Saturday, July 6, 2013

Scottish independence: Think Scotland website publishes George Laird article on why the "backward" Scottish National Party was wrong to deny prisoners the right to vote, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon can’t get anything right!

Dear All

Awhile ago, I was told by the cybernat community of the Nationalist camp:

“no one reads your shitty blog” and “your a fat cunt with bad breath and smelly feet.”

Sadly, they are behind the times.

Today, you can find an article I wrote on the Think Scotland website.

Think Scotland has some of the best commentators in Scotland writing for it such as David Torrance, Alex Massie, Bill Jamieson, Brian Monteith and Euan McColm.

So, I am lucky to get the chance to do a piece despite not having the same high profile as these writers.

But it is good for the CV.

Here is the entire article on why the backward Scottish National Party got it wrong on denying prisoners a vote.


“I have been asked if I would do a piece for ThinkOutLoud on why Prisoners should have a vote. In looking at the issue, we should also look at Law, human rights and the political class in Scotland.

So, what is my position on this issue, should prisoners have a vote?


At present we hear a lot of claptrap in Scotland about how “progressive” we are as a Scottish society, and those ‘special’ Scottish values, a lot of that talk comes from the SNP at present, as they try and restart their failed independence campaign.

How many re-launches are we at now, I have lost count, one thing I do know is that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have absolutely no chance, and someone else has stuck their money where their mouth is and laid down a £200,000 bet against it happening. That money is a safe bet, I have met Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon; they couldn’t pull themselves out a deep sleep never mind win independence, they are the wrong people at the wrong time.  

Before I proceed further into this “rant”, anyone from the Scottish National Party should stop reading now, and go play in the mud somewhere; I am going to be taking about law, social justice and human rights. Like rich food to a starving man, this kind of reasoning is too rich for the SNP drone class at present. I want to also talk about how lazy, backward and provincial minded we are in Scotland under the current Scottish Government led by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. If the photocopiers ever breakdown in the SNP effectively “progressive” policies would simply dry up or someone else’s work would needed to be copied out by hand!

What does the Law say on voting rights for prisoners?

In its first judgment against the United Kingdom regarding prisoners’ right to vote, Hirst v. the United Kingdom (no. 2) (74025/01) of 6 October 2005, the Grand Chamber of the Court found that a blanket ban preventing all convicted prisoners from voting, irrespective of the nature or gravity of their offences, constituted a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1.

This is the right to free elections in a member state, we are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and we continue to be so. In its Chamber judgment in Greens and M.T. v. the United Kingdom (60041/08 and 60054/08) of 23 November 2010, the Court again found a violation of the right to free elections, as the Government of the United Kingdom had yet again failed to amend the blanket ban legislation.

The problem is simple, mainstream political parties have signed up to one agenda regarding prisoners, you could say it is “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, undoubtedly a great slogan but also vacuous. Every political candidate regardless of mental ability when asked more or less signs up to that concept since Tony Blair famously uttered it. Delve a little deeper and you find the political class really don’t have much of a worthwhile opinion on anything regarding tackling crime, “progressive” Scotland, try “politically poverty stricken”. Also a lot of their opinions would be best served kept to themselves; some people really are easily pleased with their limited abilities and feel the need to ‘show off’.

You see, it isn’t terribly ‘trendy’ and ‘hip’ to stand up for prisoners, leaves you open to attack from other parties, so they have all joined loosely together because ‘human rights’ in their minds are just for the ‘good’ people.

Let us remember that in this Scottish independence referendum, convicted murderers, rapists, arsonists, paedophiles, armed robbers, thugs and cattle rustlers will get a vote by virtue of being released from prison. Their right to vote isn’t in question, cannot be stopped, and isn’t subject to exclusion. And nor should it be, you see democracy should be for everyone, if it is to have any meaning. In further regard to the Scottish independence referendum, SNP controlled Holyrood is just copying Westminster regarding the current voting ban; they don’t want to spoil their ‘big chance’ as Nicola Sturgeon recently described it.

“What would you give for one chance, one chance to come here and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives but they will never take our Freedooooooom!!!!!!!!!!?”

Yes, Alex Salmond has signed up to ‘Free Doom’ alright, 18th September 2014, judgment and justice will be coming a calling.   

Human rights, do you know human rights actually are? Most people have a vague idea, the thing about human rights is that they apply all the time; the State can only interfere with said rights if they have just cause. And although prison denies liberty, other human rights still remain intact. That is what the Grand Chamber’s decision means, we don’t give people human rights because we like them; we do so because everyone is supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law in our society, emotion plays no part in that judgment.

Apparently Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon don’t believe in equality, fairness and social justice, unless fits into their provincial minded narrative. Alex Salmond has failed to develop into a ‘statesman’ and sadly for Ms. Sturgeon, not wishing to upset her in any way, she is completely without gravitas. Did you see how easily Ruth Davidson torpedoed her when she pulled out the letter that the SNP had never contacted the EU either as a government or as an opposition regarding membership? Ms. Sturgeon spent the rest of that night in the BBC Big Debate banging the freedom drum looking very unhappy.

I would like to now, to give some thoughts about how “politically poverty stricken” we are in Scotland. We are continually told that Scotland is being “held back” and how the Scottish National Party has the “solutions” if only they had control of Scotland. Lets us stop for a moment and look at some of their “work” but before I highlight, I think it is time for a quote by Alex Salmond:

“My problem is that I have too many talented people and not enough Cabinet positions”!

