Apparently there are some that disagree with my view of Pauline McNeill. One of those on the list of the carefully and scientifically chosen list of top 20 Scottish blogs (published on the Iain Dale website today and chosen by a Mr tartan hero) is Kezia Dugdale. She wrote yesterday,
“Pauline McNeill has achieved some fantastic things in her career so far in the Scottish Parliament, she showed first class leadership during the Shirley McKie case, she led moves to have the law on rape amended so that conviction didn’t depend on the use of violence and she’s done some incredible work around internet grooming, court reform, stalking and harassment – showing both real vision and values.”
Let us consider this statement from Ms McNeill’s former researcher. Apparently, Ms McNeill showed first class leadership during the Shirley McKie case. Well, in that regard perhaps a look at the comprehensive set of postings by Alastair which indicates the truth of the matter, with special reference to the leadership given by Ms McNeill in limiting the scope of the parliamentary enquiry or the leadership she gave barracking Mike Russell when he raised Ms McKie’s case during his earlier stint in Parliament.
I am prepared to concede Ms McNeill’s work on the latter topics (she was reporter to the Roseanna Cunningham chaired Justice committee on the subject of stalking in the first session of the Parliament) but I think the comments on a redefinition of rape, suggesting that this stemmed from leadership from Ms McNeill are (at best) disingenuous (given that a restatement by the High Court of the Justiciary followed a court case universally criticised by all branches of the legal community). And to suggest she took the lead on court reform in a project initiated by the Executive following reports from senior judges goes too far. This is tantamount to giving each MSP the credit for legislation they don’t understand that goes through on their watch. If we believe that then Scott Barrie (the man who asked the Executive to congratulate Dunfermline for winning It’s a Knockout) can claim responsibility for the abolition of the feudal system.
And as for other topics not referred to by Ms Dugdale, well the questioning of Jeremy Rowan Robinson in this session on the Land Reform Act (in tandem with Stewart “Beaker” Stevenson – friend of this LJ), the bizarre amendment to preserve the feudal rights of the Crown she moved in the debates on the Abolition of feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Act, and others indicate various limitations in ability.
I’ve followed Ms McNeill’s work on various topics in my sphere of interest. I remain unimpressed. And for me – and other viewers of the 2007 election coverage – she’ll be best remember for her “I have a scream” acceptance speech.