Hexam Lament

Scotch on the Rocks bookby Cath Ferguson

I have no idea why I read Douglas Hurd’s Scotch on the Rocks last year. An awoken interest in political propaganda perhaps. History that was before my time, discovered from the film Diomhair. The BBC version of it showed a Scottish Liberation Army running amok through Scotland. It was intended – the BBC version at least – to scare the watching public witless about the “blood and soil nationalism” running through the SNP at heart, ready to break out into violent civil war. In short, cynical and underhand smears and propaganda, produced by the BBC at a time when the SNP were on the rise in Scotland in the 1970s.

The book is more nuanced than that. Its interest, especially for me last year, lay more in the politics and specifically in the kind of federalism agreement made between the British Prime Minister (Patrick Harvey, ironically, in a mind-bending co-incidence; the leader of the Scottish Liberation Army being named Cameron) and the SNP leader who had won the Westminster election in Scotland. Known as “the Hexam agreement” it was a back room deal to give Scotland the kind of powers which look like full federalism – control of all taxes, with an amount for joint services to be paid. As such it angered both hard-line Conservatives and radical nationalists alike, leading to…well, leading to the rest of the book, and spoilers are bad. It’s a political thriller, and as a story a pretty cracking paced read, not bad for taking on holiday. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a political thriller. It is, it need not be said, fiction, and little can or should be read into fiction.

That said, at the time, it appeared to confirm for me something I had vaguely assumed to be true, that is:  the UK government and civil service must have some plan to deal – swiftly, politely and in a very “British” way – with the situation that would arise if the SNP ever won, either in Westminster or the Scottish parliament. Clearly Douglas Hurd had thought in great detail about that scenario at least. That very British way would be to muddle through, with grubby back room deals that don’t quite hold water and anger the more radical on both sides, but which the majority shrug and accept as the way it is and must be until the next crisis derails it. That muddle would be devo-max or some kind of negotiated federalism.

Had something like that been dusted off and agreed in 2012 and put on the ballot paper, it’s likely it would have won hands down. We could be going into the referendum itself with a political consensus between all three Westminster parties, civic society and the Scottish government and something the media could sell in a non-divisive manner, allowing for decent debates that also deign to include the more “radical” positions of status quo and full independence, while the BBC presenter pours thinly disguised scorn on both in favour of the establishment consensus line. Most voters would have remained happily switched off and gone for that centre ground that appeared the more sensible and least rancorous.  A quick UK-wide referendum to ratify the decision could then have been held, and that would almost certainly have passed as well, especially with the wholehearted support of the BBC.

There would have been something stifling about that approach and many of us – probably most of the loudest voices – would have railed against it as a “cosy political consensus”. But it would also have been something I’d have said last year was “very British”. And, at heart, I’ve always been fairly British, supporting the BBC even when I knew it was propaganda if it seemed to be a benign “British values” version of propaganda. I’d have described myself as a somewhat reluctant yes in many ways a couple of years ago, and certainly not a Scottish nationalist. If I ever had a “nationalism” it was British, and a long time ago. I have no problem with the Queen and have even lined a street waving a Union Jack at her once, albeit it in Canada. I love Mod music and was enthused enough by the particular brand of union jack pomp that was Brit Pop to go and work in a record shop. I have a red, white and blue MOD target bag that I sometimes still carry (not so much since I moved to Glasgow, admittedly). I was an 80s child, growing up with the Falklands and cold war, at a time when the vans of public services were ubiquitous and all had British in their names. At a time when, supposedly, during the Iranian siege the noise made by the SAS going in could be covered by the nationalised British Gas being sent in to dig up the road outside, and nationalised British Airways flights being diverted overhead. There was something in that which made you proud, as a kid; provided a sense of belonging, of strength. In hindsight, I guess it was simple, childish nationalism.

My more recent enthusiasm for independence stemmed originally from a feeling that there is no other way, and the Britain I once loved was disappearing at a rapid rate. This isn’t new: it began with Thatcher and ran through Blairism. But Cameron, welfare reforms, the privatisation of the NHS down south and the growing strength (and ubiquity on the BBC) of UKIP and right-wing think tanks makes Britain ugly and unrecognisable as a country.

