Interview with the minister
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?
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.