STRENUOUS LIBERTY: From the Province of the Cat

imagesMaybe it takes a blind English Protestant, republican poet from the seventeenth century to succinctly remind the Scots what we should be concentrating on in the febrile years of the 21st centuries second decade. John Milton framed it for his people in his time (and for us?) in his dramatic poem “Samson Agonistes” when he has his hero exclaim,

“But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt,
And by their vices brought to servitude,
Than to love bondage more than liberty –
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty”

Freeing ourselves from the arrogance of a Tory dominated Westminster constitutional arrangement is indeed going to be “strenuous”, when the regime in that crumbling palace insists that we moaning Scots should just shut up and “love” our “bondage with ease” as we have done, without complaint, in the past. That was the message received loud and clear North of the Border from Theresa May, David Davis and the rest of them as the non-debate last week about Article 50 slid across the floor of the House of Commons like a discarded dead mackerel on the deck of a Shetland trawler in a swell.

As the days pass it becomes ever more apparent that Scotland has no representative purchase or political territory in the UK Parliament. What do the Scottish people gain from sending 59 MP’s to London, when English Votes for English Laws have made them second class members of the club? Now the determination of most English MP’s to “follow the rabbit down the hole”, as Ken Clarke put it, to activate Article 50 and which goes against the democratic wishes of the Scottish people, must surely reduce the relevance of the Scottish politicians there to zero? So, let us recall the SNP’s 56 to Edinburgh and set them to some useful task such as structuring a working constitutional apparatus for an independent Scottish nation. There is much work to be done to undo the “vices which have brought (us) to servitude” as Milton put it.

Scotland’s greatest essayist, Angus Calder, always said that Ken Clarke was his “favourite Tory” because he loved jazz. I objected – and quite reasonably, I thought, at the time – that as a member of Thatcher’s cabinet he was beyond the reach of humanity. Angus would smile wisely and say, “Well, George, at least he loves something.” The rabbit hole Ken Clarke suggested the Tory party is taking us down – democratic lock stock and barrel – will lead the UK out of Europe and into the arms of American corporate capitalism with The Donald as chief deal cutter. In a trade deal, it his terms and his only. That is the way this grandson of a floating brothel keeper in the Yukon does business.

The Tories constantly claim to be the party of “business” but their history since 1979 – Ken Clarke included – shows them to be, when in government, terrible at business. The class and culture they are drawn from cannot plan or look to the long term because they have never been required to. When everything is inherited, what need you of business skills? Thus, we have an off-shore manufacturing dependency instead of production at home, and the inevitable reality of the service economy dreamed up by Thatcher’s midnight managers is a corrupt financialisaton of everything that moves and a banking system in ruins, destroyed by a lack of direction and purpose, riddled from top to bottom by useless greed, regulated by an incarnation of the Three Monkeys.

We are moving into an arena where language itself melts from the white heat of media manipulation and the corrosive intensity of dark money. The word “corporation” suggests “corporeal”, as of the body. “Capitalism” has as it Latin root “capit”, or “head”. American corporate capitalism has no body or head, like a cyber-Hydra, it cannot physically be decapitated and like an actor from ancient Greek tragedy it wears a mask. To “Make America great again” and to “Put America First” is fascism as Americanism and it comes swaggering out of history wrapped up in the Star-Spangled Banner, carrying a cross and brandishing a dollar bill. Donald Trump is the mask they wear.

Now I know that Trump, the man, would have to look fascist, the word, up in a dictionary. It is the process which has brought him to power and the forces which will keep him there that should be addressed, “in nations grown corrupt”. Those of us who live in the cosy corners of the left and who refute that the rise of Trump and big lie of Brexit is fascism, that it is something else, better recalibrate our political lexicon. What we are witnessing is, admittedly, not the bringing together of a bundle of Italian rods – the “fascio” – nor is it the misappropriation of the Hindu world-wheel of myth, – the “svastika” in Sanskrit – by the Nazi’s: but it is the tyrannical ordering of corporatism’s bad faith at the expense and dismantling of the good faith of democracy.

As far back as 1938 President Roosevelt told the US Congress that: “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.”

