In what has turned out to be a predictable state of affairs in the ‘US vs BP’ battle, there has been another attack on the oil company. According to reports BP had lobbied the previous Labour government for a potential Prisoner Transfer Agreement in a deal which would see the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Al Megrahi, sent back to Libya in return for a favorable position on an oil contract.
The US has equated this ‘lobbying’ to mean ‘run the country’ and has tarnished BP, UK and Scottish governments with the same brush.
Let us be clear on a few things:
1. The Lockerbie bombing on a plane in 1988 killed 270 people; 190 American.
2. A Libyan, Al Megrahi, was convicted
3. BP is well within their rights to lobby the government for such deals as PTA, even if morally they are questionable.
4. It is up to the government to decide if prisoners are eligible for such a scheme.
5. The DEVOLVED Scottish government decided to release Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds
6. This has nothing to do with Westminster
7. There have been enquiries stating that the decision was based on compassion and not lobbying.
Blaming BP for lobbying is incorrect and doesn’t serve any purpose other than to pander to current American rhetoric. I have no problem in debating the issue of a devolved government nor should we shy away from subjective debates on ‘compassionate release’.
However, when PR interferes with such a debate, the truth is harder to find and stirs up unnecessary emotion. What more can the devolved Scottish government do, now that the decision on release had been made, other than to go ahead with the already-submitted enquiries?
I fear the US is only pushing this issue because it has BP affiliated with it.