Now, with a year or so distance from reading Scotch on the Rocks, and having lived through the first shots of a genuinely “very British” propaganda war – one which is nowhere near its climax – I’m having to re-assess the whole idea of “British values”, and the way I view the place I grew up. Was the reason I used to be pro-British politically, as well as just in a civil manner, simply due to an illusion created by that propaganda? Was it all spin? Civically, it wasn’t – Britain has, until recently been a fantastically diverse, creative place, with eccentrics tolerated and a self-effacing humour. It almost certainly still is all that underneath the nasty politics and media that’s grown like a fungus over it more recently. It’s the reason I still love Britain, as a place to live, in spite of its political culture. But “Britishness” has been co-opted by that political and media establishment and is used as a stifling, nationalistic, increasingly militaristic construct intended to deny that diversity and cultural difference.

More importantly, that sense of a wise and benevolent civil service and government, the certainly the UK must have  gamed through potential Scottish independence in a nice way is now starting to look incredibly naive. The idea they would, in the final analysis, act in a way that at least attempts to marry democracy with imposing a “consensus” in sensible way relies on certain assumptions. The first of these is that the UK civil service and political class are basically competent. That however stupid and pig-headed politicians may seem, there is a plethora of advisers and experts behind them providing “wiser heads” away from the political front-line. The second is that the civil service will act in good faith and with a view to the bigger picture. Sure keeping the UK together as one polity and state is the best thing for the UK and Westminster, but ultimately if keeping it together requires force or subjugation by media and propaganda, it cannot be “for the best” for anyone.

Back in 2012, my assumptions about Britain included that no one – absolutely NO ONE – with any brains, power or common sense, would prefer to have another Northern Ireland as “North Britain” than have an independent Scotland as a neighbour. That lesson would have been learned and the plans they surely must have would include working with an emerging Scottish state to ensure as seamless and – from their point of view – preferably gradual transition as possible. That might be looking for a devo-max or federalism, or negotiating some kind of independence-lite. The SNPs white paper shows a willingness to negotiate something that looks very much like independence-lite and, had it been done before the referendum, it would indeed be that very British of back room fudge.

Yet instead over the past year we’ve been subject to an all out media bombardment. Lies, smears, belittling, abuse, threats and an increasingly obvious attempt from outside Scotland to raise the tensions in what is basically a very civil debate. We are not being allowed to hold a debate within Scotland without outside interference, mostly from Westminster and the media, but with the help of international figures if necessary. The White Paper has been torn to shreds as “wishful thinking”.  How dare Salmond lie about us being reasonable after a yes vote! He can’t force us to be friends! It feels now as if all that matters to the UK government and civil service is winning, at whatever cost. And winning a victory that leaves it in complete control, with the Scottish people and elected government having zero input into what happens next. Because for all the devo-nano and devo-min and jam tomorrow promises, even if you’re gullible enough to believe them, they are Westminster deciding what we uppity Jocks can be allowed, with no-one beyond Westminster’s political parties consulted. In the fictional Hexam agreement dreamed up by Douglas Hurd “Patrick Harvey” at least had the basic decency to agree the plans with the SNP! In reality, for the past seven years the elected representatives of Scotland have been sidelined, pilloried, ganged up on and smeared; called “dictators” and accused of trying to “break Britain” for pursuing policies they were elected on, in a parliament specifically designed to prevent that happening. Their attempts to negotiate more powers within the UK have been rebuffed. After a No vote, Westminster not Holyrood will have complete control over what powers come or go, and it will be a Westminster accountable to the whole UK, which is 91% not-Scotland, and increasingly belligerent.

All of this makes you begin to think about how Britain has really acted in other cases. Not just Ireland and other countries gaining independence, but “smaller” events as well. The families of Potters Bar victims were reportedly subject to much-raking abuse to discredit them. The Trussell Trust threatened it may be closed down if it doesn’t stop criticising the government reforms that drive need for it. The family of investigative journalist Daniel Morgan – murdered for investigating corruption – have been looking for justice for decades now. And the emerging evidence of collusion among the media and political elites over child abuse in the 1970s is beyond troubling. There is something rotten at the heart of British politics, and perhaps it has always been there; the idea of its basic “British decency” always an illusion. Perhaps anyone who’s ever come close to the British state – including many unionist luminaries – will laugh and decry recently converted independence supporters like me, who once believed in the basic good faith of the UK. There certainly seems to be a kernel of their argument hinting at that – if we vote yes they’ll destroy us. Yet if your argument is that you’re stupid for retaining any faith in the UK government to act in a decent way, it’s hardly a ringing endorsement for staying run by them.

