2007 - 2021

On Organ Donation and Lies

The following letter was refused publication in the Herald today. It’s by the artist, Alec Finlay, who created the new National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donation, in Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

3 Taigh view 11

Taigh and Wilding Garden, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Alec Finlay with Norman Haddow, photograph by Hannah Devereux, 2014

Dear Sir,

As the artist responsible for the new National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donation, in Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which was officially opened this week, I write to deplore the introduction of this sensitive subject into the array of scare stories deployed in the Referendum Campaign. In particular, Gordon Brown M.P., who repeatedly asserted that blood and organ services would be severely affected by independence. In fact, the Scottish Government and Organ Donation Service both made public statements that this would not be the case.

I myself know of citizens from the Republic of Ireland who have traveled to Scotland to receive an organ, and there is no doubt that all the countries of these islands would have continued to share these services in common. I note that Mr. Brown and the No campaign claimed in their victory speeches that they had secured these services, when, in fact, the result of their false alarms was to cause anxiety, affecting severely ill people, and create unnecessary distractions for a Service that I have found to be entirely dedicated to its duty of care.

Given the vulnerability of those on dialysis, why such irresponsibility not corrected by the media at the time, and why it is not being investigated now?


Alec Finlay

Comments (25)

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  1. What can any of us who voted yes say other than “We told you so”. These liars are after power and power alone,there is no Labour party and anybody who says there is,is either daft or one of the Brown ilk.My body has been given to the Medical college at Glasgow Uni:if they want to share out the organs I wont mind as I hope to be dead by the time they get this cadaver!(yes I know but it was to keep it light-hearted)

  2. JimW says:

    If you are a Herald reader, and if you agree with the sentiment expressed here, and deplore the Herald’s failure to print this letter, do as I did several weeks ago and stop buying the Herald. It has taken me more than 50 years of reading the Herald to develop such antagonism to the publication, but, having made the decision, I will never buy it again.

    1. Margaret Brogan says:

      I have done the same. I miss Iain MacWhirter and Ian Bell, but the Sunday Herald fills the gap. Tv licence is next to go, change is refreshing.

  3. jimnarlene says:

    Is the Sunday Herald going to print it?

  4. tartanfever says:

    I never bought the Sunday Herald. One day of indy news does not make up for the six days of Gardham.

    Newsquest have been quite clever in maximising profit.

    1st executive: ‘Hey, no newspaper is pro Indy ? Why not make our Sunday issue pro Indy and reap the rewards from being the only paper they will buy ?

    2nd executive: ‘Sounds like a good business strategy, the rest of the week we can be anti-indy.’

    (yeah, and if you believe the editor made the decision to go pro -indy I have some magic beans to sell you)

    Best thing you can do, stop buying the thing and donate to Bella. Until you do that and stop writing on their stupid website, then you will remain their puppet.

    1. Totally agree with what you have said. Have said as much in my own spheres and online

  5. H Scott says:

    The Sunday Herald is a different newspaper with a different editor from the daily Herald. I will continue to buy it while it continues its current pro-indy stance. If it’s true that the Sunday Herald has doubled its circulation since going pro-indy – in a market where newspapers generally, continue to lose significant circulation – then the daily Herald has a clear option for its salvation.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      It’s circulation was up 111%

  6. Patrick Hogg says:

    Great letter Alex. What a pity you had to write it though. For every lie the No camp told, they will reap the whirlwind at the general election in May when the day of reckoning for Labour’s English Overlords with their Saxon coats, dawns and many of them will meet defeat eyeball-to-eyeball via the ballot box. The new paradigm shift in Scottish politics will consume many of their careers. They, sad Parcel of Rogues that they are, do not even understand what is happening around them in the political culture of Scotland – they are fast becoming an irrelevance whilst the Yes Campaign alliance has taken on the role of being the New Guardians of Scotland: the democratic movement that speaks the language of real, genuine Scottish interests. Within Yes Scotland, with all its integral strands, bound together by vision and ideas – and stronger by its divergence and groups – is a strength our Unionist Opponents don’t realise – the political power and will to create the birth of a new democratic modern state in Scotland. The 45 is growing daily and come 7th May, 2015, THEY WILL HEAR OUR COLLECTIVE VOICE. Labour’s so-called Socialists who besmirch the name of ‘Soclialism’ from their bubble will soon learn what it is like to be laid off and get their P45.. Scaring and intimidating our elderly people was bullying on a national scale and I for one will never allow these labour members of parliament to forget what they did…………..Brown stooped so low with the example Alex has given. And he’s the clever guy who said if the Treaty of Union ceases to serve the working people of Scotland it should be abolished (Red Paper for Scotland).

