Questions for Jack McConnell, Scotland’s former First Minister?

Slugger will be at the first public organised by the first Evolve seminar tomorrow at the Ulster Hall in Belfast… Jack McConnell will be giving his view of what devolution has delivered and is continuing to deliver for Scotland. And he has kindly accepted our request to answer questions from Slugger readers (we’d especiallylike to hear from those of you in Scotland!)… So let us have them in the comment zone below…


  • Dewi

    Should the Calman proposals be approved by referendum?

  • Will a strong devolved Scotland be an effective opposition to a Home Counties Tory Government in London?

    Is regionalism and nationalism now establsihed as a political reality on these islands?

  • Alex

    What is the capital of France?

  • Dave

    How can the Scottish Labour Party oppose the release of the Lockerbie bomber when the Labour Party (including the scottih PM) did every contortion possible to try and gain his release?

  • Thereyouarenow

    Secretly would you really really like to be Prime Minister of an independent country.

  • DougtheDug

    The UK polls all point to a Conservative win in the UK General Election next year.

    The question is:

    Will Jack McConnell actively campaign against a referendum on Scottish independence or against a yes vote in a Scottish independence referendum in order to ensure that Scotland is ruled by the Conservatives for the the next decade or decades?

  • Newsnet Scotland

    Reaction from around the world suggests that, far from shaming Scotland, our Justice Secretary’s decision has elicited far more supportive reaction than negative.

    Indeed, it could be argued that the now not so secret deals negotiated between the Libyan’s and the UK Labour Government as part of the separate Prisoner Transfer Agreement have done more international harm than releasing Megrahi on compassionate grounds did.

    How does Jack McConnell respond to these statements?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Reaction from around the world suggests that, far from shaming Scotland, our Justice Secretary’s decision has elicited far more supportive reaction than negative.

    Huh ?

  • DougtheDug

    Jack McConnell said about the Al-Megrahi case:

    “The events of the last few days have damaged Scotland. They have damaged the reputation of our justice system at home and abroad, and they have damaged the reputation of our country internationally.”

    Could he enumerate the opinion polls, diplomatic messages and countries that he used to back up this comment, not including the United States?

  • DougtheDug

    The UK is made up of four constituent parts, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and three of those have Parliaments or Assemblies, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

    Does Jack McConnell believe that there should be an English Parliament along with the other three and if not, why England should have a different constitutional status within the UK?

  • Phil Anthropponent

    English MPs have for many, many years made exremely serious descisions affecting Scots and Scotland – example, locating Trident in the heart of it. Do you think that Scottish MPs are not capable of making equally sensible descisions for England?

  • Brian Walker

    Jack: Six questions:

    1. While a majority of Holyrood as a whole oppose a referendum to negotiate independence, what are your objections to the wording of the question in the Annex to the SNP government’s National Conversation document and what would you put in its place?

    2. Would you consider a dual or multi-option referendum, such as more tax-raising powers for Holyrood as well as approval to negotiate independence with Westminster? (But only voting for one!)

    3. What is yout answer to the point that if you deny the Scotthsh people a direct say in a referendum on something, the SNP will appear more democratic and the cause of independence will benefit?

    4. Should Labour insist on two referendums or none: the first to negotiate terms with Westminster as the SNP are offering; and a second to approve or reject those terms, which may be very different from what the SNP would want?

    5. Can you explain how Scottish Labour differs from the Calman report? Would you devolve further and if so how and why?

    6. If the SNP replace Labour as Scotland’s largest party after the forthcoming general election, how can you argue that they don’t have a mandate for independence?

  • noel adams

    What would the people of Scotland think if the leading party almost never took its place on the EU council of the regions as happens here.

  • Clarinda

    1. What are the current and future financial, moral or political benefits enjoyed by Westminster that would be lost to Westminster when Scotland gains Independence?

    1a. If there are no benefits to be lost, why does Westminster insist on retaining ‘reserved'(non devolved) jurisdiction preventing Scotland from acquiring responsibility for tax-raising and spending.

