Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Leadership and Courage - or not!

Gordon Brown has been found out. He's been indicating to the US that he thought the evil Lockerbie bomber should not have been released, while he and his Government have been making it clear to the Libyans that this terrorist should not be left to die in a British jail. It was bad enough that he should have been released. But I dread to think what the US political leadership will think of Gordon Brown and his Government now - or what political and economic damage it will do to the trans-Atlantic relationship. And even now, when the duplicity has been exposed, the Prime Minister of Britain is not prepared to express an opinion on the matter. How's that for leadership and courage.


TechSlice said...

How can Libya "demand" the release of a convicted terrorist?

tcoah said...

Pan AM Flight 103 blew up on December 21, 1988 and its wreckage crashed over Lockerbie with the loss over 200 innocent lives including several villagers on the ground.

An American I work with graduated from Syracuse University in New York. After seeing the dreadful scenes of triumphant glee broadcast from Libya he told me that thirty five students from his university were on Flight 103.

What else could I do but explain to him that even though the UK (Scotland) released the convicted terrorist, his release went against the fiber and grain of the vast majority of ordinary Welsh folks; that he and other Americans should not think that the majority of ordinary people of Wales and Britain had anything to do with those scenes of triumphant glee that met the terrorist on landing in Libya.

But I can not come close to telling my fellow Welshmen and women how much those dreadful scenes shocked and deeply troubled ordinary Americans; a situation not helped when Americans see and hear extreme Brits acting like vipers with anti-American letters and speeches with no letup even when ordinary Americans are feeling down and confused.

Please let ordinary Americans know that you care about them and stand with them. Write to the Western Mail asking them to set up a guest book (online and at the Western Mail’s offices in Cardiff) to enable ordinary Welsh people to leave their heart felt comments and show their support for ordinary Americans in this time of great stress and confusion.

The Welsh Assembly Government and Local Welsh councils up and down the land should give serious consideration to providing the same to give the vast majority of ordinary Welsh people the chance to stand together and say with one voice that they deeply care about what has happened.

I’m sure that ordinary Americans would be greatly comforted to learn that the vast majority of ordinary Welsh people care about them and stand with them.

Anonymous said...

The Telegraph reports that Lord Mandelson has been accused of secretly lobbying for the interests of Libya at the time of its alleged deal to exchange the Lockerbie bomber for favourable trade deals. Sources in the European Commission have said that nearly a year after Lord Mandelson stepped down as European Trade Commissioner to return to the Cabinet, he has continued to personally push his successor, Baroness Ashton, for a new and quick EU trade deal with Libya.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Alex Salmon. Whatever your view on the release of the Lockerbie Bomber it is ridiculous and hypocritical for the Scottish Labour Party at Holyrood to be tabling a motion for debate attacking the SNP government over the issue when documentation clearly shows the Labour party hierarchy supporting the decision.

Glyn Davies said...

TechSlice - Libya demanded because it thought its demands, backed up by unspoken threats would pay dividends.

Tcoah - I only write a blog, but I'm happy that Americans know that I consider the release of a terrorist who murdered 270 innocents to be shameful - and the celebrations of that release in Libya as repugnant to all 'compassionate' people.

Roman - This is exactly what I would have expected from Peter Mandelson - and its what Ministers can do when there si no leadership from the top.

Anon - I agree with this. It is now clear that Labour at Westminster wanted the mass murderer to be released. It is only the Prime Minister's silence that has given Scottish Labour the opportunity to oppose the SNP decision, and create total confusion in what passes for a governing party.

Anonymous said...

There is now strong talk inside the beltway (the 495 freeway that circles Washington, DC metro area) that sanctions should be imposed on the UK. Senator Chuck Schumer of the Democratic party has voiced his support for such sanctions and also Senators in the GOP.

There's a distinct possibility that BP plc will lose its operating licence in the Gulf of Mexico - that this is the price the UK will pay for the release of a certain convicted terrorist.

This will be a very heavy price to save UK-US special relationship.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I very much hope that this sort of thing does not happen. Its not surprising that there is an angry response, and there is some deeply regrettable anti-American response to the response. Releasing the mass murderer was a bad mistake, but I hope we can 'move on' as is the much used expression.

Anonymous said...

I do hope the USA do start boycotting 'Scottish' exports and events; but no doubt we shall all be tarnished by the same brush as most Americans don't have a clue about the subtleties of the UK constitution. I wouldn't worry about BP losing the Gulf of Mexico deal, as I'm sure Brown and Mandelson have found them a nice cushy patch of Libyan desert to compensate. Blood money!

Anonymous said...

Glyn> Gadaffi will be in NYC and NJ to attend a UN meeting. So the release of the convicted terrorist will remain in the news. If Congress acts to pass a law negating BP licences then by operation of law all contractors and businesses dealing with BP who have contracts with BP will suddenly find, under operation of U.S. contract law, that said contracts will be 'null and void' and BP will not have recourse in U.S. courts to seek compensation.

If the House/Senate so acts, and President Obama does not veto, BP's operating licence(s) will be worthless and BP will have to sell their operations in, e.g., the Gulf of Mexico.

