“10 sides to every story”

Had a helpful conversation this morning with the Governor of HMP Barlinnie Derek McGill OBE about Tim.
Mr McGill spoke to me ‘off the record’ but with no injunction against relaying the main gist of what he said and I straightaway told him that according to the letter I’d received from the Deputy Governor Mr Macdonald I was aware that in order for me, a 3rd party to be able to discuss matters pertaining to Mr Rustige’s release I needed to obtain Mr Rustige’s own permission. Well, I didn’t yet have that in very specific terms but broadly, Mr Rustige in several letters to me had requested any help we could give to get him released, for reasons of ill-health. I explained that, having only just recently gone through a period of great anxiety about my colleague Robert Green being locked up in HMP Perth with heart issues and high blood pressure I didn’t wish to repeat this experience. I also explained that as a public campaigner I feel a responsibility to all involved in the public situation including the officials and authorities so that a proper balance can be struck between what may appear as a very negative scenario indeed with a lot of rumours flying about on the internet and what are the actual facts on the ground. Which is why I wished to speak to Mr McGill or his deputy. So far we’d only heard Mr Rustige’s account of things but I had to say that on the face of it, this scenario of an elderly ‘prisoner of conscience’ in poor health suffering it would appear a prolonged term of incarceration through no fault of his own (ie. due to the riot at Peterhead), compounded by the anxiety being suffered by his wife and family gives much cause for concern, especially as the underlying issue/reason for his imprisonment is the protection of children. We needed to hear what the issues really are from the prison’s point of view in this situation and why Mr Rustige is not being released from Barlinnie when he surely would have been by now had he remained in Peterhead?
Mr McGill straightaway was not having any of the ‘prisoner of conscience’ bit – as far as he was concerned the court had found Mr Rustige guilty of the offence for which he was now in prison and he could well believe that the court was correct as both he himself and HMP Barlinnie generally had come under attack from or via Mr Rustige’s pen since he’s been in there. I said that the original case against Mr Rustige was not by any means proven as it had all happened in cyber-space and there are all kinds of people out there making mischief online against those who support this campaign so it is entirely possible that many of the offending emails might have originated from or been replicated by them. At the same time I did take his point, Mr Rustige is well-known for resorting to strong language which personally is not my style. But again, the gravity of the underlying issue surely outweighs the manner in which anyone communicates.
Avoiding being drawn into any discussion of this ‘underlying issue’ Mr McGill went on to outline his position as prison governor.  He’d worked in the prison-service 20 years and had experience of all kinds of prisoners and situations and nothing was ever clear-cut, there were always “10 sides to every story,” with which I agreed. And bearing in mind that this was a prison with 1400 inmates all with complex issues everyone at Barlinnie did their best to look after them, in fact Barlinnie was not by any means as bad a prison as had been depicted by this campaign. He himself had personally checked on Mr Rustige’s health only this week and had enjoyed chatting with him – he was a pleasant person to meet who’d had a most interesting life by the sounds of things. And he appeared to be in good health, his blood pressure was normal and he looked “fresh-faced” and much younger than his 65 years. He didn’t have to stay locked up in his cell, he could use the library and there were a number of activities every day in which he could participate if he wished. He kept fit by doing exercises in his cell. So really from the prison’s point of view there was little concern about Mr Rustige’s health.
I said yes, I’d heard yesterday from his PA Jane when I’d phoned to try to speak to Mr Macdonald the deputy governor that he was away visiting a prisoner in hospital which sounded a caring thing to be doing. In that case why was there no clemency towards Mr Rustige?
Mr McGill at last came out with the real reason. It is thought that Mr Rustige as soon as released and back to his blogging might re-offend and this is was why he might be required to serve the full term till 11th August and even then there would have to be a ‘review’ (? not sure I quite caught that crucial bit but that’s what I believe he said). Also to qualify for ‘home detention’ his home needed to be checked and so far attempts to contact Mrs Rustige for that purpose had failed. I said she’d told me she was working extra hard to keep her mind off things, she works in a hospital. She wouldn’t be allowed to work longer than the prescribed hours in that job, said Mr McGill. Well then maybe she feels insecure being at home without her husband and is staying with her sons?
So that’s it folks – certain parties don’t want to run any risks with Rusty and we can well imagine who those parties are. And could the same parties once again be busy fanning the flames by sending out hate-mail purporting to come from us to Barlinnie prison and the Scottish Prison Service?
At this stage I rule nothing out – while Mr McGill this morning came across as a very nice man and I was genuinely grateful to him for taking the trouble to phone me and clarify the situation, once again as many times before over the past few years I sensed the steely resolve of the Scottish establishment to keep us meddling sassenachs out of their affairs, by fair means or by foul if necessary. There is little doubt by now that we’re dealing with a regime right here within our own islands which is at this very moment making a big public show of how it absolutely does not want to be British and is hell-bent on closing itself off from the rest of us. Judging by the way this regime already behaves it’ll be like living next to North Korea!
With a bit of luck though the Scots people will have come to their senses long before September 18th in fact they apparently already have and in that regard I can’t resist sharing a bit of information concerning a person in the Glasgow area who I’m told went into a betting shop a few days ago to try to place a bet on the ‘No’ vote and was told bets were off as “Salmond is involved in some kind of scandal” – after all, bookies are just out to make money, who wants to lose money!
Now I have no means of verifying this very juicy tidbit of information as it’s second-hand and no names given, nor of the particular betting-shop which has stopped taking ‘No’ bets so I just have to throw that out and hope for corroboration!

2 thoughts on ““10 sides to every story”

  1. Re what the Governor said about ‘review’: I had been wondering if they might say Rusty had been stirring things up by encouraging us to write letters, and say he had not qualified for release after four-and-a-half months for good behaviour. What to do now? On UK Column News today they pointed out that Levy & Macrae/Peter Watson represent the Scottish Prison Service, as well as Angiolini et al.
    Has everyoe written to their MP asking for support for the over-arching inquiry into child abuse and the failure of the police to investigate properly ? Ninety-one MPs signed up now, that’s close on one-seventh of the total 650.

Original Article at Free Robert Green

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *