27/07/2014 Sunday Politics Scotland


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As the Commonwealth Nations come to Glasgow, we'll be asking how


relevant the organisation is today - and whether it should be doing more


to press the case for tolerance and freedom And criticism builds from


The common wealth as a huge amount it can do to highlight, to condemn


and to be one of the structures that can be brought to bear to make


things better. And criticism opposition politicians over the use


of armed police for regular patrols. Glasgow has certainly been shining


these past few days as it welcomes But the Commonwealth is


about more than that - And with many member states having


a poor record on human rights and democracy, some feel it could


use its so-called "soft power" But could promoting British values


smack of "neo-colonialism"? builds from it started with a kiss.


A quick peck but for some, it had much wider meaning. Here is to


quality in Scotland! We know there are countries where it is illegal to


be gay, 41 out of 53 Commonwealth states. So although that kiss was a


fleeting moment, I think the symbolism of it was very powerful.


It isn't the first time the Ann games have been used to make a or


point. Less supple was the boycott in 1986, which saw 32 nations fail


to take part because of sanctions on South Africa. So is more than a kiss


necessary to promote change? Scotland has been working with human


rights organisations on the ground and not one of them is called any


kind of boycott. We don't think that tells. This is a real opportunity,


hosting the Commonwealth Games, to have discussions with the


dignitaries and people coming from those countries, and to let them see


how we celebrate rights and tolerance in Scotland today. But


tolerance varies widely across the Commonwealth. There is a section of


the Charter but still the death penalty is in place in more than


half of member states, and torture and imprisonment based on difference


isn't unusual. Whilst words are one thing, action hasn't been


forthcoming. The most recent example of that is that Sri Lanka it now has


a shocking human rights record. The Commonwealth as a huge amount it can


do to highlight and condemn and be one of the structures that can be


brought to bear to promote the respect, the protection and


safeguarding of human rights. The secretariat has twice suspended


members it deemed undemocratic - first Nigeria and, most recently,


Fiji after a military coup in 2006. It was reinstated earlier this year


and is competing in Glasgow. Critics argue that sanctions prove that the


Commonwealth is an outdated institution, a hangover from


colonial days, imposing our ideals on member states. But for others, it


can still promote positive change. There are forms of imperialism in


the sense that we insist that other people do things in exactly the same


way that we do them. But I don't think it is in any sense


imperialistic to suggest that something like freedom, something


like forms of democracy, our fundamental and international human


rights. So far as any organisation, including the Commonwealth, stands


up for those freedoms assault a termination, I don't think that's


being imperial. Medal domination is the key focus at the moment but the


debate about the Commonwealth's role as a modern institution fostering


progress and equality is sure to continue long after the final gold


has been won. I'm now joined in the studio


by the Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who represents Glasgow,


and by the Sunday Herald's foreign affairs editor David Pratt -


who has, of course, travelled And, from Edinburgh,


by the Labour MP Thomas Docherty who's on the executive committee


of Westminster's Commonwealth Good morning. David, you've


travelled around the Commonwealth extensively. What is your impression


of the impact the organisation can have? You look at the Charter of the


Commonwealth and it is promoting democracy, human rights and


tolerance. Whenever I've travelled in Commonwealth countries, I've


always found there is a real love and passion for the Commonwealth.


It's viewed very favourably by most of the people that I've encountered.


