Monday, February 21, 2011

The pressure mounts on Bill Aitken

This time last week I was a bit worried that I seemed to be the only voice in the Scottish blogosphere writing about Bill Aitken's appalling comments about a series of horrific rapes in Glasgow. Thankfully that's not the case as Jeff at Better Nation, the Burd,  Bella Caledonia and Lallands Peat Worrier have also called for him to go. There is even a Facebook group calling for his resignation.

Aitken's comments were truly repulsive and certainly not appropriate for the convener of a respected parliamentary Justice Committee. The only person responsible for rape is the rapist, and comments from a senior politician blaming the victim could act as an even greater deterrent to women to report this crime.

I am perplexed as to why the media haven't been more vocal about it, though. Aitken's comments were in my view even worse than those made by Richard Keys and Andy Gray on Sky Sports and we all remember the furore about that - although that may have been more about getting one over on Murdoch than any concern for the issue.

A stooshie on the internet is one thing, but I'm pleased to note that Green MSP Patrick Harvie has actually taken action within the Parliament by tabling a motion calling on Bill Aitken to resign. I am assuming that this is one of these EDM-like motions which won't actually be debated but which MSPs sign up to. I'm hoping that this will attract enough cross party support for him to realise that he doesn't command the support of the Parliament and to go quickly. I am shocked that Annabel Goldie is allowing him to stay in position. She presumably has given him a telling off and she certainly said all the right things, but it does her no good to keep him in office.

I said last week that I might be prepared to forgive and forget if he really made a genuine effort to understand the issues. Last week was the time for him to do that. It's too late now.

The text of Patrick Harvie's motion is 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.
Can I suggest that everyone brings this to their MSPs' attention and asks them to support it in whatever way they can?

1 comment:

cynicalHighlander said...

He has just resigned.


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