Clegg jumps on the bandwagon….
Nick Clegg; having absented himself from the debate around the NHS, finds it fit to comment on the Al-Megrahi case. He is right that the case is one of enormous gravity but his statement that;
“I find it difficult to accept that someone convicted in a British court of law should be released as he was,”
shows a degree of naiviety on two fronts. Firstly, it assumes the conviction was a safe one which, as I have said, I do not believe it was; this does not mean I think Al-Megrahi is innocent for certain, it means I feel that there circumstances of the conviction create ‘reasonable doubt’ that it was a safe conviction. The possibility of Al-Megrahi’s innocence makes the decision to release the correct one in my eyes and it is something that Clegg obviously doesn’t want to deal with. As I understand Scottish law; it provides for compassionate release three months from death regardless of the gravity of the offence and relative guilt or lack of; therefore if Clegg is arguing this case is exceptional then it is him that is arguing against the letter of the law, not the Scottish Executive.
Meanwhile, the Politics Home poll shows that Clegg has clearly set himself against the majority of our voters with 52% approving of the decision. Overall, 53% of voters disapprove which I find hardly surprising but once again this is an issue where the majority view is not necessarily the right one.This is especially true when 37% of those polled feel that the original conviction was not beyond reasonable doubt; if they so feel then their support for the continued incarceration of Al-Megrahi is entirely wrong and the 29% who have ‘no opinion’ show they clearly are going to follow the media agenda.
Of course, Clegg is right that this is beyond legalism but it is precisely for that reason that Clegg’s comments are so horribly wrong. Once again Clegg has shown himself totally adept at bandwagon hopping which I am going to bluntly say I find distasteful. When it comes to policies on issues like Afghanistan/Trident this opportunism is precisely the root cause of why it is so badly wrong; because Clegg’s modus operendi is to play to the media gallery.