Wheres your lothian question now pal?

#1
Alex Salmond, who ordinarily I do not give much time too, certainly opened a new era in Anglo Scottish politics last night. After nigh ten years of yessir-ing from "Honest" Jack, wee Alex has steamed into Tony/Gordon big time over the Lockerbie bomber.

I think Gordon should be shifting uneasily in his (Scottish) seat at Westminster but Tony will be glad he has handed back the key to the executive lavvies. I doubt not that the first Minister is going to be looking to make some pretty substantial points about nationality and influence - even if it means an uneasy wedding of convenience with the Scottish tories.
 
#2
If nothing else, it'll make a refreshing change from the unending series of Sewell Motions.

As an aside, you'd be forgiven for expecting TB (trained barrister) to know what division of powers were contained in the Scottish devolution settlement - considering he brought it in.

Or am I being naive?
 
#4
I pity the man (or indeed fetid yes-woman) who takes Mr Salmond on appealing to his sense of faith in the Union. He'll get his airse handed to him, quick time.
 
#5
oldbaldy said:
Watch Kirsty Walk lose it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnQPptuG8uM

Too many holiday with liarbor yes men.
Missed this first time round. Blimey, she really wasn't going to let anything but the Party line get across there. A complete lack of knowledge of events in the SP, she just wound up looking vicious and stupid. Fair play to Eck, though, he held his temper well. I loved the look of confusion that hit his face when she started frothing at the mouth.

Also, nice to hear that there's cross party support for upholding the jurisdiction of the Paurly. Makes a refreshing changes from the supine McConnell days. Maybe there's hope for it yet.
 
#6
smartascarrots said:
oldbaldy said:
Watch Kirsty Walk lose it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnQPptuG8uM

Too many holiday with liarbor yes men.
Missed this first time round. Blimey, she really wasn't going to let anything but the Party line get across there. A complete lack of knowledge of events in the SP, she just wound up looking vicious and stupid. Fair play to Eck, though, he held his temper well. I loved the look of confusion that hit his face when she started frothing at the mouth.

Also, nice to hear that there's cross party support for upholding the jurisdiction of the Paurly. Makes a refreshing changes from the supine McConnell days. Maybe there's hope for it yet.


Taxi for Kirsty Wark. Roll on the SNP and Salmond. They will murder Labour next time round. Salmond is easily the smartest of the leaders.
 
#8
I take then that Jack 'The Lad' McConnell will taking a long holiday soon.This is what Scottish politics have been waiting a long time for,someone like the SNP to come in and look through the books to see where these Labour yes men have undermined our nation for the benefits of the (union).More power to Salmond folks hopefully he will reveal where Labour have gone wrong on a number of issues.
 
#9
A interesting piece of how biased the bbc is. On scottish issues unless it followed the Westminster line that Labour Lacky presenter was not having the interview turned against her, interesting her flippant remark when she cut the First Minister off would she have done that to TB or GB i think not. :pissedoff:
 
#10
The rancid Kirsty Wark is a well-known Liabour luvvie, supporter and whitewasher of the Scottish Parliament debacle and holiday companion of Jack McConnell. Once the post-election dust settles, I am sure there will be a clear-out of these Liabour liabilities.

Salmond is right to be furious. Although the MoU states that the agreement of the devolved administrations and judiciaries was required, it was appalling constitutional and diplomatic practice not to formally consult the Scottish Executive and Lord Advocate prior to the drafting and signature of the memo. McConnell has admitted that pressure was brought to bear with regard to the transfer of the so-called Lockerbie bomber when he was First Minister. There are 3 clear conclusions to draw:

1. The only constitution this nation possesses is whatever Bliar thinks expedient at the time.

2. The Lockerbie prosecution was fundamentally flawed and Megrahi's conviction is unsafe.

3. Libya is a virgin market for exploitation by BAE, Shell, BP etc and Bliar (etc) will do anything - no matter how odious - to ensure that they get first bite of the cherry, and that the all-important non-executive directorships are kept on ice for post-political careers.