Law and Order run by Kenny MacAskill is an utter shambles, take your pick, Cadder, UK Supreme Court, local Court closures, the ‘bungled’ National Police Force which I proposed at the SNP National Assembly in 2010, it now lacks proper accountability and direction. In my original idea, there was a triple lock of accountability. Local boards kept; National board and a special stand alone Holyrood Committee whose membership wouldn’t include anyone from Justice One or Two Committees.

And to put the cherry on top of Kenny’s cake, Al Megrahi’s release!

Health, we are finding out that Nicola Sturgeon wasn’t exactly the ‘superstar’ portrayed managing the health portfolio, who would have thought! Scots women are dying of cancer because they are denied the right drugs; can you believe there are campaigns running to save lives? People left on trolleys in A&E, new born babies being wrapped in towels because of no blankets available. Nicola Sturgeon is now the ‘face of independence’ and we all know how that campaign has bombed with the public as she piloted that Flagship policy onto the rocks. Presumably the thinking is possibly, since Nicola has wrecked one job, she will learn from previous errors of judgment. She is now getting a lot of help, and still can’t get the ship to stay afloat!

Education run by Mike Russell, at the Schools level he has botched Curriculum for Excellence with teachers having a vote of no confidence in him, at college level, he is responsible for 120,000 places being lost due to cuts in their budgets, and universities still haven’t been properly reformed. I wonder if he knows that he can fight for his brief in Cabinet!

But he speaks Gaelic!

With ‘talent’ like this round the SNP Cabinet table what chance do you think these people can come to the logical conclusion and ‘do the right thing’ on prisoner voting? As we painfully saw in the ‘Cadder Case’, an open and shut case, backed by European law and case law, they couldn’t understand why human rights shouldn’t be replaced by ‘gifts’ or ‘safeguards’ as they called it.

The UK Supreme Court rightly thought otherwise, Kenny MacAskill shot his mouth off, Alex Salmond joined in because Kenny is his creature, and oh dear, what a pasting he and Team Angiolini took. Since then, Ms. Angiolini has gone onto become all ‘warm and fuzzy’ unhindered by the shackles of Procurator Fiscal Service as to the terrible conditions of Cornton Vale. Didn’t seem to have a problem sticking the women in there in the first place, and she got it wrong on recommending closure of the facility. The problem isn’t the prison rather the type of people who are sent there, who knew!!!!!!!!

Leaving aside the ‘talent’ in the SNP Cabinet, lets us look at some of the offerings that the current crop of SNP MSPs are so vexed about in a country suffering horribly under the English yoke!

Chic Brodie MSP is a man on a mission, chewing gum is a problem that occupies his waking hours, Sandra White is up in arms about parking, and the latest must have piece of legislation that will forever change Scotland is the 5 pence tax on a plastic bag!  

Is this what these people think Holyrood is for, bills on chewing gum, parking and plastic bag taxes? Where are the big injustices we are hearing so much about that need tackled? SNP MSPs have plenty of time for ‘tat’ but always bypass the real injustices, unless the leadership decided to use it as part of their grudge, grievance and malcontent for independence.

I have said there is a genuine lack of talent in the Scottish National Party, and I continue to say that there is a genuine lack of talent in the Scottish National Party.

I would now like to address Jackie Anderson’s unhappiness which is misdirected; shouldn’t the real reason for her unhappiness actually be that politicians haven’t done their jobs properly? If human rights hadn’t been abused in the first place, we wouldn’t be paying compensation or indeed having this discussion. She says “should people who have broken the laws we live by be given the right to have any part in electing the people who ensure our laws are maintained”?   

The answer is yes, if you have to ask such a question, then patently you don’t understand democracy in the first place.

Her piece is a fine rant: however, we shouldn’t allow our decency to be compromised by the behavior of others. Hasn’t she heard of leading by example? In relation to law, she appears to be suggesting that law is a good thing as long as she agrees with the verdict. Prison is about two things, punishment and rehabilitation, much is made by politicians regarding the first issue and rehab plays a poor second fiddle. Tough on crime should have been replaced by politicians long ago; we need to be smart on crime. Everyone who is rehabilitated becomes an asset to society and their family.  Allowing them to vote is part of that rehab process, if you want people to do ‘good’, you must present them with opportunities to do so. Everyone should have a stake in society; don’t we continually hear that you can succeed on merit?  

Jackie Anderson could say that there will be failures adopting my position, and she would be correct, you can’t save everyone, but you shouldn’t be in politics if you don’t want to try. What I find funny about Jackie Anderson’s rant is that she is rooting for the ‘bad guys’ and doesn’t even know it.

I would give these people their voting rights; it is a matter of fairness, equality, social justice and importantly the law, either you believe in this or you don’t, and some things are worth fighting for, even if you don’t personally benefit from it, and you have the satisfaction that you done the right thing. I don’t know about you but Holyrood would be better served if there was more ‘judgment of Solomon’ rather than the ‘judgment of Sod’.”

Anyone can be a successful blogger; you just have to keep going!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

Excellent article!
And a first class analysis of the present Scottish Government along with their hive.

Anonymous said...

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G Laird said...

Dear Anon

Thank you very much, it is nice to be asked to do a piece for Think Scotland since it has many high profile writers on it.

I was just lucky that they picked me rather than my SNP supporting stalker @georgemlaird.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University