Hypocrisy and the Lockerbie Bomber

Upon the revelation yesterday that (according to senior servant Sir Gus O’Donnell) there was always an ‘underlying desire’ among ministers to see Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released, we have seen a barrage of criticism launched at the previous Labour administration from all quarters, especially from David Cameron and the current coalition government.

To hear this from the Conservatives, for one thing, is odd; the party line has always been to support the previous government’s decisions regarding terror and foreign affairs- in these difficult times when the country is seemingly beset by those who would do it and its people harm, cross-party unity, and even unity between past and present governments on issues and settlements relating to security and the like is considered de facto, important solidarity in the interest of the nation, and the Tories have always adhered to this- Cameron has even made reference to it as a necessity in the past. However, the current attack by that party upon Gordon Brown’s administration for a decision made by the Scottish government forms a stark contrast to the aforementioned previous party behavior and Cameron’s comments on it.

That’s only where the hypocrisy starts though. When it is recalled that when in opposition Cameron and his party supported and reinforced the government’s stance that it was letting the Scottish government act independently, the recent denunciation of Labour’s conduct seems even less credible. The lack of any vocal criticism of the UK government’s relevant activities at the time by what now constitutes the coalition (read: a terrible opposition not doing its job) renders the lastest official comments implausible.

This missing of the point- total ignorance of the ‘compassionate’ terms of the release- this capitulation to American pressure, is not of course questionable solely as a result of prior conservative approach. Nick Clegg is not guiltless in the matter. At the time of the decision, Clegg lambasted Brown for ‘remaining silent’, for not voicing UK government views, and for not getting involved. Now he is part of a government that seems to be railing against Labour ministers for taking individual and often personal judgements, and scorning them for exercising any sort of power over the devolved administration, or indeed engaging in any form of interaction with it. This huge discrepancy in position and colossal U-turn is extraordinarily obvious, and when connected with the reality that Clegg and his party actually did very little to express concern and disagreement with, or voice advice to the Brown administration through the Commons or other official channels during the event, he and the Liberal Democrat’s support of this newest coalition offensive against the last executive is exposed as even less tenable.

The present government is not the only source of invalid and illegitimate disapproval. Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond has lashed out, placing blame on UK minsters of the day for US criticism of the judicial process, going so far as to say he and his colleagues are ‘vindicated’ by this newest announcement. Considering Salmond’s previous denials that the decision was anything less than independent, and that not only was there minimal to no pressure placed upon Holyrood, but any that there was had no effect, recent comments can be rightfully found contradictory and outrageous.

Upon closer examination, the disclosure that a simple ‘desire’ was present among ministers in the government of the day to see a release does in no way indicate that they actively harassed or influenced the Scots to achieve such an end. Denouncing the last government on such a basis is misguided, and this, in addition to the lack of authority of the coalition to lecture on the case thanks to policy and conduct at the time, makes the affair all the more sordid.

The rights and wrongs of the release are not what should be focused on here- rather the fact that the government’s contemporary assault is unfounded, unjustified and ultimately, immoral.



3 Responses to “Hypocrisy and the Lockerbie Bomber”

  1. 1 Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
    February 8, 2011 at 3:00 am

    You avoid the issue which is the sensitive release of a convicted terrorist to gain contracts with a foreign state and is this really what our country has become? to go onto a rant about the gov.

    You’re seriously downplaying the disclosure of the “desire” in political terms it means they influenced the decision in back room ways. You can not say that otherwise you’d be thrown in gaol, releasing a convicted terrorist for contracts. If it was merely a desire in context you put why say it?

    Where as you attack the coalition for supporting the decision and gov. at the time, on pretext that it was made as they said it was, but now deriding because they disagree with how the believe the decision has been made and has lowered the UK’s standing and honour in the world. Yes shame on the current gov.

    Furthermore, if it was found the Gov. openly tortured people (not just handed over intel for the yankees to do it) would you still believe the condems to be hypocrites for criticizing that foreign policy?

  2. 2 Hawlmarc
    February 8, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I don’t know quite where to begin here. You open your own criticism of the piece with a statement that seems to ignore the final sentence of it. The parties that now form the coalition government had a duty to scrutinise the actions of the last government at the time, and it’s clear they hardly did at all- to start now they’re out of power is redundant, and not legit.

    In regards to lowering the UK’s standing in the world? If you mean that it’s gone some way in angering the United States but not far enough to make headline news today then yes, I suppose you’re right.

    That and you neglect to mention this isn’t a ‘rant’ solely about the government- perhaps read more carefully and you’ll see there’s mention of the first minister of Scotland in there too.

    Thanks for commenting.

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