The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords

America reacts.

Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives from Arizona, was shot and critically wounded yesterday in an attack in Tucson that left six others dead and 12 injured. The gunman, a 22-year-old man named Jared Lee Loughner, has been been arrested.

President Obama described Giffords as "an extraordinary public servant".

Michael Tomasky, who writes about American politics for the Guardian, issued what he called a "bs alert" last night. He reminded readers that Giffords's office windows had been broken in the summer of 2009, when the debate over Obama's health-care reforms was at its most virulent. We should keep an eye open therefore, he argued, for:

any signs of coverage that deplores the shooting but says something like, "Of course, there IS a lot of anger out there, so . . ." You won't hear that today. But keep an ear out for it Sunday, and Monday. As if there's a rationale for something like this. Just keep an ear out.

Alex Hannaford, also on the Guardian's website, noted that a comment left on Sarah Palin's Facebook page appeared to confirm Tomasky's worst fears: "This will be another avenue for gun control groups to further their sick agenda." Meteor Blades, writing at the liberal Daily Kos blog, sees Gifford's shooting as the American right's incendiary rhetoric made flesh:

Those whose violent, eliminationist rhetoric has polluted the airwaves and other media for the past couple of decades, ramping itself up a little more each year, especially with the arrival of an African American in the White House, are, of course, denying that the shootings of a congresswoman, a judge, a child and bystanders on a street corner in Arizona have anything to do with their savage words. No surprise. One thing they're good at is refusing to accept any responsibility for the consequences of this murderous talk, whether it's Timothy McVeigh blowing up a federal building or Scott Roeder assassinating a doctor.

Andrew Sullivan live-blogged the reaction to the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords, and observed that much of the language used by the shooter in a video testament posted on YouTube is "like a parody of a Ron Paul supporter".

Meanwhile, the right-wing blogger Glenn Reynolds fulminated against liberals who, he claims, have seen in the shooting an opportunity to save Barack Obama's faltering presidency by "defaming his opposition". Other conservative bloggers and commentators have singled out for particular opprobrium Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's liberal talking head, who took to the screens last night to make what one would have thought was an uncontroversial plea to his fellow Americans to "put the guns down".

You can watch Olbermann's nine-minute comment on the Giffords shooting here:

 

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

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Scottish voters don't want hard Brexit - and they have a say in the future too

Leaving the single market is predicted to cost Scottish workers £2,000 a year,

After months of dithering, delaying and little more than scribbled notes in Downing Street we now know what Theresa May’s vision for a hard Brexit looks like. It is the clearest sign yet of just how far the Tories are willing to go to ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland.  
 
The Tories want to take Scotland out of the single market - a market eight times bigger than the UK’s alone - which will cost Scotland 80,000 jobs and cut wages by £2,000 a year, according to the Fraser of Allander Institute.
 
And losing our place in the single market will not only affect Scotland's jobs but future investment too.
 
For example, retaining membership of, and tariff-free access to, the single market is crucial to sustainability and growth in Scotland’s rural economy.  Reverting to World Trade Organisation terms would open sections of our agricultural sector, such as cattle and sheep, up to significant risk. This is because we produce at prices above the world market price but are protected by the EU customs area.
 
The SNP raised the future of Scotland’s rural economy in the House of Commons yesterday as part of our Opposition Day Debate - not opposition for opposition’s sake, as the Prime Minister might say, but holding the UK Government to account on behalf of people living in Scotland.
 
The Prime Minister promised to share the UK Government’s Brexit proposals with Parliament so that MPs would have an opportunity to examine and debate them. But apparently we are to make do with reading about her 12-point plan in the national press.  This is unacceptable. Theresa May must ensure MPs have sufficient time to properly scrutinise these proposals.
 
It is welcome that Parliament will have a vote on the final Brexit dea,l but the Prime Minister has failed to provide clarity on how the voices of the devolved administrations will be represented in that vote.  To deny the elected representatives of the devolved nations a vote on the proposals, while giving one to the hundreds of unelected Lords and Ladies, highlights even further the democratic deficit Scotland faces at Westminster.  
 
The Scottish government is the only government to the UK to publish a comprehensive plan to keep Scotland in the single market - even if the rest of the UK leaves.
 
While the Prime Minister said she is willing to cooperate with devolved administrations, if she is arbitrarily ruling out membership of the single market, she is ignoring a key Scottish government priority.  Hardly the respect you might expect Scotland as an “equal partner” to receive. 
 
Scotland did not vote for these proposals - the UK government is playing to the tune of the hard-right of the Tory party, and it is no surprise to see that yesterday’s speech has delighted those on the far-right.
 
If the Tories insist on imposing a hard Brexit and refuse to listen to Scotland’s clear wishes, then the people of Scotland have the right to consider what sort of future they want.
 
SNP MPs will ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster and do everything in our power to ensure that Scotland is protected from the Tory hard Brexit. 

 

Angus Robertson is the SNP MP for Moray, the SNP depute leader and Westminster group leader.