Such an overt act would be deemed a political act, but I can tell you right now, if this puts a stop to the massive anger in the US (which is going to be aggravated by Gadaffi's upcoming visit) then maybe it’s a price worth paying.

In the alternative, Congress might act to reduce or withdraw work-visa privileges from British workers in the USA, and might even pull the plug on British held Green Cards.

If the ballooning anger is not controlled there will no longer be a UK-USA special relationship. If this happens, there will be many downsides for the UK, and American investment in the UK (which includes Wales), and British companies may find it harder to get deals signed in the USA.

In a single stroke Gordon Brown has done great damage to UK-USA interests.

Hardly anyone knew who Gordon Brown was in the USA – now he is a lot better known but not for good reasons. More worrying is that thanks to Gordon Brown the UK is concomitantly viewed in the same light.

It is critical that decisive action is taken to fix this or the USA will literally turn its back on the UK, and believe it or not, but this might well serve President Obama’s interests, because the President is also losing out in the popularity stakes but by criticizing the UK in the strongest terms might work for him at home in front of an increasingly skeptical American public.

Welshman in DC land said...

One has started to one's British accent - it's like suddenly being a Brit is not as popular as it once was in the USA - well, Gordon Brown has done what few could really do, ruin UK-US relations by releasing a certain convicted terrorist and then stupidly acting like a child caught with his hands in the cookie jar, "I have nothing to do with my hands in the cookie/Libyan oil jar/sands" ...

On the 'upside' one can claim to be Welsh ... I just need to start using my nearly lost Cardiff accent. But seriously, it might not be a good idea for me to take sales calls. Having a Brit accent is, well, been browned in Gordon Brown's oven of stupidity and out of touch ideas.

TCOAH said...

Just a footnote, the letter (In re post: Wed Sep 02, 03:59:00 AM) was published today in the Western Mail but with the first paragraph deleted and some editing of another paragraph. The published version got the #1 spot.

By way of a further footnote, two on-line comments got deleted - I guess they were not from ordinary Welsh folks! The vast majority of whome stand with ordinary Americans - something that is hardly ever mentioned or covered by the media.

I wish now that I had gone with my original thoughts and asked ordinary Welsh people to post their letters of support directly to me, as I would have got at least a portion of them scanned and forwarded to key US Senators - particularly those Senators (e.g., powerful Senator Charles Schumer) who have voiced their approval for sanctions to be imposed against the UK.

One positive note: David Cameron has, according to a recent newspaper article, announced his support for an investigation on whether the UK government broke a promise to the US government (In re al-Megrahi's release).

"The City on a Hill" (tcoah) said...

Speaking now as an American (I am a Welsh-American with, inter alia, Scottish roots). Like most ordinary Americans I did not understand the decision to release Al-Megrahi, it seems inconceivable to me that Scotland would support the release of Al-Megrahi – but it happened and Americans need to adjust how they view Scotland. To my mind, there is no way, no how that American sponsors should be involved in international golfing events in Scotland. I mean, it is a smack to our faces, an ugly smack.

Ordinary Americans - you bet many of us are VERY angry. But I believe most ordinary Americans (me included) were also very willing to give Scotland a free pass on this based on the belief that it was Gordon Brown's government that was really behind Al-Megrahi's release.

I will be talking to several Senate staffers over the coming weeks and will do my best to bring this article to the attention of the senior Senator from New York and key East coast journalists. I will try speak to his staffers and try and get a personal interview with him.

Ordinary Americans - especially the families who lost loved ones, sons and daughters on Pan AM Flight 103 should know that the decision to release Al-Megrahi was principally that of the Scottish government and enjoyed wide support across Scotland.

PS I lived for a few years in Scotland. I used to walk past the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (almost straight across the street from the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena (just about everything around that part of Glasgow was Kelvin this or Kelvin that – Lord Kelvin is one of Glasgow’s most famous scientists – Kelvin discovered the Absolute Temperature Scale and to this day the standard unit of temperature used in engineering and thermodynamics calculations is the Kelvin – absolute zero is referred to as Zero Kelvin; I walked past just about every working day (which for me included Saturdays and Sundays and many repeat trips past the art gallery at night), which I guess meant I must have walked past several hundred times and I often walked into the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to lose myself among its many rooms, and it was always a great experience to walk in that marvelous hall that immediately welcomed one. I especially paid attention to visiting exhibits and if there was a special exhibition at the museum I made a point of not missing it. I loved the Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition and I made several visits upstairs to the art gallery section where a special exhibition was put on marking the work of a Scottish artist, the theme of his paintings being the downing of the Pan AM airliner. One of the paintings was huge – I remember it as a series of haunting faces in a hyperbolic trajectory heading to the ground. It was a fascinating and haunting painting, and its imagery has stayed with me to this day. I must say that I had a few tears when I saw that painting, and I went back several times to look at it again. If someone then could have told me that Scotland would release a terrorist convicted for playing a role in bringing down that plane I would not have believed them.

tcoah said...

^The article in question being "Scotland walks a little taller"