So when it comes to Scotch on the Rocks, I start to wonder now if I wasn’t reading that in a naive and rose-tinted spectacled way as well. Was the Hexam agreement really the well meaning “Great British fudge” I imagined it when I read the book only last year? Or was it always intended to be the catalyst for violence which state actors would kick off – as was implicitly the case in the story? Has that been the game plan all along for Westminster to deal with potential independence in Scotland?  Pursue a scorched earth policy and destroy it as a potential competitor?

The result of all this is that, whatever the outcome in September, Britain will never feel the same to me. I’ve woken up to something far bigger than Scottish independence: that the Britain I once loved was a cynical illusion. Federalism or even basic negotiation with the Scottish people about what devo-max might mean would probably have re-affirmed my original perception of “British values”. Or at least have kept my eyes shut. If, after a Yes vote, everyone shakes hands and does indeed work together, some of that faith will be re-gained. But that is the only way it ever could be re-gained now: a no vote will never allow that chance.

It’s been a hard and depressing journey to here, and I would urge long-term independence supporters to treat those who haven’t yet made – and who perhaps have no desire to make – that shift with respect. No one has the right to demand anyone gives up their world-view, or changes their mindset. Many in the independence movement were born into independence supporting families and have grown up with that world-view and perception. Others of us are on a journey which isn’t always easy. Some again are not ready to begin that journey, or have no desire to leave home.

One thing to take heart from though, is that there is no question which side is doing most to shift me, and to damage to my previous beliefs. Westminster and the UK is damning itself with this campaign.



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29 replies

  1. A very good article which outlines the ” real British state”, and doesn’t it just turn your stomach!
    We have the rights of democratic views that any other country should have, yet they deny it to Scotland.
    At the very same time they praise and encourage it across the world.

    The world IS watching this, and many will be shaking their heads in disbelief, the British state is now coming across as going through the last rites of a fading Empire, and one that will do anything to cling to the illusion of power. They will never again be able to be sanctimonious.

    They make their bed, they are going to have to learn to lay in it.

  2. You seem to be speaking for me Cathy throughout the article but particularly when you say:-

    …The result of all this is that, whatever the outcome in September, Britain will never feel the same to me. I’ve woken up to something far bigger than Scottish independence: that the Britain I once loved was a cynical illusion. Federalism or even basic negotiation with the Scottish people about what devo-max might mean would probably have re-affirmed my original perception of “British values”. Or at least have kept my eyes shut. If, after a Yes vote, everyone shakes hands and does indeed work together, some of that faith will be re-gained. But that is the only way it ever could be re-gained now: a no vote will never allow that chance…

    Before the Edinburgh Agreement, David Cameron may have allowed himself to be misled into thinking that a “Yes” vote was impossible. His sources were poor..as you would expect in a Westminster Government in which Scots are so poorly represented and so out of touch with what Sots want and need. We have no need of Westminster. Holyrood is all that we need to run our own affairs within EU..

    Tom

  3. Thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts well you nailed it, this illusion of decency and fairness this cloak has well and truly been removed and can never be put back they who set out to deceive have well and truly been caught out, not by investigative journalism but by their own stupidity and arrogance their rush to bring this messy inconvenient business to in their mind deal a decisive fatal blow to their opponents but in this case its the scottish people who are their enemy if they were truthful

  4. I’m sorry that you have only just woken up to this… your naivety is in the faith you once saw in some form of BritNatism… which you acknowledge lasted until the penny dropped recently… I can only assume that you did not travel well beyond your fortnight in Costa Blanca… as if you had and witnessed how well others live outwith the media inspired confines of little britain… or spoken in depth to the citizens of other countries who do not have the alleged benefits of a market dominated “free press” then …perhaps you would have reached your road to Damascus moment… some light years ago…

    • If that’s how you speak to fellow Yes voters, I’d hate to see your patter for convincing undecided voters.

