20 February 2011

Aitken indicted in Holyrood...

Oh crumbs, chief. The Sunday Herald reports this morning that Glasgow Green MSP, Patrick Harvie, will be tabling a motion when Holyrood reconvenes tomorrow, calling for Bill Aitken to resign as convenor of the parliament's Justice Committee. Harvie's draft text reads as follows:

Unacceptable comments by the Convenor of Justice Committee -

That the Parliament condemns the attitude shown by Bill Aitken MSP on the subject of rape during a recent interview with the Sunday Herald newspaper; considers that Mr Aitken’s comments during this interview betray a disregard for the seriousness of rape, and imply support for the view that a victim can be held responsible for this most vicious crime; believes that this view, though disturbingly widespread, is rooted in misogyny and ignorance; considers these comments to be incompatible with the role of Justice Committee Convenor; believes that the Parliament’s credibility to deal proactively with issues of sexual violence would be undermined if the proximity of dissolution resulted in failure to hold Mr Aitken to account for these odious and shocking comments; and calls for Mr Aitken’s immediate resignation.

I blogged about Aitken's appalling remarks about the Glasgow City Centre serious sexual assault earlier in the week, echoing calls made by others for Baillie Bill to step down.  In the alternative, if he would not relinquish the chair, I argued that his fellow parliamentarians should be called upon to pry the committee convenorship from him. My guess is that this development leaves the Tory Penfold impressionist thoroughly unstuck.  Aitken's ousting is richly merited. On the off chance that anyone has not read Aitken's immediate response to the gang rape when interviewed by a Sunday Herald journalist, the transcript of the impugned conversation can be read at the New Statesman. That being forced from the office would result in an ignominious end to his parliamentary career should not dissuade our MSPs from being active in its prosecution. The comments were grossly unacceptable and it would be an extraordinary situation if the imminent end of the parliamentary term and Aitken's departure from Holyrood was taken to justify inaction against him. Helpfully, the Herald doesn't appear to be carrying the relevant article online.  Being furth of Scotland myself and insufficiently keen to maintain a subscription, no paper copy of the Sunday Herald was to hand. Owing to the kindly intercession of Green presser and Better Nation blogger James Mackenzie, however, a snapshot of the article can be read below.

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