I have over recent years voted SNP. This is quite a shift for someone who registered a double “No” in the devolution referendum (There. I’ve admitted it). I remember being quite mystified at the celebrations on the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.
Hooray! Another tier of lawyers spouting law at us!
Hooray! We’ll get Labour as a governing party instead of….er….Labour!
Hooray! This’ll cost a fortune!
Hooray! Our lives will be governed by failed Westminster candidates and glorified cooncillors!
I became nostalgic for the days when one parliament governing Scotland was considered a sufficiency of the bloody things (instead of the current three)
However, over time I came round to the idea, the Labour/Liberal administration worked as the two parties seemed to co-operate fairly well. There was representation too for other minor parties who hitherto had not had a proper parliamentary voice. Then of course in the last Scottish parliamentary elections we (I say we, and I include myself here) elected, albeit in a minority situation a genuine alternative government for those matters deemed unimportant enough to be dealt with in Edinburgh.
(Get on with it – Ed)
The SNP seemed to provide a refreshing change to politics here. And somehow they didn’t seem to have the same level of sleaze associated with them as their Nulab and Completecon counterparts. The intervention on the Trump planning decision despite all the huffing and puffing, was exactly what Labour would have done in the same circumstances. The release of Megrahi seemed to some of us at least as the correct decision for the right reasons no matter the straying off the path of procedure by Kenny McAskill.
Now however, hot on the heels of the news that Eck has been billing folk £9k for the pleasure of his company for lunch at the Parly, comes the astonishing story that his deputy Nicola Sturgeon wrote a letter on behalf of her constituent in Govan, Abdul Rauf pleading for him not to be given a custodial sentence.
Mr Rauf it turns out is a serial thief and fraudster, having amongst other things, been found guilty of theft of £65,000 benefit money when he was a sub postmaster. The current case centres around Mr Rauf’s claiming of income support between 2001 and 2005 whilst simultaneously living in a £400,000 house and failing to declare rental income on a £200,000 property in Edinburgh.
In her letter to the court Ms Sturgeon said Rauf had already repaid £27,000 of the money owed and had said he was going to sell one of his properties to repay the rest of the cash.
The MSP for Glasgow Govan, who said she became aware of the case in July 2008, also pointed out in the letter that Rauf had suffered from poor health for a number of years and had a family with children under the age of 10.
She asked the court not to jail him because of the impact that might have on his health and family life.
Sheriff Alan MacKenzie told Rauf that a jail term was “at the forefront” of his mind but said he would defer sentence for three months and released him on bail.
Nicola Sturgeon says she was “duty bound” to submit a letter on Mr Rauf’s behalf
Having read the opinion of several of M’learned friends, she was not “duty bound” at all. One prosecutor who has had a whole working life in the legal profession says that this is the first such instance (of a [politician submitting such a letter) he can remember.
Mr Rauf is clearly a man who does not mind spending some cash* in his endeavours to stay out of prison. I’m sure the services of Donald Findlay QC did not come cheaply.
One is left hoping that Ms Sturgeon’s letter is just an act of folly and spectacular misjudgement*.
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: abdul rauf, nicola sturgeon, snp | 19 Comments »