At Thompsons we like to think of ourselves as being nice people but tough lawyers. Earlier this week however I sat through a meeting which would have tested even the toughest of lawyers’ ability not to show their more sensitive side.
The meeting in question involved the bereaved parents who have been embroiled in the shocking baby ash scandal as they took their fight for a public inquiry to the Scottish Parliament. The parents requested a meeting with members of the Parliament’s Health Committee and very bravely told their stories in a bid to secure a commitment from the Government to instigate a public inquiry to help them find out the truth about their precious babies’ ashes.
It was quite simply heartbreaking to be a part of. Not only were the stories themselves heart wrenching, but watching the obvious pain and anguish it took for the parents to share such private details and emotions to illustrate how desperate they are for someone to help them get the truth they so badly need was quite staggering.
As a nice person I struggled to retain my composure watching this obvious display of emotion and at times desperation. But behind the tears and the sadness is a burning passion and steely determination from these parents to ensure no stone is left unturned so they can finally put to rest their demons and mourn their lost babies properly.
As a tough lawyer, I’d be far more cynical as to the success of the meeting. Without getting too party political, the meeting chaired by Labour member Kezia Dugdale MSP consisted almost entirely of Labour politicians. Once the official part of the meeting was over the Health Minister Alex Neil and Conservative leader Ruth Davidson did make a brief appearance. Whether it was the desire to meet the parents and hear their stories or the sizeable press pack in attendance which lured them in is anyone’s guess but I suspect they may have a few splinters up their backsides to say the least!
The case for a public inquiry is utterly unanswerable as far as I’m concerned and the Scottish Government would be wise to act swiftly if it wants to avoid a backlash in the future. These parents are asking for one thing and one thing only, to know what happened to their baby’s ashes. Do we really live in a society where this information should be denied to anyone?