On July 4, 2010, Ministers in Scotland unveiled plans to boost Scotland's ties with the United States. For them that means increasing tourism and exports. Americans already visit Scotland more than any other people and we are also their largest single overseas market. The Scottish government has now released plans to "refresh economic and social ties."
The US House of Representatives has a Scotland Caucus led by Mike McIntrye, a democrat from North Carolina. He said: "I am pleased to know that the Scottish Government continues to build on what is already a strong and deep bond between our two nations." He continued: "Scotland's friendship remains important to America, and this new plan lays out objectives that stand to be mutually beneficial." Dana Linnet, who is the US Consul Principal Officer said "Scotland remains a strong friend and partner to the United States. The plan seeks to further strengthen ancestral, historical, cultural, and commercial ties in ways that will benefit our friendship and co-operation in years to come."
The actual plan was not presented, so I am not quite sure what it says. But, just as the plan was being released the Lockerbie bomber was again in the news. Some committee in Congress has reopened the investigation (it is an election year). The Scottish government said they would not provide any new documents since all relevant documents had been released. What hasn't been released are "U.S. government representations and some correspondence from the U.K. government, where permission was declined."
We will probably never know the full story. However, it is hard for me to believe that the Scottish government would release the bomber without outside pressure and influence. Many of us in the Chicago area know Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary of Scotland, and we know him to be a good and honest man. I am sorry he is being made the "fall guy" because I doubt he is responsible. Now, we also know that BP is somehow involved.
I hope this new flap will not hinder Scotland's effort to increase ties with our country. Americans love Scotland and that should not change.