Al-Megrahi another excuse for cross border snipping…

On the al-Megrahi case, Duncan’s round up is pretty comprehensive… But Bella Caledonia picks up another former Telegraph colleague, Alan Cochrane who confesses his belief that the Scottish Nationalist Party’s Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill may have been right in his decision, but the whole matter, he, rather fatalistically, concludes, is slowly but surely edging the Union towards a demise:

…once competing forces were at play, as they have been since the Nationalists finally won through in 2007, by a slender one-seat majority, the way was clear for the type of legislative and constitutional conflict that we now see in these islands an almost permanent basis.

Virtually every day, there are public rows, mostly about money, and mostly engineered by the nationalists. The latest concerns the Treasury’s refusal to allow the Scottish Executive to spend money it doesn’t have on building the new Forth crossing.

But perhaps worse than what we can see is the dispiriting effect of the deep suspicion – and plain old-fashioned dislike – that now afflicts virtually all of the dealings between ministers and officials in London and Edinburgh. A prize example is the vicious (but so far private) cross-border sniping going on over the Megrahi case.

Slowly but surely, the two countries are drifting apart. Devolution was supposed to save our 300-year-old Union. It is actually doing precisely the opposite.

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  • It’s interesting that the SNP seem to attract a similar prejudice to Sinn Féin, in that even quite intelligent observers can’t seem to analyse any dispute they’re involved without the assumption that its a “deliberate ploy”, its been “engineered”, they’re “stirring up trouble” etc.

    Maybe the realisation that template doesn’t fit the facts on this occasion accounts for the fatalism in Cochrane’s piece.