This article is reproduced by kind permission of Barrhead Boy and the author herself, ‘Gayle Miller’. She describes herself as an ‘author and a human rightsactivist’. (Her short biography adds “Scythian, pro-indy, lover of scifi and fantasy, and numpty.) From what she has written it is obvious she supports the movement for civil liberties by calling on a free Scotland to take possession of what is wrongfully controlled by Westminster.
First, important to state the obvious, publishing the views of others doesn’t mean this site agrees with them in whole or in part. What it implies is an affinity. Reproducing the views of someone using a pseudonym is against site policy, but an exception can be made in this instance because what ‘Gayle’ has to say is well-considered and sincere.As Professor Alfred Baird comments: “Gayle is right, to be an independent nation our leaders must assert our sovereignty. And that is what a national party is elected to do. It is not elected to act as a colonial administration, as the SNP seem to believe.”
Therein, lies the nub of Scotland’s predicament. By decades of colonial propaganda it assumes we are tied to England’s power permanently, we cannot throw it off.Some people rationalise this by suggesting we are too small a nation to be independent once more, the very stuff of mass indocrination.At the very least, ‘Gayle’s’ views indicate people are better informed than could be said in past years. Knowledge is a powerful weapon.
REASONS TO WITHDRAW FROM THE TREATY
by Gayle Miller
Scotland wasn’t annexed into a greater England though it sure as hell acts like it due to both Scots and their representatives treating Scotland as such. Even the language they use would suggest they buy into the English narrative of Scotland being extinguished and subsumed into a greater England albeit under the new name of UK.
What it had was a government who, in order to maintain their wealth and assets in a foreign country, permitted a fundamental breach of the Treaty of Union under the guise of quelling any uprisings by banning all things Scottish.
To this day most Scots, their government and indeed their representatives, act as though this breach is 1) legitimate and 2) still in place. Any time, a Scot, their government or representative talks about Scotland and its authority it is through the prism of being an English region under English dominion.
Greater is not always better
The excuse of “greater MP/population/parliamentary sovereignty” is trotted out as though that proves the point. Yet the trade Agreement that was ratified in 1707 by both parliaments ensured that both countries were legally equal partners with equal authority to the state of GB and that both countries upheld ALL of their rights prior to and after the signing. The English establishment referring to itself as “UK” did not alter that fact nor did it bestow upon them absolute dominion.
They have none in and over Scotland bar that which the Scots themselves grant and therein lies the problem. The Scots are all too happy to bestow that authority on a foreign country and then whinge when that country’s government enacts policies that are detrimental to Scotland and to the Scots. Instead of demanding that their own government and representatives act in the capacity they were elected – to govern the sovereign country of Scotland as the equal partner with equal authority to the state, they make excuses and attempt to transfer blame. But the buck stops here, in Scotland!
When the French government acts against the people do the French complain about the government of Germany, Luxembourg or Spain? About those countries policies? No, they hold their own to account because as a COUNTRY the buck stops with the French. So too, in Scotland. The difference is Scots have been trained not to rock the boat. Not to question, and simply to do as they are told like compliant children. This has to change. As the quote states “live as though you are living in a better nation.”
We are a nation
First the Scots must recognise that they are a nation, a sovereign nation, next that they are in a sovereign country and last that they have all the authority they can ever need. That they only need apply it. Not ask, not win, not gamble. Simply assert the authority that they already have.
It should also be pointed out that the Declaration of Arbroath was not a declaration of independence but of war. Its stated aim was to inform the pope that if England should dare to infringe upon the sovereign people of Scotland and their country that they would go to war to protect their independence at all costs. The ancient laws and customs of Scythia (from whom the Scots descend) were made clear “it is not for riches, honour nor glory that we fight but for freedom alone which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
This was no mere threat but a statement of action. Over the years the Scots Scythian ancestry has been omitted from their education and very few Scots actually know about their Scythian heritage and as part of this omission the history of the declaration has been revised to claim it as a declaration of independence. The fact is though it was the union of the Scythians and Picts that created Scotland and its independence as a country has been enshrined since the 800s. Long before the declaration was ever penned.
Removing the stain
I agree that the removal of the Scottish government from the parliament of Great Britain should take place but it should be done after making a proclamation. The gradualist approach only permits the English establishment to further damage Scotland and folks lives whether they work, study, train, or are unable to do so for any number of reasons. It also permits the English government to REMOVE folk from Scotland because the Scottish government that Scotland has it utterly useless and beholden to the English government, as they see them as their superiors and not their equals. Even with the climate conference which is coming up the Scottish government are acting as though they need England’s permission to attend!
Why bother voting at all for a Scottish government if they are NOT going to act in the capacity they were elected? Why pretend to have a Scottish government if they are going to defer governance to the English government? What an insanity!
Supporters of the English establishment and its narrative (of GB being a greater England under the new name of UK) falsely claim that Westminster is sovereign yet as myself and many others have pointed out for years this is simply not true.
There is absolutely nothing in the treaty Articles that transfer English parliamentary sovereignty onto the parliament of GB and the English ceded their sovereignty when the parliament of England was ABOLISHED in order to create the binary parliament of Great Britain. Scotland, however, retained its sovereignty as the sovereignty of the Scots did not and does not rest with parliament but the people and is enshrined in perpetuity in its ancient laws and customs which are also held in the Scottish constitution. (One can read the old parliamentary records of Scotland to learn this and more.)
The Welsh view
It was also reiterated by Carwyn Jones who represented Labour in Wales who in a recorded session on clause 38 pointed out that parliament is not sovereign, and it is only now that the English government are/were seeking to write it into law. That they sought agreement from Wales and Scotland to do so but that he was unable to back it as the Welsh are sovereign as are the Scots but that it was a fight for the Scots to take up.
One cannot be sovereign and be ruled over. Sovereignty is the highest authority! Now, added to the fact that the new English Act of Union (2017-2019) Bill looked unlikely to pass they went about enacting it in all but name. The last piece they needed was the IM Act which fundamentally breaches the treaty of union as it gives a veto over Scotland to the English making them the sole authority of GB and not equal partners with equal authority to the state and in clear violation of Scots law, Scots constitution and the terms of the treaty itself.
I agree one-hundred percent that Scotland not only should, but must, assert its sovereignty. Treating Scots sovereignty as empty rhetoric does not cut it. The Scots must act, and they must demand that their government and representatives do likewise with immediate effect.
The letter published below from Mark Hirst’s legal representative Gordon Dangerfield QC, to Dorothy Bain, the new Lord Adovate, requires elucidation.
‘Conspiracy theorist’ is a taunt regularly flung at ‘chippy’ Scots, sometimes by journalists thatshould know better. It soon gets tedious. Dare to express dissent over the action of a group or an individual and you are classed as a conspiracy theorist, a cheap way of closing down the discussion. No one can blame the Scots for being paranoid. Over 300 years of relentless Westminster deceit and planned harvesting of our wealth fashioned us this way. We have every reason to be suspicious.
It takes only two people to constitute a conspiracy. They need not be people of influence. A gun, a rope and a grudge is enough in a cowboy movie. One can describe a group’s silence as aconspiracy when they face wrong doing and say nothing, or do the opposite, conspire in mob attack. The women who accused Alex Salmond were coached, the SNP actually paying a legal expert to rehearse them. Events were held back until it amounted to circumstantial evidence. That’s a conspiracy. There may have not been winks, nods or secret handshakes, but collectively it amounts to a conspiracy.
Concerted attacks on Joan MacAlpine and Joanna Cherry for their GRA beliefs by SNP members may have began unco-ordinated and spontaneous, collectively it was a conspiracy. SNP faithful exhorting confederates to block the output of key critics of the SNP is a conspiracy. In those cases, COPFS has made no arrests.
The attack on Jewish aspects of my childhood was not a conspiracy. It began from the ugly mouth of Gary Smith, a limpet mollusc of the discredited and misogynist GMB Union’s Scottish branch. Once he handed the falsehood to the GMB’s servants in Scottish Labour to promote, it became a conspiracy.
Also, SNP politicians blocking honest dissent on the Internet may not be a policy any of them discussed, but allowed to do it is a conspiracy of endorsement by the SNP hierarchy. The SNP working with the Crown Office via the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, to frustrate Martin Keatings avid hope to prove in court a second referendum on independence a right of Scotland’s sovereign people, was a conspiracy. That it was done openly is no less of a stratagem.
The non-intervention of Nicola Sturgeon in the painfully protracted situation of her husband, Peter Murrell, withholding SNP account books from scrutiny, is something of a conspiracy, at the very least an example of why husband and wife should not be allowed ever to lord it over a political party and therefore a nation.
Those occasions are the emergence of values which require reasoning and limitation. In the end it is about the age-old battle of discourse versus method, or put simply, good versus evil. Seekers of censorship are ministers for the Gospel of Uniformity.
Is there a conspiracy inside the Crown Office of Scotland? Recent behaviour inflamed by the lickspittle, imperious prevaricater James Wolffe QC would suggest so. Whether he was a willing equivocator is unknown. He did what was expected of him spectacularly well. That there sat within the Crown Office a former member of MI5 is an outrage. One never leaves the service. You are tied for life by a code of loyalty and silence, omertà.
The Scottish Lord Advocate and COPFS is able to function above the law apparently by creating rules and identifying antedivulean laws convenient as the occasion demands. They proffer themselves for questioning in a mock show of open democracy but their behaviour tells observers they think themselves unaccountable for their actions. How else does one conclude than staff see themselves as immune from court jurisdiction for malicious prosecution? This corrupted system illustrates convincingly why Scotland must take its governance back into its own hands – yesterday.
What did Mark Hirst do that saw him arrested, journalist, broadcaster and fierce critic of SNP lethargy? He published a video. Complaints about his all-too brief video posted on social sites came from two complainers, the same as two accusers of Alex Salmond, they enjoying sustained anonymity under the patronage of the Rape Crisis Centre. The centre is funded by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government is given protection by the Crown Office’s flaky dual role. Not a conspiracy, shout SNP faithful.
Thus incentivised, detectives who worked on the Salmond case, executed a search warrant of Hirst’s home last April, 2021. This was two weeks after he posted his video explaining his views on the Salmond trial. Having seen it, I can say it was provocative, but not a call to arms. A month later, while COPFS worked on a plausable retaliation strategy – he was arrested, charged with a section 127 communications offence, hastely reduced to the equivalent of a breach of the peace.
His laptop was taken, returned weeks later. No explanation given as to why. No criminal material was found on it. He asserts that he has “lost work contracts totalling tens of thousands of pounds” owing to his prosecution. That does not cover the anxiety and stress he has suffered. And there is still a sizeable legal cost to face, the double jeopardy the powers that be rely upon to silence people when all else fails. Interestingly, Hirst has received “support from servicing police officers who believe COPFS is damaging the reputation of the entire legal system”.Police Scotland is losing patience.
How striking is strong voices so grieviously subjected to unwarranted official attacks yet have notbeen silenced. Only one has withdrawn from the fray, the Wings Over Scotland site, itself a target for multiple malicious attack. (The editor is liable to break his silence from time to time!) If anything, the majority bounce back to double their effort, convinced a free Scotland can be a better place. Neverthless, the question remains, is the Crown Office’s propensity to target voices for Scotland’s independence a conspiracy, or its blunders the vanity of the former Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC?
Scotland is a place where to obtain justice you are forced to fight the justice system.
Hirst’s legal representative, Gordon Dangerfield QC, is suing the Crown Office. Published below, without comment, his letter to the new Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain, QC.
“We act for Mr Mark Hirst. Please treat this letter as intimation of a claim by him against your staff.“Mr Hirst was prosecuted for an offence under section 38(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 following comments which he made upon the acquittal of former First Minister Mr Alex Salmond. On 07 January 2021 the charges against Mr Hirst were found to be irrelevant, and a no case to answer submission was upheld.