That, “in its essence”, is what we are seeing. Trump will not give up Trump Inc because he has been encouraged to see White House and Trump Towers as the same thing. What we are also observing, but because of dark money – the dollars that pay for Trump – not “seeing”, is that tyranny is better organised than freedom. Going down the rabbit hole, where language resembles the melted clocks of Salvador Dali – Soft Watch at Moment of First Explosion – means we also come out into the world of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, with one Tory after another standing up, as they did in the Commons last week, to make speech after speech about how the UK-Britain-England (Narnia?) was reclaiming its independence, sovereignty and laws or whatever it was they thought the Daily Mail wanted to hear. The BBC reported this without so much as a giggle. I looked out of my Caithness window and I could have sworn I saw the White Witch of Winter gathering firewood for her seasons extension. It was, after all, the Celtic Festival of Imbolg, or Groundhog Day if you live in Trump Land. The ironic thing about narrative fiction is that no-one will believe it unless it is true. History has no such requirement.

Hannah Arendt, the political theorist of the 20th century and a stern critic of the Nazi’s and of Stalin, whose 1951 book “The Origins of Totalitarianism” is fast becoming a bestseller (I wonder why?), might have had Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway and the Scots in mind when she wrote,

“If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”

That is what the new fascists think. There are ways that the Scottish people can resist it and flex our “strenuous liberty”. So, what could our recalled MP’s, working with the Scottish Government, actually do to create a country fit to live in. One idea would be to manufacture the slogan, “Export energy, import people.”

In 1979 one of the first things Margaret Thatcher’s government did was to dismantle the British National Oil Corporation (BNOC) set up in 1975 by Labour’s then Department of Energy led by Tony Benn. What this could have become, in an alternative universe, would be a version of the Norwegian Statoil with the result that Britain could have had a similar Oil Fund security which Norway currently enjoys. BNOC became Britoil and was bought up by BP in 1988. This lost oil revenue financed, instead of the future, the civil war that was Britain in the 1980’s: literally pissed up against the wall of history by the then Conservative government. It is still not too late for Scotland to salvage something from the wreck.

One idea would be for the Scottish Government to set up a Scottish National Energy Company to directly invest in the North Sea and the oil field West of Shetland and in all the sectors of renewable energy such as hydro, tidal, wave and wind, and at both a micro and macro level. That means investing in projects ranging from oil exploration and in schemes for an individual to set up a renewable energy system to power their home. To do this the country would need its own central bank and a structure of local banks and its own currency. Those of a Green and environmental persuasion might throw their hands up at this suggestion, that the Scottish Government should be a direct and active player in North Sea Oil, but at this stage in the North Sea story it is now or never and it would be a delicious irony to have capitalism, for once, service socialism and the legitimate needs of the Scottish people.

Investment, world-wide, in oil exploration is at an all-time low. That is the reality. The Norwegian analysts Rystad Energy have published figures which show that the total offshore discovered volumes of hydro carbons (oil and gas) in 2016 were 90% down on 2010. From Brazil to Angola, from Russia to Guyana, and even in frugal Norway, the results for wildcat drilling are the same: dismal. The reason is not that the world is running out of oil (although eventually it will), or because of the relatively low price of a barrel of oil: it is because real cash investment in oil exploration has fallen off a cliff due to the nervous nature of international financial markets. Again, environmentalists may think this a good thing. What I think is that most of the damage has been done in the North Sea and all the big oil companies have gone, Shell last week being the latest to sell up. A significant amount of the production platforms are currently under decommission which is one reason the oil majors have withdrawn. The Tory government has assured them that the taxpayer will pick up this particular multibillion-pound tab.

Yet there is still wealth a-plenty in the North Sea and West of Shetland and if the Scottish Government, or indeed the more enlightened heads in the Parliament, want a secure economic footing for a stable and independent future for Scotland then they must be bold now and act as though we are already an independent country. Similar bold and interventionist moves could be made on behalf of other vital industries such as shipbuilding, farming and fishing, because they are all linked. Forget the caveat that these powers are “reserved”. The game has changed and it is the Tories themselves who have changed it. We must organise ourselves so that our riches in energy can be made to work, so that we can export it and create wealth. On the other side of that Scotland, and the Highlands and Islands especially, need people. Let us declare that Scotland is a safe haven for refuges and actively import people. It is an active working population that generates an economy and creates wealth. A sensible government will redistribute that wealth to ensure the welfare of its citizens and the health of the economy.

This is not the time for pleasant proceeduralism or for those who cannot aspire to anything other than a post-graduate student politics: this is the time to say that Scotland is a rich country and can be even wealthier but we must secure that wealth on behalf of the Scottish people from the spivs and wide boys in the City of London who have been given a free hand by Westminster to bleed us dry. The history of North Sea oil is an example of this. There will be no special status for Scotland after Article 50 but the London Government will ensure there is for the financial market which is the City of London. They will protect the casinos, Brexit or no Brexit.