I understand the criticisms of it being some kind of talking shop and


that its toothless and doesn't have any real power but I think that


would be too greatly underestimated. It does have the soft power. It is a


network of networks in that respect and things can be done. But clearly,


it is very important, I think, now, that they ratcheted up the pressure


in terms of human rights. It really is time that many of the member


states in the Commonwealth began to pay more attention to that and had


pressure put on them by other member states who've already attained that


level of tolerance and values within the Commonwealth Charter. Patrick,


it may be time to ratchet up the pressure. What is your impression of


the Commonwealth? You might think that these nations are all


progressive beacons of human rights but some of them are guilty of


terrible abuses of human rights. Is the Charter just warm words? Yes,


many members of the Commonwealth - many of the governments that are


members of the Commonwealth - are guilty of serious human rights


abuses and not giving effect to the aspirations of the Charter, whether


that's in relation to the way we organised the Games in Glasgow or


domestic politics in member states. But as a community of countries, as


a forum, it serves a useful function in raising issues. It is only really


going to move up the pace its member state governments are willing to


support because it is composed of them. They make the decisions about


its priorities. One of the opportunities that are created is


the way that civil society can engage. I give you the example of


LGBT and intersex rights and equality. Many of the countries in


the Commonwealth, as he said in your package, do still criminalise our


community, but so did Scotland only 35 years ago. If you are over 35,


during your lifetime being gay was illegal in this country so it isn't


about preaching but about identifying the journey we're all on


and, in many ways, civil society organisations, like the one but have


come together to set up Prior House on Albion Street in Glasgow, has a


programme of more than 70 events in the games, highlighting LGBT I


issues. But as a way of highlighting thing so we can work out what the


priorities are, and how we can support other countries, not finger


wiring and lecturing and saying we know all the answers, but working


out how we can find some common ground. Thomas, do you agree with


that? Working with civic society, not finger wiring, or do you believe


we can get these governments to do more without giving the impression


of being neocolonial? Patrick and David are absolutely right. What's


important to remember is that it isn't a political union at an


association of members, the 53 sovereign countries and the 20 or so


dependencies and territories. Patrick is right when he says we


have to move at the pace of those sovereign countries want to move


that but that isn't to say we can't do a lot of work and in Westminster


we have, on average, three delegations a week coming into


Westminster - speakers of Parliament, parliamentarians, civil


servants, government officials - coming to see how to improve their


democratic process. There will be a delegation of monitors and observers


going into Fiji in September from across the Commonwealth to be


guaranteeing fair and free elections and if they are not free and fair,


that will be reported back to the Commonwealth Parliamentary


association and that will help to steer how governments respond to the


situation in Fiji. David, hearing about that, how do we avoid the


impression of being neocolonial in wanting these rights? The Gambia has


left the Commonwealth thinking that it is an imperialistic organisation.


It was interesting in your introductory package that you were


talking about British values. Many Commonwealth countries I visited


have already attained values which we would regard as British values in


terms of democracy and equality and whatever. There are those, shall we


call them, rogue states whose record is rather more chequered.


Effectively, the nation of the British Commonwealth stopped in


1949. I don't believe there is the degree of finger wagging that people


suggest. I think it is this association and there is a parity, a


level playing field, when it comes to diplomatic negotiations. There is


not as much finger wagging as people would suggest. The Commonwealth has


actually been very effective in some areas in terms of human rights in


the past. I remember as an activist with the anti-apartheid movement, it


was at the forefront in the fight against apartheid. And it has shown


itself on many occasions, from Pakistan, you talk about Gambia,


camera room. There are umpteen instances where the common wealth


has shown itself to be very effective. -- Cameroon. These issues


and discussions are important. We need to find ways of putting issues


on the agenda that some of those governments don't want to address.


One of the reasons why there is a backlash, and undermining of


previous progress on equality for the LGBTeye communities around the


world and in many common wealth countries is that the hard right


religious community is in America have started shifting their


resources. They recognise they are losing the fight at home in terms of


prejudice and equality and a shifting their resources into


developing countries will top how do we make sure that the pro-ecology


movement goes global in the same way? -- pro-equality. What are the


ways we can use to put that issue onto the agenda to force


governments, as well as civil society in those countries, to face


the reality of the harm that is being done on issues like human


rights and the death penalty? You're talking about the internal


mechanisms of the Commonwealth itself, in order to put those things


on the agenda. It can only be done by the, was nations sitting around


and talking about it and pressure being brought to bear by groups


within the Commonwealth itself. Let's bring in Thomas. When you meet


these parliamentary delegations, how far do you think we can go in


promoting the values that we currently hold just now? One of the


things that is quite interesting is that quite often there is some


feedback from delegations who say they aren't sure why the UK is


lecturing them about civil rights and human rights. Patrick makes a


valid point about where we were just over 30 years ago so we've got to be


very careful that this isn't seen as neocolonial patronising. But where


we are making progress, for one example, Cameroon will host the next


worldwide meeting of the Parliamentary association and


Cameroon introduced a law not so long ago, frankly, anti-gay rights


and the president of Cameroon has instructed his law officers not to


prosecute anybody further under those laws because of the gentle


pressure that has been applied by Commonwealth countries. That's not


to say it won't stay on the statute books but by gentle pressure we are


moving countries. But I do stress, it is a mechanism to allow


governments and parliaments to do things. The Commonwealth itself is


not an institution like the EU. It is a loose federation that brings


people together. It can't be seen as the same type of political bloc of


sanctions ordered the matter pressure that, say, NATO or the EU


can do. -- or democratic pressure. Someone is quoted saying that the


John Barrowman case will be quoted Someone is quoted saying that the


by people who see it as the main powerhouse of the Empire and posing


their influence on them and that he fears they might be a backlash.


