Friday, 2 March 2012
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
The comments that followed my blog yesterday on Megrahi attempted to focus on his guilt or innocence. As always when the Megrahi Release is discussed, those who are passionately committed to either supporting or challenging the Megrahi verdict and hold strong views on his guilt or innocence want to have their say. Nothing of what I have said about Megrahi's release focuses on this aspect, other than incidentally.
I therefore must make it clear that if you have something to say on his guilt or innocence, you must do it elsewhere – however important the issue of his guilt, it is off topic and irrelevant to the release decision.
I have therefore re-stated my position on Megrahi below, as already expressed to a regular, welcome and respected contributor to my blog.
MY POSITION ON MEGRAHI
I don't want to discuss Megrahi's guilt or innocence because I have nothing useful to contribute to the torrent of 'facts', opinions and conspiracy theories that abound. I want to believe that justice was done, and if it wasn't, or there are other guilty men, I want to see them brought to justice. I support Dr. Jim Swire in his clear-eyed search for that truth, but I can add nothing useful to his detailed arguments or research.
But whatever Megrahi's guilt or innocence, I hold no brief for the man - he was a member of the intelligence services of a brutal murderous regime for decades, a regime that, given his position, he must have known the exact nature of, yet remained with and profited from.
No one can be a member of the intelligence services of such a regime and not commit appalling acts that offend against humanity.
In spite of all that, I supported the decision to release him on compassionate grounds. In conflating the argument over his guilt or innocence with that decision, we blur the essence of the debate on the release decision, when it fact it is starkly simple - he was released under Scots law on compassionate grounds in the firm belief that he was guilty.
It is that single act of humanity and compassion, expressed through Scots law by a Scottish Justice Minister that above all else distinguished us, our civilisation and our values from the regimes that we abhor. It is a source of sadness and regret to me that Scottish politicians representing the unionist parties in the Scottish Parliament were, and still are, unable to make that vital distinction, any more than their masters in the UK parties at Westminster are, and the Scottish Press and media.
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
The Scotsman is in no doubt what the big story is today – Megrahi’s death bed ‘confession’. It puts confession in quotes, but it’s a nod and a wink – we know what they really believe. The justification for this is in the sub header – Lockerbie bomber: ‘My name was exaggerated’. The Unionist logic on Megrahi – and the Scotsman is a unionist paper, whatever its pretensions to objectivity and its token inclusion of nationalist commentators – goes something like this -
The SNP Government, in their first term, made a damaging political error in releasing Megrahi, an error that had to be ruthlessly exploited by Scottish and Unionist UK politicians. The fundamental political error lay in releasing him on compassionate grounds, even if he was dying, since Unionist realpolitik would never have let compassion - or indeed the facts of Scottish Law on compassionate release - get in the way of political expediency.
But just in case the Scottish public - who have an unhappy tendency to be more humane and compassionate than the Labour and Tory hegemonies that have hitherto ruled them - shared the humanity of Kenny MacAskill and the SNP Government, the question had to be raised if Megrahi was really dying or not, and here they had the advantage that estimates of life expectancy in terminal illness often prove to be too short, and many terminally ill patients live for much longer than forecast. This bet was promptly hedged. If he died as forecast in three months, they could still argue bad judgement: if he lived longer, they could argue that it was a fix.
There were also a few other inconvenient factors for the Unionist parties to consider in the exploitation of a dying man for political purposes.
A significant number of Scots did not believe Megrahi was guilty, and some believed that he was involved but did not act alone. This was compounded by the fact that Doctor Jim Swire, who had lost his daughter in the Lockerbie atrocity - and was a prominent voice among the bereaved - did not believe that Megrahi was guilty.
Tony Blair had muddied the water by the abortive attempt to secure the deal in the desert with Gadaffi to release Megrahi for cynical political gain over oil, a deal that he had no power to make constitutionally, given the devolved settlement. This meant that a potential fault line lay between the Tories and LibDems on one side and UK Labour on the other. This was compounded by the fact that the American critics of the release believed that UK Labour had stitched up a deal with the SNP Government, a proposition that was utterly ludicrous to all who knew the total hostility of the Labour Party, at both UK and Scottish levels to the elected Government of the people of Scotland, and was more than a little inconvenient for Labour, less so for Cameron.
The most inconvenient factor of all was that Kenny MacAskill and the Scottish Government took the decision in the firm belief that Megrahi was guilty under the verdict reached at the trial. (This, for the record, is also my belief – I support the compassionate release decision although I believe Megrahi was guilty, although I do not believe that he acted alone.)
