Sunday, 30 August 2009

Keep your friends close & your enemies closer.

Jenny Hjul Rant or Comment?
One of the perverse things I enjoy about Sundays is reading Jenny Hjul
. Don't get my wrong, I cannot abide the women's views; however, after reading her vitriol I always feel that little more awake. This week was no exception. Although, it took me slightly longer than normal to find Jenny's musings. This weeks article 'It's down to Scottish voters to pass judgement on Lockerbie' was nowhere to be found on timesonline . I was faced with a dilemma: To buy or not to buy? I stopped buying the times months ago because I was becoming so angry at their lazy and aggressively anti-Scotland reporting, but I am having a carpet laid later this week and needed newspaper to line the floor (the Sunday Times does come with at least 10 sections giving plenty cover for the floor and extra for the litter tray). So in the end curiosity (and my willingness to recycle) got the better of me. Jenny did not disappoint.
The article is selective in the use of evidence, speculative and found her conclusions wanting. She does not provide us with anything original instead raises lots of questions designed at undermining the Scottish Government without ever really answering them. She suggests that Brown's government have let 'the Scots squirm alone in the growing international opprobrium'. I do not agree with Brown's silence over the issue, however, I would not describe the Scots as squirming. Far from it. I think the Scottish Executive, generally, and Kenny MacAskill specifically, have handled themselves with dignity. As for 'international opprobrium' should that not read 'selective American opprobrium' - from what I have read the majority of the international community have been sympathetic to the decision
. I am surprised that a "journalist" of Jenny's stature should be so narrow in her world view. She also suggests, based on the reporting of The Times today over the leaked Jack Straw letters, that 'both governments had something to gain from the terrorist's repatriation'. Whilst she is clear over what Westminster gains she fails to fully highlight the 'advantages' for Scotland or the Scottish government. Unless of course she is trying to suggest that the Scottish Government thought that this would advance the 'separatist cause'. I am not a politician or involved in the world of politics but I would like to presume that any political party thinking of making a decision like this on the basis of political advantage would have the sense to research the issue first. Surely, the Scottish Government would have commissioned an opinion poll which, if we are to believe the BBC poll this week, suggesting 2/3 of Scots opposed the release, and the poll which Hjul refers to in this article, showing support for independence has dropped, would have shown limited advantage for the SNP? We should not forget that it was not the SNP who politicised this issue, rather it has been the opposition parties in Scotland and the media who have used this as another opportunity to attack the Nationalists (who incidentally, in another poll published this weekend seemed to have increased their support both in Holyrood & Westminster elections).
Jenny continues to undermine the Scottish government by claiming that 'it seems increasingly unfeasible that Scotland could be in this deep on its own' and 'this has not been a good fortnight for Scottish nationalism or for Salmonds pretensions to statesmanship'.
Jenny's articles increasingly appear to have only one purpose and that is to undermine the SNP administration. It is a weekly rant against everything and anything the SNP does, and her intolerance of Salmond is hardly subtle. Why do I continue to want to read her - well 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' so they say!
Was it £2 well spent - hardly! But, at least I have the satisfaction of wiping my feet over her on a daily basis.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

A Lockerbie Inquiry

Good Morning!
Not sure what I intend to achieve by this blog or whether I will actually commit to it and keep it going. I guess we will just have to wait and see. But for now, here we go....

I have read a lot on the al Megrahi situation over the past couple of weeks. The BBC continued to keep the story afloat yesterday with their opinion poll claiming that the majority of Scots considered MacAskill's decision to be wrong. I find this poll interesting and it highlights the problem with opinion polls of this kind. I was once polled on migrant workers and I found the questions loaded - I would be interested to find out the exact wording of the questions on the BBC poll. The vast majority of people I have spoken to in recent weeks have been in favour of the decision. Now, I am not saying that those people represent a diverse group of Scots, however, so far I have only encountered a handful of people who think the decision was wrong. The handful who did consider it wrong were also not fully aware of the general controversies behind the case or were unaware that compassionate release was written into Scots Law.
I think a full inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing is desperately needed, although,
I am doubtful if the truth will ever be known . The British and American governments are now working together with the Libyans and Obama appears to be making headway in the Middle East, therefore they will not be willing to rock the boat with a full and frank inquiry. This whole fiasco just goes further to remind me that over the last 20 years Britain has digressed; what with participation in illegal wars and continuously poor foreign policy decisions all carried out in the name of the British people. In the West we arrogantly believe that our political systems are preferable. Whilst I would rather live in this liberal democracy than anywhere else in the world that should not stop us questioning the decisions the government carries out in our name and scrutinising those decisions more stringently. I think that the days of a free press acting as a tool of democratic process are slowly coming to an end. Our governments will try to shield us from the truth of an inquiry because it is in the 'public interest', however an inquiry should be carried out not because of 'interest' but because it is our 'right' to know in spite of the international consequences. Until then all those directly affected by the events of December 1988 continue to be 'only a pawn in their game'.