Could there be a backlash in some way? I think if governments took a


very moral There's growing political concern at


the visible presence of armed police on our streets - with opposition


politicians questioning where and on our streets - with opposition


he'll raise the issue at the convention of Scottish local


authorities next month. He says this is a strategic policy change and not


an operational decision for the chief constable. Other council


leaders have expressed concerns. The justice secretary says armed


officers have been a long-standing feature of policing and it is for


the chief to make operational decisions about where and when to


deploy resources. The justice secretary declined our


request for an interview but I'm joined from Aberdeen by the SNP MSP


Kevin Stewart, who sits on Holyrood's Justice subcommittee on


policing, and here in the studio by Labour's justice spokesman Graeme


Pearson, formerly the director-general of the Scottish


crime and drug enforcement agency. Good morning. Thanks for joining me.


Graham, you've heard the arguments from the police. You had a fair


number of years in the police yourself and were an armed officer


at one point during your service. What is the issue? There are a


couple of issues. It's not been explained where we have a 39 year


low in crime and we perceive the use of firearms dropping dramatically,


why do we need to have officers patrolling the streets armed with an


automatic handgun. And there is the decision-making process and


analysing the need for change. This is a change in policy and the


democratic process should have an input to that decision. From


personal experience, what did you feel about carrying a handgun on the


streets of Glasgow? It was during the time of major threat with the


armed robberies, wages being stolen, so we knew what we were there to do


but it was a complete nightmare to be in a public location whilst


carrying a weapon. In those days it was a Smith and Wesson, not an


automatic weapon as they are now. Kevin Stewart in Aberdeen, we have


heard the argument there. What is the risk assessment here? Gun crime


is falling, we don't have raids on cash vans, so why do we need armed


police on the street? The McDonald's restaurant in Inverness, that was a


famous case. He seems to have changed his tune. In 2006 he was


supportive of round-the-clock armed coverage from his officers, so we


have 2%, 275 out of 17,244 officers who are trained in firearms. There


has been no change since the single force came into being. There has


been no change in policy in terms of what happened previously in


Strathclyde or Tayside and we had this similar situation prior to the


single force. Highland itself changed policy after the inception


of the single force. Let's put that point to you. You've changed your


tune and it's good to have armed officers around the country because


every service is the same to every man, woman and child in Scotland?


Kevin has only got half the story. The officers I spoke about in 2006


were following organised crime figures and we knew not only were


they involving firearms, but were in danger of being murdered themselves.


I had surveillance officers alongside them and we feared they


might be caught in the crossfire. That was the challenge and the


threat and I was happy -- I was happy that was analysed and the


corporate decision was we thought we could get through that without


harming the officers, so if that was the case then, what has changed?


This is called an operational decision, but the fact we are


sitting here discussing it makes it look like a strategic decision. Is


this not one for the Cabinet Secretary to get involved with and


speak to Sir Stephen Harris? The detractors of the single force said


it would lead to political interference by the justice


secretary all of the time. And now we see completely the opposite


whereby the chief constable has made an operational decision on this and


other matters, and the first thing the detractors say is that the


justice secretary should not intervene. There are processes in


place with the Scottish police authority and they look at the


operational matters on a quarterly basis, and of course they report to


the justice secretary. We, as a Parliament, also have the ability to


scrutinise what is going on, but what we do not want to see is that


politicisation that the detractors said they did not want. OK, we are


hearing the reasons why it is operational, but if it is


operational, does it come down cost saving exercise? You have cops on


the beat attending routine, domestic incidents, whereas they have been


sitting in response vehicle and are not attending? Is it cost-cutting? I


don't think it is. I think it was a complete waste of resources having


people sat in vehicles or offices waiting to recall. It is much better


that they ate -- are out and about and keeping Scotland safe, and that


is one the reasons why we have crime at a 30 year low, and long may it


continue as far as I'm concerned. Finally, Graeme Pearson, we hear


from the police it is about preventing the same kind of service


across Scotland and incidents like Derek Birding Cumber -- Bird in


Cumbria. Now we have armed response offices in rural locations. Is that


not a good thing? We always had armed response officers on the


street in vehicles with guns in locked cabinets. It took 60 seconds


to get them out. We now have a photograph in the paper today of an


officer with a automatic pistol in the middle of a supermarket doing


his shopping which is not a Scotland we want in the 21st-century.


Gentlemen, we have to leave it there. Thank you for joining us.


