Two years after Justice Secretary KENNY MacASKILL released convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds, LabourHame asks the minister whether he thinks three months is a long time in politics


LabourHame: Are you surprised that Al-Megrahi is still alive, two years after he returned home to Libya?

Kenny MacAskill: Well, no, because his prognosis as explained to me in 2009 was that he was likely to live for only three months, give or take 15 years.

LH: “Give or take”?

KM: Very important caveat, that. Often missed out by the Unionist media.

LH: Who was it who gave this prognosis?

KM: I don’t think it would be appropriate to name the individual concerned…

LH: We could always submit a Freedom of Information request.

KM: A man in a pub.

LH: A man in a pub?

KM: Yes, he told me his mum had the same type of cancer as Mr Al-Megrahi, so he was an expert.

LH: And did this man give you any more information about the diagnosis?

KM: No, but he bought me some prawn cocktail crisps to go with my lager tops. I thought that was nice of him.

LH: With the benefit of hindsight, though, do you now regret your decision to release Mr Al-Megrahi?

KM: Not at all, because it was the right thing to do. You see, the Scottish people pride themselves on their humanity. That’s what makes us different from everyone else in the world – no other nation in the world values their humanity. Scotland is a humanity-valuing nation, and that’s what makes us unique.

LH: You also said in 2009 that Al-Megrahi’s illness was “resistant to any treatment options of known effectiveness”.

KM: Did I? Are you sure?

LH: Were you and the Scottish medical profession-…

KM: And the man in the pub.

LH: Quite, the man in in the pub as well – were they perhaps unaware of more effective treatments that might be available to him in Tripoli that weren’t available here?

KM: Look, whether he lives another week, another year, another ten years doesn’t really matter, does it?

LH: Doesn’t it?

KM: No, what’s important is that he will be judged by a Higher Power.

LH: Which one?

KM: Pardon?

LH: Which “Higher Power” would that be, specifically?

KM: Well, you know… God and stuff.

LH: Do you believe in God?

KM: God, no!

LH: So you don’t believe there is actually any “Higher Power” to make that judgment on Al-Megrahi, is that correct?

KM: Er… Look, Gordon Brown wanted him released as well – not just me!

LH: And did you consult the then Prime Minister about your decision to release Al-Megrahi?

KM: Are you joking? Of course I didn’t!

LH: So what difference does it make wherther Gordon Brown wanted him released or not?

KM: Well, I’m just saying… Gosh! Is that the time?

LH: And Iain Gray objected to the release, didn’t he? He disagreed with Gordon Brown.

KM: Exactly! Which just proves that so-called “Scottish” Labour – or as I prefer to call it, “London Labour” (clever, eh?) – just does what the UK leadership tell it to… er… Listen, I thought this was supposed to be an interview with NewsNet Scotland – the latest in their hard-hitting series, “Just What Is It That Makes The SNP So Damned Wonderful?”

LH: Minister, thank you for your time.

KM: Make sure you put in the bit about Scotland valuing humanity!

LH: I will.

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27 thoughts on “Interview with the minister

  1. Good to see that Labour is never learning.. Not back 2016… Not back ever.

    1. I think we should rename MacAskill, Kenny “Eggonface” MacAskill! The lies trips of SNP tongues just as easy as they do the Tories. Isn’t there an SNP page to go bitch on Sean or are you just one of the resident pests that sit anywhere where theres Labour folk talking. Cyber bullies I’d prefer to think of many of you as. do you think you can bully the Scots who don’t vote SNP to vote for them? You should know a Scot, you push them and they’ll dig their heels in and they’ll be damned if they vote SNP if you lot are anything to go by.

      1. You do realise that many who now vote nat used to vote labour, you are going to have to convince some to come back.

        Do you think these articles help?

        It says “where Scottish labour can discuss the way forward” and there has been some good pieces. These articles look like ahead in the sand stuff.

      2. Hmm. You do realise that by accusing the SNP of lying about Megrahi’s state of health you are also accusing the prison governer, prison staff, the Chief Medical Officer of the Scottish Prison Service and the Social Work Department of East Renfrewshire Council of being liars?

        See when you come to reflect on why most public sector staff did not vote Labour in May this is a factor. In pursuit of a political scalp you don’t care who else you attack. But they do.

  2. From the progressive artilcle on Scottish studies to this silly nonsense. Will you guys ever learn?

  3. I like nat baiting as much as the next guy but this takes it too far. In future just gonnae no dae that … just gonnae naw.

    I think it’s time we started to take ourselves seriously so I’m personally giving up nat baiting.

