Friday, March 06, 2009

The Scottish Executive should think carefully

One of the most consistent principles that has marked out the Liberal Democrats is our belief in natural justice.

That means treating people fairly, defending the rights of the individual against those who hold institutional power, basing judgements on all the evidence and allowing people who have had accusations made against them to know what those accusations are and what the evidence against them is.

It is for that reason that I have become increasingly concerned about the Scottish Party's approach to the problems in Aberdeenshire.

For a very useful background to the history of the situation see Bernard Salmon's blog here.

Several other bloggers have also commented and I would like to associate myself with their views here, here and here.

For an insight into the thinking of the Scottish Executive when they discussed the proposal to suspend the three see ruaraidhdobson's blog here. If I had any doubts about the situation his account of the meeting - particularly his comments about the original planning decision - confirmed my view that the Scottish Executive have got this badly wrong.

By deciding to suspend three party members who are quite clearly on one side of a very complex situation, whilst refusing to investigate complaints made by those members, the Scottish Executive have acted inconsistently.

By deciding to look at the recent behaviour of the three, but not properly investigate all the issues that led to that recent behaviour, they are acting unjustly.

If they have any sense of justice at all the Scottish Executive will put the expulsion process on hold and instigate a full investigation into the history of events that have led to the current situation.

Once that has been done the Scottish Executive should then look at the various options which may include disciplinary action against one or more members, recomendations about how the Aberdeenshire group should be run and a mediation and/or reconciliation process.

If the Scottish Executive continue on their current course they not only risk losing four of the most experienced and committed campaigners in the party, but also diverting many other active Lib Dems into an ongoing campaign to win justice.

I hope the members of the Scottish executive will think again.


Iain Rubie Dale said...

Councillor Debra Storr resigned from the party today. I count Debra a good and true friend and am gutted by the behaviour that she has been forced to endure by so called "fellow Lib Dems"

neil craig said...

Debra Storr not only supported my expulsion, on the gerounds that I was an economic liberal infacour of free enterprise, lowered taxes & Holyrood control of Corporation Tax, all of which are now officially "illiberal" & "too right wing" to even discuss. She also deliberately lied* to assist the process, saying that a conference motion I put forward was rejected because it was "badly drafted" when in fact it had been drafted by herself.

All in all she has no cause for complaint - as an eco-fascist she has been treated far better by the party than she helped it when it was getting the genuine liberals out of the party.