    1. Irene owens says:

      Too right Alex. My parents and grandparents would be ‘ birlin’ in their graves at the spineless, traitorous Labour Party of today, colluding with the Tories instilling fear in the form of LIES into vulnerable,ill people is beneath contempt. How low can they stoop? Why did NOT ONE Labour MP stand up 11th hour and publicly abhor the lies, scaremongering and intimidation that the BT ( including the media bankers and businesses ) were spewing out? Labour Party are now damaged goods, their own doing. HELL MEND THEM,

  7. mary vasey says:

    Well said Alec, thank you AYE

  8. Morag says:

    I’m afraid I can’t cancel my Herald, having done it almost two years ago – something I once never imagined I would do.

    1. cynical lowlander says:

      Never bought the rag myself, but have now asked my wife’s dentist to stop having it delivered and placed in the waiting room. I’m sure a great deal of the circulation figures come from places like that, let’s try to stamp them out completely, then we can get to the politicians who spouted the bile in the first place.

  9. hernancortes77 says:

    Labour and Brown putting ambition and personal interest before truth and the wellbeing of their own countrymen – pathetic.
    They will reap the whirlwind.

  10. liz says:

    I used to read and comment on the Herald, but stopped when they removed all reference to a slap on the wrist they personally received from the Scottish police over their outrageous and inflammatory article on Carnage at the Polling Booth.

    This was a serious attempt by the Herald to cause violence IMO like NI – I cannot express my anger that they were trying to ruin the lives of an entire country with their claims of violence where none existed.

    So it does not surprise me in the slightest that they refused to publish this letter – I have no idea what their mind-set is, but I want nothing to do with it.

    The sooner these anti-Scottish publications bite the dust the better

  11. Norma Ballinagall says:

    I am truly at a loss as what is going on, they hate us so much yet want us to be part of their sick society.

  12. ian foulds says:

    I hope the comment contained in the letter will form the basis of the new Scottish media (print and broadcasting) in development – the TRUTH.

  13. andygm1 says:

    The Herald will not, under any circumstances, publish anything which could be construed as criticism of its editorial policy. If you attempt to do it in a BTL comment, your comment will be immediately deleted and if you persist you will be put onto moderation. That is why this letter was not published as it implies criticism of the Herald’s journalism.

  14. It is rather ironic that these same newspapers scream from the roofs regarding Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press yet they do not afford the same freedoms to their readership.
    Hypocrites and liars.

  15. £5 for yes says:

    I have not bought any newspaper for years,but there is one that i would buy a few hundred copies of,
    namely a one off historical issue commemorating the referendum of 2014.

    I would fill it with stories like this from Bella,i would tell the real story of the better together campaigne
    and the true nature of those involved with it.
    I would invite many to contribute such as those from wings over scotland,newsnet scotland,wee ginger dug,
    Peter a Bell,Michael greenwell,Derek Bateman and many many others.

    I would want a copy put through every door in Scotland,so that not one person in this country will have
    any excuse that they do not know what has just happened,especially the eyes shut vote no mob.

    If i could i would also make a film out of all those recorded debates i was watching with politicians and
    all sorts of people from all walks of life that were answering the questions properly that people had
    concerning independence.
    I would have it on netflix and a dvd made and put through every door in Scotland.

    If something like this is not done then the dirty tricks brigade get away with it,and probably will do so

  16. Alannah says:

    My father an ardent reader of this newspaper and the Sunday version, was a life long supporter of independence and member of the SNP. He died in Aug 2011, but was alive to see Alex Salmond return an SNP government to Holyrood for a second term. In his last few weeks of life he was filled with elation watching the tv coverage of this event. I can’t imagine what he would make of the behavior of his beloved newspaper throughout our referendum. Let’s just end this now, I and the rest of my family will no longer buy either of the Herald’s publications and we have all cancelled our BBC licences (we have a large family of 11). Our MSM is no longer fit for purpose and chooses to serve big business and the British Establishment…..so be it….you have made your choice….now we the people of this nation will make ours!

  17. William says:

    What’s in tomorrows paper folks ? Would you believe it, only a few short weeks since the referendum and the Scottish government has sold out Scotland’s rail services to a Dutch firm, absolute disgust !

  18. jivetoaster says:

    Whenever Brown appears, his disgusting lies about organ donation services should be highlighted in any way possible. It was the most sleekit scare story of the campaign – a direct assault on that small group of people who almost literally live in hope.

    The media continually tries to portray him as some sort of decent bloke, and lots of Labour voters fall for it – but the truth is, he is one of the most venal, self-centred political chancers out there. And the mainstream media have desperately avoided this particula story – note the almost complete lack of coverage given to Lindsay Jarrett’s exploits, and more particularly, why she did what she did.

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