“It is clear that there never was any basis for him being prosecuted, and the prosecution against him lacked reasonable and probable cause both objectively and subjectively. We also maintain that the prosecution was brought maliciously for the following reasons.
“First, it is clear and obvious that there was no reasonable or probable cause. This of itself is instructive in proving malice.
“Second, a warrant was obtained against our client when the primary evidence was plainly available. The warrant application failed to specify the threats that were being made, and was fundamentally misleading to the court. It was disproportionate to obtain a warrant and the application was not framed in a proper manner. It made false allegations about threats being made, which were established to be untrue.
“We are of course aware of the terms of section 170 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 which bears to provide immunity from suit for prosecutors when no imprisonment of the accused was imposed. However, having consulted with Senior Counsel, we consider that that provision is incompatible with Article 6 of the European Convention in that it fails to provide a remedy when a wrong is committed.
“Accordingly, our client’s instructions are that we are to place you on notice that we intend challenging the compatibility of section 170 should you fail to admit liability and offer fair compensation.
“Finally, we wish to make clear that this prosecution appears to have been politically motivated. Mr Hirst was, plainly, a supporter of Mr Salmond. We shall of course investigate whether Rape Crisis Scotland were encouraged to make a complaint for political motives, and indeed whether the complainers in the Salmond trial were similarly encouraged to do so.
“We enclose a copy of a writ that we shall be sending to the Chief Constable which is self explanatory. But prior to service, we would reiterate our demand that you admit liability, and confirm that compensation will be paid to our client, failing which we intend altering the writ to include the Lord Advocate as a second defender.
“Further, the bringing of the proceedings by the police amounted to malicious prosecution of the pursuer without that reasonable or probable cause. The police obtained the warrant to search the pursuer’s home on the basis that it appeared that the pursuer had committed an offence. He had not. The police did not produce any information to the Sheriff which would have permitted scrutiny of the application as, had that been done, it would have been obvious that no offence had been committed. It was in any event unnecessary for a warrant to be obtained and it was disproportionate to seek one. As averred above, the police had obtained a copy of the postings in any event. The obtaining of the warrant in such circumstances was oppressive, an abuse of power and unnecessary and indicative of malice.”
“In short, we’ll seek to establish that the warrant to search Mark’s home, itself unnecessary in any case, was obtained by the police and COPFS on fictitious grounds. On the basis of that warrant, the police and COPFS, knowing full well what they were doing, seized items which were part of the tools of Mark’s trade as a journalist, thereby depriving him of tools by which he might make his living.”
The period of 21 days for the Lord Advocate to respond to our letter runs out on 12 Aug 2021.
As our letter suggests, “malice” in this context has a specific legal meaning which bears some relation to its meaning in ordinary usage but is quite far from being the same. In practice, what it means is that some further evidence of bad faith beyond the complete lack of justification for a prosecution should usually be present for “malice” in the legal sense to be established.
I take great pride in arguing all of my cases myself. I’ve been delighted, though, to make an exception for Andrew Smith QC, whose services we’re privileged to have secured for Mark’s case. Along with a couple of other top QCs, Andrew has been, and continues to be, in the forefront of the successful challenge on COPFS immunity that has made possible the action we’re now taking for Mark. He knows this novel and developing area of Scots law with a thoroughness and grasp of detail that is unrivalled at the Bar.
In his fifth paper from his book, ‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’, Professor Alfred Baird discussesnationalism. I have lost count of the number of times English nationalists have accused Scots of ‘vile nationalism’.My reply is usually encapsulated in the short phrase, ‘there is good nationalism and there is bad nationalism. Forced to expand on this I add, ‘Scotland is small country nationalism, encouraging pride of place, England is big country nationalism steeped in imperialism’.
Scotland has no ambition to invade another country, at least, I do not recall electing a party with invasion plans, not even against Orkney’s oft announced comic warning to secede! I cannot think we want to dominate other nations economically or culturally. Putting our own in order is challenge enough.
For the most part we regret we are not in charge of our regiments anymore. We cannot stop them helping England wage unjust wars in the Middle East. We have no wish to exploit cheap Chinese labour and then tell them how to run their country. Nor will we tell Chagos Islanders the UN’s decision in their favour is only words, the UN sucks. Chagonians will not get promised reparation or their land back. And in bizarre contrary fashion, after refusing people cheated of their birthright, follow the insult with billboard trucks running around cities stating foreign nationals should go home, or else!
Scotland’s nationalism is at base, the age-old struggle to achieve full civil and constitutional rights. Press pundits and politicians deriding that wish are expressing anti-democratic opinion, paid to do it, more’s the pity.Had England been a generous neighbour, they might have offered us an equitable relationship last century while asking us to remain in a new model of partnership that is not one of daylight robbery.
But Westminster saw oil, lots of it, and trillions in profits. It was a rerun of Churchill and Persia’s oil. So they stole it, squandered it on debasing trade unions, and then pretended they had taken it all, oil wells were dry. In return Scotland got a hobbled parliament with three parties dedicated to maintaining the status quo, a one-way ‘Union’ of unequals.
Control is everything, and everything must be controlled. That is the hallmark of big country nationalism.Gandhi put it succinctly – “Violent nationalism, otherwise known as imperialism, is a curse”.
England is a cursed nation, trapped by its delusional belief in its magnificence and power. England is busy removing itself from the world, Scotland desperate to rejoin it.
The current tenor of the Tory party is one of encouraging xenophobia and trampling over individial rights, and the laws of other nations. The world has changed since Victoria Regina squatted on her throne paid by the wealth of India, patronising her Scottish ghillie John Brown on her visits to Balmoral, awarding him the cringeworthy title applicable to Scotland, ‘Queen’s Highland Servant’.Scotland’s nationalism does not wish to belittle individuals or harm other nations.
I argue: ‘Better a friendly Scotland self-reliant than an angry one coerced’.
There are different forms and definitions of nationalism depending on the specific objectives of the national entities and peoples concerned. Nationalism in its simplest sense implies that a nation’s people should be free to govern themselves, which is effectively what Self-determination nationalism is.
Trans-national nationalism, on the other hand, is quite different given this involves one country extending its sphere of influence and control over other, usually neighbouring,countries.
Trans-national nationalism is invariably undertaken aggressively and provokes conflict, which in turn leads to demands from oppressed peoples for independence and hence Self-determination nationalism.
Trans-national nationalism involves the occupation by one country of other countries and assuming control over these territories and peoples. Self-determination (or Decolonisation) nationalism, in contrast, relates primarily to the Self-determination and self-government of a single nation and its people. The latter does not involve occupation of neighbouring countries, nor does it lead to their economic exploitation, neither does it involve enforced cultural and linguistic (Imperialism) measures imposed on other peoples’, the latter a common feature of Trans-national nationalism. Within the UK ‘union’, Scotland demonstrates many of the features, and therefore retains a legacy of being subjected to Trans-national nationalism.
Servant of twa maisters
Ongoing cultural assimilation has resulted in some Scots developing what Professor Tom Devine termed a ‘dualidentity’; this means many Scots live with ‘a complex mix of Scottish and Britishness’ in terms of their national identity. Post Indyref14 research suggests that the constitutional question on Scottish independence is really a question of these two competing identities, which is an outcome reflecting the influence of Trans-National nationalism. This is a consequence of a different (i.e. English / Anglophone) culture and language having been imposed on the Scottish people via Trans-national nationalism, a people who at the same time are deprived of learning and hence respecting and valuing their own (Scots) language.
The policy of cultural assimilation in Trans-national nationalism is combined with economic exploitation, and occupation, the latter in large part creating and constantly reinforcing an Anglophone meritocracy and hence an Anglophone cultural hegemony in Scotland. Taken together, all of these aspects involving socio-political control and economic exploitation over a people and territory reflect key objectives of Trans-national nationalism.
Oppressed peoples, according to Frantz Fanon, must therefore ‘fight for the survival of their national culture’, the basis of which is their language, which in turn means a fight for the liberation and freedom of the nation itself. National culture lies ‘at the very heart of the struggle for freedom’ and provides the motivation for Self-determination / Decolonisation nationalism and hence independence from an oppressor that is enforcing control and exploitation via policies and practices that reflect Trans-national nationalism.
British nationalism in Northern Ireland
Research in Northern Ireland established that unionism there is viewed as a form of British nationalism(Pettigrew 2016). In this context unionism is considered to be an ideological nationalism, and with that comes what is described as a ‘culturally-intertwined political identity’. In Northern Ireland, unionists are deemed to hold an innate emotional attachment to Britain, and thus approach any constitutional question ‘through the prism of identity rather than via any monetary lens’. Given the data on voting outcomes in indyref14, it may be hypothesized that unionism and its influence on national identity is not so very much different in Scotland when it comes to important constitutional matters such as Scottish-independence.
Indigenous peoples seeking national self-determination tend to share a common identity which naturally isculturally and linguistically determined, as reflecting the criteria and definition of ‘a people’, according to the UN/ICJ, which includes factors such as their; traditions and culture, ethnicity, history and heritage, language, religion, sense of identity or kinship, the will to constitute a people, and common suffering. However, those opposed to independence may instead reflect other more dominant external cultural and linguistic influences which help determine or even alter their national identity, which is one of the objectives of Trans-national nationalism (and Colonialism).
A national consciousness
Frantz Fanon noted that it is a peoples’ culture which best represents the expression of their national consciousness, because our national consciousness ‘is the most elaborate form of culture’. Fanon also made the point that: ‘national consciousness, which is not nationalism, is the only thing that will give us an international dimension’; a people subjected to Trans-national nationalism are, by implication, prevented from enjoying or benefitting from an ‘international dimension’ to a large extent. Here the socio-economic interests of the colonise rare furthered by diminishing and demeaning the notion or extent of national consciousness in the minds of the colonised people, which is in large part achieved through marginalising and subordinating their culture and killing off their language (i.e. linguicide), much as has occurred with a Scottish people still today subjected to domination through British/English Trans-national nationalism.
Trans-national nationalism and its oppressions therefore involve a degree of British/English xenophobia as applying to Scotland, the latter reflecting prejudice – by the British Anglophone ruling hegemony – against Scottish culture and with that the Scots language, Scottish identity and Scottish aspirations for self-government and Self-determination (i.e.independence), all of which Trans-national nationalism seeks to suppress. This represents the reaction of (British/English) Trans-national nationalism which depends on Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism measures to maintain an Anglophone ruling hegemony that views Scotland as ‘its’ territory (or colony) and considers Scottish independence as ‘separation’, rather than a sovereign Scottish people merely withdrawing from a dubious treaty-based alliance UK ‘union’.
‘Civic nationalism’, which is all too often stressed by the SNP Scottish Government, is defined as an association of people from different nations and identities who identify themselves as ‘belonging to a nation’. Civic nationalism may sound positive in theory, however, Self-determination stands to be thwarted when those granted national voting rights do not share the same desire for a given national identity or in holding its citizenship, as the ‘people’ seeking Self-determination and independence.
Self-determination clearly stands the risk of failing for a nation and people where, for instance due to demographic change, a significant portion of the voting population has limited or no innate desire for a Scottish identity, or hold a sense of ‘belonging’ to the nation and ‘people’ seeking Self-determination. Post Indyref14 research (Bond 2015) reflects this in the finding that: ‘Many of those who contributed to the decision on Scotland’s constitutional future in 2014 would not understand themselves as subjectively Scottish at all’. Securing national independence first therefore seems an essential pre-requisite before Civic-nationalism ideals may reasonably be implemented.