    2. Did Labour mis-calculate their intended comfort blanket effect of devolution, to act as a sop to Independence, and now realise too late that devolution has acted as a “starter for ten” propelling Scotland towards full Independence?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    1)Does Jack agrees with Gordon Brown that it would have been wrong for al Megrahi to die in jail? And considering the US track record on humanitarianism is he of the opinion that the US is representative of world opinion over the matter?

    2)Does he fear that the people will actually vote for what they want at an independence referendum, rather than what Scottish Labours masters in Westminster want?

  • Annabelle

    1) Where is Malawi?
    2) Is that dot in the distance your rapidly-receding knighthood?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Does he agree that Malcolm Chisolm has taken a principled stance against the party poloticking that others have involved themselves in over the Megrahi issue?

  • Patrick

    Why have you not yet resigned your Motherwell seat to take up a new cushy position as British Govt envoy to Malawi?

    When (after 2 years plus) will your seat be safe from the SNP that you will be able to stand down and finally show some respect to the people of Scotland and Malawi?

  • BTW

    Hit the road Jack.

  • Marion

    Mr McConnell, in the run up to the Scottish election, you described the centre of Wishaw (your own constituency)as “a pigsty”. After your years representing the area, are you not ashamed that your own and the Labour Council’s neglect led to you being able to say such a damning thing about a place you are responsible for and supposed to really care about?

  • duncan

    Jack has previously claimed that Scotland is the best (small) country in the world. Could he tell us what the best medium and large countries are?

  • Malc the meerkat

    Do you have fond memories of “pin-striped” week in New York where as a hip and happening Glaswegian you cocked a snoot at plaid, check and all that sort of kailyard nonsense and chose a man-skirt which showed the world that a Scot at ease with his Britishness doesn’t take fashion lessons from anybody ?

  • William

    As one who allegedly opposed sectarianism, what what suggestions do you have to rid Scottish Labour of their Catholics only policies in many local councils within Scotland, e.g. Monklands?

  • Patrick

    Quote from described event,

    “Jack will share his views on Scotland’s approach to devolution, how his administration improved the public’s view of devolved institutions and how economic and social policy improved Scotland’s well-being nationally and its economic performance internationally”

    How will Jack ‘share his views’ on such ‘improvement’ when Scotland was so impressed with what his administration achieved economically, socially and constitutionally that it voted against Labour for the first time in 50 years, and for a party favouring independence for the first time ever?

  • Prionsa Eoghann


    What a sad and silly accusation, for Scottish Catholics Labour was once the party of parity, a party that stood up for them hence why in some areas they are over represented. Pity that Labour have lost their way.

    On sectarianism, was it Jack’s experience regarding the treatment of Helen Liddel and his wife Bridget that that led him to speak out against the anti-Catholicism that still permeates part of Scottish society?

  • ATK

    Why are Catholic schools in Scotland allowed to discriminate (on grounds of religion) in their promotion of teaching staff, yet non-Catholic state schools are not allowed to discriminate on such a basis?

  • Patrick

    Why do you and the Labour Party sully the Scottish Claim of Right:

    “We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.”

    Now that you have achieved mere devolution, what you wanted?

    Why do you feel able to determine the form of the Government best suited to the people of Scotland’s needs, without their consent?

  • English Republic

    Do you agree that the principles of the Scottish Claim of Right should also be applied to England so that we too can choose the form of government best suited to our needs?

  • David B. Wildgoose

    Do you agree that if the people of Scotland are given a vote on whether the Union should continue that an equivalent vote should also be held in ALL the nations comprising the UK?

  • David B. Wildgoose

    If you believe that the Union is founded upon the consent of the peoples it comprises do you acknowledge that refusing to confirm that consent via referenda throughout the whole of the UK can only undermine this assertion?

  • Phil Anthropponent

    Why is it, do you think, that there is a muslim section that apparently wants to attack and terrorise “the west”, Britian and the USA in particular?

  • Prionsa Eoghann

    Is there going to be a new thread telling us how well wee Jack evaded answering our questions?

  • Brian MacAodh

    WOuld you release Osama Bin Laden on compassionate grounds?

  • Anon

    #8 No, but I would release an innocent many, wrongly convicted dying in a Scottish jail.

  • Would you concede, based on recent research, that haggis is in fact a Sassanach delicacy and not a Scottish one?