The pristine clarity of Kenny MacAskill’s decision rested on the fact that he believed Megrahi was guilty, had been properly found guilty as charged under Scots Law, but nevertheless was eligible for compassionate release. The Scottish Justice Minster, in the full knowledge that he would unleash a volley of critical fire, nonetheless did what was right, rather than what was expedient. No Scottish unionist politician had either the political or moral courage to take such a decision, and Scottish Labour were clearly kept out of the Machiavellian Blair/UK Labour loop and their machinations.
As the Gadaffi regime began its bloody collapse and Libya moved towards freedom from a brutal dictatorship, the unionist camp lived in hope of new disclosures that would confirm Megrahi’s guilt and somehow implicate the Scottish Government, still consumed by their faulty analysis of the dynamics of the situation.
They seized upon every panic-stricken defector who was prepared to say whatever was necessary to the US and UK governments to gain asylum and immunity from prosecution.
What emerged was in fact embarrassing revelations of just how close Blair, the Labour Government and now the Coalition had been to Gadaffi till the eleventh hour, when Cameron grasped his Maggie moment and found his war by joining France in supporting the rebels.
And so to yesterday at Megrahi’s sick bed and today at The Scotsman and elsewhere
What conclusions may we draw from Megrahi’s statement, and what does it signal for the future? The possibilities are easy to set out -
Megrahi is either feigning illness – the unstated sub-text of much unionist media comment – or he is dying. If the first is true, why would a man feted by the regime as a hero not be with Gadaffi in his final bunker in Sirte, instead a lying in a bed without any protection other than unarmed immediate family? To secure asylum to the West or the US by trading information? Such an explanation has zero credibility. He is pretty clearly seriously ill, has been abandoned by the regime, and does not have the drugs or medical care to alleviate his pain or prolong his life.
What would a guilty man do in such circumstances? He would admit his guilt, as other senior figures have done, and try to trade information for immunity.
What would an innocent man do in such circumstances? He would try and clear his name.
Since I believe Megrahi is guilty at least of complicity in the Lockerbie bombing, my conclusion is that he is terminally ill, has been abandoned by the regime, expects to die, expects nothing of the West, but wants to make the exact nature of his role in the atrocity clear before he dies.
Can we conclude anything from his statement, accurately reported in The Scotsman’s sub-header – “My name was exaggerated”. If this strange formulation is accurate, nothing can be concluded from it – it could mean anything. But The Scotsman, the unionist media and the bandwagon jumpers such as Johann Lamont have rapidly translated Megrahi’s gnomic statement into – “My role was exaggerated”.
Megrahi could have meant that – he equally could have meant that his name and identity, as an acknowledged senior member of the Libyan security apparatus, were seized upon by the media, even though he had no direct involvement in the plot.
But none of the this changes the analysis vis a vis Kenny MacAskill’s release decision. The situation is now as it has always been, crystal clear.
1. If conclusive evidence is found of Megrahi’s guilt, even if it confirmed him as the sole architect of the Lockerbie bombing atrocity, that would simply confirm the belief in which the Scottish Justice Minister made his decision, namely that Megrahi was guilty as charged.
2. If conclusive evidence is found that Megrahi was completely innocent of the charge, or complicit and not the prime mover, or that he was guilty but did not act alone, then the world must recognise that a compassionate decision, made in the belief that he was guilty, in fact had averted a grave miscarriage of justice.
3. If conclusive evidence was found that, in the face of all rationality and all that we know, that the Labour Government and the British intelligence services somehow conspired with Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill to find a spurious rational for releasing Megrahi, then the American Republican Right would be ecstatic, Labour's already deeply damaged reputation would be dealt a terminal blow, and the UK would be seriously damaged because of the continuity of exactly the same people in the shadowy world of intelligence across both the Brown and Cameron/Clegg regimes, a conspiracy to defeat the legitimate wishes of the American people and the families of the American victims to see justice done to the murder of their loved ones.
But we have conclusive evidence – evidence of Blair’s Deal (a non-deal) in the Desert, of the Brown Government’s complicity and of the Cameron/Clegg Coalition’s close, intimate relations with a brutal, probably insane dictator up to the eleventh hour, while human rights were being brutally violated with the UK’s full knowledge in Gadaffi’s torture chambers and dungeons, all in the name of realpolitik and oil.
