Thursday, February 2, 2012
First Minister Alex Salmond calls for the stripping of peerages and baubles of convicted Lords at the House of Lords and bankers, wrong approach Alex
Alex Salmond yesterday waded into the row over ‘gonggate’ and suggested peers with serious criminal convictions and other failed bankers should be stripped of their titles.
The First Minister was speaking after expressing regret having previously backed the disgraced former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Fred Goodwin.
Goodwin lost his knighthood as he was stripped by the Queen on the recommendation of a forfeit committee set up to look into Goodwin’s knighthood.
The problem with Alex Salmond’s suggestion is that it lacks fairness, why should someone who has inherited a title can commits wrong doing be able to keep their title and someone who is ennobled by the Queen for services to whatever lose theirs if they transgress.
Alex Salmond is a clever politician, I have met him a few times, but throwing this suggestion into the mix to deflect his embarrassment was wrong.
Generally if someone elevated transgresses, the law deals with them that is why we have an independent judiciary.
Once they are punished and serve whatever penalty rendered, that should be the end of the matter, unless their offences involved crimes that by law, place restrictions on them in society.
Natural justice and fairness demands we don’t continually punish people post verdict; that is why we have courts.
A long time ago, I wrote a post on The Spectator where I highlighted the need not to conduct witch hunts which several SNP members in other publications started regarding Labour Peer Mike Watson, calling for him to be stripped.
Watson was punished, that is the end of the matter, but apparently some SNP people thought this was unacceptable.
I wrote this on Thursday, 5th February 2009.
By calling for others to be put to the sword, we should remember that the SNP Government is part of this charade by allowing people to be recommended for honours.
Brian Souter is an example of someone who I would never have put forward for a nomination.
The First Minister says there was "some humbug" about the whole affair, which had provided a "convenient distraction" from some of the bigger policy issues, such as spending cuts.
Mr Salmond added:
"What about all the other people who are keeping their honours who were also involved in the financial collapse? Are they going to have their honours withdrawn?
"What about the folk in the House of Lords who have been convicted of serious criminal offences? Why are they still in a legislature?"
Do you wish to punish these people Mr. Salmond and on what basis?
Because you backed Goodwin, you made a judgement call because at the time you thought that Goodwin was competent and wanted to be seen to support Scottish business.
Your judgement wasn’t wrong in the concept and you didn’t know Goodwin’s background because you took things at face value and gave people the benefit of the doubt.
I would do so too until they proved otherwise.
In the Westminster expenses scandal, many supposedly honourable people working as lawmakers turned out to be law breakers.
Also, less we forget many MSPs were exposed for the second mortgage scandal at Holyrood, where even SNP people who sold off second properties part funded by the taxpayer pocketed a fortune and kept the money the taxpayer paid.
They legally ripped off the taxpayer but that’s okay because they did so within the rules which means they are free if they so choose to remain an SNP MSP or stand again for Holyrood in the future.
I don’t agree with your stance and I don’t agree with you pulling others in front of you as a shield because some ‘political bullets’ came flying your way.
You made a judgement call, it turn out Goodwin wasn't worthy of your endorsement, it happens, but don’t go pissing on other people’s lives.
There is nothing honourable in travelling down that road.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University