The fallout from the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi continues: the latest grenade cast into this particular room has come from FBI head Robert Mueller, who has sent a blunt and scathing letter of disapproval to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. However, the Mueller condemnation has not been echoed from within the Obama administration.
In the UK, accusations are being made that the Westminster Government was involved in the release, either directly or indirectly: the silence of Pa Broon is merely adding to the suggestion of prior involvement. Well, as I’ve already discussed, the scenario as enacted was predicted by Private Eye earlier this year: the Eye reminded its readers of this in its latest issue. What does that tell us?
The conclusion is all too straightforward: Libya is a country where the UK wants to do business, not least because of its oil reserves. Colonel Gaddafi wants his country to come into the mainstream. The USA is still a world power, but its influence over time over the UK is in decline: more and more of our trade, for instance, is with the rest of the EU, and with emerging economies such as China. Despite all the cabinet level denials, the release of al-Megrahi will lubricate the wheels of commerce: ultimately, this whole business is about, er, business.
Meanwhile, there is an internal Scottish dispute brewing on the sidelines: former First Minister Jack McConnell has roundly condemned the release, but then, he would, wouldn’t he? Labour have the small matter of an upcoming by-election, with former Speaker Martin’s seat up for grabs, and the SNP the main opposition.
Routine business, routine politics: nothing much changes.