The Megrahi Affair teaches us a lot about the Scottish Government and its Justice Minister - who acted unselfishly and upheld the highest principle of law, justice and human compassion - and successive UK Governments and the three Unionist parties that comprised them at various times – who acted in the most despicable traditions of a brutal, expedient and values-free colonial imperialism.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
In the midst of the ghoulish. ill-informed clamour of Cameron, Clegg and Hague, not to mention sundry American senators, our First Minister makes what should be the definitive statement of the facts on Megrahi.
Dr. Jim Swire, who lost his daughter in the Lockerbie disaster, and who represents a significant number of the families of the victims, said that Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release a dying man on compassionate grounds was one of the few examples of true humanity in the whole sad Megrahi affair.
But the expedient political pygmies who have led Westminster governments since 1997 – Labour, Tories and LibDems - will continue their campaign of misinformation and outright lies in pursuit of political advantage, and in terror at the prospect of the little nation to the north of them - one that demonstrates true, democratic human values - becoming independent.
Monday, 4 April 2011
Are there dirty Westminster deals pending over Moussa Koussa? Given the record of systematic lying by the former Labour Government, the evasiveness of the present one, and Blair's abortive Deal in the Desert over Megrahi, we may take leave to doubt the intentions of the British Government. A lot of people are interested in the truth - but there are some who are interested only in Moussa Koussa giving their preferred version of the truth, and they will do whatever they have to to get it.
There's a nasty Moussa Koussa aboot this Houssa ...
Friday, 25 February 2011
Certain things cannot be re-stated too often -
1. Megrahi was found guilty by a Scottish Court.
2. Megrahi was released under Scottish Law on compassionate grounds only, in the belief that the verdict was sound and that he was guilty.
3. No commercial considerations influenced the Scottish Government: there were no negotiations over his release with the UK government: Scotland was not influenced by the UK Government of Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.
These are the only crystal clear facts in the whole Megrahi/Libya affair. The behaviour of the last UK Labour government was deceitful and contemptible throughout its term in office, influenced by expediency and commercial considerations.
The hypocritical behaviour of the Scottish Labour group in the Scottish Parliament has been beneath contempt, characterised by utter hypocrisy and political posturing.
The behaviour of the UK Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government has been no less hypocritical and expedient. As cynical arms dealers to Middle Eastern dictatorships and suppliers of instrument of repression and death to be used against to their people by dictators, Cameron's government - driven into action by the Wikileaks revelations - has been motivated by a wish to secure short term political advantage against the Labour Opposition, and a parallel wish to smear the Scottish Nationalist government with lies about their role in the Megrahi Affair.
In this shameful politicking, they have been aided by the Cabinet Secretary to both the previous and the current UK governments, Sir Gus O'Donnell.
The latest allegation by a Libyan politician, that Gadaffi ordered the Lockerbie bombing, which to date is not supported by any facts, and may well be driven by a simple wish to gain favour in the US and UK when his political career is threatened, comes as no surprise to the Scottish Government, who believed that anyway throughout, based on the Scottish Court's guilty verdict.
However, it is not what those who believe Megrahi is innocent wanted to hear, and they are likely to retain their belief that he was either innocent, or did not act alone.
The majority of British newspapers seized on the so far unsupported allegation of Gadaffi's involvement with glee, and published it as a fact on their front pages, motivated by God knows what agenda, since their thinking has been marked by a lack of clarity and a total disregard for the facts so far.
One can only assume that the ConLib supporting press hope it will damage UK Labour, the Labour Press hope it will damage Scotland, and both of them think it will somehow protect the rotten, failing political entity known as the United Kingdom.
(Some prominent Scottish bloggers, who ought to know better, have also accepted the Libyan politician's unsupported allegation at face value.)
Whatever the outcome, the central clarity and human compassion of the Scottish Government's decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds, and on that alone, will remain unaffected - the only clear, principled decision in the whole sorry affair.
Sunday, 20 February 2011
Iain Gray, Scotland’s Invisible Man, is nailed to the floor over the Megrahi Release by Isabel Fraser
The Politics Show Scotland, with the superb Isabel Fraser in the chair.
Iain Gray, Scotland's invisible man, is again pinned to the floor on his Holyrood party's hypocrisy over the Megrahi release. He waffles about what he knew, what he says he didn't know, what he said and didn't say to Gordon Brown, and tries to maintain the utterly ludicrous position that Scottish Labour had a shred of independence from their London-based party and Westminster bosses.