I cannot believe the depths this country has sunk to, and the decline has accelerated in proportion to the closeness of Bliar's departure. I hope the cash-for-honours prosecution decision is not taken before his departure as there will be an attempt to scupper that as well. If he was not going anyway, there would be a clear moral case for his removal from office by any means necessary, whether constitutional or unconstitutional.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#11
What an astonishing piece of television! The fact that Ms Wark, from the BBC, has been on holiday with Mr Salmond's predecessor, the then Labour First Minister, may perhaps give us a hint where her allegiance lies.

My complaint to the BBC is in already, and I would advise others to do the same. If she had been interviewing the Head of the Welsh Assembly, or Ian Paisley, or the Vicar Blair himself, she would have been much more grovelling.

Salmond came across very well indeed, and as a reasonable man (rather than the frothing looney I had him down as). This interview alone has probably gained the SNP a great number of votes (not mine of course, being English - the sooner we're shot of the Scots the better!)

My opinion of the BBC slips even lower -something I find hard to believe possible......
 
#12
Salmond was portrayed as a frothing loony when Scottish Nationalists were seen as an extreme, no-hoper, minority party; a bit like the Conservatives in England for example. Now they are a credible party of government you can cut through the cr4p and see him for what he actually is.

I wonder if the new FM has sent down for his security services file yet? The good lord knows that the British (Unionist) government tried to stitch him up frequently.
 
#13
Alex Salmond is no fool. I have had a very low opinion of him in the past (he was apparently disrespectful at an RAF Buchan guest night during the Loyal Toast), but he is head-and-shoulders above the competition for First Minister (although Annabel Goldie is proving impressive) and he showed courage by actually picking a fight with the Lib Dem incumbent for Gordon (the seat not the morose politician) rather than walking into a safe seat.
 
#14
Please don't assume that Kirsty Wark and the BBC are the same. As has been stated she is a Labour Luvvie complete with bearded husband. The good news is that Jeremy Paxman hates her (allegedly). Have to agree though, on this occasion Mrs Wark did not even attempt to hide her individual bias.

Up the SNP!
 
#16
A bit obvious to state that the odious Wark is a 'Liabour luvvie' as she is employed by the BBC. You don't get a job in that corrupt, but publicly funded shambles unless you are a Labour supporter - Naughtie, Humphrys etc.

Well done to Mr. Salmond - I wish we had his equivalent in Wales instead of the appalling little oik we are stuck with.

As an aside I did not think the breaking-up of the United Kingdom was a good idea, but it has happened thanks to the 'show-boating' of the worst prime minister we have ever had.

Barring World War III I don't think it will ever be put back together again.

How much do I pray that at the next General Election an SNP candidate takes Gordon Brown's seat. However, he will probably 'parachute' himself into some safe 'English' seat.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#17
THE BBC apologised swiftly and publicly to Alex Salmond yesterday for the way the First Minister was treated in a Newsnight interview about the Lockerbie prisoner row.

The corporation received scores of complaints from viewers about the conduct of Kirsty Wark, the Newsnight presenter, during her six-minute interrogation of Mr Salmond on Thursday's edition of the show.

Many of the complainants said Wark had appeared angry and confrontational in the interview, during which she repeatedly interrupted Mr Salmond. At the end of the interview, the First Minister was cut off by Wark as he tried to speak.

It is not the first time Wark has come in for criticism. The presenter is friends with Jack McConnell and drew flak for going on holiday with the former First Minister during the 2004-5 New Year holiday.

The two families had been close friends for some time but the Newsnight presenter was attacked for becoming too friendly with such a senior Labour figure and Mr McConnell was criticised for taking a holiday in Wark's Majorcan villa.

The "Villagate" scandal erupted in January 2005, and in March that year, the BBC dropped Wark as the anchor of its General Election coverage, ending her 18-year tenure in the role.

Wark was interviewing Mr Salmond and a Scotland Office minister, David Cairns, after Thursday's emergency statement by the First Minister over a memorandum of understanding between Britain and Libya which could lead to a deal on prisoner exchanges.

