Was Kenny MacAskill the weakest link?
The SNP could not be blamed for the celebrations in Tripoli last night when Megrahi arrived back in Libya but those TV pictures have certainly added to the challenge the party faces over its decision.
The reaction of William Hills has been to lengthen the odds on the SNP winning the next Scottish Elections from 4/6 to 5/6 where they are now joint favourites with Labour.
What the Tripoli TV pictures have underlined is the critical importance handling the media coverage and this is where, I believe, the SNP were found to be lacking. They had made a controversial decision and it was vital that the manner of the announcement was handled with the utmost professionalism. They needed to get out in a compelling and lucid manner details of the process and why.
What we saw a live televised statement (watch part of it here) by the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill that was pedestrian in the the extreme. He said far too much and went on for far too long in a totally unconvincing manner. A massive opportunity was lost which might cost the party dear.
This was their one main chance to get over why they had decided in the way they had. It needed someone in the party to rise to the occasion and even simple things, like the back-drop when Kenny MacAskill was speaking, looked home-spun.
Communication in the TV age is central and they fell down big-time. If the Justice Secretary didn’t have the skills then somebody else should have made it or else a written announcement should have been issued.
Anyway it’s all over but it’s the nature of the rough and tumble of Scottish politics that this won’t be forgotten.