Will the Queen be sending a telegram to Abdel Basset al Megrahi when he reaches a hundred?
Has this man no decency? Doesn’t he realise that by clinging on to life he is daily destroying the credibility of our own Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill. Tony Blair - whose ‘deal in the desert’ with the Libyan dictator began the process that led to Megrahi’s release - is in the dock of American opinion. I mean, sales of Blair’s autobiography, The Journey, could seriously be affected. If only Megrahi could see the distress he’s causing I’m sure he’d top himself.
Instead, there he is laughing all the way to the cancer ward. Shaking his stick at the Brits for being so dumb-assed as to accept medical advice about the course of his terminal disease. Dr Karol Sikora, the cancer specialist who said that Megrahi had three months to life, now says he wishes “had been more vague”. An interesting response which will not doubt be highly reassuring to British cancer patients.
“OK doc. Tell me it straight: How long have I got?”
“Well, it really depends. Do you perhaps have any links with North African dictatorships? Does BP have any oil interests in your area? In which case I would say that you could live anything from three months to whenever.”
But hang on. Aren’t we looking at all this too negatively? Megrahi’s longevity is surely a miracle of modern medical science. Clearly, something in Libya suppresses the impact of terminal disease, slows the onset of prostrate cancer. Perhaps it’s something in the air or the diet. Instead of moaning, we should be packing off our pensioners to Libya to give them an extra few years of life. Instead of eventide homes in bleak Rothesay they could be sunning themselves in Tripoli and enjoying many happy extra years.
At a time of economic austerity, when Britain is looking for ways of cutting the cost of elderly care, this could literally be a lifeline. We could channel payments direct to the Libyan government under a cash-for-care scheme run by ex members of the Provisional IRA. It would add a new dimension to trade with Libya, which has of course boomed since al Megrahi’s release.
Forget longevity, here are the only figures that count: British exports to Libya are up 51% at £600 million since the Lockerbie bomber was repatriated. US trade with the dictatorship has risen ten fold, which may explain why the American government has been talking tough and carrying a small stick.
So, when will the Lockerbie families get the message? They got money from Gadaffy too didn't’ they? Forget the terrorism thing. It’s nothing personal. Just business.