September 1, 2009

THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP DOESN'T COME NATURALLY TO THE TORY PARTY...:

A catalogue of errors that shames the UK: After the bizarre release of al-Megrahi, the British public have been left disgracefully in the dark (David Cameron, 9/01/09, Times of London)

The first failure was the decision by Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, to release al-Megrahi on “compassionate grounds”. Due process found al-Megrahi guilty, a verdict upheld on appeal. The Libyan Government accepted responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the Lockerbie families. Any doubts about the safety of al-Megrahi’s conviction should have been tested by the second appeal, which he instead withdrew. That is why I said that compassionate release was completely inappropriate. We are dealing here with someone convicted of one of the biggest mass murders in British history. Al-Megrahi’s victims were not allowed the luxury of “dying at home”. What on earth was Mr MacAskill thinking of when he made this utterly bizarre decision?

The second misjudgment was Gordon Brown’s failure to speak up clearly and promptly. On a matter fraught with such emotion, and with the potential to damage Britain’s reputation abroad, a decisive lead from the Prime Minister was required. Mr Brown should have condemned the decision to release al-Megrahi. At the very least, he should have expressed an opinion. But all we got, day after day, was a wall of silence, finally broken after a long week when Mr Brown declared that he was “angry” and “repulsed” at scenes in Tripoli. We all were.

But that wasn’t the point. People wanted to know what the Prime Minister thought about the decision to release him in the first place. Such candour is a basic requirement of leadership — a quality that once again Mr Brown has demonstrated he lacks.

And the third failure of judgment is emerging. From the outset the British Government has maintained that the decision was a “devolved matter”, taken solely by the Scottish authorities on medical grounds. Indeed, Lord Mandelson said it was “offensive” to suggest otherwise. But letters leaked to The Sunday Times show that Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, wrote to Mr MacAskill in December 2007 to suggest that it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” not to exclude al-Megrahi from the terms of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement between Libya and the UK.


...but they're only significant at those moments they're closest to America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2009 7:24 AM
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