They're at it again. After last weekend's bungled attempt to convince us that a "smoking gun" had turned up that proved the SNP were willing to free Megrahi in exchange for concessions from London, the Mail and their increasingly ludicrous cheerleader Paul Staines have brazenly repeated that lie and tried to back it up with 'something Jack Straw has told them'. Mysteriously, though, it's a full nine paragraphs into the Mail piece before a direct quote from Straw appears, so it's rather a long time before we get to find out whether the claims that -
"Mr Straw said that Mr Salmond and Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill both told him personally that they would be prepared to let Abdelbaset Al Megrahi go home to Libya in return for political concessions from Westminster"
- have any basis whatsoever. And do they? I'll give you three guesses. Here is what Straw actually says...
"What he's forgotten is that when I went to him in late 2007, asking him [Salmond] to agree to a PTA that would not exclude Megrahi, he indicated that he could be more accommodating if I could offer him two concessions"
So, whether we believe Straw or not (and Kevin Pringle on behalf of the Scottish government hotly refutes the allegation), he is talking once again about the narrow issue of whether the SNP government would consider dropping their public opposition to a PTA with Libya that didn't specifically exclude Megrahi, and not about a proposed deal to release Megrahi - an outcome which at that point London wasn't even seeking.
Put simply, the Mail are lying, and they know they are. If it wasn't unthinkable for a government to do this, it's getting to the point where the SNP would be well within their rights to ponder legal action.