      • He doesn’t seem to realise either that a light year is a measure of distance, not time.

      • so… Ive not to point out that had fellow citizens not been blindsided by the establishment… then this referendum would have been academic by now… we had the original wealth from the oil bonanza as outlined by McCrone… we could have had the wealth that Norway has established for it’s citizens… but ALL the establishment parties were part of the same farce .. no one dared question aunty which was pumping out such drivel as the white heather club… where an English labour minister actively decided to bury the McCrone report…. and NO ONE within the so called “scottish” labour had an inkling about its potential… hadn’t the foresight to notice that other OIL producing countries had a better standard of living… preferring to rattle on looking after themselves and their mafiosi friends…trailing after the US of A and its capitalist at any cost approach to problems… standing by as maggie raped Scotland…. asking for apologies… as one recent “scottish” labour mp did when referring to food banks in Scotland…
        As for the undecided…. the no’s have the strength of their opinion … but how anyone can seek to impede the right of their fellow citizens to seek a better future given the huge potential that Scotland has and always had is beyond me… it is a no brainer… I have little time for them… they are blind if they can not see how many other smaller countries like Malta or New Zealand have carved out an independent successful life style… BUT… you are allowing the media to set the game rules… hence… undecideds…
        Clearly the light years annology was not meant to convey a period of time… but a concept of thought.. a philosophical concept… otherwise…. your comment is so conventional…

    • You should accept that people have had different journeys to Yes of varying lengths and that blaming them for not arriving at the same conclusion as you at the same time achieves one thing – you get to feel smug and superior. What does that contribute to the future good and building up of the country?

      • Im sorry… but I fully accept that others have finally arrived at YES… and I hold no monopoly over when & where they arrived at YES…. apart from an early life in one of the other colonies… Australia… where there were no tenements… no obvious signs of poverty within the white only population… where the emphasis was on citizenship not do as you are told…. and then returning to the UK and not believing the levels of poverty… the massive badly planned council schemes crammed into as few acres as possible whilst the private estates… and the elite seemed to live in a different sphere…. BUT… as I grew older my questioning of the status quo and the refusal of those political parties that claimed to represent the majority by meekly accepting what was so obviously wrong has given me a level of cynicism that is beyond measure… and why shouldn’t I feel smug… I have led my own life by not paying the bbc … by boycotting those who have only recently realised we are being taken for mugs… and I will continue with this… as… when we do achieve Independence there will still exist those BritNatz that will scream & shout in the same way as some of their compatriots do in N Ireland…
        I agree with the views Abulhaq and David Agnew… and thank Rab Alexander for sharing his feelings…

      • Fair enough, and your point about the contrast with Oz is well made. I just don’t think boycotting or being perpetually angry with people who’ve only arrived more recently at a decision to vote yes gets you or the debate anywhere. All of Scotland’ s people have a stake in its future, and I’d rather people were brought on board with that than we create unnecessary division

    • well said scot2go2. what a patronising snivelling piece of self indulgent carp.

      • Right children – that’s enough.

        Your comments are understandable but as long as we get enough to YES before the 18th that is all that matters for now.

        Thereafter the hard work and hopefully the reasonable even-tempered discussions for our Country’s future begins

  5. First, a minor quibble (but not minor to Northumbrians) Please do a find and replace “Hexham” for “Hexam”. It’s a lovely wee place with some excellent pubs and good people – let’s get it’s name right.

    This article says something that needs to be faced up and that many of us have been perhaps unconsciously avoiding.

    Our enemies are not nice reasonable people.

    They are the kind who were happy to run false-flag operations in Ulster to ensure the carnage continued, to ensure community was set against community. Civilian deaths meant little to them, RUC and army deaths were merely a price worth paying to ensure there was no peace and that there would be no negotiated settlement that bruised the UK establishment ego in any way.
    It took IRA bombs in London causing real financial damage (with minimal civilian deaths, remember) before any real negotiation took place. THEN things changed very fast, when they were confronted in their own backyard.
    I do not for a second condone or support in any way whatsoever the attacks at the Baltic Exchange and others of that period. But it is the inescapable conclusion that that is forced the UK towards real meaningful talks and eventually led to the relative peace now in place in the North of Ireland today.
    Of course being stupid and arrogant enough to put ALL of your senior intelligence operatives in one helicopter and flying it into the Mull of Kintyre with the loss of all on board may have had a bearing too.