A puppet trying to pretend that his strings weren't pulled ...
He attempts, yet again, to muddy the water over slopping out, trying to maintain the ConLib, Labour UK and unionist media desperate attempt to limit the damage - initially caused by the Wikileaks disclosure of their dirty double-dealing - by smearing the SNP, but is nailed on the vital timescale discrepancy that is the gaping hole in the UK lie.
But the polls would indicate that Labour has been rumbled, and the Scottish people will trust their ain folk. The Middle East is convulsed by oppressed peoples trying to throw off corrupt dictators. Scotland is under the heel of a corrupt democracy, the United Kingdom, but only needs the ballot box to get the hell out from under it.
Vote for your ain folk on May 5th, Scots - vote SNP - the only party that acts solely in the interests of Scots and Scotland, while playing a full, moral part in the European and the international communities.
Friday, 11 February 2011
A totally patronising, inaccurate and superficial view of the Megrahi issue from Michael Portillo, failed Tory politician. "The little Scottish government would not have dared ... to take such a decision ... without being pushed by this Government."
An equally patronising view of devolved government by a Labour woman - whose name I can't be bothered to find out. Devolved administrations " ... don't always understand how significant some of their decisions are."
There speak two archetypal representatives of a failed political culture and structure and a discredited, dying United Kingdom. In their little Westminster village, and blinkered media bubble, they are completely unable to understand the feelings, aspirations and significance of other countries such as Scotland.
No wonder the Egyptian revolution caught such people in the UK Government and diplomatic services with their collective knickers down.
And Andrew Neil, a Scot, sat there and swallowed the insults, with only the most feeble of rebuttals. This is what UK politicians and their media hacks think of Scotland, the Scots and their elected government.
Reach for your forelock, smile ingratiatingly, Scots, or for God's sake stand up and do something about it on May 5th - and beyond.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
What can one say of Iain Gray and Richard Baker? What can one say of Scottish Labour, puppets of the Westminster Labour Party?
I say - don't let these men anywhere near the Government of Scotland.
The First Minister of Scotland and the Justice Minister of Scotland must have integrity, dignity, and a deeply-rooted concept of justice in a democracy. Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill both have these qualities, and have demonstrated them fully over the last four years.
DAVID MILIBAND’S SCOTTISH CARPETBAGGING
moridura Peter Curran
Poor South Shields - how did you wind up with David Miliband? Oh, you elected him? What the hell happened to the People's Party along the way
moridura Peter Curran
David Miliband, one of Labour's rich privileged Oxbridge London elite - watch, learn - and vomit.Labour's privileged elite
moridura Peter Curran
Just what the ordinary people of Glasgow need in hard times - an Oxbridge-education, privileged political London anorak, David Miliband
moridura Peter Curran
In Scotland today, carpetbagger David Miliband. Watch his sour grapes over brother Ed's speech. The Miliband Brothers
moridura Peter Curran
@Dmiliband You and your Holyrood gang are too late to try and claim the word 'hypocrisy'. It's branded on you like the Mark of Cain, David.
moridura Peter Curran
@Dmiliband Did Iain Gray promise eternal loyalty if you tell him what the hell is going on at Westminster? Megrahi? Libya? WMDs? Trident?
moridura Peter Curran
Just highlighting the hypocrisy of Labour. We say "Will you no' come back again?" to those leaving. But not you. Don't come back.
moridura Peter Curran
The continuing degeneration of the values of the Scottish Labour Party. Respect for Holyrood nil.
moridura Peter Curran
Watch the full awfulness of Iain Gray and Richard Baker in Holyrood today at FMQs. Hollow men ...
moridura Peter Curran
@DMiliband What the hell do you know about Glasgow or deprivation, David? An Oxbridge career politician. Go back to London - play with Ed.
moridura Peter Curran
@DMiliband Your hopes turned to dust over Iraq and subservience to US foreign policy. I don't want nuclear politicos like you in Scotland.
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
It couldn't be clearer - the Labour Government was prepared to release him FOR COMMERCIAL and TRADE REASONS before he was ill.
At that time, the Scottish Government refused point blank to release him, and refused to accept that any deal made by Westminster or the application of the PTA to Scotland. No deal of any kind relating to Megrahi's release was offered or made by the Scottish Government Alex Salmond or Kenny McAskill.
This is a press smear which one source today suggested began with the right-wing Tory blogger, Guido Fawkes.
