In the week that will see Gordon Brown publicly meet Libya’s Col Gaddafi in New York we have the BBC in Scotland again running a story suggesting Scotland’s relationship with the USA has been harmed by the compassionate release of Al Megrahi.
This conveniently timed story results from comments made by someone called Susan Stewart who, according to the BBC, was Scotland's former "ambassador" in the United States.
Stewart told BBC Scotland: "I think undoubtedly there has been some short-term damage to the relationship between Scotland and the United States, but I don't think that damage is irrevocable.
"Their perspective on Lockerbie I think is that it was an attack on the United States and on their citizens, which makes the anger and the hurt that many Americans feel very real.
"So, yes there has been a problem but not one I think that we can't get past."
Stewart’s comments were reported on Monday’s Good Morning Scotland by Glenn Campbell who had already been despatched by the BBC to New York. They also appeared on the BBC Scotland website and have featured in news items throughout the day.
However it is an altogether different ‘special’ relationship that has led to suspicion that all is not as it appears.
Ms Stewart’s official title was not that of ‘ambassador’ but rather Secretary for Scottish Affairs, she was based at the British embassy in Washington until the role ended in 2005. Susan Stewart was appointed to this role in 2001 by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish.
The connections to Scottish Labour do not end there, for Newsnet Scotland can reveal that Susan Stewart is also the former chief press officer to one ....... Jack McConnell, a role she occupied when he was education minister.
Furthermore Stewart’s partner at the time was Jeanne Freeman, who was a special adviser to McConnell after he became the First Minister and was one of his most trusted aides.
Jack McConnell is just one of many Unionist politicians who have attempted to politicise the Megrahi decision and who have embraced the opportunity to falsely claim international outrage at the decision. McConnell even went as far as to suggest that the decision had “shamed Scotland”, flying in the face of statements of support from many respected figures within the international community.
Of course, Newsnet Scotland would never dream of suggesting that this story has been contrived and carefully timed in order to once again deflect attention away from Labour’s 'dodgy' deals with Gaddafi and onto the Scottish Government.
We would also never suggest that the BBC are only too happy to continue to promote the myth that the release of Al Megrahi has caused a significant backlash against Scotland in the USA and damaged relations between the two nations.
Others though may take a different view.
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