Is all of this a pipe dream? Am I the only one arguing, badly, for direct action now? After all, I am the modern Scottish literary equivalent of Ovid exiled to the Black Sea. In the 1980’s it wasn’t the way with Scottish writers. Without the urgings of the poets, playwrights, novelists and such brilliant advocates for independence as Angus Calder the move to devolution and to where we are now would, I think, have been much slower.

With a handful of exceptions where are the writers who are reflecting the new reality of Scotland, where democracy has lost its liberty, where it is effectively dead and political contempt in London towards Scotland is rife, and The Donald is in the White House? Where are the new advocates? They are hiding in universities, chasing prizes (I confess I am as guilty, by necessity, of this as any other writer) and wallowing in a self-congratulatory fug of critical acclaim that has been made possible for them to enjoy by the talent and sacrifice of a previous generation of Scottish writers’ who actually believed in something. They did this knowing, in the main, that theirs was to be a creative life of struggle, poverty, exile and obscurity. A pushy agent, a London publisher and an eye on the glittering prizes means you can learn nothing and believe in less.

We are sinking in full sight into a period of hellish right wing reaction, where juntas, cliques, cabals and oligarchs are trampling hard won human rights and workers conditions into the dirt and where the natural environment is being treated as an industrial toilet. This is a time when wealth is stolen and hoarded by a small number of appropriators. Their message to the majority is simple: those who have neither the desire to act likewise or the resources to compete can go to the dogs. About all of this, as far as I can see, the new voices of Scottish literature have little to say. Let me proved wrong, but poverty, it would appear, is not a popular genre, unless it is in the form of voyeurism. Likewise, the rise of corporate fascism is too dark a subject to hang a kilt on, so that narrative will never make a couthie six-part drama for BBC Scotland, who seem to “love bondage more than liberty”, as Milton would have it.

“To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing”, was Raymond Williams slogan. “Export energy, import people” may be a poor thing in comparison but at least it is positive, at least it proves that it is possible, as Angus Calder urged, to “love something”.

©George Gunn 20017

 

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  1. Richard MacKinnon says:

    “As the days pass it becomes ever more apparent that Scotland has no representative purchase or political territory in the UK Parliament. What do the Scottish people gain from sending 59 MP’s to London……..” How to contradict yourself in two sentences George. How stupid do you think people are?
    “To “Make America great again” and to “Put America First” is fascism as Americanism” George Gunn conveniently forgets that is was America’s poor and neglected mid west, southern states and rust belt that voted for Trump. Why convenient? because it does not suit George Gunn’s bitter prejudices.

    I dont read George’s peices any longer, but Im going to scroll up and find another example to prove the point, wont be long.

    George’s next paragraph. “Now I know that Trump, the man, would have to look fascist, the word, up in a dictionary. It is the process which has brought him to power and the forces which will keep him there”………………… same paragraph “What we are witnessing is, ………………… the tyrannical ordering of corporatism’s bad faith at the expense and dismantling of the good faith of democracy.” George let me remind you, no one saw the Trump victory coming. Not corporate America, not the Washington elite, including the CIA. Not the media or his own party. It was a majority of Americans or states ( whatever their system is) that voted for Trump. This is an important fact.

    As with Trump so to Scotland. I like many other Scots are getting tired of this never ending denial of reality. Scotland’s moaning nationalists need to have a good long talk with themselves. The majority of their fellow countrymen voted for the union. This is another important fact.

    And it seems as if we are not the only ones that are pissed off. The English media and English politicians are getting tired of it as well. Quite rightly so, they went along with our 4 year debate building up to the referendum. They signed up to, and agreed to accept the result. If George Gunn and others are determined to carry on twisting the facts like in this piece of doublespeak then I guarantee he will do lasting damage to our relationship with our English neighbours.

    I will leave you with one more quote from the article above. Before you read it please think of the use of the language in particular the word ‘fascist’. Ask yourself, who does George Gunn refer to and is this acceptable. Also ask yourself, what would your reaction be to some one calling you a fascist?
    “That is what the new fascists think. There are ways that the Scottish people can resist it and flex our “strenuous liberty”.

    1. Redgauntlet says:

      For somebody who claims not to read George Gunn any longer, you make a pretty good attempt at pretending you do….