(David Cameron's dilemma in using the Wikileaks revelations to release the story - with the intent of damaging Labour's electoral prospects in England - was that it would also damage the puppet Labour Party in Scotland, and consequentially strengthen the SNP's position, thus threatening the Union. A convenient smear against the SNP was therefore a prudent insurance policy against such an outcome. May 5th will reveal how this sordid ploy has played out with the Scottish electorate.)
When Megrahi was diagnosed as having terminal cancer with 3 months to live by the Scottish Prison medical service, Kenny McAskill alone took the decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds in accordance with Scottish Law.
The idea that an SNP government would have cooperated with a Westminster Labour Government in any way over the dirty, expedient, realpolitik deal initially stitched up by Tony Blair ('the deal in the desert') and subsequently carried forward in clandestine negotiations by the Brown Government and Straw is utterly inconceivable- ludicrous, in fact.
The only alternative explanations for the hypocritical behaviour of Iain Gray and Richard Baker in Holyrood at the time of the Megrahi release decision and subsequently is
that they were NOT told what their Party bosses were doing at Westminster and acted in folly and ignorance
THAT THEY KNEW, concealed the fact that they knew, yet continued to make expedient political capital out of the situation in the vain hope that the truth would never come out.
In either case, in so doing, they damaged their own reputations, the reputation of Labour, the reputation of the Scottish Parliament and the interests of Scottish Justice.
Monday, 7 February 2011
The full, appalling, cynical nature of the Labour Government's lies about their involvement with Libya, under Gordon Brown, over the Megrahi affair are now revealed. The utter hypocrisy of their public posture is stark. But the behaviour of Iain Gray and Richard Baker in the Scottish Parliament over the release, and their public statement brings hypocrisy to the state of an art..
They must have know what was going on, yet they huffed and puffed and postured shamelessly for political gain.
The behaviour of the media today, however, reveals their confusion when faced with some hard facts that vindicate Alex Salmond, Kenny McAskill and the SNP Government totally. They have desperately tried to suggest, in misleading summary after summary, that the Scottish Government tried to do a deal with the UK government over the Megrahi release. This is a patent lie, and to peddle it, they have deliberately ignored dates and years, and distorted the topics of discussion that pre-dated the medical verdict that Megrahi was terminally ill that led to his compassionate release.
We expect this from the unionist media, but even the normally impeccably accurate and objective Jon Snow on Channel Four News got sucked in. peddling the same distorted facts, and apparently immune to Alex Salmond's patient explanation of the facts, which are a matter of public record in Scotland.
As for the US - well, they don't pretend to understand the nature of Scotland within the UK, nor do they understand devolution. This will confirm their worst fears.
But Cameron, in releasing this information for political gain over Labour, may have scored an own goal in terms of the survival of the UK as a political entity. That is always assuming he cares, which I suspect he doesn't. After all, an independent England is likely to be a Tory fiefdom, isolated from Europe.
POSTSCRIPT - Midnight 7/8th February
Newsnight (despite Paxman) and Newsnight Scotland, with the sublime Isobel Fraser, went a long way to redeeming the media on this affair. But she also asked the $64,000 question - How will it play with the Scottish electorate?
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Nobody came to Senator Menendez's kangaroo court in the US - a publicity stunt masquerading as a Congressional enquiry - so he had to make things up. His representative who came to Scotland - and failed to take notes at a meeting with Scottish Government officials - has total recall of a load of nonsense.
Fortunately our government officials did take notes. Of course, Holyrood's ****hole in residence, Richard Baker, predictably aligned himself with the US and Menendez. Perhaps he should have consulted his new boss, Ed Miliband, who if he has any sense will rapidly distance himself and the Labour Party from the Deal in the Desert/BP conspiracy theory - Jack Straw certainly did.
Sunday, 29 August 2010
The controversy rumbles on, fuelled in significant part by indignation (in reality, secret delight) that Megrahi has not died within the three month prognosis.
The arguments that follow from this fact, from the critics of the Scottish Justice Minister’s decision, usually include one or more of the following statements -
1. This proves the medical evidence was flawed.
It doesn’t – what it demonstrates is that offering a prognosis of death from a terminal illness is not an exact science, as abundant examples from medical statistics demonstrate. A rudimentary knowledge of statistics and probability show that forecasts based on probability include percentage confidence levels and confidence limits. In other words, doctors don’t have crystal balls, even though some of their critics have wooden heads and hearts of stone – they offer the best forecast they can, based on the evidence they have and their best clinical judgement.