    Note, as an aside the time and effort spent in blaming the pilots for that crash. We heard nothing about WHY that Chinook was carrying such a militarily valuable cargo and who authorised putting so many eggs in one basket. Possibly a decision that would have reflected badly on those too far up the chain and on the bean-counters who insisted on saving money and only using one helicopter?

    Lives, whether military or civilian, Irish or “British” do not matter to these people unless those lives are of their own establishment tribe. Money and property it would appear does. We would do well to remember this. False flag operations in Scotland over the coming weeks are a certainty and the reports of alleged threats to firebomb a “Better Together office in Cumbernauld in the past few days certainly appear to have more than a whiff of spook involvement.

    Mind how you go and avoid crowds over the next few weeks…..

  6. Welcome to the real world. Those of us who lived through the insulting travesty of the BBC dramatization of ‘Scotch on the Rocks’ were under no illusion about what it was spelling out….black ops.

    While we were watching this, our Irish cousins were actually experiencing it. Soon the State agent provocateurs based here were creating ‘terrorist ‘organisations such as : ”tartan Army’ (yeah really); the Border Clan; the Army of the Provisional Government (APG) etc.

    Many idealistic wrong-heads were charmed by shadowy figures into these ‘organisations’…bombing pylons and most seriously robbing banks.
    The real manipulators were never caught…surprise surprise…but dupes such as Matt Lygate ended up serving 13 years in a Scottish jail for crimes they did not commit.

    Go read ‘Britain’s Secret War: Tartan Terrorism and the Anglo American State’ by Ian MacLeay and Andrew Murray Scott and read the full story.

    Keep an eye open for the next phase of ‘dirty tricks’ by the ‘decent and fair’ British State!

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. For most of the period of its existence Britain has been characterised by greed, xenophobia and a preparedness to turn to violence to maintain its power. Many Scots have been more than happy to be part of the nastiness and many still are. I hope that enough people who live in Scotland will have sufficient courage to vote Yes to enable Scotland to disentangle itself, at last, from such a predatory culture.

  8. Its not only that the UK has become dysfunctional. Its that it has gone down a path in defence of Union, that has actually torn away at its very foundations. By attacking yes voters like it has, it has all but made it impossible for them to make their way back to something resembling the status quo. They’ve made it impossible for yes voters to be reconciled to remaining in the union, by making it too bitter a pill to swallow.
    I am of firmly of the opinion that yes or no, the Union is too all intents and purposes finished. The union won’t survive a no vote.

  9. Very touched by this Cath – because of the pain and disillusion you’ve experienced about “Britishness” and the Westminster Government. I feel for everyone who’s making the same journey and feeling the same hurt.

    In many ways I’m quite fortunate. I was raised in a politically apathetic (and pretty poorly-educated) household. I was an extremely curious child and an avid reader from as early in life as I can remember. I became an independence advocate (naively and emotionally it must be said) at primary school when my teacher tried explaining to the class that we weren’t Scottish but British. I was really indignant, but at that age didn’t have the ability to examine and explain my feelings. By the age of fourteen – and slightly more rational but no less emotional – I joined the Scottish National Party firmly convinced that this was the only way to retrieve my country, my people and our true nationality. At that time, the SNP were a joke – who would ever vote for them?

    Now – many, many, many years later, I still favour and support independence for Scotland because I’ve learned our history and because I’m more aware of the suffering within my country under Westminster rule and of the arrogance and obvious contempt Scotland and its people have been held in by London-based politicians. I am now and will always be a Scot, heart and soul, blood and bones, mind and body. My pain has been waiting for independence to become a realistic proposition and opportunity.

    My wish and hope for Scotland and her people is that the self-assurance which is asserting itself among Yes supporters continues to spread and ‘infect’ waverers and doubters so that we all come to believe that we are strong enough, brave enough to take the step that will allow us to determine our own future .

