These being items of topical, local and thematic interest…

After all those sneering, leering news reports and salacious commentary pieces we’re told that Gareth Williams wasn’t killed as part of a “kinky sex liason“. Well, if that’s correct it’s no surprise: it always sounded unlikely. One hopes that the press will learn a lesson before dribbling on the scenes of future killings but, of course, they won’t.

So, what’s the new idea? Well, the Police are now claimed to believe that Williams might have died “while taking part in a bizarre experiment for an art project“. Right. The theory is that he climbed into a bag and zipped and locked it shut as part of research for a course entitled “Fashion Design For Beginners“. His tutor is not amused…

The police did come to see me. The idea that his death and his work on the course was linked is a crazy idea that the police dreamed up. They said it might relate to it but I can’t see how it relates at all.

To be frank, nor can I. For all that there was scant evidence that Williams was into bondage an enthusiast for sado-masochism would at least have a clear motive for getting in the bloody bag. Meanwhile the Police have delayed their inquest. One fondly hopes that this is really due to “new twist[s]” they’re investigating and not, say, the need to dream up yet another story.

Those of you who’ve followed my pieces on Lockerbie may not be too surprised to hear that there’s been no real progress. In a culture of frenetic, fevered news updates one might imagine that important things can be distinguished by how much airtime and column space they’re given. This is a bit like thinking you can winkle out the deepest insecurities of a person as they’ll always talk about them.

Anyway, the Scottish government first claimed they didn’t have the power to hold an inquiry into Megrahi’s conviction. Now, as hundreds of people and the Scot’s Petitions Committee echo Justice for Megrahi‘s call they’ve admitted that they do have the power to – just not enough for it to be effective. And besides, they add, perhaps thinking if no one’s called their bluff so far they’ll get away with anything, “the Government does not doubt the safety of the conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi“.

Alas, as Jim Swire and Robert Forrester note in their reply, not only was the verdict based on meager and largely discredited evidence, it was disputed by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. And if the SCCRC could reach that bold conclusion with the power it wields why can’t the Scottish government? It’s akin to a hulking bodybuilder moaning that he can’t possibly lift a weight while his younger brother gaily juggles with it in the background. Even if the verdict was sincere this is grubby stuff.

It’s sweet how papers think they’re bastions of dissent. Via Medialens I see The Guardian has claimed to have “unmasked” supposedly repentant yet still money-grubbing police mole Mark Kennedy. Er, sorry guys but Indymedia pipped you to the post by a mere ten weeks. Tsh, you go for a coffee and some rascal scoops you right under your nose. Damn parasitical bloggers.

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