[This is the headline over an article by Nick Cohen in today's edition of The Observer. On the subject of Libya and Megrahi, it reads as follows:]
Europeans did not investigate Arab suffering, because they did not believe they had a democratic duty to help it end. To add obfuscation to indifference, they could not admit their accommodation with autocracy honestly. Instead, the left pretended criticism of intolerable regimes was cultural imperialism; an "orientalist" interference in the affairs of "the other". The right hymned the virtues of "stability" and "strong rulers". (...)
Meanwhile the British know that BP lobbied Gordon Brown to secure the release of the Lockerbie bomber. With luck, we may learn more if the rebels can reverse their defeats, and open the secret police archives in Tripoli. Those files may also explain why Silvio Berlusconi felt it necessary to corral 500 "hostesses" and "escorts", and send the perplexed ladies to hear Gaddafi read from the Koran at the Libyan ambassador's Rome residence.
However, readers who see corruption as a universal explanation should take a deep breath and remember Humbert Wolfe's line:
"You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank God! the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
Unbribed, there's no occasion to."
Most of the apologists for dictatorship do not need bribes, whether they are Foreign Office Arabists, Little England columnists for the Tory press or the Livingstone/Galloway breed of brutal leftist. They will apologise when there is no prospect of profit for them. The Scottish Nationalist party released Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, not Labour, and no one has produced evidence that money made it hand Gaddafi a propaganda coup before Scottish appeal judges had ruled on al-Megrahi's guilt. Instead of looking like a bought man, Alex Salmond [RB: this should read Kenny MacAskill] posed as a tartan Che Guevara, who was defying the Yankee oppressors by freeing a criminal convicted of destroying a Pan Am plane and all its passengers and crew. [RB: Defying the Yankee oppressors, forsooth! Kenny MacAskill's principal stated reason for denying prisoner transfer was his (correct) belief that an obligation that Megrahi's sentence would be served in the UK had been undertaken towards the US and other countries, prior to devolution, by the UK government. Not much sign of defiance there.]
I guess that Salmond is typical and a majority of Europeans believe Libya is a distant land, whose affairs have nothing to do with us. (...)