The stated raison d’être of Britain’s/England’s governing Tories is to create a ‘one-nation’ Britain within what is evidently now little more than the guise of a ‘union’. This objective essentially confirms the prevailing British political ideology as Trans-national nationalism which constitutes a nationalistpoliticalideology, despite being referred to as ‘unionism’.
Trans-national nationalism is by its nature an aggressive form of nationalism given it involves occupation, exploitation, coercion and control by a dominant core country together with the imposition of its culture, values and language on other nations and peoples, as well as the installation of a meritocratic elite and cultural hegemony that reflects and represents the interests of the dominant entity.
Trans-national nationalism is clearly an oppressive political ideology imposed upon other nations and peoples with the intent to subjugate and exploit them.
British Trans-national nationalism therefore involves exploitation and oppression of Scotland and its people. Conversely, Scottish independence and Self-determination nationalism have nothing whatever to do with occupation of neighbouring countries, nor does this form of nationalism involve enforcement of (Scottish) cultural and linguistic imperialism measures, or the economic exploitation and political oppression of other peoples. Trans-national nationalism, on the other hand, requires and demands all of these oppressive acts in varying measures – occupation, economic exploitation, cultural and linguistic imperialism, and external political control (Hochman 2015).
Nationalism as colonialism
Trans-national nationalism is effectively Colonialism, which the UN maintains is a ‘scourge’and should be ended. The desire of Scotland’s people in seeking Self-determination and the pursuit of independence, which may also be described as Anti-colonial nationalism, is a reaction to the oppressions brought about through Trans-national nationalism. Scotland’s quest for independence is therefore Self-determination or Anti-colonial nationalism which is a valid and indeed a typical and well-understood response of any people subjected to the ‘scourge’ of Colonialism and Trans-national nationalism.
Self-determination for the Scottish people is primarily about their liberation from British/English Trans-national nationalist exploitation, oppression and subjugation and hence it is about their Decolonisation. This rightful objective must remain paramount for Scotland’s people, and should not be subject to external interference by any other peoples, as stated in the UN Charter.
The aim of these articles– published by kind permission of ‘Yours for Scotland’ website – is to help broaden the case for independence, and also to give the curious and the already convinced information generally denied them by the agencies of the British state, the same trying to sell ‘Britishness’ as they once tried to sell ‘Buy British’.
This article comes from the blog of the late John Jappy. He is one of Scotland’s unsung heroes, or he would be had we an honours system of our own and the shared belief in our country as an homogenous society. He ought to be up there among Scotland’s ten best champions of open democracy.There is no Wikipedia page on Jappy and you will be hard pressed to find a decent obituary.And here we are in 2021 still answering the same inane questions thrown at us by defenders of a crooked, failed Union.For all the truth he told, Jappy might as well have been a sandwich board man walking up and down the High Street, his message reading, ‘Destiny is at hand’.
It takes generosity of spirit and a lot of guts to thank those who make the ultimate sacrifice when you feel safer to hold your tongue, watched by authoritarian governance. Jappy was among the first to scotch the myth that Scotland was subsidised by London. In truth it was, and is the reverse, Scotland pays more to England’s coffers than it receives in annual allowance. If one also takes into account the profits from North Sea Oil the sum adds up to trillions. I know of no nation that would accept this grand larceny without mass revoltyet the person in the street thinks it is not a criminal conspiracy.
Back in 2014,I and others drew attention to Jappy’s work for the Cause when he published his exposé prior to the referendum vote. What he had to say then is as relevant now as it was when he published it.
John Jappy had a Road to Damascus moment. He discovered his London masters were liars and crooks, the Labour party a gang of thieves, Tories, House Jocks urinating on people’s hopes, crawlers, coattail hangers-on and cap doffers siding with the power elite so they were offered preferencial elevation. People such as the insipid Ian Lang, Lord Lang of Monkton, is one classic example, the man who boasts of introducing a voting system to Scotland ‘guaranteed to keep the SNP out of government’. (In the event, he need not have bothered. New SNP shows no inclination to recover universal freedoms.) Jappy told Scotland how we are duped and what we can do about it. The tragedy is, we ignore the John Jappys and allow the Ian Lang’s the power they crave.
Jappy made a telling contribution to the Yes cause with memorable blogs and video posts on Youtube which readers can still view.He was an insider who knew the UK Government’s accounts achieving high office in the General Accounting Division, with links to the Treasury.
Jappy never got the thanks he was due. Sometimes, we Scots can be ungrateful bastards. In normal circumstances, he might have received an honour from the Queen on his retirement, but a dissenter and a member of CND he was passed over. Republication of his most revelatory blog honours his memory.
by John Jappy
As a civil servant in London, and being part of the establishment, I always accepted the general view that an independent Scotland would not be able to survive on its own without financial help from the London Exchequer.
In fact it took another 30 years before the first chink in their armour started to appear. This came unexpectedly on 13 January 1997 when, in reply to a series of questions put by SNP Leader in the Commons, Alex Salmond MP to the then Tory government, Treasury Minister William Waldegrave admitted that Scotland had paid a massive £27 billion more to the London Exchequer than it had received since the Tories came to power in 1979 (ref: Hansard). Statistically this works out at £5,400 for every Scot.
Silence is golden
There were no attempts to refute these figures, which caused much embarrassment to the Tory Government of the day. The facts were quickly covered up by the Unionist controlled media.
When the Labour government came to power it announced a 1p cut in the standard rate of income tax. From my detailed knowledge of income tax, I felt that this was the worst possible thing that they could do, as extra monies would be needed following on from the Thatcher era, if they were to fulfil even a fraction of their promises to the electorate. I came to the conclusion, and I still feel that I was right, that this was done by Labour to prove to the voters of Middle England that they could match the Tories in tax cuts.
After the debate it took the Labour Party a whole week to admit that they were wrong. There was in fact a whole chain of errors which the Labour Party tried to blame on “printing mistakes”. However Labour could not deny the fact that in their calculations the UK average figure, which included the high wage earners in the city of London and the booming economy in the South East corner of England (which if I may say so were the result of the selfish policies of Mrs Margaret Thatcher), the figure used was almost double those of the average Scottish wage which at that time stood at £17,000 per year.
Checking the figures
Looking closely at the figures and taking the year 2006 as a benchmark, I found that Scotland had an annual relative surplus of £2.8 billion, which works out at £560 for every man, woman and child. In contrast the UK had a deficit of £34.8 billion. In November 2006, the UN published its annual “Human Development Index”.
For the sixth year running, oil rich Norway topped the list, and won on such factors as generous welfare payments, education, high income and a long life expectancy. Norway wisely created an “oil fund” in 1995 which in 5 years reached a total of £250 billion, so that Norway sailed through the Credit Crunch.
Who are the real subsidy junkies?
Any lingering doubt that Scotland more than pays its way, or survives on subsidies, was dispelled by a report published in the Daily Mail on October 12, 2007.
The Daily Mail, which by no stretch of the imagination could be described as a supporter of Scottish nationalism, devoted a whole page to the analysis of the report which was based on tax paid per capita as against spending; Northern Ireland received £4,212 more than it paid in tax, North East England £3,133, Wales £2,990, North West England £1732, South West England £978, West Midlands £931, East Midlands £185 and lastly Scotland £38. Only the South East corner produced a small surplus due to tax paid on the high wages within the city of London at this time (pre-Credit Crunch).
It is no longer refuted that Scotland exports more per capita than the rest of the UK. In 1968 when I first discovered that Scotland was in surplus in relation to the rest of the UK, its exports could be broken down into whisky, meat, timber, fish, and of course tourism which is a huge hidden income.
Those exports are supported by a population of only 5,000,000 as against 45,000,000 for the rest of the UK, quite a substantial advantage.With the oil boom, Scotland’s economy was transformed. Scottish oil has to date funded the Treasury with £300 billion, which has pushed Scotland up from 7th place in World Wealth rankings, had it been in control of its own resources, to 3rd place.
On 29 May 2008, Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling admitted in a back-handed way, that Scotland’s oil revenue had been underwriting the UK’s failure to balance its books for decades. There is still 30 years of oil supply left in the North Sea (some 150 million barrels) valued at 2008 prices at 1 trillion dollars. This excludes the new fields being brought into production in deeper waters west of Shetland.
Meantime whisky exports, which I listed in 1968 as one of Scotland’s top assets, have risen at a phenomenal rate. For example, whisky exports to China amounted to £1 million in 2000/2001, by 2012 they had risen to £71.5 million and have continued to rise.
The economies of independence
On the economies of Independence, Scotland has also 18 times its requirements in North Sea gas, which on current trading is more expensive than oil. The country exports 24% of its surplus electricity south of the Border, with much of the back-up by Hydro Electric unused.
Even if nuclear is excluded, the future looks bright, the new Glen Doe hydro station on Loch Ness which was opened by Scotland’s First Minister last year can produce enough electricity for 240,000 homes. Further projects down the Loch which have now reached the planning stage will increase this to over 1,000,000 homes. Wind and wave energy will also contribute significantly in the future.
No doubt as the time draws nearer to the referendum on Scottish Independence, politicians will do their best to distort the figures – but all that a UK politician needs to be is a good actor.
Having worked on the preparation of UK National Budgets for most of my working life, it irks me when I hear the likes of Danny Alexander [former Tory stooge] spouting forth figures condemning Scotland to financial disaster if it votes for Independence. He has no life experience of producing these figures, he is simply reading from a script given him by his Tory chums. They pull the strings. In fact I once met a Chancellor of the Exchequer who could not even work out the PAYE tax for his domestic employees. The only reason why he didn’t get someone else to do it was that he was ashamed of how little he was paying them!
Amidst all the claims and counter-claims being thrown around at the moment, I am sure of one thing – if Scotland votes for Independence on the 18th of September, those of us living north of the Border will not lose out.
After completing ‘Highers’ in school, John Jappy joined the Civil Service in Inverness in the Accountant and Comptroller General’s Branch. Several quick promotions took him to the Head Office in London, and further promotions to the General Accounting Division, with links to the Treasury. This involved Jappy in the preparation of National Budgets, entrusted to handle the most confidential investment papers of Her Majesty the Queen and personally repaid to her the income tax deducted on these investments, which at that time the Monarch was not required to pay. It was whilst working on Government finance that he became aware of the appalling waste of resources on weapons of mass destruction, which could never be used without causing the end of civilisation. On retiring from the Civil Service he joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and was elected National Convener of the Scottish Campaigns’ Committee and served as a member of the Scottish National Executive. He was Vice President of Scottish CND.
For the average ‘Brit’ I’d wager a guess the mere mention of Northern Ireland is enough forthem to switch off their brain. Since Lloyd George and his plotters partitioned Ireland, the North has been a self-inflicted sore in the flesh of the British body politic. Swing the discussion onto the Northern Ireland Protocol, better known as a border in the Irish Sea, and you might get a curt comment about Boris the buffoon.
When Boris Johnson offered a wholly artificial way to get Brexit signed and sealed he knew it was a blundering confusion, a pudding of a solution, his attitude being, we can clean up an Eton mess later. Unfortunately, that is not how international agreements work. Within months of signing it, and lots of photographs of Boris holding aloft a link of sausages, he returns to the issue to make it worse.
The EU correctly told him to bog-off. They are still taking medication to get over the last round of Brexit ‘negotiations’. No matter how the bellicose shape-shifter David Frost socks it to Johnny Foreigner, Baron Frost, EU negotiator, sent by Boris to beat up those damned EC staffers, the EU has had enough of English perfidy and entitlement.
To the curious about this subject, they ask what is being demanded and why? The respected Irish journalist, writer and Brit capers watcher, Fintan O’Toole, lays out the circus performers and jugglers in his recent article, unimpressed by Westminster’s cavortings. Actions have consequences, he reminds us, not that the British government has ever taken repercussions into account when trying to get its way.
