Sunday, 26 August 2012

Assurances sought on Lockerbie investigation

[This is the heading over an item published today on the website of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.  It reads as follows:]

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has asked Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC for assurances that the “book has not been closed” into the Lockerbie bombing after it emerged that Scottish police officers have yet to visit Libya. A re-investigation announced in October 2011 saw the Lord Advocate travel on a mission to Libya in April this year to discuss the investigation with the Libyan National Government.

In a letter to the Lord Advocate, Mr Rennie said that the relatives of those in the Lockerbie bombing and the Scottish public need assurances that the live investigation is still being fully resourced and supported in its efforts to uncover any new lines of inquiry which will bring to justice others involved in the bombing.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Rennie said:

“I have written to the Lord Advocate to seek assurances that the book has not been closed on the renewed Lockerbie bombing criminal investigation. Earlier this year the First Minister rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie prosecution, which could have shone a light on the extent of Megrahi’s involvement or even pointed towards others being involved.

“In denying that independent inquiry the opportunity to get the answers so deserved by relatives of the Lockerbie bombing was left to the criminal investigation. It’s therefore hugely disappointing that Scottish police officers have yet to visit Libya to undertake their investigation.

“With the passing of each month it becomes less and less likely that any existing evidence can be found. The Crown’s position that Megrahi did not act alone is all very well, but it brings neither justice nor answers to those who need it most.

“It is essential that the Crown Office does all it can to pursue new lines of enquiry. The Lord Advocate must provide assurances that the book has not been closed on the Lockerbie bombing investigation.”

[Mr Rennie’s earlier interventions on Lockerbie, including his support for an independent inquiry into the prosecution and conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi, can be accessed by typing “Willie Rennie” into this blog’s search facility.

The Press Association news agency's report on Willie Rennie's letter to the Lord Advocate, which has been run on a number of news media websites, can be read here. The best treatment of the story, in that it goes beyond the news agency report, is in The Huffington Post.]


  1. Willie Rennie can restore the Lib Dems reputation in Scotland if he promotes the Lockerbie Case as part of an open government and anti-war agenda.

    Therefore his calls for an enquiry and his latest comments following Magnus Linklater’s intervention are very encouraging.

  2. Well of course the book is closed. An objective investigation was abandoned in the first half of January 1989.

  3. Willie Rennie is an irredeemable idiot. I can only observe that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    He also answers to Ming Campbell I suspect, and we all know where Ming stands with regard to Lockerbie.

  4. Amongst other things, the SNP has progressed by promoting open government, opposition to war and independence.

    But in office the SNP has refused to hold a Lockerbie enquiry, have supported the illegal destruction of Libya and promote devolution (in the EU).

    Therefore there is an opportunity for the Scottish Lib Dems to reclaim votes back from the SNP on these liberal issues.

    Perhaps it is wishful thinking that Willie Rennie will do so, but it would be good move and politics is full of surprises.

    And doing so will keep the Lockerbie Case alive?

  5. The Lib Dems are political toast, for a multitude of reasons entirely unconnected to Lockerbie. And Lockerbie is not going to be a significant factor influencing anyone's vote at the next election. Not even mine.

    And there is a little matter of an independence referendum scheduled first. It always amazes me how many people are content to speculate about the next Westminster or Holyrood election, as if everything will go on just the same, as if they forget there is a pretty mould-shattering thing happening first.

  6. The SNP gained because the Lib Dems sold their soul by joining the Coalition in exchange for a pig’s ear referendum on voting reform – not because of a rise in support for separation from the UK.

    And they won votes promoting liberal issues that could easily return to the Lib Dems.

    The SNP ‘independence’ referendum is misleading because it only involves exchanging devolution in the UK for devolution in the EU - and not independence.

    And Salmond wants the referendum to include the option of more devolution in the UK that includes keeping the pound - the likely winner in any preference vote.

    The Lockerbie Case will continue if it attracts political support and the secret is not how many MSPs are elected but how many are prepared to speak out on important issues.

  7. You think France isn't independent? Or Denmark? Independence is the ability to choose which alliances you form in the modern, interconnected world. You seem to think only North Korea is "independent" now.

