The amazing mind of Kenny MacAskill

The case of the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber, Al-Megrahi, has been going around my head for a few days, and, having now heard and read Kenny MacAskill’s (the Scottish justice secretary’s) statement today, I thought I would respond to some of his comments, as though I were face to face with him. His comments are italicised.

Scotland will forever remember the crime that has been perpetrated against our people and those from many other lands. The pain and suffering will remain forever. Some hurt can never heal. Some scars can never fade. Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive. Their pain runs deep and the wounds remain.

But clearly none of this matters.

However, Mr Al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It is one that no court, in any jurisdiction, in any land, could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die.

Please define this ‘higher power’ in proven legal terms for the benefit of those of us who don’t have imaginary friends, before you make decisions based on its unproven existence. We are all going to die. What is your point?

In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people. The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.

The values many of us seek to hold are those of justice, and yes, for some of us, those of vengeance. Our justice system (in the UK and Scotland) serves three purposes – punishment, reform, and deterrence. Given that Al Megrahi is going to die, his release has flown in the face of the first of these, has no bearing on the second, and certainly sends out the wrong message on the third.

Mr Al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.

So why on earth release him, when you hurt so many of these poor people by doing so? Is compassion for one convicted mass murderer really more important than compassion for so many other innocent people? What is that drives people like you to blindly empathise with prisoners over victims?

But, that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days.

Yes, it is.

Our justice system demands that judgement be imposed but compassion be available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown. Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.

We’ll have to agree to disagree there. I believe there are levels of ‘atrocity perpetrated’. I would not rate the murder by a wife of an abusive husband on the same scale as the inventive and sadistic work of Dr. Josef Mengele, or a man who blows up a plane, killing 270 people and destroying thousands of lives in the process.

It is a matter of great regret that Mr Megrahi was received in such an inappropriate manner. It showed no compassion or sensitivity to the families of the 270 victims of Lockerbie… Assurances had been given by the Libyan government that any return would be dealt with in a low-key and sensitive fashion.

This clearly shows how utterly ignorant you are. I have been told by three people with very great experience of the Arab world (one of them an Arab himself), that lying is completely culturally acceptable within Arab culture. I therefore accept that this is the reality and conduct my life with this in mind. I am gob-smacked that this caused any surprise to a politician. It is more than ‘great regret’… it was entirely predictable and you must hold personal responsibility for having shown "no compassion or sensitivity to the families of the 270 victims of Lockerbie". You made the decision. Now I hope you can live with it.

You are a very stupid, naive, insensitive, and incompetent politician. Now go to your room and stay there.


  1. Kenny MacAskill has made one of the best decisions of any UK politician in recent times, and shown how backward the US is in the process. I’m just embarassed at the pathetic spineless nature of the rest of the snivelling lot of them – particular the damn Scottish Liberals who are supposed to be liberal, damnit!
    Scottish justice, because it’s better than the justice systems of nearly all other countries, holds with the entirely right principle that letting prisoners die in prison is the kind of merciless, ruthless behaviour that any country with aspirations to being civilised should be ashamed of. That MacAskill has had the spine to extend that compassion to Al-Megrahi is both to his credit, and to Scotlands credit. That he is undeserving of that compassion is exactly why it is so praiseworthy.
    Bravo, Scotland, bravo!

    • “letting prisoners die in prison is the kind of merciless, ruthless behaviour that any country with aspirations to being civilised should be ashamed of”
      I disagree. He’s dying in a Scottish prison, not a medieval dungeon. I’m sure the palliative care would be second to none, perhaps even better than that he’ll get in Libya. The man quite simply does not deserve to be free.
      “That he is undeserving of that compassion is exactly why it is so praiseworthy”
      Why? I don’t buy into this. Is it a sense of moral superiority or smugness? I don’t believe that the thousands of affected victims should be put through this. What about them?

      • I hate it when people pull the “what about the victims” card. Firsly, it is not true that all the victims families were against the release; quite a few of them have appeared in the media saying they support the release. Secondly, a justice system based entirely on the feelings of the victims (or their families) isn’t a justice system, it’s institutionalised vengance.
        Why? I don’t buy into this. Is it a sense of moral superiority or smugness?
        Neither. It’s behaving correctly in the face of agregious insult. High moral standards remain high when they’re applied to those without such standards, it just becomes harder to apply them.

        • Well don’t hate it. It’s just another opinion! I know many relatives supported his release, but many didn’t. Perhaps we should have had a “victim’s vote”. I suspect most opposed it, but I could be wrong.
          I agree that a justice system based entirely on the feelings of the victims (their families are victims) isn’t a justice system – but don’t lose sight of the fact that it is at least an equal part of it, and the number of real victims is greater than the one convicted murderer. The ones that died can’t speak for themselves.
          The vengeance issue is one on which we’ll never agree. I believe it is psychologically important to victims and society as a whole to feel that justice, and yes, vengeance, have been served*, and you don’t.
          I would strongly argue that no objective ‘high moral standards’ have been applied, since our morals are clearly different in this regard. I believe in punishment for mass murderers, above any attempt to reform them. We aren’t dealing with tax evasion or shoplifting.
          *But that’s another debate 😉

        • Anonymous2009-08-29 at 11:24

          Egregrious Insults
          mister_jack are you on drugs?
          Is that one of those mind melting “Bongs” jam packed full of G-Force sinsemilla that one hears and reads so much about these days, shown welded to your lips in your picture?
          It would certainly account for your point of view as expressed in your postings.
          Oops gotta go, I can hear someone’s footsteps up on my bridge….

  2. Although the reference to a higher power was really quite annoying.

    • Indeed. As bad as Bush and Blair getting messages from the same ‘higher power’.
      Anyway, I reckon the whole thing’s about oil anyway.

  3. Anonymous2009-08-29 at 11:11

    Well said mate!
    I agree with everything I see written in that article, and the cogent and well organised thinking behind the posting is a welcome change from the woolly thinking I see almost everywhere else.
    You will of course be ignored by the illuminati lickspittle lunatics who are notionally in charge of this farce in which we are all participating.
    Can I add a recomendation that you go take a look at the TPUC website?
    Cheers, Steve C.

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