Wark repeatedly pressed Mr Salmond on why there should be any concerns over the release of the Lockerbie bomber, if the Scottish Executive had a veto on the issue.

The questioning of Mr Salmond ended abruptly, with Wark repeatedly interrupting the First Minister before turning to Mr Cairns.

Over 120 people are understood to have formally complained to the BBC about the exchange.

And as the complaints poured into its e-mail inboxes yesterday morning, the BBC reacted swiftly. Shortly after 11am, Peter Barron, the editor of Newsnight, posted a qualified apology on the programme's website. An e-mail was also despatched to Mr Salmond's office.

Mr Barron said: "We've had a lot of complaints about Kirsty's interview last night with the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Some questioned the premise of the interview - that the new SNP government appeared to be picking a fight with London - others thought that Kirsty's line of questioning was too aggressive and therefore discourteous. But all agreed that the way the interview ended was, to say the very least, unfortunate ...

"... As the programme producer tried to wind up the interview because of time pressure we cut off Mr Salmond in a way that came across as rude and dismissive. We have apologised to Mr Salmond for that."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We consider that the matter has been dealt with and the matter closed."

A spokeswoman for the First Minister said: "The First Minister is happy to accept the BBC's apology. We made no complaint, but there seems to have been a general reaction to the tone and content of the interview."

One Labour source said the complaints were proof the SNP were trying to intimidate the corporation. "It's a bit rich for them to complain about Newsnight - Alex Salmond got twice as much time as David Cairns [the Scotland Office minister] did to put the government side," said the source. "These are just bully tactics and it's a shame the BBC has given them any ground."

Debate about the controversial Newsnight exchanges first began on The Scotsman's website, where dozens of readers recorded their views, the first at 1:55am yesterday morning branding Wark's performance as "highly intemperate".

LIKE a general preparing for war, Alex Salmond knew that when he picked his first real fight with London the battleground had to be perfect.

He had to be able to show underhand and anti-Scottish tactics by the UK government, and it had to be on a subject of great and, if possible, emotional importance to Scotland.

When the first details of Tony Blair's deal with Colonel Gaddafi filtered through to the Scottish Executive on Friday, 1 June, Mr Salmond saw an opportunity.

Over the next six days, he showed how skilful he is at using events to maximum political advantage - and how easy he finds it to manipulate opponents and the media.

Mr Salmond became aware of the Blair-Gaddafi deal on Friday. It is understood a Home Office memo went to somebody in the Scottish Prison Service who notified the Scottish Executive.

Then, all Mr Salmond knew was that a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the two governments on a number of legal issues, including prisoner transfer.

This would have alerted anybody involved in the law or politics in Scotland to just one subject: the Lockerbie bombing.

Libya has never hidden its desire for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, to be allowed to finish his sentence at home.

The UK government has flirted with the idea, while trying to establish better relations with Libya, but diplomats in London insist the two governments have never been even close to an agreement.

MR SALMOND could have privately made contact with the UK government and asked what was going on, or he could have asked if the deal was linked to Megrahi in any way. But he did not.

He did nothing all weekend. He saw the memorandum on Monday and took the issue to Cabinet on Tuesday, 5 May. The Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, no longer sits in Cabinet so Mr Salmond held a separate meeting with her on Wednesday.

By Thursday, Mr Salmond had his ambush planned. He had not contacted the UK government and he had said nothing to parliament.

Early on Thursday afternoon, Mr Salmond told the other party leaders he would make an emergency statement at 4:45pm.

Opposition leaders were told the topic of the statement - "international judicial co-operation" - an hour beforehand. They were given the text 20 minutes before Mr Salmond stood up.

Journalists started to hear whispers about just what would be in the statement, whispers that inevitably distorted and exaggerated the actual message.

The timing of Mr Salmond's gambit was masterful. Mr Blair and his most senior officials were all in Germany at the G8 summit at the time. Normally, the Downing Street team prides itself on political omniscience. But on Thursday, the first Mr Blair's team heard of the growing row was in a telephone call from The Scotsman at 4:01pm. There was an immediate
flurry of phone calls back to the Foreign Office in London.