YOU CAN’T BAKE AN OVEN-READY DEAL AND REMOVE A KEY INGREDIENT
by Fintan O’Toole
Ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer. The Northern Ireland protocol is a stupid answer: it imposes a complex bureaucracy on the movement of ordinary goods across the Irish Sea. But it is the only possible response to a problem created by Boris Johnson. The reason it keeps coming around again and again, like a ghoul on a ghost train, is that it requires Johnson and his government to do something that goes against the grain of the whole Brexit project: to acknowledge that choices have costs.
There used to be a gameshow on American radio and TV called Truth or Consequences. It was so popular that a whole city in New Mexico is named after it. It’s where we live now. In each episode, the contestant was asked a deliberately daft question – and when they failed to answer it, they had to perform a zany or embarrassing stunt.
We’ve reached that point in the Brexit show. The question is: why did you divide one part of the UK from the rest, creating a chimerical country in which most of the body is outside the EU’s single market while one foot is still inside? Since it is unanswerable, we get the embarrassing stunt: the demand that the EU should tear up a crucial part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement – or else.
Or else what? Britain will unilaterally suspend the operation of the protocol, force-feed the people of Northern Ireland with good English sausage, trigger retaliatory trade sanctions from the EU, destroy Britain’s reputation as a trustworthy partner for any sane country and deeply antagonise the Biden administration in Washington with whom it is hoping to do a landmark trade deal. Good luck with all that.
Speaking on Wednesday, after he published his wildly unrealistic set of demands on the Northern Ireland protocol, which were flatly rejected on Thursday by the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, the Brexit minister, David Frost, said negotiations with the EU “have not got to the heart of the problem”. That is about the only truth he uttered.
So what is the heart of the problem? It is not the great Ulster sausage famine. It does not lie in the complexities of phytosanitary standards or the mechanisms of legal interpretation – all of which could be solved with pragmatism and mutual trust. When this problem is dissected, the message written on its heart will be: Boris Johnson is constitutionally incapable of accepting the relationship between cause and effect.
The protocol itself may be complicated, both in its dense technocratic language and in its practical operation. But behind it lies a stark and simple reality. Johnson and the rest of the Brexiters had a choice to make. They could cut the UK off from the EU’s single market and customs union. Or they could prioritise the integrity of the UK itself.
They could not do both – and they still can’t. The dreary soap opera of the protocol is driven by their need to wish away this unpleasant fact. You can’t bake your “oven-ready” Brexit deal and then remove one of the main ingredients from the final dish. The EU has far better things to be doing than making a return trip to the hellish tedium of Brexternity. But for Frost and Johnson, impossible is nothing. Performative belligerence is not bounded by the limits of what can be achieved. Its main function, indeed, is the denial of reality.
Reality, in this case, is the existence within the UK of a very complex, ambiguous, troubled and fragile place: Northern Ireland. There is a good reason why, in the run-up to the 2016 referendum, the Vote Leave campaign assiduously avoided the question of what would happen to this awkward polity if the UK left the EU. If you’re offering a three-word slogan as your proposition to voters, you really don’t want to start mapping the future of a border with more crossings than the entire eastern flank of the EU and a history that is every bit as entangled as its geography.
But the repressed returns. Theresa May, for all her haplessness, at least had the honesty to face two truths. One was that there could not be a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland. The other was that, in order to avoid it, Britain would have to choose between equally unpalatable alternatives.
Because it is inextricably entwined with the rest of Ireland, and therefore with the EU, Northern Ireland was always going to have to stay very closely aligned to the single market. The British government could deal with this fact in one of two ways. It could put the union first and decide that the same regime of alignment would apply to the whole of the UK. Or it could put a hard Brexit first and accept that separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK was a price worth paying for it.
May decided that the integrity of the union mattered most. Hence the infamous backstop, which shaped Brexit around the need to have the same rules for Northern Ireland as for Britain. Johnson and the ERG took the opposite decision. They traded the integrity of the union for the freedom of Britain to cut its ties to the European trading system.
It is worth recalling how quickly and nonchalantly Johnson made this choice. He did it in 90 minutes, during a meeting with the then taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in the Wirral in October 2019. He grasped it as a lifeline to save himself – without that deal, his prime ministership might have been the shortest on record.
Remember, too, that the ERG made the same choice. Over the wails of betrayal from the DUP, the hardline Brexiters all decided that having the same rules for the whole of the UK was less important than achieving their version of freedom.
This would be fair enough, were it not for the great cloud of unknowing that hangs over everything to do with Brexit. What refuses to be known is the connection between choices and outcomes. The basic proposition that the way you make your bed is the way you lie has never been accepted by the British government.
That government is now effectively blaming remainers for the protocol – if they hadn’t caused so much trouble in parliament, poor Johnson would never have signed up to it. The argument is that the political chaos unleashed by Brexit frees the very people who created it from any responsibility for their own decisions. It is the excuse familiar to magistrates: sorry, guv, but we were awfully drunk at the time.
The choices, in this pitiful pleading, were never really made at all. They have vanished. But the same, alas, cannot be said for the consequences – especially for the people of Northern Ireland. They have to live with effects that, in Johnson’s retelling of the story, were accidental and unintended.
The three-word slogan of Brexit has been replaced by a four-letter word: oops.
Fintan O’Toole is a polemicist, literary editor, journalist and drama critic for The Irish Times, for which he has written since 1988. O’Toole was drama critic for the New York Daily News from 1997 to 2001 and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. His book on the Englishman’s tendency to venerate their losers and heap praise on their catastrophes is highly recommended: ‘Heroic Failure – Brexit and the politics of pain.’ This article first appeared in the Guardian.
Regular readers – over 60,000 a month – will know this site is co-publishing key extracts from Professor Alfred Baird’s book on Scotland’s overdue independence: ‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence. No sooner had the chapter on demographics been published an hour when up popped a Mr Vince Littler to accuse the good professor of closet racism. Being an arrogant Englishman, he did it in the nicest possible way. He used grammatical sentences and good manners to convey tolerance, although what he had to say was anything but tolerant. For a start, he forgot Scotland is not his country.
I had a similar attack almost on the same day. A pious critic attempted to place guilt on my head for daring to suggest Scots should decide who votes in any franchise. “I am so disappointed in you”, he opened his ‘respectful’ tirade, adding that I wish to see thousands of people who live here excluded from any new referendum on independence.
This was an outrageous twisting of my viewpoint, one I have seen used on others, moreover, someone claiming all-comers are fit to vote – a recipe for another referendum disaster – the least eligible to vote, the damned Scotsman himself. And since when was mere residency the qualification to vote on anything? I waited for the inevitable ‘blood and soil’ reprimand, and along it came. My attitude is, we begin with Scots, then we calculate who should be allowed to vote in an independence referendum.
Without knowing, he was advocating we indulge in a splurge of voters. Here a year on a university grant, you can vote. Passing through for a conference, you can vote. You’re great, great, great granny was Scots who emigrated to America? You can vote too.
I won’t forget the moment I saw the eminent Irish economist on a television programme, DavidMcWilliams, answer an English critic of Irish politics sitting opposite him, the chairman turning to McWilliams with an “And what have you to say to that, Mr McWilliams?” His reply was a revelation. It wiped out my ingrained caution in an instant. “You are asking me to reply to an arrogant Englishman?” he said, a look of tired resignation betraying he had heard the colonial’s garbage for the umteenth time. McWillams uttered “arrogant Englishman” without a moment’s hesitation or regret.
The entitled Englishman lurks everywhere. Many hang around social sites, ready to pounce with an ‘how dare you’, and a school satchel full of newspaper cuttings to post, none of which they wrote.Of course, from experience, the wary will be alarmed that in writing this paragraph I and David McWilliams, will be seen as ‘hating the English’, the simple-minded – easy to remember slogan – calculated to close down serious discourse.
Professor Baird has answered his antagonist, Vince Littler. As he points out, in no other country would there be a debate about allowing incomers hoping to settle, or short-termers, the chance to vote. It would be taken for granted the indigenous population vote on matters affecting their lives and destiny.For anybody else – view it as a privilege.
Professor Alfred Baird’s Reply to Vince Littler
Mr Vince Littler is wrong to claim that I suggested only those born in Scotland should have a vote in a referendum on independence. My view and the view in most countries today is that parental descent is also an important aspect and, indeed, the ECHR mentions national self-determination as also applying to first generations of diaspora.
As the writer James Kelman said: ‘If you want to know your identity, look at who your relatives are’. The way people vote on the matter of national independence is in large part based on their national identity, which is determined by our culture and language; this is what gives any defined ‘people’ their national consciousness, without which there can be no desire for independence. In this regard, post indyref14 research suggested that: ‘the application of the marker of residence… is popularly considered to be a relatively weak marker that may be put forward as the basis for a Scottish identity’ .
This highlights the very significant risk in using a residence-based local government franchise for any national referendum, a risk which, as we now know, cost Scots their independence in 2014, and stands to do so again in any second attempt based on the same franchise approach.
Mr. Littler confuses the right of a person to vote in a national referendum (in a country other than his own), with being made to feel welcome by that country’s people.
As someone who has worked and lived for a period of time in a number of countries, and where I have been made most welcome, I have to say that it never once crossed my mind that I must crave a vote on the matter of the self-determination or national sovereignty of my host people and nation. Their self-determination and/or national sovereignty is very much a matter for them, and rightly so, and why would I wish to interfere in that?
Like many other Scots I am becoming less interested in relying on a referendum in order to secure Scottish independence. In part this is because the local government franchise employed is clearly incompetent and inevitably means the self-determination process of the Scottish people is subject to extensive external interference; the UN suggests this should be avoided. But it is also because: ‘As a matter of law, a referendum is not a required part of the process of becoming independent’ (McCorkindale and McHarg 2020).
The fact of the Treaty of Union and Scots already being a sovereign people represent additional important factors that remain to be properly addressed by Scotland’s national political representatives.
Mr. Littler believes that the words referred to in Alexander Gray’s fine poem ‘Scotland’ are directed at him? This is a rather big assumption, or perhaps rather more a fanciful notion. Gray’s words clearly depict a country (Scotland) where life for most Scottish folk was harsh, reflecting a period of mass unemployment, poverty and outmigration.
Despite this hardship and ‘toil’ and ‘sweat’, the Scottish people ‘love’ their (Scot)-land, and they are called upon to develop themselves and their nation, in particular through ‘schooling’. There seems little doubt here that Gray identifies Scotland as his land (‘my country’), and hence by implication it is not the land of other ‘peoples’/usurpers.
It is also a land from which he and others have been produced (‘the land that begat me’), which clearly derives from his innate and deep connection with that land, giving him in turn his national identity and hence national consciousness – the poem is entitled ‘Scotland’, efter aw.
The reference to ‘those who toil here’ relates to the vast majority of Scots who had to eke out a living from an impoverished (exploited), land ‘stony and bare’, again during a period of mass unemployment, poor housing, widespread poverty, deprivation, lack of opportunity and the hopelessness which ultimately forced millions of Scots to emigrate and leave the country that ‘begat’ them.
And here it is, the ‘sweat in their faces’ that Gray refers to, which relates to the toiling impoverished Scottish masses; these words are hardly directed at the privileged middle-class colonialist who may expect to find ample opportunity and reward coming to a land seeking what Albert Memmi refers to as ‘an easylife’ and a ‘change of environment’.
And, finally, the words ‘flesh of my flesh’, and ‘bone of my bone’, cannot be anything other than a reference to Gray’s fellow and yes, ethnic Scots, toiling and sweating in their wretchedness and impoverishment (and oppression), and making of it whatever they could – with the prompting that ‘schooling’ and hence education might provide the main opportunity to lift them up.
