I am the only person who finds it utterly bizarre that even the BBC is now linking the Al-Megrahi release to BP in headlines? Everybody knows the Scottish government had no contact with BP and the Americans are confused because that company DID make approaches to the British govenrment. The Americans cannot tell the difference between Scotland and the UK, but there is no excuse for our own media. This confused conspiracy seems to have entered the mainstream by dint of repetition. The Scottish goverment's denials almost seem to give substance to it.
This surely calls for an idiots' guide
BP and other businesses lobbied the British Labour Government on Libyan access.
The British Labour Government offered Libya a prison transfer deal in return for business access.
The British Labour government and the Scotland SNP government at the time were bitter rivals. Labour in London would not speak to the SNP in Edinburgh.
Only the Scottish government can rule on Scottish justice matters.
The SNP government publicly rejected the prisoner transfer deal in a move that brought it considerable popular and press support in 2007.
The SNP had absolutely NOTHING TO GAIN politically or materially from releasing the bomber.
In a way I wish Kenny MacAskill, or even better Alex Salmond, had gone to America to explain these points to the (delibrately?) confused senators and point the finger at Straw, Blair et al. Perhaps the SNP should have done a Galloway and made up for David Cameron trashing us before the world. Flat denial is all very well, but sometimes it is not enough. It looks defensive. Sometimes you have to keep shouting the name of the guilty party - in this case the UK Westminster government who under both Labour and the coalition are doing deals with Libya. Keep pointing at their soiled hands. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. That's what Labour would do.
But Mr MacAskill is not going to Washington. In that case perhaps the government ought to be more bullish in defending its decision. The following is a post from a prominent Liberal Democrat facebook friend which has been getting a tremendous response:
"It would be a jolly wheeze to recall the Scottish Parliament and invite the US Senators to attend an inquiry next week. Its topic would be why these Senators think that they have the right to play at being nineteenth century imperialists and interfere in the judicial system of other states in order to grandstand for a domestic audience. This is not an anti-US idea. It is an anti-megalomania idea."
A more detailed guide to Lockerbie for Americans has been penned by Alex Massie. See my last post for more on Libya, Cameron and hypocrisy. Note the British PM is STILL supportive of the prisoner transfer agreement with Libya while trashing Scotland for releasing Gaddafi's man.