      …the below the line at Bella used to be highly interesting, but hardly at all these days. All we get are nay-saying windbags like MacKinnon…

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        Redgaunlet,
        I assure you I dont read his articles. I cant. They are torture. George Gunn loves to show us how clever he is, go and check back he always starts his articles with a quote from some classical author or Greek philosopher. Its a bit pompous that. But worse is his blatant twisting of fact in what is meant to be a serious contribution to politics today. That is a major issue. It is in my opinion inexcuseable and has to be highlighted, as I say I think some of his statements are offensive. There are other problems with his style of prose; not least the lack of structure to his articles.
        Take this piece; as I say he starts off with a Milton quote, followed by some hand wringing about Westminster and Tory domination? Next a name drop or two, Angus Calder (who he) and Ken Clark (nice Tory). Then its over the seas to America and the fascist Trump. Back again this time in the North Sea and seven long paragraphs on north sea oil where George recommends the Scottish governemnt set up a Scottish National Energy Company, as in nationalise the oil industry. “Its a plan George and it just might work”. Finally George begins his finale which is of course, a lamentation of the dearth of Scottish contempory literature. And this is where he shows his tail, “They are hiding in universities, chasing prizes (I confess I am as guilty, by necessity, of this as any other writer).
        But the thing I find most irritating about George Gunn is, strangely enough, is the reference he always makes to himself in his titles, he alway subfixes the title with “From the province of the cat”? I’m not sure what this is about. It is as if George Gunn thinks, we know who he is.

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Richard, why not go comment below the line on an article you have read, preferably not on Bella Caledonia? Are you 15 years old? What’s your problem?

    2. MBC says:

      All I have to say to you MacKinnon is… yawn.

    3. Kate MacLean says:

      well said George : echoes what I have been wondering – where are the poets, the protest songs, the satirists? I’ve been on several marches recently and am gladdened to see so many young folk getting involved, but on 2 occasions was surprised to see the blue rinse brigade also out – Hah, I thought, the revolution starts when the middle classes feel the pinch. On reflection, I realise that their motive was self-interest, not socialist sentiment. They could see where their businesses might be affected, and so turned out with us old hippies, and young families with babes in arms. So maybe there has been a shift : what used to be the working class is no longer actually working, and sanctions on dole money are keeping them down. The Unions appear to have lost their taste for barricades. The students, in Scotland at least, are keeping their heads down, unlike when I first met you in Edinburgh, when there was a march almost every week. Like signing petitions on Facebook, and writing to our MSPs, and taking personal responsibility for re-cycling is ever going to be enough to change the world.

      1. Gaga Glasgow says:

        Kate, absolutely no offence intended, but I suspect you’d probably agree that most of those romanticised student protests of the 1980s — which, for the record, I participated in myself — were largely ineffectual.

        More importantly, you seem to look down your nose at the idea that supporters of independence might be motivated by self interest rather than socialist ideology. For a variety reasons, I think this is a silly and detrimental standpoint.

        Some of us who support independence don’t regard the independence movement as a sort of vehicle that will deliver us to a socialist utopia. Indeed, some of us don’t want a socialist utopia.

        You might agree with that and you might not, but it doesn’t make much sense to let our various political opinions divide us, in my opinion, until independence has been achieved.

        It does us no favours in terms of the goal of achieving independence to conflate our cause with any political ideology. Perceptions matter a lot in these things; and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in 2014, the higher up the earnings ladder you look, the less support for independence you find.

        For every person a socialist idea might appeal to, there will probably be at least one other person who finds the idea childish and unappealing; and naturally it would be better if both of those people supported independence.

        I think we need to be more pragmatic than that and keep politics out of the next independence campaign. Once we remove our chains we can decide where we want to go as a country. Right now we are all on the same side and we need to focus on getting more people to join us. Everything else beyond that, at this stage, is a distraction.

