So has he or hasn’t he? According to the Sunday Herald, David Cameron has asked Russian president Vladimir Putin for help in combating Scottish independence, as Scotland is less tuneful than Pussy Riot and poses a threat the ex-Soviet voting bloc in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Herald reports that the state owned Russian news agency Itar-Tass recently published a story claiming that the UK was “extremely interested” in gaining the support of the Kremlin in order to prevent Scottish independence. Russia currently holds the presidency of the G8 group of major economies, and Cameron hopes that Putin will support a joint statement from the G8 that Scottish independence risks the entire future of the universe – or at least threatens the future careers of Westminster politicians, which in their eyes is much the same thing.
According to the Russian news agency, Scottish independence and the situation in Afghanistan are two important topics on which the Tories want to enlist the support of foreign governments, because foreign governments will listen to Tories even if Scottish people won’t. A spokesperson for Downing Street was quoted as saying that Scotland and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan are the “two main issues whose resolution requires international formats, albeit of different modalities”. One requires fear-bombs, the other actual bombs.
However the Herald’s report was immediately denied by Downing Street, the Scotsman published a spoiler piece quoting a Downing St spokes-tory who said, “There has been no approach to the Russian Government for help in the independence referendum and there won’t be one.”
Gosh, who to believe? It is always wise to pay close attention to exactly what is being denied when Westminster denies something. The spokesperson quoted in the Scotsman denied Westminster had asked Putin for help, but didn’t deny discussing Scottish independence with him, and didn’t deny suggesting to him that a statement from him on the evils of Scottish independence would be helpful to Westminster.
It sounds like the denials from the Conservatives that they’ve been colluding with the Spanish government to put forward the line that the EU would throw an independent Scotland out on its ear. They’ve not been colluding, they’ve reached no agreements despite the fact that leading members of the Partido Popular have openly spoken about their agreement, they’ve just independently and quite coincidentally arrived at the same lie and only meet regularly to congratulate one another on their good fortune.
However Downing St’s denials that they’ve asked Russia for help were apparently contradicted within the same report in the Scotsman. The paper tells us that an anonymous source close to Cameron said that the report in the Herald “reflects more the fact that the impact of Scottish independence will not just be felt in the UK but will have ramifications abroad”.
In other words, Westminster has raised the topic at an international level, but they’re not colluding with foreign governments, oh no. They’ve not asked the Russians for help, instead they’ve helpfully pointed out to the Russians how – in the opinion of Westminster – there may be similarities between Scotland’s peaceful and democratic independence campaign and the assorted internal wars and strife raging in various parts of the multiethnic Russia. Because a Scottish independence campaigner starting a Facebook group is exactly the same as a Daghestani suicide bomber blowing up Volgograd train station.
So if the Russian government does make some pronouncement which Westminster and Better Together can use to generate some electoral fear, it will be because Putin thought it up all by himself, and nothing to do with him doing Cameron a favour in return for some favour from the UK – like Britain not objecting to Putin’s homophobic legislation, or his war in the Caucasus, or the multiple human rights abuses and rampant corruption that characterise his rule.
These people think we are idiots.
Cameron is quite happy to discuss Scottish independence with Mariano Rajoy and Vladimir Putin, and wants to raise the topic at the meeting of the G8, but he won’t talk about it with anyone Scottish. It’s a matter for Scottish people to debate within Scotland, he said, except for backroom dealings between the Tories and the Partido Popular and any other obnoxious regimes that Westminster thinks it can enlist in its save the Union campaign.
It is bad enough that Cameron is colluding with the revolting Partido Popular in Spain, but at least Spain is a functioning democracy. Russia is a pseudodemocracy ruled by an authoritarian kleptocracy – a condition the UK slides closer to with every privatisation and every banking or political corruption scandal that gets brushed under the carpet. Scotland will note that Cameron is willing to deal with such people, but not with us. Next week expect an announcement from Kim Jong-un that Scottish independence will be considered a threat to the sovereignty of North Korea.
We have a government in Westminster headed by a man who is willing to enter into dodgy deals with objectionable authoritarian governments in order to screw the Scottish independence campaign, but won’t stand before the people of Scotland to explain to us why we think we should let him keep his job as the Prime Minister of Scotland.
What Cameron, Rajoy and Putin are afraid of is that the 21st century will be the era of the small nations of Europe. The EU consists of 27 states, but contains many more nations. Despite shedding the non-Russian Union republics of the Soviet Union, Russia still contains over 140 ethnic groups and languages. And across the continent stateless nations are finding their voice and speaking out for change. On Saturday over 130,000 Basques took to the streets of Bilbao to demonstrate in favour of Basque sovereignty and the right of the Basque Country to decide its own future.
Scotland is leading the way in this peaceful revolution. We’re the first of the small nations of Europe to say – enough, we will not resign ourselves to the fate that our political masters have in mind for us. We’re making history, and not just Scottish history.
The Catalans, Basques, Galicians and many others look to Scotland as an example of how a small nation can decide its own destiny without violence and without conflict. Westminster punches above its weight with nuclear weapons and armed might, Scotland does it with ideas of democracy and fairness. We don’t need Westminster so we can punch above our weight, our influence is enormous.