Albert Memmi referred to ‘colonialist arrogance’, and in that regard Mr. Littler’s remarks provide a useful illustration; in this he is seeking to claim an imaginary moral high ground, which cannot exist for the colonialist given the nature of the relationship (with the colonized), and in which he entirely misinterprets a rather solemn Scottish ‘native’ poem, itself describing colonial oppression and the wretchedness of the people of ‘Scotland’, in what appears to be a conspired and fruitless attempt to obscure what is primarily and perhaps inevitably a colonialist perspective.
Might I suggest Mr. Littler read my recent paper number 4 (,Colonialism,), in the series published on Grouse Beater, from my book ‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’, which might enhance his appreciation that ‘privilege is at the heart of the colonial relationship’.
By now, only a fool determined to be thought a complete idiot, or BBC’s scissors and paste freelump journalist Kirsty Wark and her repulsive tea shop harpies, think the Right Honourable Alex Salmond was not set up to be smeared, his High Court case a sham, all to see his reputation destroyed.
This phony, contrived episode of democracy was staged, an attempt to place in the mind of the average man and woman, and doubt in the mind of the educated classes, that people who lead movements for liberty are by nature corrupt and untrustworthy.As everybody knows, Westminster’s colonial rule is terribly benign, including when trying to wipe out its critics, at which point it is ‘cutting out a cancer’ from society to keep the rest of us healthy and untroubled citizens.Aye, that’ll be right.
The acrid stink of excreta from the Hunting of Salmond is a stain on Scotland’s political history. It will not be erased, but what should be is the dual and dishonourable role of the Lord Advocate, anachronistically both principal legal advisor to the Scottish Government and also head of the prosecution service, the Crown Office.
As the then Lord Advocate, this unacceptable state of affairs saw the short-fused, imperious James Wolffe QC become a willing pawn in the battle between the Murrells and justice. The main protagonists were First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, Peter Murrell, CEO of the SNP, together with their conniving civil service acolytes Leslie Evans and Liz Lloyd. And they in turn were aided and abetted by a supine, compliant Scottish press and Unionism’s warped sense of entitlement.
Wolffe did as was expected of him. As each event he controlled took the desired effect, he saw no reason to resign, nor did he exhibit a self-regard that might cause anyone else to avoid the fate that awaits them as the truth becomes evident – perpetual ignominy.
It follows that the two-faced and two-facing roles of the Lord Advocate must be separated, torn asunder – permanently. ALBA MP, Kenny McAskill used a recentAdjournment Debate in the House of Commons to put the case for honesty and dignity.His speech is republished below in its entirety – the sub-headings my insertion.
I believe that many of the ills that afflict Scotland can be laid at the door of this Tory Government. One that hasn’t been elected in Scotland, not for the 55 years of hurt experienced by English football fans, but for 65 years. Longer than I’ve lived. Independence is therefore essential. But not all ills rest there and some along with our demons, such as alcohol and’ violence, can be and must be addressed by ourselves. The role of the Lord Advocate’s one.
The Lord Advocate and Law Officers along with Ministers are part of Scotland’s Offices of State, enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998 that established the Scottish Parliament. It’s why legislative change here’s required.
An urgent operation
I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise this, welcome the willingness of the UK Government to assist and hope that urgency will now be shown by the Scottish Government. Scottish democracy badly requires it.
Before the post of Secretary of State for Scotland was created the Lord Advocate was the power in the land, and some were despotic indeed. The transportation of Thomas Muir and the hanging and beheading of Baird Hardie and Wilson, the Scottish Radicals and 1820 Martyrs, are crimes that lie with them.
Thankfully the post evolved and became a purely legal role. But an anachronism was built in. For the postholder is both principal legal advisor to the Scottish Government yet also head of the prosecution service, or the Crown Office, as it’s known. Now that’s something neither replicated elsewhere in the UK nor indeed in any modern democracy. Conflict of interest precluding it. In England and Wales, an Attorney General advises Government from within. Meanwhile, a Head of the Prosecution Service is both separate and independent from government. But not so in Scotland and therein lies the problem.
To be fair, apart from those despotic years post holders, irrespective of political hue and whether pre or post devolution, have acted with the impartiality expected. Modest steps were taken to mitigate the conflict of powers.
Under Nicola Sturgeon’s administration it has been brutally exposed by both Scottish Government and Crown Office actions, and with the Lord Advocate straddling both. Change is now needed and fast.
Firstly, there’s been an admission by the outgoing Lord Advocate of malicious prosecutions involving the administrators in the Rangers FC liquidation. That’s unprecedented in Scotland not just in recent years but since those days of the early 19th century. Even south of the border there have been none since 1999 and high-profile cases before such as Winston Silcott and Daniel Morgan were rare.
It has caused alarm with the public and been of huge reputational damage in an organisation where impartiality is imperative.
It has also caused consternation and anger within police and prosecution services, where the overwhelming majority of staff act without bias and free of any favour or prejudice. The reputation of the many has been traduced by a few.
It was the former Lord Advocates’ decision and seeking to cast blame on his predecessor was shameful and inadequate.
An inquiry is needed
An inquiry, perhaps even by a non-Scottish judicial figure, has been promised. Additionally, there’s the financial cost. Quantum of damages is for the court, but suggestions are the final bill could reach £60 or £80 million.
This in an organisation with an annual budget of £300 million, struggling to meet existing commitments. The price will be paid by Scottish Taxpayers and the loss felt by hard pressed Scottish public services.
Secondly, and just as alarmingly has been the role of the Lord Advocate, and a coterie around him within the Crown Office, in the Alex Salmond case and the fallout from it. Another instance, of the public having to pay the price of government incompetence, with the legal expenses bill in the civil case amounting to £500,000.
But where again impartiality, as well as competence was raised. In the civil case the Presiding Judge described the Scottish Government’s actions as “unlawful, unfair, and tainted by apparent bias”.
During proceedings senior external counsel, Roddy Dunlop QC, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, expressed horror at the situation he and his colleague had been put in by their client, where they could no longer rest on pleadings they knew to be untrue. The client was the government and their senior legal advisor was the Lord Advocate.
A criminal case followed the failed civil case and prosecuted by the Crown Office where the same Lord Advocate remained in office. Despite growing pressures on police and prosecution nothing has been spared, nothing has been too trivial, but the targets always seem selective.
Portrayed as a serial killer
The Alex Salmond case saw resources deployed, normally reserved for a serious organised crime figure or a serial killer. Yet for charges that other than for who was being prosecuted, would either never have seen the light of day or only appeared in the lowest courts, not the High Court.
I say that as someone who was Justice Secretary for 71/2 years but was also a defence agent for 20. As it was, Mr Salmond was acquitted on all charges and by a majority female jury.
Now it’s standard practice in cases involving politicians that the Lord Advocate recuses himself from involvement in the consideration or prosecution of a case. And that was done here with no direct involvement in the prosecution.
But at the same time, he had been and was sitting on Scottish Government committees dealing with the civil case and where referral or prosecution was being actively sought and advised by the administration.
Let’s recall; A prosecution was sought by the Scottish Government as the actions of the Director of HR in contacting the police confirm.
Many complainers, indeed, most, were and remain at the heart of Government or are officials or otherwise closely linked with the Governing Party.
Prosecution was encouraged and pressed for by the Chief Executive of the governing party and who’s the First Minister’s husband.
Chinese Walls and recusal are entirely inadequate. In one role the Lord Advocate was supporting a government pursuing prosecution, in another he was denying it was anything to do with him. A separation of powers this certainly wasn’t.
When James Wolffe appeared before the Holyrood committee considering the Salmond prosecution, he was frankly evasive and obfuscating, mirroring the actions of the Crown and Government in a lack of openness and transparency. There was neither contrition nor candour. Open Government this certainly was not.
And the fallout and failures continue to reverberate. Following on from the Alex Salmond case has been that of Craig Murray, a writer and former diplomat.
Now his conviction’s under appeal at the Supreme Court. Accordingly, I refrain from commenting on specifics of the case. Instead I restrict my remarks to the decision by the Crown to prosecute Mr Murray for jigsaw identification of complainers in the case.
But why was he prosecuted when others weren’t. In one case certainly overtly and in many others much more flagrantly than by Mr Murray but no action was taken against them.
Moreover, there were publications which in any other case would have constituted a clear contempt of court but that went without censure by the Crown. They included newspaper articles that were as prejudicial as I’ve ever seen.
But they were supporting prosecution whereas Mr Murray though seeking to report factually wasn’t. It does seem that the Crown has one law for those supporting the government line and another for those who challenge it.
Now James Wolffe has stepped down as Lord Advocate, replaced by Dorothy Bain. Ms Bain has an illustrious record of service and I wish her well, but the structural flaw remains.
Personnel changes no matter how merited cannot resolve the fundamental flaw of a lack of separation of powers. The Impartiality of the Crown’s an imperative in a democracy. It must be seen to act in the public interest not that of the government or its friends or allies.
The coterie who surrounded Mr Wolffe and who were instrumental in driving these policies and actions, often against the wishes and views of long serving staff still remain. In particular the Crown Agent Mr Harvie, the senior civil servant. Unusually amongst senior Crown staff his career hasn’t simply been as a Procurator Fiscal in Scotland but has included service and secondment to British Government Departments.
The situation is now critical as a police investigation has opened into the SNPs finances. The party leader is First Minister. Her husband is Chief Executive. This is a situation that would be intolerable in any public body or private company or even in a bowling or social club in any Scottish Town. The idea that the Chief Steward could be the spouse of the Treasurer would draw derision and rejection but not so in Scotland’s governing party.
Worsening that further’s the fact that all three members of the SNP Finance and Audit Committee resigned from their roles when refused information by the Chief Executive.
That has been followed by the resignation of the elected Treasurer, the Honourable Member for Dunfermline, for similar reasons.
Given what has happened, can the Scottish public be assured that the investigation will have access to all information and that any decision to prosecute or not, will be made on legal criteria and in the interests of justice.
A failure of honesty
Protocols have failed, been breached or even abused. Interim steps can be taken to separate the roles. Perhaps, there should not just be a recusal as there no doubt will be by the Lord Advocate but as with the Rangers FC investigation, the bringing in of an external Judicial advisor.
Moreover, the [new] Lord Advocate has recused herself from involvement in the Rangers FC civil proceedings. Maybe she should recuse herself from all direct government involvement.
An Inhouse legal department exists. The duty to represent the Government in court and pursue constitutional challenges remains but that can be dealt with by external counsel.
Change and a separation of powers there must be. The twin roles of the Lord Advocate in prosecution and in advising government are an historical anachronism and entirely unsuited to a modern democracy.
An horrific series of events
As a former Justice Secretary and someone who has practised law in Scotland for over 20 years and cherishes our distinct system, I’m appalled at what has happened. And I know that’s echoed in legal circles.
I call upon the Minister to engage with the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency so that changes can be made to the 1998 Act. Changes providing for a complete separation of powers between the Head of the prosecution service and the senior government legal advisor. Every modern democracy does and so must Scotland.
The failures have been too many and the risks too great. For justice has not only to be done but must be seen to be done.
SNP MP Anne McLaughlin walked out as McAskill spoke – she took over McAskill’s role as Shadow Justice Secretary when the SNP removed him from office – she presumably toreport to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.Joanna Cherry, SNP MP QC, remained seated.
In keeping with a policy of offering a platform to well-written, intelligent opinion from members of the public and professional journalists, while not necessarily agreeing with the content. Today we republish Kevin McKenna’s article from the Herald newspaper. McKenna is a well-known freelance journalist and columnist. Here he presents a litany of SNP fails and failings, giving reasons why the public are gie scunnered and supporters suckered.