        1. “Keep politics out of the next independence referendum”

        2. Kate MacLean says:

          the marches I have been on recently were certainly not about Independence , but about DAPL. about Cromarty ship to ship oil transfers, and of course the Women’s March for Equality in Edinburgh. As far a the distant past is concerned, I recall the 1974 student March in Glasgow about student grants, where Jimmy Reid spoke eloquently. (Out come was the grant was doubled), Then there was Rock against Racism with changed LA policy. There was the anti- nuclear marches against Torness, which tightened up the rules on security and maintenance. There was the demo again the Orange marches which were successful in that they stopped them happening. Anyhow, rock on George, and all interested people. I’m getting my No Fear flag out to hang on the back bedroom window – you’ll see if from the North train coming in to The Sneck

    4. Cathy Gunn says:

      I’m not going to pick Richard McKinnon’s response to pieces as he chose to do with George Gunn’s thought provoking article. I`ll just point to the oft repeated observation that Scots who voted to remain in the UK may have done so because that option was promoted as offering a greater degree of certainty that Scotland could remain in the EU. Being taken out of the EU unwillingly and losing the limited sovereign powers previously conferred on the Scottish Parliament were not what people voted for. But life is full of surprises. I don’t happen to believe that Trump`s victory was the Reem will of the common people. US elections are a front for powerful – in this case dark forces. I`ll end by thanking George for an articulate piece of writing that reflects the new reality of Scotland.

  2. Redgauntlet says:

    “Where are the writers”?, asks George.

    Probably on Twitter or similar is the short answer, man.

    The medium is the message, remember George?

    Is it possible to be sophisticated on Twitter or Facebook? Can you express complex ideas there? Can you provide nuance and detail in your posts?

    Much harder to do at any rate than in the pamphlets which Milton – a true hero if ever there was one – spent so many years producing before he wrote his major work: “Paradise Lost”.

    Could Trump be President without Twitter? Would Brexit have happened without the social media?
    The social media plays perfectly into the hands of those with fascistic tendencies…

    And even when most wisely used, a great political point somebody might make about Trump on Facebook will be sandwiched on your feed between photos of somebody on holiday or somebody’s evening meal….

    The banality of evil? The banality of high-tech post modern fascism…

    The fact that the great political upheavals we have been seeing over the last five or ten years have taken place at the same time as the explosion of broadband internet and the rise of the social media is surely no coincidence??

    When did Humankind start telling stories? Once they had mastered making fire, and felt safe enough to do so…

    As for the Scottish literary scene, what can you say?

    What you say about one of our top critics, Stuart Kelly, suggests in The Guardian, that Robert Burns was a rapist, with no evidence at all, on Burns Day?

    Or when Creative Scotland come up with an Edwin Morgan scholarship fund to finance translators working OUT of Scots/English/Gaelic into foreign language, when Edwin spent his whole life translating INTO Scots and English. Bringing the foreign back to Scotland….precisely the OPPOSITE of what the muppets at CS are financing…

    You give up… because so much of it goes back to the SNP’s “culture policy”…

    As for Ovid, George, almost nobody knows who you are even talking about.

  3. Redgauntlet says:

    Stuart “anything for a click” Kelly…
    Alan “I’m easy either way about the referendum result” Taylor…
    Married to who if I am not wrong?
    That’s right: to Rosemary Goring, the Herald literary critic (a much better critic than her husband).
    Alan Taylor who runs The Scottish Review of Books.
    Who get funding from Creative Scotland, who in turn don’t fund native translators, such as Edwin Morgan…
    Funding which Bella Caledonia doesn’t get of course.

    Or well meaning people like Alan Riach, gieng it laldy in The National about “The Bruce”. Are we seriously thinking that is going to win over anybody? Are we serious?

    You are completely right about everything being in the universities, George. Nice, warm places, eh? Good salaries. Good pensions. Nice lifestyles…tell me one single literary movement which started in a university? Maybe the Campus Novel…

    But you know the last straw was for me, George? When I read in the most recent edition of The Paris Review that our dear and much admired Alasdair Gray’s translation of Dante, which he is working on just now, isn’t even rendered from the Italian. Alasdair doesn’t read Italian: it’s a mash-up of other translations….

    Scottish literary culture? Parochial, self-obsessed, smug, complacent, obsessed with the market, obsessed with prizes, obsessed with “professionalizing writing” and above all, almost completely cut off from Europe….

    As I say, what do you do? With a heavy heart, you leave….

    1. c rober says:

      Funnily enough I was thinking about Dante the other day , just along the lines of how it could be done modern Scots along the lines of Trainspotting. FFS its not like much Shakespeare hasnt bin gid the modern treatment many times over. I still am in baited breath for many of Burns work to be gid the modern treatment into film – especially Tam o Shanter in these days of horror remakes , perhaps Shanter demon slayer would be the horrid conversion into a tv Series where meg is a land rover.

      There is also much french work that would work in Scots , the humour is more like that of Italy and Scotland than of english pythons.

