The whole furore over the al-Megrahi release which has been opened up by David Cameron's visit to the States and the US Senate's desire to have Scottish ministers give evidence to their committee is a sad state of affairs. Plenty has already been written about why this is ridiculous - when will the US start to realise that it does not have jurisdiction over any more than its own shores? I'm still a bit annoyed (and that's putting it lightly) that Messrs Salmond & MacAskill didn't just tell them to f*** o**. But perhaps my political antenna isn't quite as in tune as theirs.
Anyway, I digress. I just wanted to point out the utter nonsense on the issue spouted by Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Baker. He told the BBC (who have called him "Labour's justice spokesman" which I think is a downgrade in title):
"It speaks volumes about the lack of confidence he has now in his own decision that he is running a mile from any scrutiny of it". Apparently in his view it is "perfectly legitimate" for American politicians to ask Kenny MacAskill to go to Washington because they can pretty well do what they like.
Okay, I may have paraphrased that last bit, but his point is daft anyway. Of course it is legitimate to for them to ask, but it is also legitimate for the Justice Secretary to decline (just as, incidentally, Baker's own colleague and former UK Home Secretary Jack Straw did). Wouldn't the Scottish Government be justified in inviting the US Senators (some of whom enjoy lucrative sponsorship from oil companies) to come and share their findings with a committee of the Scottish Parliament (who DO have jurisdiction in the matter? Of course - but they won't, because they recognise that the Senators do not have a constituency over here, and no place in our democratic system.
I think, thankfully, and hopefully, that the best outcome from this sorry media frenzy is that Richard Baker is unlikely to take his present role in opposition into government in the event he is re-elected in May and his party form the government - neither of which event is, thankfully, a certainty at this point.
Of course what he said is political point-scoring, an opposition MSP trying to paint the government as incompetent. But I wonder if Iain Gray realises yet that if he wants to run the Scottish Government next year he'll have to do better on the personnel than the amateurs he has running the show at the moment. But then, it isn't like he has much of a choice.