Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nicola - I Made a Mistake Over 'Mistake'

"I regret the use of the word 'mistake' to describe Mr Rauf's offence.

"As I hope will become clear from other parts of the letter, I did not intend to downplay the seriousness of the crime that had been committed.

"However, I accept the use of the word mistake was open to that interpretation."

So said Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday in her ministerial statement about her letter to the court regarding Abdul Rauf. She also went further to say that her appeal to the sheriff to consider an alternative to a custodial sentence was more in keeping with her former occupation as a solicitor than as an MSP.

The other week the First Minister saying he supported his deputy's letter 110%. Saying she was duty bound to write everything that she did. As Annabel Goldie pointed out admitting that she did not do everything right showed her candour, humility and courage. She contrasted this with the last First Minister's Questions before the recess saying:

"We got the usual Alex Salmond decibel delivery of rhetoric and arrogance.

"Where there should have been humility and reflection all we got was bluster. Where there should have been an apology, all we got was defiance."

The problem of delaying a statement from Nicola until now, and not having a plan to deal with this on Thursday 11 February when it broke was now that the First Minister has shown his knee-jerkedness once again. Instead of being a head of reason looking at the full picture, he jumped immediately to the defensive. If Ms Sturgeon had indeed been prepared a similar statement to Parliament she should have been allowed to make it then. As it was the First Minister was prepared to let this boil fester.

Sadly this is the head of the Government that is meant to be dealing with Westminster on a number of issues regarding Scotland's future. How can we trust a calm approach from him to such sworn enemies. We already know the mantra he shouts at Westminster, they are cutting Scotland's budget he proclaims, while at the same time he is arguing that Scotland can stand on its own two feet as he heads onwards with his desire for independence.

Maybe all the calls for resignation after that particular Thursday were for the wrong head. Maybe the First Minister should resign making way for the candour, humility and courage of his deputy, then maybe things can get done a little easier around here.

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