Not if but when

Monday 5th July 2010


This won’t go away.

That was my pledge to the scores of campaigners who made it through to Edinburgh to watch the Damian’s Law amendment being debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Although we lost the vote by the tightest of margins, there is no doubt that we won the popular argument.

Those campaigners truly believed they could achieve political change from the ground up and my message to them would echo Barack Obama’s famous slogan – yes we can.

After all, this started with one ordinary man dealing with the tragic and senseless loss of his son by starting a petition for tough action on crime.

John Muir’s petition had people queuing up in the streets to sign up and it led to a summit in the Scottish Parliament, found the backing of the justice committee and came to a vote in the chamber this week.

Only two votes prevented us from achieving an extraordinary result.

It is an amazing story but one which is far from finished and the fight continues.

The Scottish Government in Edinburgh this week prevented us from taking action that would make our communities safer.

In fact, they didn’t even attempt to meet us halfway and by the end of the day they had actually made the situation worse by abolishing short prison terms in favour of community service.

This will not inspire confidence among people who have genuine fears that the perceived rights of a criminal minority are more important than those of the innocent majority.

John Muir has given a voice to those communities across Scotland and I am confident people power will win the day.