Monday, August 31, 2009

Straw briefs against Brown?

Interesting new developments of a domestic nature in the "Terrorist-for-Oil" story this morning. The Times, following on from the Sunday Times story in which Jack Straw took some serious flack is now reporting unnamed sources fingering Downing Street.
A source close to Jack Straw told The Times that the move to include Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi in a prisoner transfer agreement in 2007 was a government decision and was not made at the sole discretion of the Justice Secretary. "It wasn’t just Jack who decided this. It was a Government decision. Jack did not act unilaterally."
Isn't it fun to watch them all start blaming each other? I note that many are still saying that because Alex Salmond wouldn't relieve himself on Brown's grave it is unlikely that the SNP government would do the UK Government a favour.

Personally speaking, I've never thought they did. It's always seemed quite obvious to me that the Scottish Government genuinely believed that they took the decision to release al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. So when Alex Salmond goes on TV insisting that is the case he's not lying at all.

What seems more likely to me is that the Scottish Government has been played. Essentially they've been manoeuvred into making the decision to release al-Megrahi in a manner that has let them think it was all on their terms. Hence we have on one side, adamant SNP politicians saying that it was their decision, and on the other, plausible denial that it had anything to do with an oil deal.

My guess is that this story will continue to have legs for the next few days at least now that unnamed source closed to Straw (we all know what that really means) have starting briefing that Downing Street was involved in certain decisions that Straw has taken the flack for. It's going to be interesting to see how Downing Street handles the story.

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