I bought a Times today. Wild, I know.
I'm glad I did though as page 3 holds a good article on Straw "stalling" and Salmond "rebuffing" the US Senate over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
The 'Senate Foreign Affairs Committee' has invited the duo, as well as SPS Director Dr Andrew Fraser, BP's Tony Hayward and former MI6 Sir Mark Allen to the enquiry. This rather scattershot RSVP approach doesn't instil confidence that the Committee really knows what the key line of questioning is.
For me, the big question is simply, should MacAskill and Straw go to Washington to answer whatever questions the Committee may have?
Easy answer really. No, they shouldn't.
Of course the families of the victims deserve the full truth but that doesn't mean that foreign politicians should come running over with only a week's notice. If the Committee had asked them to jump off a cliff..., well, you know the rest.
The Scottish Government has already got its defence in early anyway with a well-timed and well-crafted letter sent to John Kerry. In it the denials of having "received any representations from BP in relation to al-Megrahi" are made clear and the assertion that any lingering suspicions should be directed towards BP and/or the previous UK government is made. Fair enough too, it seems a waste of a trip to travel all the way out to DC just to reconfirm denials that have already been made on paper.
One factor of this development I do find particularly interesting is this. There were many, and still are, who believed that the SNP only came to this decision on the release of this prisoner as it served up an opportunity for them to steal the media's gaze, to cast itself in the global limelight while looking and feeling like a fully fledged independent Government.
I don't buy into such wild theories but following this fanciful logic through to the present day, the SNP's rebuffing of the Senate Committee is contradictory to that charge. An SNP Minister appearing at the US Capitol would raise the Scottish Government's profile even further and yet the offer was declined.
No doubt a new cack-handed rationale for this decision will be proferred by those who seem unable to accept that this was a simple decision based on Scots Law and medical evidence but what can you do.
In terms of Holyrood opposition, Annabel Goldie's rather leaky and obedient response was: "A no-show would only fuel suspicion that they have something to hide."
I don't know. I said it when al-Megrahi was released and I'll say it again now. If a lucky corollary from all of this is getting to show the Americans that they don't always get to call all the shots and they can't simply summon people at will, then that isn't necessarily a bad thing at all.
I am sure this al-Megrahi debate will run out of steam once all stakeholders realise that there is nothing left to talk about irrespective of whether the cancer-stricken man lives or dies in the near future.
Note - Alex Salmond's letter to John Kerry can be read in full on Caledonian Mercury. It is a brilliant example of respectful diplomacy and beserves a wide audience.
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