The SNP is in no fit state to fight an Indyref campaign
by Kevin McKenna
The tides of pro-independence optimism, cajoled expertly by the SNP party machine follow a familiar pattern. A fresh opinion poll indicates a recent increase in support for Yes; then some leadership loyalists say the tide is turning and, in the days following, a few sympathetic columnists urge us all to unite so that we can rise up and “make this happen”. We are then urged to put all the divisions of the past two years behind us so that we can defeat the far greater evil of Toryism as practised by Boris Johnson’s cabinet of thieves.
Once, such consummate condescension and party engineering had the desired effect. There would indeed be renewed optimism and the party funds might receive a reasonable injection. Such innocent times seem far distant now.
On social media several previously loyal SNP party activists suggest they’d now prefer life under the Johnson regime than a government run by Nicola Sturgeon and her WhatsApp cabinet. So sickened and marginalised have they become that you know life will never be the same again in this party which once portrayed itself as something softer and cuddlier in UK politics. Anyone who thinks we can all just “unite” and submerge the divisions so that we can “move forward together” are deluding themselves.
The first SNP conference of the post-Covid era (assuming that there ever will be a post-Covid era) will require a team of UN peacekeepers to keep order. The sheer hatred that now exists between several SNP factions is quite distressing to behold. Hatred in this context is not too strong a word either. The malice and ill-will directed at women in the party who seek to defend their sex-based rights is especially chilling and much of it seems virtually to be endorsed by their own leadership. These wounds will not be healed any time soon, if at all.
Others have seen friends, former comrades and allies defamed and traduced for joining Alba in exasperation. It can’t be easy still to remain in this party when you see people who have fought inequality their entire lives now dismissed as bigots on social media by the salonistas and fake liberals.
The prospect of the SNP forming a partnership with the Scottish Greens threatens to marginalise many women in the party even further. Much of the misogyny and false accusations directed at them comes from the Greens, a party which has weaponised this to touch the hems of power, despite never actually winning a single, contested seat in its ornamental history.
The organised campaign of poison and intimidation directed from within the party against Joanna Cherry and anyone deemed to be supportive of her should be a source of shame for those responsible for it. When I raised this with a senior SNP figure a few months ago I was told simply: “Joanna isn’t a team player,” as though being guilty of this alone justified the attacks. It thus becomes clear why the party refuses to investigate complaints of actual bullying and intimidation by male members known to them.
The absence of any support for Ms Cherry even as a man was being charged and admitting guilt to threatening her with extreme sexual violence also begins to make sense. This is a party where women members can expect to have their reputations trashed and sullied if they dare to speak out.
Even if the police find no evidence of actual criminality over the whereabouts of £600k raised specifically as a referendum fighting fund it’s clear that a lot of members have been played for fools by the party leadership. They have been deceived and this won’t easily be forgotten or forgiven either. When some continued to ask what on earth the leadership was doing with the money they’ve been subject to attacks by Ms Sturgeon’s elite troll force.
This money was supposed to have been ring-fenced for the purpose of fighting a referendum campaign. In the last few years the SNP seems to have devoted much time and energy avoiding a referendum, while using a compendium of words and phrases to indicate it’s still committed to the cause. An awful lot of vowing, pledging and demanding has been going on. Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, does little else.
The migration of so many senior SNP people to Alba means that Sturgeon and her husband, party CEO Peter Murrell, are free to continue running the SNP as their own personal fiefdom, granting favours and promotions here and there to those who remain loyal and unquestioning.
Ms Sturgeon is reportedly keen to leave a legacy following her time as First Minister. She can’t seriously think of claiming anything significant in health, education and justice where the only policies of note have been meaningless ornaments of the Named Persons and Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation.
Boris Johnson may be missing a trick here. The SNP are simply in no fit state to fight an independence campaign and have never been less well equipped for independence. How would they survive the merest pin-prick of scrutiny in a no-holds-barred and take-no-prisoners referendum campaign?
The first one in 2014 was keenly-fought but largely civilised. You sense though, that the next one will be far less so. Yet several of the SNP Westminster group reportedly burst into tears because Humza Yousaf, as Justice Secretary, didn’t signal what they wanted to hear about gender reform before he was chivvied back on-message.
It won’t take much for even a half-decent Better Together campaign to exploit these deep and lifelong divisions. And that’s before they start turning their attention to the SNP’s chaotic governance of health and education.
The party still hasn’t produced any serious thinking around the currency issue, Scotland’s future relationship with Europe and how the Border will be managed. Those big television debates would have to carry an X-certification and a host of trigger warnings for Yes supporters. It may be that the conditions for securing a final, decisive No vote will never be more favourable than these for Boris Johnson.
In his fourth paper from his book, ‘Doun-Hauden: The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’, Professor Alfred Baird discusses intricacies and sophistications of colonialism, how it works upon the mind and actions and the character of the unwittingly oppressed.
This is a subject this site has discussed in past months and years.(Links to Grouse Beater essays can be found under ‘Notes’.) One cannot argue that BBC Scotland is a mouthpiece, a propagandist for London politics and values and also argue Scotland is not a colonised country. If that were so there would be no need for the Corporation to have a presence in the land.The existence of three parties devoted to keeping Scotland a mendicant of England, their representatives funded by London, amounting to a false democracy, is all the proof one needs to acknowledge Scotland’s subservience.
In support of his thesis, Professor Baird cites some of the most distingished intellectuals on the subject: Professor Edward Said, Professor Michael Hechter, Albert Memmi, Frantz Fanon, and Aime Cesaire. (Significant sentences outlined in bold are my choice.)
‘We have seen that colonization materially kills the colonized. It must be added that it kills him spiritually. Colonization distorts relationships, destroys or petrifies institutions, and corrupts men, both colonizers and colonized. To live, the colonized needs to do away with colonization. The liquidation of colonization is nothing but a prelude to complete liberation, to self-recovery.’ (Albert Memmi)
The quest for national independence and self-determination of ‘a people’ is invariably regarded as decolonisation, not least by the UN which retains a committee (C-24) for that very purpose. This also raises the question as to whether or not Scotland is a colony. Constitutionally, Scotland remains a signatory party to a treaty-based alliance (the UK union), and the Scots are regarded as a sovereign people, which suggests Scotland is not a colony. However, what is perhaps more important here is the practical and political realities of Scotland’s experience and ongoing treatment within the UK alliance arrangement. Just like any alliance, joint-venture, or even marriage contract, all is perhaps not what it appears on the surface.
Here we might first consider that colonial territories and peoples are usually subject to external control over their laws, culture, language, political leadership, land and resources; each of these external controls noticeably figure highly in the case of Scotland. Moreover, what independent countries take for granted, colonies often do not have. Scotland is not globally competitive, for example, its economy has been stagnating for a very long time, a consequence of resources being exploited cheaply (via the UK ‘alliance’) and with surpluses mostly intercepted and extracted rather than used to develop the country (i.e. Scotland) and its people.
In the world of commerce an independent country has an opportunity to do whatever it needs to do in order to develop a competitive advantage, whereas a colony and its people are generally held back through exploitation, discrimination and external control by an ‘administrative Power’, leaving them under-developed. In this sense a colony is organised primarily to serve the needs of the ‘mother country’, in our case the UK/England, whereas an independent ‘liberated’ Scotland would (or should) be focused on developing Scotland and its people.
In being forced out of the EU against their will, Brexit demonstrated that, within the UK alliance the Scots are treated not as a sovereign people but as a subaltern people. The same applies with several recent successive Scottish electoral mandates secured in favour of holding a second referendum on independence, none of which have been respected by Westminster.
In post-colonial studies the term ‘subaltern’ denotes colonial populations that are socially, politically, and geographically outside the hierarchy of power of a colony, and outside of the empire’s metropolitan homeland. The Devolution arrangement itself also reflects a colonial reality as distinct from a sovereign member nation and signatory party in a joint alliance arrangement.
Despite the Scots being a sovereign people and signatory party to the Treaty of Union, Scotland therefore appears to demonstrate only too well the three essential defining features of a colony, which are:
• Scotland is subject to full or partial political control by another country (i.e. England, the latter holding some 80% of seats in the UK parliament, Scotland lacking any veto);
• Scotland is exploited economically by the ‘administering Power’, and;
• Scotland has been and continues to be occupied by significant numbers of ‘settlers’ from the ‘administrative Power’, people from England comprising the largest ethnic migrant group in Scotland.
Related to this, Internal Colonialism theory contends that ethnic and cultural divisions within a ‘state’ are not removed in the course of its development or industrialisation, they remain in place and indeed may fester. In Scotland’s case, the institutionalization of an ethnic/cultural division of labour is evident. This division of labour is imposed on Scotland by the ruling Anglophone group and it associates deprivation and hence inequality not just with membership of an oppressed and exploited social class, but with membership of an oppressed and exploited ethnic group, i.e. the Scots speaking Scot. This brings us to the realisation that colonialism involves institutionalized racism and socio-linguistic prejudice.
In this the top jobs, the high wages, and the social status which comes with these things are reserved for members of the dominant elite culture which is Anglophone or (and, the qualification here is important) for members of the subordinate (Scots) group who choose to embrace the dominant culture (including language). In colonialism, it tends be the bourgeoisie native who seeks to protect their privileges and status through assimilation and by discarding their own culture and language, which in turn differentiates them from the mass of the indigenous community. Longstanding inequalities between England as core nation and the peripheral UK nations including Scotland reflect such characteristics in the context of internal colonialism.
This brings about a need, given ongoing momentum towards independence from the colonial power base, which is Anglophone, to consider the social basis of ethnic identity. There have been fundamental changes in the strength of ethnic solidarity in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, many of the inhabitants of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to maintain an ethnic identity and hence a national consciousness quite different from England. In the UK context, as elsewhere, it is apparent that ethnic identity is predominantly linguistically and culturally determined.
There is also a need to consider the discord between socioeconomic development and ethnicity. A common feature of Scotland’s meritocracy is an Anglophone elite hierarchy retaining control over the industrialisation process. However, the dominant position of Anglophone elites extends beyond industrialization to also control almost every aspect of public and social institutions, in government, state agencies, justice,education, healthcare, religion, transport, the third sector and more. Hence in the UK Celtic periphery, most institutions exhibit a colonial hierarchical structure.
In the Anglophone dominated internal colonialism reality that immerses and controls Scotland, the Scots speaking Scot is generally rendered as, and reduced to, a minor and inferior ethnic participant parroting a supposedly ‘invalid’ language and made devoid of much in the way of status or opportunity. In other words, the Anglophone cultural hegemony dominated UK ‘union’ which essentially treats Scotland as a colony, renders the working-class Scots speaking Scot much like Jimmy Reid’s ‘alienated worker’, and little better than Nietzsche’s Untermensch (‘inferior people’). This oppressive reality reflects and merits the strongest desires for independence (and hence decolonisation) amongst the Scots speaking oppressed group who comprise the bulk of the independence movement.
Devolution illustrates the unequal status between the Celtic ‘fringe’ nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and ‘core nation’ England. British ‘unionism’ is an Anglophone hegemonic transnational nationalist political ideology, an especially dominating form of nationalism, as history confirms. British ‘unionism’ might also be viewed in the context of England’s need for Lebensraum, the Celtic fringe offering space, resources and an altruistic, egalitarian, welcoming and trusting, if somewhat naive peoples serving an over-populated, unscrupulous Anglophone elite and unsympathetic ‘core’.
Analysis of post-colonialism literature and associated theoretical perspectives enables us to better understand the phenomenon of colonialism and its outcomes vis-à-vis Scotland.
