I was privileged to attend the Edinburgh Lecture on Friday by His Holiness the Dalia Lama. It was an amazing occasion and it was great to see and hear such a great man speaking.
I was so pleased to see so many people there in a full Usher Hall. I was particularly pleased to see our new Lord Provost welcome him.
His civic leadership was in stark contrast to the lack of it shown by our First Minister who would not meet with a man who, in most peoples eyes, is the most saintly on the planet.
I cannot understand why meeting him was such a problem. I do know that Chinese diplomats had been visiting each of the Scottish cities that His Holiness was visiting and in Inverness at least some pressure had been put on the Provost there not to attend. That Provost rebuffed those pleas. In Dundee their Nationalist Lord Provost pulled out at a couple of days notice. Whether that was in response to Chinese pressure I shall leave you to make up your own minds.
Questions have been put down at our Council meeting on Thursday on this issue i.e what pressure was brought if at all, and resisted, by our council.
I would say that I find our First Minister's position astonishing. He wants us to be independent but not Tibet. If he has caved in to pressure from China re inward investment , pandas etc etc, then will he not do just that on other issues such as other human rights violations if we have a seat at the UN?
I cannot understand why he will meet with Rupert Murdoch but not with the Dalia Lama. He can't hide behind the international upset it may cause or claim that other political leaders won't meet - both Nick Clegg and David Cameron met with him in May.
I do fear that the foreign policy of an Independent Scotland would not be about promoting and protecting human rights but the rights and interests of the biggest payers. Salmonds stance did not do any favours for Scotlands reputation.