    Also, you need to listen to what Salmond actually says, not to what other people say about him. He doesn't want a second question on more devolution and he has said so quite clearly. He just doesn't want the SNP to take the blame for there not being a second question. He leaves the way open for the parties that say they support more devolution to put that option on the ballot, but they refuse to do so, so there will be no second question.

    Why would a newly-independent Scotland want to launch a new currency immediately? It wouldn't be a good fiscal decision. Maybe in a few years, it will be the thing to do. But remember, Ireland kept the pound for 50 years after independence, and nobody said Ireland wasn't independent. Or isn't now, come to that. Independence is having the power to take whatever decisions are best for your country. That includes making alliances and sharing a currency. It also means you can break these alliances or change your currency, without having to fit in with what another country wants to do. Something we can't do right now.

    So, we'll be having a single-question referendum in the autumn of 2014. And anybody who thinks this won't have a profound effect on the politics of our nation is delusional.

    And no, the LibDems are not going to recover. Too many people have now seen them for what they are - a bunch of two-timing opportunists, who will betray any principle for a taste of shared power.

  8. Dear Rolfe, you never mentioned Lockerbie, but do you think Orkney and Shetland should be allowed to hold a separate independence referendum on whether to go it alone or join Norway?

  9. People in Orkney and Shetland can start a political party to campaign for these islands to cease being part of Scotland if they want to. Let's see how much support that attracts from people who actually live there.

    What you need to realise is that there is next to no support in the Northern Isles for leaving Scotland. This is nothing but a ruse dreamed up by the unionist parties to scare Scottish voters by threatening to take the oil away. You know. Scottish independence bad even though a third of the population supports it, Northern Isles independence good, even though nobody wants it.

    What these agitators seem to have left out of the equation is that as a detached island group, Orkney and Shetland would only be entitled to claim a 12-mile radius around their coasts. There's no oil there.

    Now, how would you feel about the good folk of Berwick-on-Tweed having a referendum on whether to rejoin Scotland, the country the town was historically part of?

    I can't help feeling the unionists are more scared than they let on, given the desperation of some of the ploys we're seeing.

  10. My comment about Orkney and Shetland was not about oil, but whether ‘independence’ would undermine civic Scotland by re-opening old sectarian and regional rivalries that have abated because of a shared hostility to Westminster rule.

    And would an Edinburgh government be any different to Westminster in their response to demands for more localism?

    Boundary changes are often contentious, but dealing with them within the UK, such as Berwick-on-Tweed, is easier that between separate states.

    Some Unionists may be scared of Scottish ‘independence’ but behind the rhetoric the Conservatives must be rubbing their hands at the prospect?

    And will an ‘independent’ Scotland deliver a public enquiry into Lockerbie?

  11. Dave, tell me something. Do you actually live in Scotland? Because you come over as having not a fecking clue about the place.

  12. As a nationalist I support the right of all nations to declare independence and reject imperialism. Admittedly this is problematic when nations claim the same land.

    But as a British Unionist, I recognise that different forms of devolution in an inter-dependent world can also serve the national interest – depending on circumstances.

    For example, devolution in the UK gives Scotland a bigger voice than devolution in the EU, if only because of the strong Scottish presence at Westminster.

    I know many Scots prefer independence, but this option isn’t included or even discussed, unlike ‘Devo-Max’, in the forthcoming ‘independence’ referendum.

    This failure reminds me of the pig’s ear referendum on voting reform that failed to include proportional representation.

    The SNP pretends devolution in the EU is independence and Con/Lab and Lib Dem collude with this deception because they too support the EU.

    However not only is devolution in the EU miss-named as independence but it is also miss-sold by the SNP as a defence against Westminster austerity.

    Miss-sold, because Westminster austerity comes via Brussels! The Government is trying to impress the European Central Bank to meet the criteria for joining the Euro-currency at a later date.

    Devolution in the UK and the pound offers Scotland some protection from EU austerity, but devolution in the EU will result in Scotland being as exposed as Greece.

    In other words the SNP are proposing to jump out of the flames into the fire.

    The truth is to progress into office the SNP have promoted devolution and left independence as an aspiration for some later date.

    If independence was genuinely on offer, the SNP would relish holding a public enquiry into Lockerbie as a rite of passage into nationhood.

  13. I don't even know where to begin, on such a confused, internally contradictory and frankly ignorant comment.