Monday, 8 October 2012

Salmond sought Trump support for Megrahi release, claims P & J

[What follows is the online trailer for a news story in today’s edition of The Press and Journal, a daily newspaper circulating in the Aberdeeen area:]

Alex Salmond wanted Donald Trump to publicly back the release of the Lockerbie bomber in an attempt to ease the international pressure on his government, the Press and Journal can reveal today.

The first minister turned to the US billionaire for help amid the transatlantic fallout caused by the decision to free Abdelbaset al Megrahi in August 2009.

The pair had been on good terms at the time, not long after the Scottish Government had called in and approved plans for the businessman’s £750million Aberdeenshire golf resort.

For the full story, pick up a copy of today’s Press and Journal or read our digital edition now.

[The idea that a wily politician such as our First Minister could ever have believed for a millisecond that the support of Donald Trump would sway opinion anywhere in the world in favour of the decision to release Mr Megrahi on compassionate grounds strikes me as inherently improbable.

The story has now been picked up on the BBC News website.]


  1. "The idea that a wily politician . . . could ever have believed . . . that the support of Donald Trump would sway opinion anywhere in the world . . . "

    You seem to have a higher opinion of Salmond's intellect than most.

    Recall that, despite Trump's prominent and costly (though, happily, disastrous) campaign to persuade Americans that Obama was not a US citizen, Salmond was fawning all over him as soon as he ('Eck, that is) took office. He even [allegedly] used ministerial cars to make that now-notorious rendezvous at which elite golf courses, the need for come what may, was first discussed. Then peruse the record of Trump's crude but irrelevant Megrahi-related outburst at that Holyrood inquiry into wind farms (the one where Patrick Harvie behaved so crassly).


    Of course not, the very idea. Next thing, someone will be suggesting that Salmond and chums want to revert to those 1950s Halcyon Days when women knew their place, abortions were for Bridgets, legal difficulties were smoothed over and chaps were, in the main, sound.

    Silly me.

  2. The Herald has the story with enough peripheral detail to make it credible, and apparently it is not being denied. Looks like poor Mr Trump wasn't getting his way in the wind farm debate, so executed on a threat. It might be useful - what if Salmond gets poked enough about this by the Unionists to retaliate by instituting an enquiry into Megrahi's conviction? Are we approaching the point suggested in the Lockerbie play, where the government must end its support for the Crown Office in order to survive?

  3. I agree that Donald Trump could not persuade America that releasing al-Magrahi was a good idea, but it would allow Salmond to say opinion is divided.

    The unlikely bit would be Trump agreeing to defend al-Magrahi’s release, although a multi-million pound golf resort deal is certainly an inducement.

    But if he did that would be enough to weather the storm, particularly as the release had the backing of the American government.

    Officially America was opposed, but they would have been involved in the back room arrangements being made to secure al-Megrahi’s release before his long drawn out appeal was held.

    And despite the bluster I am not aware of any American retaliation against Scotland for releasing al-Megrahi. Whereas once released they destroyed Libya in an attempt to close the Lockerbie Case.

  4. Dave Bruce.
    Salmond's intellect? What planet are you on? Independent commentators rate him as by far the most effective political leader in Britain today. And as he's brought the SNP from nowhere to an overall majority in a PR system and a referendum on independence, I think you underestimate him at your peril.

    One little comment. You do remember what was on the regional list ballot paper in 2011, don't you? "Alex Salmond for First Minister". And you do remember how that turned out, don't you? 45%, that's how. If the regional vote is considered on a constituency basis, that vote won 69 of the 72 constituencies in Scotland. Beat that if you can.

    Current opinion polls for Westminster have the SNP at no less than 48%. This, for a party in government, and for the SNP in Westminster, is unprecedented to the point of phenomenal.

    All the pejorative adjectives (like wily and cunning and so on) don't seem to change that. People who aren't wrapped up in a political bubble don't think the way you think. So I'll say it again. Don't let your personal dislike cloud your judgement.

    I agree that soliciting Trump's support for releasing Megrahi was absolutely brain-dead, though. The draft statement reads like naivete - Salmond's office really did think they were doing something principled that people would recognise as such. Thinking that Trump would agree - nope. BAD idea.

    Trump is clearly playing the revenge card because he's miffed about the wind farm. Too bad. It'll all be forgotten in a week.