  10. In a diary entry by Ralph Miliband, father of the present leader of the Labour party, writes “The Englishman is a rabid nationalist…they are perhaps the most nationalistic in the world. When you hear the English talk about this war (WW2) you sometimes almost want them to lose it to show them how things are. They have the greatest contempt for the continent and for the French in particular. England first….this slogan is taken for granted by the English people as a whole. To lose their empire would be the worst possible humiliation”. He was talking about the “British” of course. Strong words from a Jew fleeing the murdering Nazi racists. The British state and empire, for anyone who has studied its history, has form from which it rarely deviates. The Brits invented the “science” of black propaganda that’s why the UK is rather good at advertising shpiel. Losing North Britain, the territory not the people, will be the equivalent of losing the empire all over again. It will be for the establishment a humiliation. The recent Spectator spells it out in tear-jerking detail, so if we go we’ll suffer, If we stay we’ll suffer. We rocked Britannia’s barque so expect a good deal of turbulence. In some respects we need to start thinking like the “enemy”. Be subversive!

  11. Very touched by this Cath – because of the pain and disillusion you’ve experienced about “Britishness” and the Westminster Government. I feel for everyone who’s making the same journey and feeling the same hurt.

    In many ways I’m quite fortunate. I was raised in a politically apathetic (and pretty poorly-educated) household. I was an extremely curious child and an avid reader from as early in life as I can remember. I became an independence advocate (naively and emotionally it must be said) at primary school when my teacher tried explaining to the class that we weren’t Scottish but British. I was really indignant, but at that age didn’t have the ability to examine and explain my feelings. By the age of fourteen – and slightly more rational but no less emotional – I joined the Scottish National Party firmly convinced that this was the only way to retrieve my country, my people and our true nationality. At that time, the SNP were a joke – who would ever vote for them?

    Now – many, many, many years later, I still favour and support independence for Scotland because I’ve learned our history and because I’m more aware of the suffering within my country under Westminster rule and of the arrogance and obvious contempt Scotland and its people have been held in by London-based politicians. I am now and will always be a Scot, heart and soul, blood and bones, mind and body. My pain has been waiting for independence to become a realistic proposition and opportunity.

    My wish and hope for Scotland and her people is that the self-assurance which is asserting itself among Yes supporters continues to spread and ‘infect’ waverers and doubters so that we all come to believe that we are strong enough, brave enough to take the step that will allow us to determine our own future .

  12. The bumbling ineptitude was only ever a cover. Ask yourself if it was that which built the empire…

  13. Sorry but I have to disagree with you about much of what you have written about the book. though basically I agree with the thoughts which you have about what it tells us. This book is the third of a trilogy written in the late 1960s. They are to do with the managed retreat of British Imperialism. First of all in Rhodesia, then in the far east with Hong Kong, and finally in Scotland.
    Yes it tells us about perfidious Albion and how rUK will seek to screw us, but it also speaks of issues of the past. Col. Cameron seeks in a way to re-enact the blood sacrifice of Pearse. Remember it goes back to the days when the belief was that if the SNP gained 50%+1 of the Scottish seats in parliament that would mean that Scotland would gain her independence. It is not clear whether the James Henderson the leader of the SNP is William Wolfe, but certainly Wendy Wood has an outing as Mrs Merrilies. Hurd, subsequently perhaps a moderating force on Thatcher is at this stage c 1969 an ex diplomat and waiting for a seat in Parliament in the Conservative interest. At the time the books were seen as being more about the stresses in the Conservative party – which eventually gave us Thatcher, than about Rhodesia, or Hong Kong or Scotland. of the three topics Rhodesia gave us Zimbabwe, Hong Kong was solved and only Scotland is an open issue. What is interesting is that it is at the very beginning of the discovery of oil, and Hurd must have been one of the first people to publicly catch on to it.

