Monday, 29 July 2013

Playwright flays Scottish Government over Lockerbie

[What follows is the text of a press release:]

The writer of a new play about the Lockerbie bombing being premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe on Wednesday believes First Minister Alex Salmond’s handling of the atrocity is undermining Scotland’s bid for independence.

Alan Clark’s new play, The Lockerbie Bomber, deals with the crash and its aftermath.

He said: “I suspect a number of Scots would on balance vote for independence but what’s stopping them is the failure of the SNP Government to act independently on Lockerbie and mount an inquiry.

“As the play asks: what’s the point of independence if injustice is allowed to prosper and the Crown Office is permitted to win the day? Is this the fairer, better nation we’ve been promised by the “Yes” campaign?

“How can the First Minister present Scotland as a respected, ethical nation about to take its place on the world stage when the justice system he presides over is reminiscent of a banana republic – when at the Lockerbie Kamp Zeist trial, it’s alleged that crucial evidence was suppressed, that evidence was fabricated, that a witness was paid millions for his testimony and that members of the prosecution team perverted the course of justice?

“I believe it makes Scotland look a laughing stock on the world stage.

“I agree with former MP Tam Dalyell who said last year: “The SNP Government - and Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill in particular - are burying their heads in the sand on the Lockerbie issue. If they were to admit that Mr Megrahi had nothing to do with the crime of Lockerbie, they would then by implication condemn the very institution which shows Scotland to be most separate from England – the justice system.”

Clark, from Falkirk, added: “I was a student at St Andrews University at the same time as Mr Salmond and in general I've admired him since then. But on Lockerbie I believe he needs to be brave and show leadership by casting the Crown Office adrift and abandoning the fiction that Megrahi’s conviction is safe - otherwise he risks looking weak and indecisive.”

The Lockerbie Bomber is on at C venues in Chambers Street in Edinburgh from July 31 to August 13 at 12 noon daily.


  1. To offer some hope, if we win independence in 2014 the glue that holds the SNP together will be gone. Without that over-arching shared cause, the party will split into a left and a right. I think we will see the formation of a new, decidedly left-of-centre, party with no loyalty to preceding forms. An enquiry into the Megrahi affair would be an early priority.

    As Alan Clark suggests, to enter independence with a corrupt judiciary - one apparently controlled from outwith the borders of Scotland - is quite unconscionable.

  2. This is a play well worth the trip to Edinburgh. Dramatic, insightful and superbly acted and presented it forces us to remember and reflect on the greatest terrorist outrage ever committed in the UK. It is also a reminder that despite the human suffering and the political expressions of outrage, governments, including our in Scotland, have procrastinated, dissembled and protected the guilty by placing their own interests above those of the victims, their families and friends and the people of Scotland.
    Despite being a supporter of ‘independence’, as the 25th anniversary of the tragedy approaches, I have had cause to doubt how an independent Scotland can ever be a stronger and better country when our politicians cannot ‘independently’ work to remove what has become ‘Scotland’s shame’.
    I guarantee this play will live in your memory and challenge you to reflect on whether an independent Scotland would lead to a more just society or sadly just more of the same?

  3. Dear Commentators,

    I agree with the entirely of Iain McKie's statement.

    I have deep concerns, however, with respect to the direction the SNP will gravitate towards post a successful referendum. My vote in such is purely hypothetical given that, firstly, I am an internationalist and, secondly, that I live a couple of miles south of the border, nevertheless, I would vote for independence if I could. In the field of the criminal justice system, the indicators are not at all good regarding what may happen once the 'glue' is gone. Under the tenure of Kenny MacAskill, primed by the Crown Office, the SNP has wrecked the identity of the Scottish criminal justice system, and its failsafe mechanisms against judicial repression quite comprehensively. With Double jeopardy back on the cards, corroboration about to go out the window, and section 7 of 'Cadder' established, the prospect is now that an individual may be hounded to the grave until convicted on uncorroborated evidence then denied the right to appeal by the very body that presided over the case. And what purpose does this all serve? Simple: to massage the crime clear up statistics largely in order to enhance the reputations of the Crown Office, the police and the government. No matter that that is achieved by inevitably increasing the volume of miscarriages of justice as a consequence. This is one of the building blocks of despotism, and a sign of consummate political lack of principle.

    Robert Forrester.