Tuesday, February 15, 2011

'Right wing' justice policy of Scottish Labour creates bitter internal rift as ‘East Coast Weasel’ Iain Gray hammered over ‘ill-conceived’ policies

Dear All

Prison reform is long overdue in Scotland.

It is a puzzle because of the complex nature of the problem.

In times of social and economic upheaval, rhetoric comes out of the far right, hang um, shoot um and lock them up, guilty until proven innocent.

A former aide to Gordon Brown, John Rowan has criticised Labour's Scottish leadership over its "right wing" stance on justice.

The problem is that two idiots have taken hold of the helm and like Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are egging each other on in the stupidity stakes.

I refer to the ‘East Coast Weasel’ Iain Gray and Richard Baker, the Aberdonian donkey.

Rowan is currently doing a stint on the prison visiting committee for Edinburgh's Saughton jail.

He is claiming there was "unease" within the party over its opposition to the scrapping of short prison sentences and the "soft touch Scotland" rhetoric of leader Iain Gray and justice spokesman Richard Baker.

He said:

"People feel we are appealing to populism rather than having a well thought-out policy. We're echoing the Tories."

100% correct, both Gray and Baker are photocopier politicians, no ideas just the ability to copy others.

They have jumped on the ‘tough on crime, tough on the cause of crime’ bandwagon.

And the wheels have come off that one along time ago. Rowan says that policy adopted by Labour in Scotland was also in conflict with the position of UK party leader Ed Miliband.

And Miliband and London Labour will eventually realise that something has to be done about these two.

Gray and Baker are out of step with the recommendations of the prisons commission chaired by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish.

Opposition for opposition sake has backfired even internally within the party.

Problems need solved but the realisation is dawning Gray and Baker don’t have answers.

The old adage of keeping your mouth shut less be thought of as an idiot has been abandoned in favour of proving they are idiots.

Gray and Baker revel in being stupid, but they think they are being tactical and clever.

Rowan, who is generally viewed as a staunch party loyalist but he has written to Gray and Mr Baker, describing the party's stance on justice as "knee-jerk reactions".

Highlighted by their scandalous fake knife crime stunt which when the crunch came in Holyrood they backed off as it was illegal!

He continued:

"I know that debate is essential in any healthy democracy, but it seems to me that our reported 'policies' are beginning to sound ill-conceived, uninformed and purely negative in tone."

Two people both unsuitable for the positions they hold.The prisons commission, chaired by Henry McLeish, said in 2008 that jail sentences should be reserved for the most serious and dangerous criminals.

And that "paying back" in the community should become the default position for dealing with less serious offenders.

Short term prison sentences don’t work, we need to break the cycle of offending, we can only do this by taking offenders in a new direction.

Yes, radical thinking is needed and complex issues dealt with, but truth be told, both Gray and Baker cannot do the work, they are not leaders and they have no vision.

Labour in Scotland has repeatedly used the "soft touch Scotland" line against the Scottish Government but this is politics and nothing to do with improved governance.

Scratch the surface and there is nothing there of substance, John Rowan knows the direction that Gray and Baker are taking Labour is a dead end.

Rowan said:

"The danger is it sends out the wrong signal and we will lose some of our more thoughtful voters”.

If people take the time to stop and think about what is trying to be achieved they would know that the new policy is more than just community payback, it is about trying to restore safer communities in areas blighted by crime.

And we can only do that by changing the mindset of offenders.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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