When I wrote my post on Megrahi’s release, I didn’t think things would move quite so fast. Ten days ago, I wrote:
“‘UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband …rejected suggestions the UK pushed for Megrahi's release to improve relations as ‘a slur on both myself and the government’.”
Today we hear Jack Straw, negotiating with Libya in 2007, wrote to Scottish Justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, on the terms of the Prison Transfer Agreement with Libya:
“I had previously accepted the importance of the al-Megrahi issue to Scotland and said I would try to get an exclusion for him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion. The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the UK, I have agreed that in this instance the [PTA] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual."
Straw is now suggesting that this agreement had nothing to do with Megrahi and that the PTA agreement is “academic” in any case, given that Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds. I don’t think it’s “academic” at all. Megrahi was the only Libyan prisoner in a British jail. And the reason there was no exclusion was because of the “overwhelming interests for the UK.”
So the slur on Miliband and the Government sticks. Or, rather, it doesn’t. A slur involves degrading someone in the eyes of others, it means casting serious doubt on someone’s good reputation. This Government of liars, spinners and cover-ups have no such reputation to lose. The new revelations are simply par for the course.