      I know I do go on a bit at times about sudsidy in the arts , but I dont see something like a Scottish film studio as subsidy – I see it as an investment , and of course a mechanism to get such home grown talent and material done perhaps at the expense of big budget , maths driven , drivel.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        That’s the thing about the Scots these days….it’s ALL about Scotland…ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS about Scotland. About Burns, about MacDiarmid, about Trainspotting….

        That’s the opposite intellectual spirit to the one which was the wellspring of the Scottish independence movement we have today, okay? If you really are a Scottish nationalist, you will know that without Scottish Modernism, there would have been no SNP….

        MacDiarmid was a European intellectual, MacDiarmid had read everybody in Europe of any note. Edwin Muir and his wife were the first to translate Kafka no less, after travelling Europe for years. JD Fergusson came back from France to bring back what he had learned about paining from his time there. There are numerous other examples…

        Where would these people go today in Scotland? Where would you if discovered the Kafka of 2017? Creative Scotland? Canongate Books? Nobody takes you seriously in Scotland unless you’ve got a phd or a master in creative fcking writing or you know somebody like Alan Taylor….and the death knell of serious literature is the creative writing course…

        Writers being taught how to write? You can learn to write, but you can’t teach it…

        It’s a fcking joke, and the punchline is that it is the Scottish Nationalists who are running Scottish culture…

        As for film – THE ART of Modernity – let’s not even talk about it…

        Scottish culture is run by a pack of provincial philistines / academics who are deeply of suspicious of anything intellectual, anything European, anything new….the ones that aren’t, don’t even try because they have no audience….

        Alan Bisset reviews T2 because it’s about Scotland.
        Alan Riach writes about The Bruce because it’s about Scotland…

        If Bisset was reviewing, say, “The Death of Louis XIV” by Albert Serra say, and Alan Riach was writing in The National about – for example – the recent 400th anniversary of Cervantes’s death, then you might feel there was some hope.

        And if nobody else writes about topics like the above mentioned, it’s because there is no audience…. nobody cares….

        1. Alf Baird says:

          “It’s a fcking joke, and the punchline is that it is the Scottish Nationalists who are running Scottish culture… ”

          Tae richt rg, thay canna/winna e’en pit a Scots Langage Act thegither. An oor unionist-elite maisters still rin athings. Nationalists ma airse, juist mair dopey career politeecians, takkin the unionist siller. 56 oot o 59 MPs an thay refuise tae tak thair/oor naition bak. Gies ye the boak. Paitriots ma airse.

  4. MBC says:

    Thanks for reminding me about BNOC and Britoil George.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-14895693

    It could have been like Statoil in Norway contributing to a sovereign wealth fund. But instead Nigel Lawson allowed BP to buy up the government’s controlling stake and eventually to take it over completely. BP promised there would be ‘no net job losses in Scotland’. Sacked all the Britoil employees in Glasgow, then moved their London staff up.

    1. c rober says:

      And lets not get into the directorships of Early BP – and state sanctioned worldwide oil grabs , installing dictators , through WM , and secret services using serving and ex military.

  5. Justin Kenrick says:

    “The ironic thing about narrative fiction is that no-one will believe it unless it is true. History has no such requirement.”

    And yet an analysis such as this shows that there is always a truth to the unfolding history of today, and the more can understand the more we can withstand the actions of those who only want to exploit and appropriate.

    Roosevelt’s understanding of facism – the take over of government by the corporates – is exactly what we are seeing in America. We are also seeing real resistance to that.

    The idea of a National Energy Bank or some such to intensify investment in renewables and so be able to redeploy North Sea oil workers to become North Sea renewable workers is a crucial one. It means establishing the goose that will go on laying the golden eggs. But the idea of putting the same amount of energy into draining the last dregs of oil (that needs to be kept in the ground if our children are to have a future) does not she sense.

    To say ‘environmentalist’ is tonnage it sound S if e are talking about caring for the environment rather than people, when what we are talking about is the need to not set fire to the house your kids are sleeping in.

    Really rich read, though, thank you. And you gotta love those commentators who come on here to rage about articles they claim they haven’t read. Not the most persuasive basis for making a response to an article.

  6. John Page says:

    Sorry to pick this up late……I just wanted to say Thanks! To George for another wonderful piece.
    How long are the SNP MPs going to go on about being disrespected……just come back now and get on with preparing for independence…..
    Human Rights
    Scottish NHS
    Getting rid of Trident
    Food and environmental standards
    Energy policy
    Currency and central and development banks

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