On Megrahi, again, as before
I hardly have the strength for this, after watching Philip Gould’s affecting interview with Andrew Marr this morning, but thought it worth putting something that William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told The Times last week, outside the pay wall:
The overall strategy of engaging with Gaddafi to turn him away from a nuclear programme was right, including the contact with the intelligence services. Imagine the greater difficulty we would have had if he had had a whole range of weapons over the last few months.
The Blair haters will never get it, preferring to luxuriate in the imagined moral purity of condemning leaders when they engage with dangerous despots to secure disarmament as loudly as they condemn the same leaders when they intervene militarily to get rid of them. “Have nothing to do with anybody”: stitch that to your banners.
Thus my surprise that The Sunday Telegraph should have thought that “After he was prime minister, Tony Blair had two meetings with Gaddafi” was worth the front-page lead. Laden with innuendo about the media myth of the release of the Lockerbie bomber that is simply wrong.
We know that Blair wanted Megrahi out (or, rather, that he wanted Gaddafi to think that he was trying), but that it was not his decision. It was the decision of the Scottish executive, namely Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party leader, and Kenny MacAskill, his justice minister.
Salmond would not have released Megrahi because Blair wanted him to. Salmond hates Blair, whom he tried to “impeach” over Iraq (showing no better understanding of the English language than the UK constitution or what was right), and the sentiment is warmly returned.
(It is not legally or formally relevant, but it is not irrelevant that there are serious doubts about Megrahi’s guilt.)
As for the imagined morally pure, the idea that a policy of engagement can be right at one time and that military intervention can be right at another (in support of a popular uprising, for example) is too complicated to grasp.Tagged in: Libya, megrahi, tony blair, william hague
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