  14. rossim02…. Over the years I have watched the collapse of little britain… it was built on lies and deceit… each tiny collapse has proven my point… each small political scandal or sell off of a public utility to see its value rocket within months has proven the spiel that misled people in the first place… BUT … now I am basically redundant as I can see much more intelligent and forward thinking people than myself who have a better command of language and ideas and who have finally realised what is at stake… and are willing to stand up to the establishment in ways that the establishment can not handle…. hence their continuous assault on the SNP governance…. as they have no other way of convincing people of the merits of staying within the unequal union…. so… as others have posted…. the union is dead…. the establishment is angry … we should be fighting fire with fire… not appeasing them… as that has gone on too long.

  15. Britain was never good! Slavery,Colonies in India,Africa.Military rule in Ireland.House of Lords,unelected monarchy.Miners trampled by English police.Wars in Argentina,Iraq,Afghanistan.The class system.Inherited wealth and elite.Nuclear weapons.English football hooligans.BNP,Orange Order national front.Highland clearances. Slaughter in Scotland after battle of Culloden.Protestant Monarchy barring Cathlolocism.Why did it take the writer so long to work this out.Its not a recent history that made Britain bad its always been bad.Time for Scotland to create its own history.

  16. I haven’t ever yet come across the book and the BBC TV take on it might be more than I could stand. I do have audio of Hurd commenting a little on the background to the book, with some anecdotes in a small part of the BBC (groan) Radio 4 Archive on 4 program “Very British Dystopias” broadcast on 2013-06-15. I’ve just had a listen again it is dire and also includes the war-monger and establishment lackey David Aaaronovich pontificating as ‘expert’ on all things.

    Hurd is unrepentant at abusing the Scottish National Party name and should have been dragged through the courts, by the seat of his pants. You are left with the impression the negative reaction to the TV version was down to a ‘sense of humour failure by the Scots”. SNP electoral gains in the mid-70s are actually attributed to the program, they claim demonisation of the SNP, helped the SNP win seats, it is breathtaking cheek. Part of the Unionist ‘Project Fear’ message on every BBC outlet 24/7.

  17. It was Ghandi who once said ‘first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ He was talking about The British Empire too, as it happens.

  18. Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    “The result of all this is that, whatever the outcome in September, Britain will never feel the same to me. I’ve woken up to something far bigger than Scottish independence: that the Britain I once loved was a cynical illusion. “

  19. Those comments about no tenements in Oz are just not true. This place has always had an underclass and I can speak with some authority having resided here for fifty years. Sydney and Melbourne had housing as bad if not worse than some I saw growing up in Glasgow in the fifties. It has some of the worst health of indigenous people in the world. And there is growing poverty with the working poor. Neo Liberal policies have been doing their damage for decades and there is no sign of any change. Scotland is a small country which has the opportunity to build decent community. A large country like Australia has no sense of that or very little for it’s every man for himself and violent crime is rising with drug use escalating especially amphetamine. Not a rosy future at all. And I’ve no idea what is shown in the media about the land down under but if it’s anything like what happens here it is a fairy tale and far from reality.The extreme right here is growing every day. Australia is a racist country.

    • Some 40 plus years ago when I escaped from Perth in West Australia… there were NO tenements…. no obvious poverty amongst the white population… as for the aborigines… their living standards were hopeless… they were basically third world subjects in a first world situation… But… to liken the slums of Glasgow to Sydney or Melbourne is interesting but rubbish… in the same way that Australia does not have vast sprawling badly planned council housing estates… but instead rows of owner occupied bungalows of vastly varying designs… some with swimming pools … some built of asbestos sheet with corrugated tin roofs… but again… no vast council estates… therefore the wage earner had more in his pocket to do with as he chose… the W. Australian gov actually gave a parcel of land or a cash sum to newlyweds… I do not know if this continues… but it illustrates the difference of not being tied into a low wage economy with little prospects…. so… the internal politics of Oz have never been attractive… and I would agree are going downhill… but … you only reap what you sow…
      when you write about violent crime stats rising you are starting from a very low base point… which I agree is further fuelled by the drugs scene… or the gambling that is one of the main earners for the state of Victoria… therefore… as you post… Australia is not the place it once was…. which can be said for most countries as change happens …. that is why the Scottish people have finally started to waken up…. where… with the latest pedoe scandal.. will hopefully be the straw that convinces the undecideds on their misplaced trust in continuing to support a corrupt westminster.

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