Saturday, 5 September 2009

Jack Straw on al-Megrahi

I've just posted a piece by Jack Straw on LabourList. He doesn't pull any punches in 'why let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory?' and concludes:
"Al-Megrahi was however not released by the Scottish Executive under any part of this normalisation deal. The Scottish Executive had an absolute right to veto a Prisoner Transfer Agreement for Al-Megrahi and they exercised it. Rather Al-Megrahi was released under quite separate and compassionate grounds. As the Scottish Executive made clear, they made the decision without any pressure from London.

That has not, however, stopped the conspiracy theories.

The prize for the most zany so far must go to the broadsheet newspaper, which suggested that I’d only released Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs, on compassionate grounds because of Al-Megrahi’s impending release.

Total nonsense.

I had no knowledge that Al-Megrahi was going to be released until I read about it on a BBC website, after I had released Biggs when his condition deteriorated. I understand of course why Al-Megrahi’s release prompts such strong feeling and emotion and it’s right that the decision is fully scrutinised.

What will become clear is whatever people may think of the decision of the Scottish Executive, there was no underhand deal, no grubby arrangement, no great, or small, conspiracy. But as so often when it comes to these matters, there are always some who are loath to accept the more straightforward truth.

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