[This is the headline over an article in today's edition of The Press and Journal by columnist Nicola Barry. It reads in part:]
You have to hand it to Alex Salmond. Yes, OK, at times the first minister can be loud, irritating, bumptious even, but, when the knives are out and the going gets tough, he is never afraid to stick his head above the parapet.
Scotland’s first minister has delivered a right royal raspberry to the US over the al Megrahi and BP affair. Not before time. Instead of skulking around, furiously passing the buck like many of his colleagues, Mr Salmond has said “no” to America.
No, we will not obey. No, the justice secretary will not go to America for a grilling in front of a Senate committee. Neither will Alex Salmond. There will be no grilled Salmond on the menu.
Now, had it been Tony Blair, our former prime minister, things would have been different. Mr Blair would have been at Heathrow Airport, in an instant, tail wagging furiously, on his way to Washington. Not for nothing was old Tone known as Bush’s poodle.
Alex Salmond is no one’s poodle. Rottweiler, maybe, but never a poodle. (...)
When a small country such as Scotland, with a remit as big as the al Megrahi decision, made a compassionate choice, America chose to vilify us.
In all the criticisms of the Scottish Government over the Megrahi decision, none of the American politicians has so much as mentioned the possibility of a miscarriage of justice. Why not? Because the truth does not interest them.
The wonderful Mr Salmond said there was no way the Senate foreign relations committee would be allowed to hold hearings or interview ministers in either London or Edinburgh, as it was unconstitutional and unprecedented.
He also said that the Scottish and UK governments had already answered the committee's questions by letter and supplied all the relevant documents related to al Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds. (...)
I doubt we will ever know the ins and outs of Tony Blair’s deal with Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi in the desert, back in 2004, but the fallout from that meeting lingers on into this present crisis.
Scotland, a small country, has been singled out by the US so that certain politicians over there can flex their muscles at our expense. This has gone on for some time now.
Kenny MacAskill showed a great deal of integrity by refusing to buckle under intense international pressure. He made a difficult, controversial decision off his own bat. And, by the way, the fact that an unruly bunch of Saltire-waving Libyans greeted al Megrahi on his return home has nothing to do with the Scottish Government. Also, it has to be said that the justice secretary proved Scotland was very capable of independence, because we made our own decision in the devolved area of criminal justice, and stuck to our guns.
Therefore, I respect Alex Salmond, our occasionally pugnacious first minister, for getting on his high horse and telling the US Senate that he will not be dispatching members of his government to Washington to be grilled by senators who, let’s be honest, sense there is blood in the water.
[In The Herald a letter from Jo Greenhorn headed "Leaders should be vociferous in condemning American interference in our sovereign affairs" reads as follows:]
For how much longer will the parliaments at Westminster and Holyrood tolerate interference in British and Scottish affairs by the United States?
When will we hear public condemnation of recent US behaviour from every single party leader at Westminster, including the Prime Minister, and from all opposition leaders at Holyrood? It really is time the gloves came off.
The US has now crossed many lines in what we know is nothing more than a blatant attempt by four insignificant politicians there to use the recent oil spill, and the involvement of BP in that matter, to rustle up some votes ahead of their elections later this year.
They are now breaching not only diplomatic protocol but sailing dangerously close to disregarding the right of every sovereign country, under UN regulations, to manage its own business. What next? Will they invade?
The Herald is to be congratulated for supporting the approach taken by Alex Salmond in dealing with the increasingly bizarre behaviour of the US in a recent powerful editorial on the subject.
It is a pity Iain Gray, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott would not do the same, regardless of their feelings about the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi last year. This is no time for party politics, and their silence is something all Scots should view with alarm. Ultimately, they should condemn outright what the US is doing by openly interfering in British and Scottish business. They should also be supporting calls from The Herald and elsewhere for a full investigation into Lockerbie.
If the Americans want an inquiry, let’s give them one, but let’s make it worthwhile. Let’s investigate Lockerbie from start to finish, including the public doubts expressed by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission regarding Megrahi’s original trial and conviction. Megrahi’s appeal may be gone but the findings of the SCCRC are still on record and they will not go away.