To have one conspiracy theory in full flow is a misfortune. To have two going at the same time is surely absurd. And yet, for anyone attempting to make sense of the case of the Libyan bomber, there is a further troubling problem.
In order to dismiss both conspiracies out of hand, you have to believe in a quite remarkable coincidence: that, separately, with no conferring and with no collusion, the SNP administration in Scotland succeeded in reaching the very goal that the British Government had been so keen to achieve — to have Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi returned to Libya, thus removing the one obstacle that lay between the UK and a lucrative oil and trade deal.
The papers published yesterday on the release of the Libyan do nothing to undermine the scenario, of which two justice ministers north and south of the border are anxious to convince us: that his release, on compassionate grounds, had nothing whatsoever to do with the deals that the UK Government had been pursuing. As Jack Straw, in London, so earnestly explains, the matter was entirely in the hands of his opposite number in Scotland. As Kenny MacAskill in Edinburgh, with equal vigour, reiterates, nothing that London was doing had any impact whatsoever on his decision to allow al-Megrahi home to die.