Ensconced in Washington, David Cameron will have taken some flak for the Lockerbie bomber’s compassionate release, for which he has the perfect riposte: terrible business, but nothing to do with me.
His second line of defence is constitutionally watertight: the decision was Holyrood’s alone. The Lockerbie Papers suggest that al-Megrahi’s inclusion in a Prisoner Transfer Agreement was a precondition of any deal between the UK and Libyan governments, as Saif al-Islam Gadaffi maintains. That PTA overrode Scottish jurisdiction; the SNP could have forced the Labour government into a corner. Yet Salmond and McAskill bid for a moment of pious glory on and proclaimed that the free Megrahi would answer to a higher authority shortly. Well, Allah’s been none too complaint.