Should he have been making TV condemnations as well?
Just looking at what happened yesterday with the release by the Scottish authorities of the Lockerbie bomber I cannot help but be reminded of Gordon Brown’s actions over the signing of the Lisbon Treaty.
Then, it will be recalled, Brown was “unavoidably detained” on urgent business in London and so was unable to be part of the big signing ceremony with other EU leaders. So he flew in later and signed it on his own – an action that managed to upset both EU supporters and EU sceptics at the same time.
Did he try to do the same thing with yesterday’s developments? For Labour has condemned the release and its leader in Scotland has been ready to put the boot into the SNP – but there have been no TV statements from Brown and Number 10 has allowed Cameron to make the running.
The ex-Lib Dem leader, Ming Campbell, probably got this this right when he said “Labour is clearly facing two ways on this issue: wanting to enhance relations with Libya but at the same time determined to criticise the SNP for an American audience.”
Like Lisbon I wonder whether Brown will be left not having satisfied anybody. The Americans will remain upset while the Tories have been allowed to get the kudos in the condemnation stakes.
The fact that Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi is seen as a hero in his own country only underlines the problem.
Clearly the news agenda will move on but I’ve got a feeling that this issue will return in some form. Brown has made a big play of issues like the 42 day detention period and ID cards yet on this matter he kept aside. Is it it now going to be harder for Labour to accuse the Tories of being “soft on terror”?
There’s also question of the relationship with the US and particularly President Obama – something that Brown Central has invested so much time in developing. Could that have now been undermined by yesterday’s dramatic events?
And what of Peter Mandelson? What did happen when he recently met the Libyan president’s son?