Professor Edward Said
Colonialism gave elites: ‘the power to scheme grandly, subordinating peoples by banishing their identities, except as a lower order of being.’ In this pursuit: ‘the cultural processplayed an indispensable role…as a vital, informing, and invigorating counterpoint to the economic and political machinery at the material centre of imperialism.’ This emphasizes the important role of Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism in Scotland and the concentration on (Scots) language oppression. In the context of Scotland’s governance,including Devolution, we see that: ‘The national bourgeoisies tended to replace the colonial force with a new class-based and ultimately exploitative one, which replicated the old colonial structures in new terms.’ This colonial meritocracy is replenished by: ‘The great colonial schools (which) taught generations of the native bourgeoisie the history of France of Britain (whilst) also demoted the native (i.e. Scottish) history.’
And again, language appears a key factor in subjugation, this from Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus: ‘The language we are speaking is his before it is mine. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. Colonialism is an aspect of Imperialism where: ‘Imperialism after all is an act of geographical violence. For the native, the history of colonial servitude is inaugurated by loss of the locality to the outsider; its geographical identity must thereafter be searched for and somehow restored. Which brings us to consider some of Imperialism’s core objectives, in that: ‘Colonial space must be transformed sufficiently so as no longer to appear foreign to the imperial eye.
This ‘incorporation’ involves certain policies, for instance: More than any other of its colonies, Britain’s Ireland was subjected to…repeated settling projects’ (and) ‘What was done in Ireland was also done in Bengal or, by the French, in Algeria’, and is not entirely unknown in Scotland either. And yet again we return to the importance of language, because only liberation provides for: ‘The decolonized entity (which experiences) an almost magically inspired, quasi-alchemical redevelopment of the native language.’ And with that, the critical importance of national identity becomes ever clearer as we see that: ‘The imperial relationship is there in all cases. Irish people can never be English any more than Cambodians or Algerians can be French. In every colonial relationship an absolute hierarchical distinction remains constant between ruler and ruled, whether or not the latter is white.’
Professor Michael Hechter
Yet how is colonialism ‘enabled’ other than via: ‘The docility of….Scotland was achieved by the co-option of regional elites….a precursor of Lord Lugard’s famed colonial policy of ‘indirect rule’. This resulted in the: ‘Widening cultural identification between gentry and ordinary people (which) may be fruitfully seen as a product of the colonial situation.’ Inevitably requiring the native elite to cast aside its own culture, language, and people, viz: ‘The conscious rationale behind anglicization among the peripheral elite was to dissociate themselves as much as possible from the mass of their countrymen’. Andin the UK’s supposed ‘alliance’ or ‘union’ context, basically: ‘what we are talking about is the colonial incursion of England into the Celtic lands’.
For this artificial UK ‘political construct’ to work thus required the Scottish: ‘gentry to shed their language and mores to become Englishmen in fact, as well as in name.’ The ordinary people see this of course, in that: ‘The gentry were defined as enemies, not only because of their wealth, but because of their conversion to another culture, that of England’. Colonialism remains prejudice, racism, and worse, not least because to be English-speaking within the UK Celtic periphery: ‘was to be culturally privileged – just as it is today in neo-colonial cities like Accra or Lagos’. Within the Celtic Periphery this also meant that the English held: ‘a disproportionate share of jobs in managerial and commercial categories’.
Subsequent socio-linguistic prejudice and ethnically oriented inequalities thus giving rise to: ‘The phenomenon of Celtic nationalism (which) may be seen as a political response to the persistence of regional inequality’. And which is due to: ‘Ethnic discrimination (as a) characteristic of English attitudes towards the Celtic areas’, e.g. with investment capital being concentrated in England. Celtic periphery nations were thus primarily organised to be economically specialized: ‘in the subordinate position of supplying materials and cheap labour’ (and) ‘directed to supplying the needs of the metropolitan core’. This meant colonialism has rendered the periphery nations vulnerable because: ‘The structural consequences of colonial development were such that the country and the people were laid bare and defenceless to the play of the market forces as redirected only by the interests of the foreign metropolitan power’. But of course, the core nation always ensured its own advantage: ‘In contrast to the highly specialized nature of Celtic economic structure….the industrial economy of England was diversified and hence…much less vulnerable’.
As a consequence of this hierarchical arrangement: ‘Internal structural differences between the Celtic periphery and England are reminiscent… of less developed societies, which arose as a function of their colonial mode of development’. Development occurred in a largely dependent mode… and special diffusion of industrialisation in the Celtic lands was considerably restricted… and excessively specialized.
The persistence of systemic disadvantages…from policies discriminating against the Celtic periphery.. has been described as institutionalized racism’. And in this the inevitable exploitative nature of colonialism becomes evident in that: ‘The situation of the Celtic fringe in the British Isles is analogous in several respects to that of less developed countries’. And let us not forget what lies at the root of colonialism, namely: ‘When long-term differences in aggregate rates of development are the result of ethnic stereotypes, it is appropriate to speak of institutional racism’.
So here is what ‘dependence’ means for a colonised people: ‘The colonial relationship chains the colonizer and the colonized into an implacable dependence, (and has) molded their respective characters and dictated their conduct.’
This process is aided by the native bourgeoisie who ‘mimic the colonizer’ in his culture and language in order to retain their status and privileges under colonial rule. There is however a price to be paid for such an ‘arrangement’ in that: ‘The deprivations of the colonized are the almost direct result of the advantages secured to the colonizer.’
In addition to the ever-present racism and prejudice, given that: ‘Racism is built into the system: the colony sells produce and raw materials cheaply, and purchases goods at very high prices from the mother country. Racism is ingrained in actions, institutions, and in the nature of the colonialist methods of production and exchange.’ And yet an inevitable question remains: ‘How can an elite of usurpers, aware of their mediocrity, establish their privileges? And the answer to this is: By one means only: (by) debasing the colonized to exalt themselves.’
Decolonisation is never therefore a conflict between capitalism and socialism or policies on this and that, because: ‘There is no connection between the liberation of the colonized and a left-wing (or right-wing) program. The only task at the moment is that of freeing the people.’
We should nevertheless be clear on the matter of who independence is about and who it is for, given that: ‘The destiny of the colonized does not concern him (the colonizer) and that what the colonized do with their freedom concerns them only.’
And, considering that colonialism is also racism, we should not be surprised that ethnicity sits at the very core of this matter, in that: ‘Being oppressed as a group, the colonized must necessarily adopt a national and ethnic form of liberation.’ For an oppressed people such as the Scots to be really free, thus necessitates: ‘Assimilation being abandoned (because) attempts at imitating the colonizer required self-denial.’ And in this regard: ‘the colonizer’s rejection is the indispensable prelude to self-discovery’ of the colonized people themselves.
Much as we now see with the SNP today, a dominant National Party will tend to make its own ‘accommodation with colonialism’ which stops far short of liberation. Matters become clearer once the dominant National Party steps aboard the colonial gravy train and it soon becomes evident that: ‘Their objective is not the radical overthrowing of the (colonial) system.’ Here we recognise their close resemblance to former colonial parties as: ‘The notion of the party is a notion imported from the mother country’.
Middle class elites running the National Party are not intellectuals and do not fully appreciate their purpose so they will look to promote other ‘priorities’ in which: ‘The elite will attach a fundamental importance to organization (and focus on administration which) will often take precedence over a reasoned study of colonial society.’ Which implies that, inside the dominant National Party: ‘the will to break colonialism is linked with another quite different will: that of coming to a friendly agreement with it.’ Which in turn dovetails nicely with the role of the colonizer, in which: ‘The settler’s work is to make even dreams of liberty impossible for the native.’
The dominant National Party will even support colonial forces to hold back momentum towards liberation and in this regard: ‘The party elite will disown the revolutionary elements’(and) ‘The party helps the government to hold the people down…becomes more and more clearly anti-democratic, an implement of coercion’. Discovering this reality dismays the ordinary independence supporter who: ‘..realizes that while he is breaking down colonial oppression he is building up automatically yet another system of exploitation’ (which) ‘discovery is unpleasant, bitter and sickening.’
The party elite becomes ‘petrified’, unable and unwilling to move forward on the matter of national liberation, and: ‘The party machine shows itself opposed to any innovation’ to break the nation free. Hence little changes with a single dominant National Party, which soon leads to the creation of new national parties more focused on the true purpose and goal of liberation, reflecting that: ‘Colonization is a motionless, petrified world.’
And with political persecutions and goings-on we return to the reality of the situation in that: ‘The colonial regime owes its legitimacy to force (and) the native hardly ever seeks for justice in the colonial framework. The people begin to better comprehend that: ‘On the plane of human rights, what is fascism if not colonialism when rooted in a traditionally colonialist country?’ And here we return to the reality of the situation, in which: ‘Colonial status is simply the organized reduction to slavery of a whole people.’
Scots must be made aware of the irreversible consequence and danger of permitting a prolonged colonialism to continue, given that: ‘The iron law of colonialist capitalism (is) of a society that is not only perishable but already in the process of perishing.’ On the question of national development, which is enormously constrained through colonialism: ‘it is the colonized man who wants to move forward, and the colonizer who holds things back.’ Lest we forget what a colonial people are subject to, and that: ‘Colonialism has grafted modern abuse onto ancient injustice, hateful racism onto old inequality.’
And, rather than Scotland being a valued UK alliance ‘partner’, let us belatedly discern that: ‘Colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest…is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt.’ In this, the reality of the charade of ‘union’should be more than sufficient to remind the Scots that: ‘No-one colonizes innocently, no-one colonizes with impunity either; a nation which colonizes, a civilization which justifies colonization – and therefore force – is already a sick civilization, a civilization which is morally diseased.’
And, specifically in relation to the matter of the 1707 Treaty of Union, we may conclude that: ‘Between colonization and civilization there is an infinite distance; that out of all the colonial expeditions that have been undertaken, out of all the colonial statutes that have been drawn up, out of all the memoranda that have been despatched by all the ministries, there could not come a single human value.’ In this we are reminded of the place we are in, and that: ‘Fascism is the application of colonial procedures’ (and) ‘Civilization helps us locate the origins of fascism within colonialism’.
Finally, on the rationale for independence and national liberationitself, which is: ‘not posed in terms of capitalism versus socialism, but in terms of the complete and total overthrow of a racist, colonialist system that would open the way to imagine a whole new world.’
Scotland’s longstanding colonial subjugation contained within the mirage of British ‘unionism’ has resulted in an exploited land and an ever diminished and subjugated people and culture, discriminated against and ‘doun-hauden’ (oppressed)by an Anglophone elite representing and protecting the interests of a ruling ‘administrative Power’. Ultimately there are only two options with colonialism: assimilation and hence continued subjugation and oppression, or; independence and decolonisation.
Independence is therefore a fundamental necessity for Scotland as only sovereignty can fully enable and encourage the development of Scotland and its people, whilst at the same time protecting a threatened culture, language and nation.
The aim of these articles– published by kind permission of ‘Yours for Scotland’ website – is to help broaden the case for independence, and also to give the curious and the already convinced information generally denied them by the agencies of the British state, the same trying to sell ‘Britishness’ as they once tried to sell ‘Buy British’.
Barbados is going to become a republic! How about that? And the United Kingdom is going to let them, or it seems they cannot stop it. This is much more of a surprise. Why a surprise? Those idyllic, soporific sandscapes and palm trees, the Caribbean islands where you can see right to the bottom of the warm sea bed, were once a cesspit of unhappiness and despair. Forget all that postcard kitsch. Barbados was the birthplace of slavery.
Those British elites spared no one in their hunt for bigger and better profits from sugar cane. Tate and Lyle has some explaining to do. There is doubt over whether the company was involved directly in slave trading, but it certainly exploited slaves to cut sugar cane. Delving into the history of sugar and you wonder if the Tate Gallery should change its name, or the august All Souls College in Oxford should repent “paid for by the profits generated by the slaves who toiled and died at the Codrington estate in Barbados”, according to the historian of the book ‘Sugar in the Blood‘, written by Andrea Stuart.
