Lockerbie Bomber; damage or no damage

lockerbie-bomber-release-photo.previewThe release of the Lockerbie Bomber Ali al-Megrahi from the 20th of August sparked a debate between experts and Edinburgh locals on whether the act damages relationship between the US and Scotland. Megrahi was released from the Scottish prison on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Recent appearances of the new American Ambassador Louis Susman show that the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds had strained US relations with Scotland, but likened it to a “little fight” between a married couple.

“We never anticipated his release,” he said. “I think if we ever thought we had a release, we probably would have asked for extradition early on.”

The US were trying to extradite the Bomber before the release without a positive result and that has made Edinburgh leading professors express their opinions on the matter.

Professor John Peterson from The Edinburgh University, Politics and International Affairs Department said: “I think that it was a very difficult decision for the Scottish government to make and for Kenny Macaskill to make. You will know that he was pressured by a group of senators. One of the last things Ted Kenndy did before he died was to sign a letter protesting against his imminent release. It’s worth remembering that more Americans died on that plane than British people.

I don’t think there will be any real long-term effect on relations between the United States and Scotland. I don’t even think it will have any effect on tourist traffic from the United States because when you think about it, it’s kind a fortunate timing. It happened at a time before anyone is thinking about where they’re going next summer or has made plans to come to Scotland next summer. I think all this talk about ‘this is going to have a permanent damage on Scottish American relations is way overblown.”

Although both sides the Americans and the Scots seem to have different opinions on the release the overall result is that there is no permanent damage to the relationship between the US and Scotland.  It is as Luis Susman said: “there might be fights in marriages but it doesn’t mean there’s going to be a divorce“.

Unlock Princes Street

Edinburgh+Tram+Projects+Looks+Set+Run+Over+F3wGYKrduxelThe ongoing works over the tram project in Edinburgh are under scrutiny of rules and deadlines imposed by the City Council and upcoming festive period.

The busiest street of Edinburgh, Princes Street has been closed due to the tram works for nearly a year and is causing a lot of chaos for local means of communication and tourism.

It seems that the local authorities have had enough of the slow process of the construction and are setting a deadline for the 28th of November for the traffic to be returned to the street. The Council explain the rushing up thus; it would be a major embarrassment for the city if the works are not completed in time. Also according to the high street retailers even if the project gets delayed by a week it causes massive damage to their businesses’ turnover.

Because of the fast approaching deadline the workers involved with the project are forced to work over the weekend and during the night. As the plan is to get the work done by the end of the month further overtime work is planned.

Council leader Jenny Dawe said: “It is all going to plan for reopening Princes Street, but it will be right up to the wire, there is no doubt about that.”

Not only the Trams are facing

Deputy council leader Steve Cardownie said: “It’s vitally important to have the street back open in time. TIE appear to be confident of meeting the deadline and the public are looking forward to having Princes Street restored to its former glory. They now have to do everything possible to make sure it’s ready on time.”

Mandy Haeburn-Little, director of communications and customer service from TIE, the company responsible for the tram project reassured that sections of Princes Street would be ready for handover on the morning of 26 November in time for the Edinburgh Sparkles campaign.