Holyrood apology needs extending to unfairly convicted striking Scottish miners
Scotland’s First Minister has been applauded by all of Scotland’s politicians for the public apology she gave in Holyrood to gay men unjustly convicted under previous laws.
Nicola Sturgeon’s statement coincided with the publication of a bill that, if passed, will automatically pardon gay and bisexual men convicted under historical laws and which will remove such convictions from criminal records.
In the same spirit of righting the wrongs of the past perhaps our First Minister can turn her attention to the campaign against the unjust convictions of Scottish miners during the year-long strike from March 1984. In Scotland there were a disproportionately greater number of convictions and the Scottish Government have previously been asked to establish the truth about whether the arrests, convictions and sackings were legitimate or whether they were miscarriages of justice that stain the record of innocent people to this day.
It should not be forgotten that Scotland’s legal establishment declared the miners dispute legal at the Court of Session, yet that didn’t prevent Scottish police forces arresting miners on picket lines and elsewhere on their whim or for Scottish judges issuing fines 10 times greater than the average at that time for breach of the peace offences.
I can understand the Tories in Westminster wanting to deny the miners and their families a fair hearing, but the SNP in Holyrood should not also turn their backs on the men and women who were rightly known as ‘the salt of the earth’.
Nicola Sturgeon regularly claims that the SNP ‘stand up for Scotland’.
Now she and her government have an opportunity to stand up for the injustices done to the working class men and women who were simply trying to defend their jobs.
As we have seen this week, the passing of time is no impediment or excuse for Scotland’s politicians doing nothing to address past injustices and it is time Scottish miners and their families get the justice they deserve.
BRIAN WEDDELL Dolphinghstone View,
Prestonpans It was well done and well said by the Scottish Government to apologise to gay men who were convicted of historical ‘offences’ which are no longer illegal.
The ambiguous notion of a ‘pardon’ was well handled and there was commendable cross party support.
That homosexuality was decriminalised in Scotland almost 20 years after England is a shame which owes much to the persistent bigotry of the church.
Those minority religious groups who cry ‘religious freedom’ as their defence for continued campaigning against LGBTI equality are increasingly on the wrong side of history.
NEIL BARBER Edinburgh Secular Society,
Saughtonhall Drive Nicola Sturgeon is to be applauded for apologising on behalf of the Scottish administration to gay men convicted of now abolished sex offences.
Is it also now time for the nationalist leader to admit the SNP and the independence movement she heads, was wrong to have been bankrolled in the past by Brian Souter?
Sir Brian funded a high profile campaign to keep the Section 28 (or Section 2A in Scotland), which many consider have been anti-gay legislation.
This further apology may help stave off accusations that Ms Sturgeon is displaying double standards.
MARTIN REDFERN Woodcroft Road , Edinburgh