On Thursday the 8th of June the United Kingdom will once again open up its polling stations. It may have been only two weeks since the local council elections, and two years since the last General Election, but in those two years something fairly significant happened. It was called the EU Referendum and the result was a Tory contrived disaster which led these Islands out of the European Union. Having made this mess the typically opportunist Conservatives are now looking to get a moral and practical mandate to clean up an unholy mess they themselves created. To that end a snap election was called. The Tories clearly hope to seize on apparent Labour weakness to build a bigger majority.
However, I’m not going to get into too much, if any, detail today. All I wanted to do was kick off my General Election pieces with an introduction to the candidate I will be voting for, Mairi McAllan. At the moment I live in a constituency which has the only Conservative MP in Scotland. His name is David Mundell, and not surprisingly being the only representative of the UK Govt in Scotland he is our Secretary of State. His majority is only a few hundred but you can expect a heavily funded Tory effort to keep him in his seat.
Now, as much as at any other time in recent history, there needs to be tough, unflinching opposition to the Tories. That is something only the SNP seem capable of doing. If elected I’m sure Mairi will carry that fight as much as anyone else on the opposition benches.
So far most of my blog pieces have been little windows into in my life. Tales about the things that affect my day to day journey through my time on earth. Yes, that’s what most of them will be. However, I reserve the right to be blunt, precise and above all else at least semi topical from time to time. Well over here in Europe the story you can’t help but pay attention to and have thoughts on is the death of Reeva Steenkamp. Known to most of the world’s press as “the girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius”, Reeva was killed in a shooting at the home of the famous paralympic athlete in the early hours of February the 14th, Valentines Day. When this story broke there was a general feeling of disbelief at what had occurred. Watching and listening to the ongoing bail hearing that feeling of shock, dismay and incredulity remains.
At the moment there are only two facts which appear to be indisputable. One. Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead at the age of 29 on the morning of February 14th in the bathroom of the home of Oscar Pistorius. Two. The person who shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp was Oscar Pistorius. At the moment in Pretoria the bail application is being heard. This has so far lasted a couple of days and has seen Oscar Pistorius making a statement as well as the leading investigating officer being questioned and cross examined. So far Pistorius himself has not been questioned by the prosecution. To be honest I didn’t appreciate bail hearings went into this much detail. It seems they do. For those who aren’t perhaps aware of what has happened on that fateful morning a summary is as follows:
Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp were in bed
Pistorius woke in the night to shut a sliding door
While up Oscar claims to have heard a noise in the bathroom which he believed to be an intruder
He returned to the bed and retrieved a gun
He went to the bathroom and shot four times through the door
Oscar then says he returned to the bedroom to ask Reeva to call the police
Reeva Steenkamp wasn’t in bed. She was lying in the bathroom with four bullet wounds.
Reeva died shortly afterwards.
Thanks to the wonder of Twitter I and 130,000 others are following the postings of Barry Bateman, a journalist from Pretoria. Somehow this chap is following the bail hearing and tweeting at the same time yet he hasn’t missed a beat. Gripping reading for those who are interested. Today’s latest events saw it revealed that the leading police officer is himself under suspicion of attempted murder. Not surprisingly he has been swiftly replaced. Elsewhere both sides have continued to argue for and against Pistorius being released on bail. Not going to get into the legal arguments. All I can say is that due to the case currently being viewed as premeditated murder the defence have to come up with exceptional circumstances to get their man out on bail. Time will tell if they can do that. Whatever happens with bail the trial will follow later in the year.
Really just want to finish where I started this blog in my head. I have no idea whether the tale told by Oscar and his defence is true. It’s almost too ridiculous to be anything other than true. Like most people trying to piece together the facts you just can’t begin to comprehend how this could possibly have happened. Even writing this piece I am still almost lost for words at such a stupid and senseless loss of a young life. The last words I do have are for the victim. Rest in peace Reeva Steenkamp.