We'll be looking at the Week Ahead in a moment but now it's time


Good morning. It's been described as the biggest spectator weekend


Thousands of people are in the city for Commonwealth Games events today.


The marathon, started from Glasgow Green this morning with


crowds lining the route, our Commonwealth Games reporter Lisa


The city is having to fit in 390,000 extra people in town for the


sporting action in town. Road closures in Glasgow over the


marathon, 40,000 at Ibrox and the same for Hamdan when the athletics


gets underway. -- Hamden Park. There has not been too much disruption so


far, but it could be a different story when everybody had sown. --


heads home. Police are treating the death


of a man in Greenock as suspicious. The emergency services were called


to reports of someone seriously injured in a common close in


Tobago Street just before half past The man was pronounced dead


at the scene. Police Scotland are conducting


extensive enquiries and are keen to speak to anyone who


was in the area at the time or has Now, looking to today's action at


the Commonwealth Games the Scotland pairing of Paul Foster and Alex


Marshall won 16-15 against England Scotland face South Africa


in the quarter finals of the And in the pool, Ross Murdoch and


Hannah Miley are both competing. Team Scotland's matched its


best-ever total of 11 gold medals at the Commonwealth Games after


only three days of competition . That was superb, and he wins the


gold medal. Judo has accounted for six


of those gold medals. After disappointment


at the 2012 Olympics, flag bearer Euan Burton took victory


in the under 100kg final. His wife Gemma Gibbons won


a silver for England. The flag bearer thing was just a


massive honour, and it's only when the tournament starts and you think


you have led the team out and the rest of the team are producing some


results, and you want to make sure you can do the same. I was nervous


all-day, and maybe some of it was not my best, but thank goodness I


got the job done. And now it's time for a look


at your weather. A different feel to the day, feeling


cool of the many of us and we will see a fair bit of cloud this


afternoon and also some heavy showers. Quite a bit of rain across


western and central Scotland at first, and heavy, thundery downpours


over the East Highlands and towards the Borders. They will be slow


moving. If you are caught in one, it could be with you for a time. A


colder feel to the day with temperatures around 18 or 19


Celsius. It will be quite different to the rest of the week so far.


Over the past few weeks we've been hearing from a variety of voters


as we count down towards the referendum.


Last week, Mark Hogarth from Harris Tweed Hebrides explained why


Today we'll hear from Pat Kane, the former lead singer of Hue


and Cry and now a prominent campaigner for a Yes vote.


Some places in Scotland has the past, present and future scrunched


into one. Just there is the canal in the 19th century that took sugar and


grain all the way up to the mills which are now beautiful designer


flats. Right over here is something called the whiskey bond which used


to be a whiskey bond but now is a cartel of creative 's, from


sculptures, to 3-D manufacturers, eco-start-ups. So this place used to


be the hub of the industrial revolution and has now become the


hub of the information revolution. There are creative places like this


all over the developed world, whether it is Barcelona, Berlin,


Prague. You don't need independence to have a creative place, the


independence the me has never been just about having the same as what


everybody else does, it is a visionary thing, how do we do things


different, better and more humanely. Glasgow, and too much of Scotland,


is a place where the rich dominate the poor. Those with skills and


assets live next to those with precious little. With the life


expectancy of the affluent at 20 years more than people living next


door to them. I'm not proud of this Scotland. I'm ashamed of that


Scotland. The reason why artist, creatives and entrepreneurs support


independence is that they know success does not just depend on


talent and ambition. To have a creative society, you have do have a


solid base, and that means secure housing, health and food and


lifelong education. It means beautiful and welcoming public


spaces and using the resources of the diverse enterprises. Progress


does not depend on supercool smart elite pulling away from a struggling


majority. The most creative act I can imagine is a yes vote, a


thunderclap that brings about a fair, prosperous and dynamic


country. Let's get started. Pat Kane there, and next week we'll


have our fourth guest to explain why Now time for a look at the


Week Ahead. I'm joined by the


Chief Scottish Political Correspondent of The Herald,


Robbie Dinwoodie, and from The Times we have Lindsay McIntosh, she's


their Scottish Political Editor. Welcome to you both and thanks for


coming in. Let's start with a story bubbling up in the Sunday Times.


