"I deeply regret allowing myself to be misrepresented by resorting to crude linguistic constructions to express my opinion on this case, and lament that there are people in our media who will, without conscience, maliciously employ the definitions and general sense of the so-called "words" which I used, viciously to distort my real unexpressed position. The dogs." ~ Bill Aitken, condensed.
Blame it on my legal education, but I've little patience with unsubstantiated allegations of distortion and misrepresentation. It strikes me that if one had a good argument that a statement had been decontextualised so as to rob it of its intended meaning - for example, by omitting a particularly odd question which solicited it, or qualifying introductory or surrounding phrases - one should be able clearly to identify the relevant passages, and the sleekit trimming. Perception categorically isn't all. Bill Aitken disagrees and determined to resign his convenorship of Holyrood Justice Committee yesterday afternoon with as little grace as possible. Aitken pulled a "poor me" pachyderm farewell, arguing that he had been stitched up by the meeja. In his statement, he suggested that:
“... by asking a journalist by way of background during his inquiry to me, about the circumstances of a particular case I left myself open to misrepresentation. That is my fault and that is why I immediately issued a full and unreserved apology for any misunderstanding or distress it caused.
“Unfortunately, the newspaper chose not to publish my full statement. It also decided not to publish any quotes from my second telephone call from the journalist during which I made my position clear. I leave it to others to comment on these facts and the reporting of a background conversation.
“But, however unfairly, an impression has been created that I hold certain views about rape...”
Certainly, the Sunday Herald didn't quote the whole transcript, but if we assume the document acquired and published by the New Statesman last week was accurate - which I note Aitken artificially ignores and does not dispute - their selectivity hardly exculpates the Everlasting Baillie. The impression left by his remarks, contextualised in a casual conversation, is arguably much more damning than than floating text of the original Herald article. Aitken clearly feels that to pose a question signifies nothing. It is simply a solicitation for information. Since he cannot recognise the views being imputed to himself, he concludes that he has been a victim of distortion. Clearly, the significance of his immediate, unilateral scepticism about and emphasis upon complainer is entirely lost on him.