2. This proves that Kenny MacAskill was selective in the medical evidence he chose to act on, in pursuit of some unknown political agenda of his own – or the Scottish Government’s - to release Megrahi.
This is patently nonsense. Kenny MacAskill took the decision in the full knowledge that, if he released Megrahi, he would be subjected to a wave of hostility that could well be electorally damaging to the Scottish Government and the Scottish National Party and to relationships with some sectors of American political and public opinion. The First Minister was fully aware of these implications and of the price that would have to be paid for a legal and principled stand, but rightly allowed his Justice Minister to do his job, free from interference or political pressure.
3. The decision was a dirty deal cooked up with the Scottish Government by Jack Straw, BP, Tony Blair and the Libyan Government after their abortive attempt to secure release under the PTA (Prisoner Transfer Agreement).
The idea that the SNP Government, Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill would be part of such a deal is nothing short of risible to anyone with even the most superficial understanding of the relationship between the Scottish Government and the UK Labour Government, especially with these particular representatives of it.
Not even the promise of immediate independence for Scotland, the refund of all stolen oil revenues, full restitution for the havoc wreaked in Scotland by Thatcher and the Blair/Brown/Mandelson gang, and a full apology to William Wallace would have bought such a deal.
4. The decision was taken because the Justice Minister secretly knows that Megrahi was innocent of the Lockerbie bombing, and is defending the Scottish Justice system, the Scottish police and the shadowy US interests who perverted the course of justice.
Kenny MacAskill has indeed said that he took the decision in the belief that Megrahi was guilty – he could not have done otherwise and remained Scottish Justice Minister. If he ever entertained such doubts, he could have, should have and would have thrown his considerable authority behind calls for an enquiry into the Megrahi conviction. He certainly would not have chosen such a ludicrous and risky route to righting a judicial wrong and overturning an unsafe conviction.
(For the record, I believe that Megrahi did not act alone, and that the US bought, and may thus have compromised evidence advanced at the trial. I believe on balance that Megrahi was guilty, but allow for some possibility that he is innocent.)
However, it would appear that the only solution that might satisfy some of the more extreme critics of compassionate release based on medical prognostications of death in terminal illness would run as follows -
The dying man must sign a document saying that, if he does not die within three calendar months of the medical judgement and subsequent release, he will either return voluntarily to be executed by the releasing authority or alternatively have all medical care withdrawn. The doctors who made the initial prognosis should be struck off the medical register and the law officer who ordered the compassionate release should publicly resign in disgrace, wearing a sack and scattering ashes over his head, with full media coverage.
Any leading cleric who supported the release decision should be reduced to the lowest rank of their denomination and sent to a remote, and ideally dangerous and unhealthy part of the world. All who contested the release decision in the UK should be given a lifetime subscription to the Daily Mail. The leading opponent of the decision in the UK should be given a life peerage (Lord X of Vengeful) and the leading opponent in the US should be given a position as a Fox News presenter, thus ensuring that he or she will be a Republican Presidential candidate for the next election.
Provisions such as the above would provide conclusive proof that the United Kingdom and the USA were still Christian countries, and that their Christian/Judaic values were still intact.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd - it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice ---
William Shakespeare - The Merchant of Venice
Sunday, 8 August 2010
A courageous statement from Cardinal Keith O’Brien on the Megrahi release decision, and on America’s “culture of vengeance”
Human values are alive and well in Scotland. In an independent Scotland, we could express them more effectively by determining our own foreign policy and relationships with Europe and the rest of the world.
What is needed now is the voices of senior clerics in the other religious denominations in Scotland - the Church of Scotland, the Episcopalian Church and Judaism (we know where the Muslims stand) - to speak out with equal force and courage.
Surely the Church of Scotland can do it? It may be too much for the Episcopalians - the Tory Party and the Establishment at prayer. But can Scottish Judaism separate itself from Zionism and speak for humanity?
This call comes the day after a British doctor - Dr. Karen Woo - and nine others were brutally murdered by robbers in Afghanistan. The Taliban have claimed responsibility, and given as the reason that the humanitarian workers were on a Christian mission. This is a lie - ("Although we are a Christian-supported charity, we would absolutely not proselytize.") - they were trying to help the most vulnerable, and the Briton who died was a Humanist.
Religion - and Scotland - must rise above this awful tragedy and show that we are not like the Taliban, not like the murderers, and we must not descend into blame and calls for vengeance.