  4. Well said MJL. I am a member of the SNP and – wait for it – I welcome all criticism and constructive dialogue. But this! First it was ‘The First Minister’ now it is the ‘Justice Secretary’. Labour in Scotland must be aware that, like it or not, these are public figures, elected by the people of Scotland.

    There are some very good articles on LabourHame, and some very good Labour MSPs who contribute. Kezia Dugdale, Tom Harris and Aidan Skinner are always worth read. I don’t have to agree with them in order to understand their position and see their direction.

    However, if you do wish to continue these personal assaults, then by all means do so but – you will be judged by the electorate, all with long memories! The place to fight the SNP is in the ballot box.

  5. It would be alright if it was actually funny. It is just rather cringeworthy. As a previous poster said from an excellent article on Scottish Studies to this !!!!!

  6. Tom, I think you’ve got a short memory. Iain Gray went, literally, crying to the media when he was the recipient of similar mickey taking articles. Is this just yet another example of Scottish Labour’s hypocrisy?

    1. And when Iain did so (if he did), did you sympathise with him? Or did you think he was over-reacting?

      1. I thought his calls for censorship were a step too far. I thought his finger-pointing at nearly every pro-independence blog was a scatter gun reaction. But I did feel a modicum of sympathy for him. He obviously just wasn’t up for the cut and thrust of front-line politics.

  7. A rather weak attempt to trivialise a very serious subject. Al-Megrahi is a very ill man, as anyone can see from recent photos. All he is has done is beat the Bell curve of cancer statistics, allegedly with the help of some serious drugs that are not yet available to anyone in Europe. Yet last week we buried a work colleague who did not beat that cancer Bell curve, diagnosed in June, given 18 months, but dead by August. There are statistics, medical statistics, cancer statistics and rather sad articles such as this.

  8. Dreadful unfunny stuff.
    Blair and co would have let him out for the benefit of BIG OIL.
    If he had stayed in Scotland he would be dead, the drugs that have kept him alive are not yet legal here. It is time we were told all the facts of this case, for better or worse. The whole thing stinks and its made worse by politicians stirring the pot for electoral gain while relatives are never allowed to get over the pain of this terrible event.
    I could say more about the hypocrisy of some people and parties but what is the point.

    1. And here comes the oil conspiracy theories. Any oil in Kosovo? Sierra Leone? Afghanistan? It’s just an excuse people used for their hatred of a a successful man. They resented him for his success. Shocking that they defend genocidial dictators in the process.

      1. Are you denying the “deal in the desert” ever happended? Even though Blair admits that it did?

        1. Why does it matter whether the deal happened or not? Neither Blair nor Brown had any say in Al-Megrahi’s release. That was 100% the decision of MacAskill. Or are you suggesting MacAskill was influenced by the UK government?

          1. Because labour people dismiss talk about oil deals (or oil conspiricy theories, if you prefer) as merely the ranting of people who resent Blair’s success. Yet oil deals did take place, by Blair’s own admission, and bring them up doesn’t, in away whatsoever, defend Ghadaffi anymore than the actual deals themself do.

  9. You are just incapable of loking at this issue without politicising it aren’t you? People may think it was the right decision or the wrong decision – I have no issues with people who think it was wrong because it was a tough choice, there were arguments on both sides and although I supported the decision I can see how some people were against it. But it was not a political decision. Unlike the deal in the desert politics played no part in Kenny MacAskill’s decision. That’s what some people in the Labour Party just don’t seem to get.

    1. I disagree with it but MacAskill acted within the law. He followed the advice he was given. Although I would like some kind of review into how medical advice on such matters is given. I realise that predicating the timetable of death is not an exact science but the error involved in this case is not random but systemic. The doctors who advised MacAskill clearly made an assumption that Megrahi would continue to forgo treatment. As it happens not only did this assumption prove to be wrong but he recieved a radical new treatment, not available in Europe. In future medical advice should try to take these things into account.

      As for all the abuse about the deal in the desert. Of course it happened. It’s called foreign relations. We allowed him and Libya to rejoin the international community and in return he gave up his weapons programmes. We do such deals all the time. With China, the EU, the US, canada, everyone. It’s the way the world works.

    2. Perhaps Indy can point to any within the SNP who made their opposition to Megrahi’s release public.

      You claim the decision to release was not political with arguments both for and against.

      Why was there no against view expressed from within the nationalist movement?

      1. I already said it was not a political decision. If it had been – if people had been discussing the principle of compassionate release as opposed to an individual case then – dare say a range of views might be expressed.

  10. Is Labour Hame surprised that Ronnie Biggs is still alive after being released by Jack Straw, on compassionate grounds, in 2009?

  11. Interesting – I posted against this as a labour voter who also supports independence. Are we not going to allow such opinion to be heard?

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