[A long article by Robert Forrester, secretary of the Justice for Megrahi campaign, appears today on the website of the Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It raises many interesting issues about the recent report by Senator Robert Menendez et al into the repatriation of Abdebaset Megrahi and about official reaction to JFM's call for the Scottish Government to set up an independent inquiry into his conviction. On the Scottish Government's stonewalling on the establishment of such an inquiry, Mr Forrester has this to say:]
SNP activists quite openly express their befuddlement and even anger at the government’s stance. JFM has no allegiances to any political parties but does empathise with those members of the SNP who can’t comprehend the government’s reaction to what, on the face of it, seems to be an electoral gift to a party that professes its very raison d'être is Scotland’s independence from the UK.
On the 9th of November, armed with its public e-petition, JFM persuaded the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee (SPPPC) to write to the Scottish Government asking it to cite the legislation it is relying on to support its somewhat disingenuous contention that it lacks the power to sanction an inquiry into matters which fall squarely and exclusively under Scottish jurisdiction. The SPPPC graciously gave the government until the 10th of December, an entire month no less, to locate just such legislation. Three weeks after the deadline, the government has still failed to reply. Surely it can’t be, given the legions of legal advisers at its disposal, that the government’s claim is fallacious after all. It’s all a bit embarrassing really. On the one hand, the SNP seems to want to break Scotland’s ties with the Union, whilst on the other, the behaviour of the government in abrogating its responsibilities on this matter leaves one with the image of the First Minister clinging on to the apron strings of mother Britannia.
It won’t be much of a vote winner amongst the electorate who are concerned about the direction the criminal justice system is currently moving in if the government finally has nothing left to resort to other than mimicking UK Foreign Secretary William Hague’s recent remarks by saying that an inquiry wouldn’t be in the public interest. Nor will it enhance the SNP’s democratic credentials if the government is seen to give the SPPPC the brush off.