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al megrahi, alcohol ban kenny macaskill, Libya., Lockerbie bomber

Long Live al Megrahi

    Will the Queen be sending a telegram to Abdel Basset al Megrahi when he reaches a hundred?   

       Has this man no decency?  Doesn’t he realise that by clinging on to life he is daily destroying the credibility of our own Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill.  Tony Blair – whose ‘deal in the desert’ with the Libyan dictator began the process that led to Megrahi’s release – is in the dock of American opinion. I mean, sales of Blair’s autobiography, The Journey, could seriously be affected.    If only Megrahi could see the distress he’s causing I’m sure he’d top himself. 

  Instead, there he is laughing all the way to the cancer ward.    Shaking his stick at the Brits for being so dumb-assed as to accept medical advice about the course of his terminal disease.  Dr Karol Sikora, the cancer specialist who said that Megrahi had three months to life, now says he wishes “had been more vague”.  An interesting response which will not doubt be highly reassuring to British cancer patients.

   “OK doc. Tell me it straight: How long have I got?”

    “Well, it really depends. Do you perhaps have any links with North African dictatorships?  Does BP have any oil interests in your area?  In which case I would say that you could live anything from three months to whenever.” 

  But hang on.   Aren’t we looking at all this too negatively?  Megrahi’s longevity is surely a miracle of modern medical science.  Clearly,  something in Libya suppresses the impact of terminal disease, slows the onset of prostrate cancer. Perhaps it’s something in the air or the diet.   Instead of moaning, we should be packing off our pensioners to Libya to give them an extra few years of life.   Instead of eventide homes in bleak Rothesay they could be sunning themselves in Tripoli and enjoying many happy extra years.

    At a time of economic austerity, when Britain is looking for ways of cutting the cost of elderly care, this could literally be a lifeline. We could channel payments direct to the Libyan government under a cash-for-care scheme run by ex members of the Provisional IRA.  It would add a new dimension to trade with Libya, which has of course boomed since al Megrahi’s release.  

   Forget longevity, here are the only figures that count:   British exports to Libya are up 51% at £600 million since the Lockerbie bomber was repatriated.  US trade with the dictatorship has risen ten fold, which may explain why the American government has been talking tough and carrying a small stick. 

     So, when will the Lockerbie families get the message?  They got money from Gadaffy too didn’t’ they?  Forget the terrorism thing.  It’s nothing personal.  Just business. 

About iain2macwhirter

I am a columnist for the Herald and Sunday Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom. Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" . Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman etc... Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees.


3 thoughts on “Long Live al Megrahi

  1. I know you are a fan of The Wire Iain, this pretty much sums up my opinion to the whole affair and what/how it is being discussed right nowhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHol7WW2A8gNeil

    Posted by Anonymous | August 23, 2010, 9:42 pm
  2. Dr Sikora's reports did not feature in the medical evidence available to the Justice Minister. Iain there is so much more you could have written about here. Let's throw some ideas around: maybe the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission had found SIX grounds to suggest a miscarriage of justice could have occurred at the original trial? Maybe the fact that this was the biggest terrorist atrocity the UK had seen ever with nearly 300 dead and we can't bring ourselves to check out those grounds to make sure we convicted the right guy? Maybe the fact that the Scottish Judiciary sat on his appeal for more than two years while the UN Observer at the original trial called their conduct "tantamount to an obstruction of justice"? But hey you do sarcasm instead. Meanwhile a man, who as you kindly acknowledge, does indeed have a terminal illness, is labelled the "Lockerbie Bomber" while most of the world know it just isn't true and the Scottish Justice System along with our politicians ignore their part in making such a shocking and shameful thing possible.

    Posted by Jo G | August 26, 2010, 10:29 pm
  3. PS….I missed another important group out who should have been mentioned with the Scottish Judiciary and our politicians in helping to keep the truth about Megrahi buried: the media. Oh a few have tried to call for a full independent investigation but too many have been happy to run with the myths and the lies and the sensationalised claptrap. "Let's have an inquiry into the release now!" they cry. But an investigation into those six grounds that suggest Megrahi's conviction was seriously unsafe? An investigation into the star witness at his trial getting paid $2 million for his testimony? Good grief no! Too much like hard work and real journalism. The media more than anyone else in this country have allowed the politicians and the Judiciary away with it. For they are the ones who truly got out of jail when Megrahi went home.

    Posted by Jo G | August 26, 2010, 10:38 pm

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