Too right, Bright. And your party was responsible for it, chum. Care to abandon it now? Or do your words amount to no more than a hill of beans (as usual)?
The Guardian has arranged a group of "leading thinkers" to give their views on the release of Abdelbasset al-Megrahi from prison on compassionate grounds. There is a quite a split in the liberal establishment over this issue.I find myself completely in agreement with Geoffrey Roberston QC. Unfortunately this doesn't appear to be online, which is a real shame. But his first paragraph sums up my feelings exactly:
"It seems to me an utter perversion of the meaning of compassion, both in law and morality, to suggest that an unrepentant, mass murderer of entirely innocent human beings should not be required to end his life in prison."
He also makes an important point about the morally corrupt thinking behind Kenny MacAskill's bizarre decision:
"The decision to release him for what any person of any intelligence at all would forsee as a hero's welcome in Libya was lacking in compassion to every victim of terrorism and makes an absurdity of the principle of punishment as a detterent."
Those who approved this decision should also read the words of Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, the author of In the Country of Men.
"I am imagining my father today. For the past 20 years he has been a political prisoner in Libya. The Libyan government continues to deny his existence. This even though Amnesty International has documented the case. In this time he has not been able to see or communicate with anyone outside the prison. Then I think of him listening to the celebrations of the prison guards at the news of al-Megrahi's rturn. The prisoners might have been given presents to make the occasion. Then I think of al-Megrahi's children welcoming him home."
The Libyan regime funded IRA terrorism, pursued and murdered its dissidents on the streets of European cities and is the only foreign government I know that is responsible for the killing of a British policewoman.
This was a truly dark day for the reputation of this country.
Incidentally, one of the comments in response to Bright's post is worth quoting, too - even though it is rather long:
Congratulations Martin on affirming the view of the progressive Left which tries to uphold a set of universal values , prominent among which is the need to affirm that the deliberate targetting of civilians is a crime under international law wherever it happens.
I am sure that if it had been a planeload of Scots who had been blown up over Lockerbie, Kenny MacAskill would have stuck to his earlier position that whoever had been convicted in a Scottish court must serve out his sentence.
The SNP's mindset and priorities are parochial ones and it would not have risked the wrath of so many bereaved Scots. But the victims were mostly from the US, a country whose institutions and indeed its people are regarded with scorn by pro-SNPers - as any glance at newspaper electronic comment spots will quickly show.
Absent from the Scottish airwaves and from the opinion pages of newsapers like the Scotsman and the Herald are left-wing journalists like yourself Andrew Anthony, Joan Smith and Nick Cohen who try to stem the slide of the political Left towards making common cause with religious obscurantists who, if they prevailed, would wipe out many of the civilizational gains of the last 500 years.
Too many 'small toon kailyard Nats' wre prepared to find excuses for Milosevic in the 1990s and Middle east tyrants today because their defiance of big powers is a reflection of their own struggle against foreign overlords. These Nats overlook any moral dimension and asume that it is the small country resisting American power which invariably has right on its side even if its policies are tyrannicial, genoicdal and deeply misogynist.
The Grande dame of the Scottish chattering classes,Lesley Riddoch who struts her stuff on BBC radio, the scotsman and the Guardian hailed MacAskill for 'placing compassion above vengeance , and independent decision-making above kow-towing to the world's most poweful nation'. (Guardian 21 August)
She even approvingly linked al-Megrahi's release with MacAskill's plans for non-custodial sentences for violent offenders and knife-carriers.
She showed the elitist and essentially non-democratic mindset that prevails among he interst groups that flank the SNP by arguing these policies must be right because of the support of profssionals and a range of quangos involved in criminal policy.
There was no mention of the plight of ordinary Scots many of whom will never get true 'independence' because they live in communities where thugs prevail and the authorities just walk on by.
So it make sense that Alex Salmond, macAskill or their new friend Lesley Riddoch ought to be unconcerned about the new wave of hurt caused to relatives of the 1988 bomb by the feting of al-Megrahi in dictatorial Libya.
When the Scottish parliament meets on Mnday it is likely that the Riddoch view that the Scots have just won gold in the OLympiad for international compassion will prevail.
We can only hope that his episode which fans hostility to the USa for electoral captital and credibility in the metropolitan media will spur Scots who want their country to have a progressive and responsible role in the world (whatever its constitutional status), to become more vocal and organized.
It really is time for us all to force Mandelson's Labourists out once and for all. If this issue doesn't galvanise people, as this commenter suggests it will, but north and south of the border, then nothing will. It will tell me that Britain is finished as a moral voice in the world and deserves its fate. Thank-you Labour. You did this because you are the people who wouldn't know a principle if it hit you square in the face.