Strip rusher of the World Cup says Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime


Minister -- strip rusher. He's saying this is a good way to punish


Russia for what has been happening after the downing of the Malaysian


Airlines jet. What is your take on this? There have been a history of


body kit -- boycotts which have had good or bad impacts. Most people


will accept that boycotting events in South Africa did help to bring


change their but you can ruin a World Cup or an Olympic Games and


things go back to normal pretty quickly. I don't think there is a


hard and fast rule that means using the threat of a boycott is a wake of


enforcing the change you want to see. A heady mixture of sport and


politics. How effective do you think that threat would be to Russia, that


if the World Cup was withdrawn from them? Nick Clegg suggesting England


would be a good place to hold it. I think it's definitely something we


should talk about, the idea of stripping them from the World Cup.


If we're talking about sanctions, and once we are starting to impose,


it seems slightly ridiculous that we are talking about giving them this


major sporting event which will bring a massive economic boost and


global profile to Russia at a time when international events are as


they are. The idea of them giving it to England is possibly getting a


little bit to political, in terms of that, but certainly we should be


talking about whether Russia should be hosting it. Nick Clegg is going


further than David Cameron, but how realistic is the prospect? I imagine


it would be difficult to get past. I don't think England are favourites


of FIFA. FIFA will go their own way. I don't expect this to work.


Would it just be for this particular incident over Ukraine? Would it be


to do with gay rights? I suspect this one is not a gala. Staying on


board -- sport and politics, we have the comment by Ian Bell that if


sporting success influenced politics then the football team would have


killed nationalism stone dead by now. We have got Glasgow shining in


these past few days. Any impact from this on the referendum? I think some


sensible points made in that column. We are growing up, we are going to


vote and make decisions based on the head and the heart but not


necessarily influenced by the Commonwealth Games. I think both


sides could feel free to spin the Commonwealth Games and Scotland's


success in them as proof of either vote being right. But I think that


when it comes down to it, we're going to have a great Commonwealth


Games, a great summer, we're going to enjoy it and then start thinking


about the referendum and the serious arguments. Any influence on the


referendum or is it more part of Scotland showing off itself rather


than influencing people? I was in the velodrome yesterday and saw


Scotland winning that gold. The atmosphere was fantastic. If there


is some way of holding the referendum ten minutes after that it


might influence the result. I don't think people will vote the way


sporting events go. I do think that if the entire Commonwealth Games had


turned into some kind of massive shambles, if the organisation had


been badly run, if the Scottish team had flopped, if the early outbreak


of food poisoning had run riot or something like that, it might have


had a negative effect it going very well I doubt we'll make a massive


difference to the polls. Alex Salmond was speaking about not


speaking about the referendum campaign. Is it right that we're


holding the referendum campaign for a couple of weeks? I think the


public would quite like to see it halted for a couple of weeks and I


think both campaigns would agree with that. I think there is a sense


that they don't want to deploy too many resources. The Scottish public


is much more interested in sports and those arguments aren't going to


be remembered and then we get to the end of the Commonwealth Games,


everyone throws the kitchen sink at it. Not the right time for politics?


Alistair Darling made quite a strong speech yesterday. I don't think this


campaign is stopping. I think doorsteps are being knocked as we


speak. But the truth is that getting political space in the press at a


time with this media is low. Talks begin on devolution for the whole of


the UK, according to Scotland on Sunday. The impression that we get


from the Conservatives is that if there is a no vote, if there is to


be more derision, it will be looked at almost from a London basis,


perhaps looking at the whole of the UK. Well, if you believe that... I'm


not convinced. I think that's the argument. I think they want to say


all these parties have signed up but I think things will go very quiet


after September the 18th in the event of a no vote and the reason


for that is a simple - England aren't really interested. They've


said they want a super city across the North of England. I'm sure the


North of England does feel there are problems with its relationship with


the metropolis but they don't really have a hunger for political


institutions to match that. What do you make of that, particularly if


people feel this is evolution going to be looked at on a pan UK bases?


Maybe Scotland doesn't seem to have any kind of special standing. I


disagree. I think things will happen after September 18 if there is a no


vote. I think the no parties in Scotland have played a good hand in


terms of signing a joint agreement to say that something will happen in


terms of more devolution after September the 18th and the thing


that has shot down, to an extent, the argument that the yes campaign


are making that there will be no change after September the 18th. At


the Westminster has seen various hunger for more devolution and for


different constitutional settlements and that they are going to have to


take that on board in the event of a no vote. Likewise, the North of


England and the other UK nations will push for a settlement. We have


to leave it there. We are running out of time. Thank you both very


much for joining me. That's all we have time for this


week. We're back at the same time next week. From all of us on the


Sunday Politics Scotland, thanks for being with us and do enjoy the rest


of your Sunday afternoon. Bye-bye for now.


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