Saturday, 22 August 2009

Tainted Tripoli Homecoming?

Shortly after The US Secretary of State got back home from her African Safari, sections of the press here in Scotland reported her phonecall to Kenny MacAskill, asking him to "keep Megrahi in jail".

More pressure followed from the US Congress, but the Scottish Justice secretary stood his ground and last week went ahead with the compassionate release of the Libyan prisoner who was jailed for the Lockerbie bombing.

Since MacAskill's announcement on Thursday, it has dominated the news cycle in the UK and US. Everyone from the America politicians to local opposition parties, seems to have found a whipping boy in the SNP led Scottish government. And there's a lot being said about the extra judicial considerations that came to play in making this decision.

But I pity the Scots, in that while the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in Westminster normally deals with foreign governments and the fallouts of such dealings, it was the devolved Scottish Government in Edinburgh taking the flak for this on going row as they deal with all legal matters in Scotland.

There has even been talk of the Libyans trying to influence London & Edinburgh ahead of Megrahi's release, by promising lucrative oil deals to the British whose oil industry revolves around the Scottish port of Aberdeen . If true, it appears economic oil interests have trumped diplomatic relations with Washington.

But deny it all they want, such allegations refuse to go way. After all, was it not the former British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerson who said nations “have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests” ?

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