Monday, 6 June 2016

Lockerbie affair still has scope for embarrassment

[This is the headline over a letter from Keith Howell published in today’s edition of The Herald. It reads as follows:]

As a former convener of Holyrood's Justice Committee, SNP MSP Christine Grahame must have known the answer she would get in calling on the First Minister to change the Government's view on the Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi conviction given the revelations in Kenny MacAskill's book (“Grahame in plea over al-Megrahi”, The Herald, June 3). Presumably Ms Grahame was just wanting to draw attention to the case again, yet some would have preferred she had not given the murky deals involved here any more publicity.
The First Minister was right to say that it is not the Government's place to question decisions of the court, but equally her political instincts will be telling her to not get embroiled in an example of dirty politics that none comes out of well, including the SNP.
It is highly questionable whether someone who so recently held office as Justice Secretary should publish the political equivalent of a kiss-and-tell, but what Mr MacAskill has to say on the al-Megrahi affair is neither clear cut nor without scope for great embarrassment to the SNP Government.


  1. Replies
    1. A phrase I seldom hear in relation to Keith Howell, I have to say.

  2. Please don't get me started on my most embarrassing of neighbours, Mr. Howell. He seems to have a major hobby of writing to both independence-supporting newspapers (and others, it appears), with tirades that basically boil down to "#SNPbad, the Union forever". And they print them.

    In early 2014 he took out a full-page advert in the Metro, signing himself "as ordinary man", stating that he wasn't telling anyone which way they should vote in the independence referendum, but with content that was heavily (and only marginally coherently) biassed to a No vote.

    Why is all this relevant? It's relevant because it highlights the potential for #SNPbad capital to be made in respect of the party's current leadership stance on Lockerbie, and the fact that one fairly certain way to get most mainstream journalists in Scotland to print stuff about this (or indeed anything) is to frame it as an attack on the SNP.

    I say go for it. The SNP is big enough to look after itself (and most of the ordinary rank and file seem to believe that Megrahi is innocent anyway). And the way they have behaved over this particular issue since 2007 is deserving of criticism.

  3. I don't care, I'm an Anarchist.

  4. I do. To some extent we're playing politics, and I'm pointing out a political line that has a very good chance of getting Scottish mainstream journalists to use our material. They's desperate for any story with an #SNPbad angle, and there is such an angle to this if we frame it that way.