There is no doubt that Margaret Thatcher will be seen as a major influence on the British and world political stage in the 20th century. First she was Britain’s first woman prime minister but she divided the country and historians are yet to decide whether she was a force for good or bad although many politicians have their entrenched opinions already. I suspect we will have to wait for the still formidable Baroness Thatcher to shuffle off this mortal coil before the historical views are publically spoken or put in print.
On Saturday I read an interview in the Daily Telegraph given by Jim Swire to Peter Stanford. Jim Swire lost his daughter in the 1988 Pan Am tragedy but he has been one of those who believed that Megrahi was not guilty of the bombing and that the bomb was placed on-board the Boeing 747 at Heathrow rather than a connecting flight from Malta via Frankfurt. If his theories are correct then the likely terror group responsible is pro-Palestinian based in Damascus with links to Iran.
This brings us to Margaret Thatcher because the widely respected Swire holds her in utter contempt. He told Stanford: “She refused even to meet me, as a representative of the families, to hear our request for a public enquiry. And then, in 1993, in her memories, she writes that after she backed the US bombing of Tripoli in 1986, Libya never again mounted a serious attack on the West. How can she write that if she believed Libya was behind Lockerbie two years later? Unless she knows something she is not saying.”
I know the freeing of Megrahi has caused widespread pain to the relatives of those on the Pan Am flight who are convinced of his guilt, especially in the USA. However I do wonder if the protests from the US Government and its agencies are motivated not because of a miscarriage of justice in freeing the Libyan but because his release might eventually mean the investigation is re-opened and another miscarriage of justice is uncovered.
And what, one may ask, is Baroness Thatcher’s take on all this? Indeed are there other murky secrets yet to be uncovered from her time in office?