Currer Ball goes undercover for Politics on Toast
A long, long time ago, in a political planet far, far away, Kenny MacAskill (Scottish Justice Secretary), said that Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi (Lockerbie bomber), was ‘going home to die’. But as of today, Saturday 20 August 2011, that was 2 years ago. Currer was beginning to have some doubts. And so, the investigative journalist in me hightailed it to Libya for some sun, sea, and fact-finding. Going home to die? As you can see from the following exclusive, explosive exposé, al-Megrahi’s done a lot more besides.
Day 1, 09.02: Currer disembarks Air Libya jet. I could swear that I see al-Megrahi unloading the plane’s cargo. A fellow passenger expresses surprise at the ease with which the terminally ill patient handles our heavy baggage. ‘I’m shocked that he’d be doing such a physically demanding job,’ said the tourist. ‘Mind, he does have affinity with luggage on aircraft.’
Day 1, 10.55: Currer checks into hotel. Spacious room, ethnic décor, no minibar. I turn on the telly, and would you believe it?! It’s only al-Megrahi on the Libyan version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ With half a million dinar on the board, Al-Megrahi decides not to gamble. ‘I’m going to take the money,’ he says. ‘I’ve got my retirement to think about.’
Day 1, 14.46: Currer feeling peckish. I swing by the grocers. Shock! Horror! Al-Megrahi’s at the till, buying 3 oranges and a grapefruit. He declines the offer of a carrier bag and proceeds to juggle them home, while whistling ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra. The store manager cogitates, ‘He lives to love and loves to live. And he’s our best customer! I can only assume that the vitamin C’s good for the cancer.’
Day 1, 17.21: Currer tipped off by confidential source to ‘get down to EMI Libya headquarters for something special!’ But nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was about to witness: Al-Megrahi recording the Libyan national football team’s official song for the 2011 African Cup of Nations. The vocal producer said that Al-Megrahi ‘really threw himself into the rap’, before adding that the song’s ‘catchy, anthemic, and inspiring’.
Day 2, 09.12: Currer awakes feeling invigorated, and heads down to local leisure centre. Mine and al-Megrahi’s paths cross on the climbing wall, where the convicted mass murderer shows off his abseiling skills. A fellow all-action enthusiast said, ‘He was having a whale of a time! I could make out his Cheshire Cat smile behind the trademark swine flu mask.’
Day 2, 14.37: Currer channel hopping back at hotel room. For the second time in 2 days, I spy al-Megrahi on telly! And it’s only Celebrity Come Dine with Me! He dedicates his main course of haggis, neeps, and tatties to ‘my friends Kenny MacAskill and Alex Salmond’. One fellow contestant said that the ‘haggis was delectable’. Another enthused, ‘I hadn’t realised that a country capable of such dire political decision-making could create a dish so delicious. And the citrus salad? A masterstroke! . . . I give Abdelbaset 10 out of 10!’
Day 2, 18.09: Another of Currer’s Libyan contacts comes good: ‘Get down town to Libya’s State-owned film studios, stat!’ I heed the advice, and behold! Al-Megrahi’s on set, starring in a new film about his life and death . . . I mean, his life.
And on that cinematic bombshell, my fact-finding mission comes to a close. But rumour has it, we’ll all be seeing more of al-Megrahi soon: apparently, the Lockerbie bomber might return to British soil to abseil for Libya at the 2012 Olympics. Or maybe not – I’ve heard that the pole vault is more his thing.