View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 21 August 2009

Friday 21 August

A bright and sunny day, quite breezy with the odd sharp shower. I think I prefer our temperate climate to the extreme temperatures that were affecting mainland Europe yesterday: I had reports of nearly 35C in Holland.

I was saddened to see the festive welcome afforded to released Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi in Tripoli, Libya, yesterday. The Scottish Saltire flag (white cross on blue background) was waved near the plane as the man descended from the steps. He was being welcomed home a hero. It says more about the true nature of Col Gadaffi's regime than about the decision by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill to release Al-Megrahi on compassionate ground. He remains a convicted murderer, and will remain so until his death. It is said that he wasn't happy to abandon the appeal against his conviction.

Colonel Gadaffi, a maverick on the international political stage, has been sidling up to the US and UK in recent years, after seeing the treatment doled out to fellow dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. Tony Blair went to meet him in the desert, and Gadaffi abandoned his nuclear programme and what not, to have sanctions lifted (imposed after Lockerbie) and draw in lucrative investments. Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the coup d'etat that brought Gadaffi to power. It was also the day that Al-Megrahi, a throw-back to the bad days, returned to Tripoli. It was his homecoming (sic). One that showed Gadaffi in his true colours.

Kenny Macaskill made the right decision, for the right reasons, acting according to the principles that underpin Scottish society, the Scottish legal and prison system. He has been vilified in the American press, understandably so. I do hope that observers across the pond, rather than continuing this barrage, see that it is in fact Gadaffi that the focus should be on, coming out of this with his hands still as dirty as they were in the 1980s.