Friday, 21 August 2009

Compassion

And so Megrahi is back in Libya. There's more than enough to read on the subject elsewhere, so I'll restrict myself to congratulating Kenny MacAskill for making what appears to be an honourable decision based upon the advice he was given, and for ignoring external pressures from all sides. Many will disagree with his decision just as many will agree, but he appears to have acted honourably and we can't ask for much more than that from our politicians.

I've added a poll over at the right hand side for you to cast your vote: if you were Justice Secretary how would you have treated Megrahi?

Finally I was impressed with Rev Ian Galloway's words:

We are defined as a nation by how we treat those who have chosen to hurt us. Do we choose mercy even when they did not choose mercy?

This was not about whether one man was guilty or innocent. Nor is it about whether he had a right to mercy but whether we as a nation, despite the continuing pain of many, are willing to be merciful.

I understand the deep anger and grief that still grips the souls of the victims' families and I respect their views.

But to them I would say justice is not lost in acting in mercy. Instead our deepest humanity is expressed for the better. To choose mercy is the tough choice and today our nation met that challenge.

5 comments:

tris said...

I imagine that Kenny's decision (which would, of course, have been the Cabinet's decision in reality) was based on the information available to him from the variety of sources that he quoted, including the medical reports, prison reports, parole reports together with legal advice.

I doubt we shall ever know how much pressure was put on him from Westminster, bearing in mind the massive trade that the UK has with Lybia, or what effect that it had on his decision.

Much of the information which he worked with would have been confidential (medical and parole board reports), and available to Mr McCaskill only because of his position of authority in the process.

How then, did Mr Gray, without the benefit of all that information, manage to make the decision that, were he First Minister (no don't laugh; it is a possibility, I suppose) Mr Megrahi would not have gone home?

forfar-loon said...

You raise a very good point tris. Can you imagine if stumbling, bumbling Iain Gray was FM?!

The frightening thing is that it's not outside the realms of possibility. The SNP did exceptionally well last time to pip Labour, and although Labour appear to have gone backwards under Murphy, I mean Gray, the SNP can't afford to be complacent. If and when the Tories get back in who knows what effect that will have? With any luck their lack of a Scottish mandate will only serve to highlight the need for real power to be returned to Scotland, and the SNP will benefit. And maybe some of the hitherto quiet, pro-independence wing of Scottish Labour might assert themselves...if only they could remember where they put that backbone...?

As I mentioned on Blether with Brian, my understanding (I'm no expert I hasten to add) is that legally speaking only the Justice Secretary can make the decision. So quite how Gray can blithely announce that if he were FM Megrahi would not have been returned to Libya is a mystery. How can he guarantee that? Who would be his Justice Secretary? How can he guarantee that he would sway his/her decision? I can only surmise that, as ever, these were cheap words on the part of Gray.

Politicians interfering with the judicial system is a slippery slope, but then Labour have been steadily chipping away at our freedoms for the last decade, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at their intentions.

tris said...

Good points Loon.

Gray has treated this whole thing as a political football. Perhaps he is finding out now that he has been dribbling in the wrong direction and is looking like he's scored an own goal.

forfar-loon said...

You're right tris - maybe someone can find a Macedonian grandparent for Gray in time for the next qualifier...

Dramfineday said...

With the increasing numbers of civil society coming out in favour of the decision, next weeks debate should be interesting on how the other parties react.

Besides that Mr Gray would NOT have taken ANY decisions without first consulting SPUD and McAvity. NO WAY would he (his Justice sec) have taken that decision on their own - as BT didn't say, "lines to St Andrew's House and Dowing Street are RED Hot, please try again later"