Neil MacCormick 27 May 1941 – 5 April 2009


27 May 1941 – 5 April 2009
Hundreds of Foreign Lecturers “lettori” in Italian Universities received news of the death of Professor Sir Neil MacCormick on 5 April 2009.
A distinguished world class scholar in the field of jurisprudence, Neil MacCormick was approachable, affable and great fun to be near. As a member of the European Parliament, he championed the cause of “lettori” who were and are being denied equality of treatment – in flagrant breach of European Union single market rules.
Quick witted and humorous I remember sitting in the public benches of the European Parliament on 27 October 2007 watching him. The Italian politicians had been horse-trading all week in order to get the following clause into a resolution condemning Italy’s failure to uphold the law:
whereas the Italian Government claims that its obligations towards “lettori” have been fulfilled on the basis of its law No 236/95 that fully applies the principles of the Treaty
It being a Friday, all but one of the Italian members – to the fury of the parliament – had dogged off home for the weekend, thinking they had done the best they could in “damage limitation”
Quick as a flash, MacCormick tabled a one word amendment which was seconded and carried by the members at the Strasbourg Plenary:
whereas the Italian Government unconvincingly claims that its obligations towards “lettori” have been fulfilled on the basis of its law No 236/95 that fully applies the principles of the Treaty
The European Court of Justice subsequently annulled the offending law – but refused to impose fines of over 300,000 euros a day as requested by the Court’s own Advocate General, a decision which Neil told me was “mince” and which he followed up with a vigorous statement for the press.
Laughing all the way from the chamber we met up in the bar and enjoyed a bottle of bubbly, with Neil and his wife Flora.
I last saw Neil and Flora in at their home in Edinburgh in February when Neil was already diagnosed with terminal cancer. Still jovial and philosophical, he expressed his regrets that Italy had still not been brought to book.
He will be enormously missed by all those who knew him both in private and public life.
David Petrie, 7  April 2009
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8 Responses to Neil MacCormick 27 May 1941 – 5 April 2009

  1. says:

    Frits Bolkestein
    (European Commissioner for Internal Market 1999-2004)

    AMSTERDAM, 7 April 5.00 – just bumped into a face I recognise, “Excuse me, are you Frits Bolkestein?” I say. “Yes, I’m afraid I am” he nods. I inform him of the death of Neil MacCormick, who while a member of the European Parliament questioned the Commission on several occasions on its failure to force Italy to live up to the Treaty it signed up to in Rome. Neil, not infrequently caught the Commissioners on a back foot.

    “Yes, Scottish Nationalist, Scottish Nationalist …yes, very sad … Scottish Nationalist” said the ex-Commissioner “Well, good day to you” he said, looking at me askance… as he pottered off up the Amstel …

  2. Raphael Aceto says:

    A valiant knight drops out of the battle; injustice and ignorance are stronger for it, we the weaker. Acknowledge his great contribution however you deem fit and take up the fight once more.

  3. María José Aguirre Carreño says:

    I remember him once he came for a meeting in Milan; a vigorous and determined politician who defended all the Italian lettori. I’m really sorry for his death.

  4. Margarita Sosnizkaia says:

    Le più profonde condoglianze! Le persone brave e valide lasciano il mondo per primi.

  5. Monique Blondel says:

    E’ una grande perdita. Era una persona gioviale, alla mano, allegra ed era la persona che aveva capito e soprattutto creduto nella nostra causa, nella descriminazione che abbiamo subito da anni e continuamo a subire.
    Ha creduto in David e lo ha aiutato nella sua battaglia per noi tutti, di fronte a tutti, anche con un’ironia che chiamerei positiva.
    Anche da parte mia le più profonde condoglianze.

  6. Christopher Burchett says:

    Sorry to write so belatedly.
    I met Mr Mac Cormick, but once and yet was instantly struck by his humour and humanity.
    I was predisposed to like him, but not expecting to be brought up short by a quaility that in politicians must be rarer than hens’ teeth – Integrity.
    We have all lost a magnificent man.

  7. Margarita S. says:

    Discrimination In Italy is like in Russian Federation

    Газета “Московский комсомолец” 29.03.2013 писала в статье “Российские вузы: правил нет, а играть надо”: Как быть профессору, если он плучает 7000, а ректор 1,5 миллиона?” Такая же ситуация и в Италии. Лектор – гарант того, что студент освоит язык, дискриминируется, ему не признаётся выслуга лет. А почему? Ради пирамидального принципы зарплат: гроши тем, кого держат внизу, не давая ходу, и несоразмерные деньжище верхушке. И при этом идет игра в правосудие. Ведь если бы действительно оно было, вопрос решили бы за месяц, а так суды тянутся десятилетиями. Люди умирают, уходят на пенсию, так и не дождашись справедливости.

  8. M.S. says:

    Davide Petrie e’ un grande lottatore ma la vita e’ breve. Riusciremmo ad arrivare alla conclusione positiva in questa vita?

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