Once the Portuguese and Spanish vacated the place – having given it the name of bearded fig trees – ‘Barbados’, the island was seized by the English, a British colony from 1625 until 1966. (Barbados was claimed from 1625 in the name of King James I of England.) Since 1966, it has been a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy modelled on the Westminster system, but with a lot more dignity. Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, is head of state, though not for long.
Longer than Scotland’s struggle
Barbados, shaped by the tradewinds of the tropics, but above all the historical sting of immigration, exploitation, and colonisation. The country got its independence in 1966. Longer than Scotland’s struggle, 361 years have past since the English walked in and imperiously instructed someone to help tighten their girdle. Now Barbados is to be a republic. They are taking their freedom. No fuss, no bother, no marches, no civil war, and definitely no referendum. When I write take, I mean grab.
Barbados, where every second person is called Clarke or Braithwaite, or it seems so, the home of natty chatter and writers who know their history, one of the finest actually called Brathwaite, Kamau Brathwaite, who died in 2020. One poet won the 1960 Nobel Prize for Literature, Saint-John Perse. Their writers do not run around in circles debating which currency Barbados will use – they have their own dollar and also use the US dollar – instead, they consider the challenges of rebuilding their societies following decolonization, the mature thing to do.
How did Barbados secure its independence? It used a poll. Scotland has not considered a poll. It should, if only to answer the defeatist asking, “What alternatives do you suggest to the SNP’s plan of infinite delay?” The Barbados poll asked the simple question, ‘Should Barbados be independent. ‘Why not?’ came the the sub-Arnold Brown reply.
A little history
Barbados has been at the beckon call of the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, passing pirates, tropical storms and of course, the British Crown, it’s a wonder it still exists. During the English civil war, when Oliver Cromwell was chopping off heads everywhere from Cornwall to Dundee, the islanders got very upset when Charles I was executed by order of Cromwell, another to lose his head, not that that put an end to aristocracy presiding over the masses.
The island’s government went all wobbly for the Royalists and in classic form, the Commonwealth Parliament opted to bring the recalcitrant colony to heel. The Commonwealth Parliament passed an act on 3 October 1650 prohibiting trade between England and Barbados. They blocked the Dutch too. This caused the First Anglo-Dutch War. (At some time or another, England has been at war with almost every nation, large and small, on the planet.)
Narked by Barbados supporting Charles II, the English parliament sent an invasion force under the command of Sir George Ayscue, which arrived in October 1651 using Scottish prisoners as a small army to beat the Barbadian Royalists. To cut a long story short, on January 11, 1652, the Royalists surrendered. The Scots were too much for them. They fought as if they hated royalist supporters. The conditions of the surrender were incorporated into the Charter of Barbados (Treaty of Oistins), signed on 17 January 1652.
The Irish connection
The Irish found themselves in Barbados. Starting with Cromwell who tried to ‘pacify’ Ireland – a euphemism for bloody genocide – a large percentage of the white labourer population in Barbados were indentured Irish servants transported from Ireland, treated very poorly. Barbadian planters had an evil reputation for cruelty. The word soon got back to Ireland, and once freely known, Irish refused to look for work in the plantations. That led to kidnappings and involuntary transportation as a punishment for crimes. Political dissenters were sent to the plantations as were vagrant labourers. It is estimated over 10,000 Irish were cutting sugar cane together with the poor indigenous slave population, the Irish all but slaves themselves.
There were any number of slave and worker rebellions, all put down by force by English troops. Even after the abolition of slavery, the plantocracy class retained control of almost everything political and economic, with workers living in relative poverty. If hurricanes did not kill them, 4,000 on one occasion, disease did its best. Soon, workers were emigrating in large numbers.
By the start of the 1900’s life on the sun soaked, tooth rotting (from chewing raw sugar cane) Barbados was pretty awful. By the 1930s resentment at living conditions and lack of democratic controls saw Barbadians begin demanding better conditions for workers, the legalisation of trade unions and a widening of wealth, which at that point was limited to male property owners.
Too far to suppress
Unlike Scotland, geographically linked to England, Barbados was too far away and costly to threaten with another trade blockade. In any event, Britain was recovering from the bloody First World War only to see Hitler threaten all sorts of new hell. Those ‘black fellas’ and the plantations were of secondary concern. The British sent a commission in 1938 which recommended enacting many of the requested reforms on the islands. As a result, Afro-Barbadians took a prominent role in the colony’s politics.
Once a majority of Barbadians held sway in their Assembly it was a simple matter of voting for independence. The Barbadian Labour party facilitated the conditions, unlike in the UK, where the Labour party is entirely set against an independent Scotland. It took Barbadians a mere ten years to achieve independence.
Come the challenge come the man … or woman
In time a champion of the people arose, Errol Walton Barrow, a trained lawyer, a QC and as it transpired, a first-class statesman. He evolved the theory of ‘liberation theology”. Removal from the pulpit for his beliefs did not dent his theology or his concern for poor black workers.
In 1938, Barbados still an exploited backwater British colony, seven black progressive activists established the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). From the beginning, lawyers were prominent in the BLP. As a result, close attention was paid to constitutional forms within the party and also on the wider political scene. The political culture of Barbados was irreversibly transformed. Grantley Herbert Adams (later Sir Grantley Adams), was chosen as political leader. The movement was left of center, challenging the conservatism of the white planter-merchant oligarchy. The BLP was an “historic necessity.”
In 1937 only 3.3 percent of the people had the right to vote – 6,299 out of a population of 190,000. The BLP became a voice for the voiceless. The party launched a sustained campaign of education in order to raise the political consciousness of the people and mobilize support. It took until 1951 for all adults to secure the right to vote.
With the BLP at his back, Barrow began a concerted campaign and strategy for independence. His family were political activists. He lifted their tactics and used them to cause as much inconvenience to the British authorities as possible: non-co-operation, delaying or blocking disliked laws, organising civil disobedience, one protest after another. With so many unemployed, thousands turned up to rallies. Britain with local problems to think about, keen on jettisoning small territories, independence was achieved on the 30th November 1966. Westminster looked for a quiet life.
Barbados ended 361 years of British rule and became an independent sovereign state.
After independence, and a tussle over the constitution, Barrow became the first prime minister. The declaration of independence saw a few compromises, the British ever guaranteed to extract a pound of flesh from a nation daring to walk tall: Barbados would throw off its colony status but stay a Commonwealth country, the Queen as its head.
Throughout the Seventies and Eighties Barrow was an indomitable advocate of Caribbean sovereignty, ferociously opposed to interference in Caribbean affairs, particularly by the USA. He spoke out forcefully against the United States invasion of Grenada and he was scathing in his criticism of other Caribbean leaders who kow-towed to Washington in the hope of getting economic handouts:
“Mr. Seaga thinks that the solution to Jamaica’s problems is to get President Reagan to play Santa Claus. I do not believe in Santa Claus.” [Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga]
Like our own Alex Salmond, Barrow was smeared by accusations of infidelity, none proven. Later, the singer Nina Simone claimed in her autobiography to have had an affair with him, and the British press used that to belittle his popularity.
Prime Minister Errol Barrow died at his home on 1 June 1987. By an act of Parliament in 1998, Barrow was posthumously named as one of the ten National Heroes of Barbados.
[This biography is greatly attenuated for his achievements were considerable. Readers are recommended to study his work. GB]
And now for something completely different– a republic
And here we are in 2021 watching Barbados sever all British control as we in Scotland struggle to think of any way to achieve liberty other than by delayed referenda.
Last September, Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in the country, happily announced that she would soon be out of a job. “The time has come to leave our colonial past behind.” A representative of the Queen using the ‘c’ word?! Yes sir.
Mason added that by Nov. 30, 2021, on the 55th anniversary of the country’s independence, Barbados will break up with dear old Lizzie and instead swear in a local Barbadian president as head of state. In doing so, Barbados is going to become a republic.
The announcement was not a surprise for Barbadians: The debate on republicanism has been alive and well for around 40 years. So, where is Barbados in the modern world? 280,000 people depend heavily on the tourism industry pretty well holed under the waterline by the Covid pandemic. Like Scotland, Barbadians are harangued by the enemies of democracy told beating the disease is more important that becoming a republic. Mia Mottley, the country’s popular and charismatic prime minister, just laughs and gets on with the task.
Mama Mia Mottley
The criticism of Mottley is based on a fear that with radical changes looming in the British Royal family, Barbados could give other Commonwealth nations the cue to leave the fold. It needs only an amicable settlement to see how easily full freedoms can be restored. Advocates of a republic point to Brexit and a self-weakened Britain. They want a republic now, now is the time to strike. The opposition leader, Guy Hewitt, reiterates the same things Scotland’s parties say, republicism is all very well, but “now is not the time”.
Mottley campaigned on republicanism, winning a landslide victory in the 2018 elections on that platform, her party winning all 30 seats in the House of Assembly. She shows her confidence openly. In her own words, she has “a mandate from the people”.
Under Barbados rules, she needs a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. Since parting with the United Kingdom has long been popular – old wounds never healed – she is likely to get all the support she needs. One suspects a sex smear may be in the offing.
Inequality is rising on the island, in part due to remnants of colonialism and “post-colonial oligarchy.” And Barbadians, including the prime minister, are still fighting to get reparations from Britain and Europe after a commission established by Caribbean heads of government called for the implementation of a 10-point reparation plan.
Moreover, Mottley has decided to go ahead without a referendum. “We were elected to achieve a republic, why should I ask the people a second time?” In this ambition she is opposed by right-wing newspapers. Recently, the Nation, (there’s another coincidence with Scotland), Barbados’s largest newspaper, opined in an editorial, writing: “a referendum should not be off the table.”
Unlike the SNP, Mottley’s party is preparing for the nation’s liberty. It gave no warning to the British government of becoming a republic, assuming Westminster would spot that the Barbados Labour Party had been canvassing and got elected on a platform of installing republicism. Barbados did not warn the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office the separation was coming officially before the throne speech, though it told Buckingham Palace. There’s cheeky for you!
The Barbados government announced the creation of a Republican Status Transition Advisory Committee, a 10-member committee with the mandate of thinking through what the republic should look like, how to say tata to Lizzie, and what the role of the president should be. The committee will “examine previous work done on the topic, such as a 1998 report on republicanism and proposed 2004 constitutional amendments; will hold discussions with the public and influential examinations”; and will come up with recommendations.
Mottley is known for having the last word, which I give her here:
“Barbados’ desire to become a republic is a matter for the Barbados Government and its people, no one else. The UK enjoys a warm, long-standing relationship with Barbados and will continue to do so, but it is time to say goodbye to our colonial past. Republicanism will not change everything. We will still drive on the left.”
Biography: Born in 1920, Errol Walton Barrow, PC, QC was a Caribbean statesman and the first Prime Minister of Barbados. Born into a family of political and civic activists in the parish of Saint Lucy, he became a WWII aviator, combat veteran, lawyer, politician, gourmet cook, publishing a book on his recipes, and author.
Biography: Born in 1965, Mia Amor Mottley QC, MP, EGH, OR is a Barbadian politician and attorney who is the current Prime Minister of Barbados and leader of the Barbados Labour Party. Mottley is the eighth person to hold the position of Prime Minister in Barbados and first woman to hold either position.
Sugar in the Blood, Andrea Stuart
The Sugar Barons, by Matthew Parker
The Black Carib Wars, by Christopher Taylor
Fathering a Nation – the Legacy of Errol Walton Barrow, by Guy Hewitt
The Empire’s New Clothes: The Myth of the Commonwealth, by Philip Murphy
Empire and Nation Building in the Caribbean – Studies in Imperialism, by Mary Chamberlain