As one of Mr Blair's team admitted, Mr Salmond's intervention put them under huge pressure. "We've got a G8 deal on climate change, the Russians to deal with, [French president] Nicolas Sarkozy is running round talking about the European Union, and now this - not exactly a peaceful afternoon."

There was a similar sense of shock in Whitehall, not least because of the extreme secrecy that had surrounded the Libyan agreement.

Members of MI6 were aware of the memorandum, but around 4pm on Thursday even senior officials at the Foreign Office contacted by The Scotsman had not been fully briefed about the document. "There was a fairly small distribution list [for the memorandum] until this all blew up," said one intelligence source.

Other diplomats learned of it from Sky shortly before Mr Salmond's statement. Those headlines - citing "sources" saying Megrahi was definitely to go home - were proof of the work of Mr Salmond's spin team.

The line that had been quietly offered to journalists was that Mr Blair had "done a deal" to return Megrahi but had told neither the Scottish Executive nor Scotland's law officers.

THE seed fell on fertile soil inadvertently prepared by Mr Blair's refusal to speak to Mr Salmond since his appointment.

So by the time Mr Salmond got to his feet for his statement, the scene was set exactly as he wanted. The outrage in the chamber was almost palpable. It seemed Mr Salmond had a justified grievance, and almost everybody agreed with him.

"He set a trap, and everyone, the opposition and large parts of the media, all charged straight in," said one Labour source last night, adding: "That includes us - we were all over the place for the first few hours. We started to recover by the evening, but too late for the early-evening bulletins and newspaper deadlines."

Jack McConnell, the former First Minister, complained about the lack of advance notice on the statement, giving the clear impression that he had not had time to ring Downing Street and find out what was going on.

But even he said he would have "demanded no less than proper consideration" if he had been First Minister. And in the most striking statement, Annabel Goldie, the Tory leader, accused Mr Blair of "riding roughshod over devolution".

At this point, Mr Salmond was in total control, with both opposition parties and real-time media outlets like Sky and the Press Association retelling his version of events.

It was only when the text of Mr Salmond's letter to Mr Blair was published that cracks started to appear in the edifice. First, Mr Salmond acknowledged that Mr Blair had not done anything legally or constitutionally wrong; what he had done was discourteous and not in keeping with "good government" - hardly a basis for "riding roughshod over devolution".

Then it emerged the Libyan agreement - actually to hold talks about a final deal - mentioned all three jurisdictions in the United Kingdom which have control over Libyan prisoners.

It was effectively an assurance that the UK government was going to consult the Scottish Executive on the issue.

By this time, it was clear that Mr Salmond's complaint was not that the Lockerbie bomber was going home, but merely that Mr Salmond had not been consulted - still a serious grievance, but nowhere near as grave as had been suggested earlier.

LATER in the evening, No10 finally started to get into the battle, first explaining the memorandum was designed to secure the extradition of potential terrorist suspects to Libya, then stressing there had never been any intention to make Megrahi part of the proposed deal.

And shortly before 8pm, the Foreign Office performed a U-turn, publishing the text of Mr Blair's deal with Libya, which made clear that Scotland would be consulted on any agreement.

That was too late for many newspapers, whose headlines yesterday morning made happy reading for Mr Salmond.

"Insult" screamed one front page. "Outrage at secret deal to free Lockerbie bomber" said another. "Salmond is right to voice anger," said a leader comment.

Only yesterday afternoon, when those headlines had sunk in for many voters, did the UK government finally manage a categorical statement of the key fact in this case: that as a prisoner convicted in a Scots court, held in a Scottish jail, there is no legal or constitutional means by which Megrahi could ever leave Scotland without the explicit permission of Scottish ministers.

Mr Salmond had been aware from the beginning that there was never any prospect of the Lockerbie bomber going home against Scottish wishes.

The First Minister may have had some justification for his indignation about the way Mr Blair handled his Libyan talks. But he used the "deal in the desert" to maximum political effect.

