations with Rupert Murdoch and has been pivotal in securing extra funds for colleges, childcare and free school meals.

Back in January, it came to light that 500 children under 10 had been stopped and searched by Police in 2010. That’s bad enough. Last year that figure was just 88 …

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Danny Alexander and Alison McInnes challenge SNP on armed police in Scotland

Police motorbike - Some rights reserved by Metropolitan PoliceI’ve written several times recently about how policing has changed in Scotland since Scotland’s eight police forces were merged into one.  Concerns have been expressed on a number of issues:

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Stop and search nonchalance from Justice Secretary shows why Scotland needs the Liberal Democrats

Police BrutalityIn January, I wrote about the worryingly high police stop and search figures in Scotland, which is proportionately much higher than in England includes over 500 children under 10 years old.

Now it transpires that these figures may not be accurate. And may be made up. According to the Edinburgh Evening News:

Official figures show a huge number of incidents where stop-and-search powers have been used since the creation of a single police force. Critics claim officers are under pressure because the number of stop-searches has been made a “key

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Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism #7: The Megrahi Documents

The Megrahi case has ripped apart the peace of the Scottish Parliamentary recess, with even some former Lib Dem leaders taking a differing view to our leader in Holyrood. Today the UK Government and Scottish Parliament have released papers relating to the discussions that have gone one over the last two years. It ranges from correspondence between Westminster and Holyrood, to memos of meetings with Libyan officials, to the compassionate release request listing medical conditions.

These start chronologically with the first letter from then-Lord Chnacellor Lord (Charles) Falconer to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond outlining the Memorandum of Understanding that Westminster had set up with Libya regarding a number of judicial issues. The Memorandum was drawn up to look at increasing bilateral co-operation covering, amongst other things, commercial and criminal issues. The legal issues were not exclusively about Mr Al Megrahi, but looking at the bigger picture of co-operation between the two nations at large. However, Lord Falconer did say that nothing could be ruled in or out, but that co-operation and consultation between Westminster and Holyrood would be carried forward.

However, it the path of the UK’s justice secretary Jack Straw’s correspondence that sheds a lot of light on the situation, especially considering the Labour response in Holyrood.

Posted in Europe / International, Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 30 August 2009

2 Big Stories


Sunday Times: Lockerbie bomber ‘set free for oil’

Today’s Times has the big story:

The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal. Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release. The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.

The Lib Dems Ed Davey – who has been leading the campaign for full disclosure over Mr Al Megrahi’s release – is quoted by the paper:

This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”

Brown’s surprise Afghanistan trip scuppers Cameron

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Kennedy speaks out on Megrahi

While Nick Clegg has publicly disagreed with the SNP Scottish executive’s decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi, former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy has joined David Steel in declaring his belief that the decision was the right one. Charles’s local paper the Ross-shire Journal reports his views:

The Justice Secretary faced an unenviable decision, in which neither of two practical options represents a good outcome. The whole tragic, tangled web of Pan Am Flight 103 raises profound issues of principle and of process.

“The most regrettable aspect of what has happened is that the appeal was withdrawn, and there is now no clear route to try to resolve all the doubts which surround the Lockerbie bombing and Mr Al-Megrahi’s conviction.

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Daily View 2×2: 23 August 2009

The rest of The Voice’s Daily View team may have decided to have a lie in each morning during August, but we’re made of sterner stuff here on the Sunday slot. And as it’s a Sunday, it’s also time for the now traditional bonus musical extra.

Big Stories

The release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has blasted Scotland for releasing Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi saying the decision “gives comfort to terrorists.”

In a letter to Scottish Minster Kenny MacAskill dated August 21, FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was “outraged” at the decision to release Megrahi, who is dying of cancer, on compassionate grounds.

“Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice,” Mueller wrote. “Indeed, your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

“Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man’s exercise of ‘compassion.'” (AFP)

Fraud allegations over Afghan elections

Reports of widespread and systematic fraud and intimidation continued to emerge amid delays in the counting of votes in the Afghan elections, raising the spectre of turbulence when the results are announced.

Allegations of ballot-rigging were particularly prevalent in the southern Pashtun belt. The region, which holds the key to the contest, also suffered from drastically low turnout due to Taliban violence and threats. There were accounts of the insurgents’ retribution against voters, including fingers being chopped off. (The Independent)

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

  • Paul Walter explains how his views of the party’s Real Women policy proposals are changing.
  • Simon Goldie’s post is probably the shortest that’s been highlighted in these round-ups, being basically just a link through to a provocative and thought-provoking article in the Financial Times.

(Both of these posts have been selected from those which appeared on Lib Dem Blogs on Saturday. To read more from other Liberal Democrat blogs, take a look at the Lib Dem Blogs website and to see what Lib Dems have been saying on Twitter, take a look at Liberal Tweets.)

Sunday Bonus

It’s Sunday. Ready your vocal chords. Hit play and sing along. You know you want to.

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , and | 6 Comments
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