Some government spin doctors were last night ruefully admiring his deft handling of the situation. One said: "You've got to hand it to Alex. This was masterful - completely wrong, but perfectly executed. "

JAMES KIRKUP AND HAMISH MACDONNELL
No 10 says Lockerbie bomber not part of any deal

DOWNING Street hit back yesterday in the escalating row over the so-called "deal in the desert".

Alex Salmond has accused the UK government of breaching agreed protocols between Holyrood and Westminster by signing the memorandum of understanding with Libya on prisoner transfer without telling the Scottish Executive.

Mr Salmond believed that the Prime Minister had signed a deal which could see the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, transferred to Libya, even though his continued detention is entirely a matter for the Scottish Executive and the Scottish legal system.

But the UK government stressed yesterday that no deal had been signed, only an initial memorandum of understanding which committed the governments to pursue the issue.

The justice ministry in London, which is involved in the talks with Libya about prisoner transfers, insisted that Megrahi would not be part of any deal and that the Lockerbie bomber had not figured in talks between Mr Blair and Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi.

A No 10 spokesman dismissed Mr Salmond's complaints as a "non-row". "It is a complete red herring from beginning to end," he said.

This was supported by Middle Eastern diplomatic sources who said the Libyan government was pinning its hopes for Mr Megrahi's release on his appeal and it did not want to do anything to jeopardise that process.

Yet, despite these assurances, Mr Salmond continued to demand answers from the UK government while his justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, went even further and said it was "ludicrous" to suggest that the deal was not about Megrahi.

HAMISH MACDONNELL
http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=902402007

Alex puts one over on them all.
They all knew it was going to come at some point but when it did they were all asleep.
 
#18
nigegilb said:
Please don't assume that Kirsty Wark and the BBC are the same. As has been stated she is a Labour Luvvie complete with bearded husband. The good news is that Jeremy Paxman hates her (allegedly). Have to agree though, on this occasion Mrs Wark did not even attempt to hide her individual bias.

Up the SNP!
The disappointing thing is that as a front liner for the BBC, she damn well should be apolitical. Good TV I admit but allowing her to get the last word in and dismiss the First Minister somewhat out of hand was more than a little off and not smart for the BBC if it wishes to continue to claim it is politically unbiased.

I agree with a variety of earlier posters. Whatever you think about Salmond - he is one of the most astute politicians of his time.
 
#19
Whatever the BBC producer said she fcuked up large and her disdain for the First Minister was obvious. Her credibility has sunk further. Hopefully she won't last too long. If anyone is bothered by left wing bias, check out Andrew Neil's program he regularly lambasts socialists and is far from establishment in outlook, unfortunately he goes out late at night. Since Gilligan the Beeb has become very timid, esp mainstream news and regularly trots out the Govt line. Shame, as it is the worst Govt in living memory.
 
#20
lsquared said:
A bit obvious to state that the odious Wark is a 'Liabour luvvie' as she is employed by the BBC. You don't get a job in that corrupt, but publicly funded shambles unless you are a Labour supporter - Naughtie, Humphrys etc.

Well done to Mr. Salmond - I wish we had his equivalent in Wales instead of the appalling little oik we are stuck with.

As an aside I did not think the breaking-up of the United Kingdom was a good idea, but it has happened thanks to the 'show-boating' of the worst prime minister we have ever had.

Barring World War III I don't think it will ever be put back together again.

How much do I pray that at the next General Election an SNP candidate takes Gordon Brown's seat. However, he will probably 'parachute' himself into some safe 'English' seat.
Sad to say but I agree with every word of this. Remember Naughtie at the last election refer to the Labour party as "we" on the today programme?

Interesting to see if Brown does bottle it and stand for a safe English seat, what was his majority last time? If he were to lose his seat he couldn't carry on as PM even if Labour remained in power and he were to be parachuted in later on...the PM has to be sitting in either the Lords or the Commons.....we could be left with someone like Peter Hain or Hazel Blears as PM - Christ!! :omfg:
 
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