Let us be very clear

In an article for the Sunday Times this weekend, Jeremy Clarkson says that he doesn’t understand the need for Scottish independence, but then no one has ever knowingly accused Jeremy of having any sort of insight into anyone who doesn’t fully subscribe to the agenda of the right wing British nationalist press. Jeremy is now an expert on all things Scottish because he’s a privileged middle class pal of David Cameron who has just spent a week in the Highlands. So naturally he’s more deserving of a platform to air his views on the Scottish constitutional debate than people who have lived in Scotland all their lives.

But Jeremy was looking in the wrong place. One of the biggest reasons why Scotland needs independence won’t be found in the tenements of Glasgow or the hills of Torridon during a brief trip north of the border. It’s to be found in that Parliament on the banks of the Thames where Scotland’s voice is marginalised and ignored. What Scotland wants is not what Scotland gets. What Scotland votes for is not what Scotland sees being implemented, and nowhere is this mismatch between the democratic voice and what transpires in reality more marked than when it comes to matters of military action.

We remember the debacle of the Iraq War and how this country was rushed into military action without any plan about what to do afterwards, resulting in the destablisation of the Middle East and a chain of conflicts which have seen ancient cities reduced to rubble, hundreds of thousands lose their lives, hundreds of thousands more wounded or maimed, and millions flee into exile. We remember how that same mistake was repeated in Libya. And now there’s Syria.

Theresa May didn’t just embark on a military adventure in Syria without first debating the issue in the supposedly sovereign parliament, she did so without even bothering to give a coherent explanation of her reasons for doing so or presenting any meaningful idea of what she sought to achieve by it. There’s no strategy, there’s no plan. Theresa May reacted dismissively when it was put to her that she was merely following the American line by joining in an attack on Syria so that Donald Trump could divert media attention from the mounting scandals which threaten to sink his presidency, and insisted angrily that she acted out of her own principles. But she couldn’t actually articulate what those principles might be.

We keep seeing military actions being carried out by a British government which is happy to rush into war and to wrap itself in the red white and blue in order to get itself out of some unrelated short term political difficulty. Theresa May is enjoying a wee boost in the opinion polls because she’s bombed some Middle Easterners.

To use Theresa May’s favourite phrase, let us be very clear. There may very well have been a chemical attack in Douma carried out by the Syrian regime against its opponents. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if that was the case. But the point is that the British government has lost all right to take unilateral action on any such attack without incontrovertible proof of the attack being presented by a neutral source and without the events being investigated by an unimpeachable international organisation. The assertion of the British government that bad people have done bad things is no longer enough, because the British government has lied about these matters in the past with disastrous results for the countries which are the subject of the military action. It has lied more than once and it has always got away with its lies even after the lie has been exposed. Where there are no consequences for the liars for lying, there is no incentive to stop lying.

That’s the issue here. It’s an issue of trust. It’s not that anyone trusts in the assertions of the Syrians and of Bashir Assad or Vladimir Putin that we should all move along because there is nothing to see in Douma. It’s that we don’t trust the British government and we are no longer prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. That’s a pretty lamentable state of affairs in a democracy. What’s worse is that this is a state of affairs that has been brought about, not by fake news from the Kremlin, but by the lies and deceit of successive British governments themselves.

Supporters of the British state can scream all they like about fake news, about Russian manipulation of the news, but that’s not going to rebuild trust in a British government which has repeatedly lied and has been dishonest without any help from Vladimir Putin. The only people who can rebuild trust in the British government are the representatives of the British government, but that British government doesn’t seem inclined to change its ways. There is no willingness to learn from the mistakes of the past, and Westminster keeps on repeating them. Being British means to be caught in a groundhog day of war. All this has happened before, and it will keep on happening.

There is no accountability built into the structures of the British state. The Prime Minister can do what he or she pleases as long as they have the support of a neutered parliament of lobby fodder. There are no checks and balances, no written rules. The famously unwritten British constitution really just gives the power of the day carte blanche to do as it pleases. Sometimes a country really does need to go to war, but Britain has created a situation where even if that were the case many people would oppose it because successive British governments have lied about the need for military action so often in the past. There are times when military action is indeed justified, but British governments have created a situation in which the public can no longer be confident if that action is justified or not.

This is why Scotland needs independence. Britain is never going to change, but Scotland can. We need to get away from a state which treats warfare as a short term political tactic. We need independence because we need a government which can be held to account. We need independence because we need a government which is representative of the views and the will of the people of Scotland. We need independence because politicians cannot be trusted, and we need to keep them close to us so that their arses are within kicking distance of our feet.  Then when our politicians do take us into war we can be confident that they’re doing so in the national interest, and not in their own.



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0 thoughts on “Let us be very clear

  1. I wouldn’t trust any government on matters of war now. The only people who ever win are those who sell the weapons and those who finance the purchase.
    Oh and those in power who get kickbacks from both.
    The events of the last few weeks have destroyed my trust in ALL power and authority.
    Never felt more ‘on my own’ in my entire life.

    • Welcome to understanding. Some people knew this a long time ago, but that doesn’t diminish your coming to it now. Some quotes from others who learnt this:

      “You people in authority often give more importance to prestige, honour and pride, than you give to life itself. But you know full well that it is not yourselves who will be in the front lines in time of war! No presidents, sovereigns or ministers are ever present on the battlefields. It is the ordinary men and women of this world who bleed and die in wars over which they have no control. When rulers talk about the necessity of war, they’re not putting their own lives at risk, or the lives of their families. They’re talking about risking other peoples lives! Those in power care little for those who die as a result of the foolish and belligerent decisions of their leaders. But ask yourselves: what good is a ruined country and a devastated population?”

      “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”

      “The Pioneers of a Warless World are those youth that refuse military service”

      “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

      “If you kill someone´s husband, his widow will detest you, if you kill someone´s son, their mother will hate you, and if you were to die by someone´s hand… (I would detest them)”

      “The security of the Nation is not at the ramparts alone, Security also lies in the value of our free institutions. A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know.”

      “It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

      “A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”

      “With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.”

      Something that is often forgotten is that governments are only governments because people believe in them. If Scotland simply acted as though it were independent, and challenged Westminster to deny it, I wonder if they would have the balls or ability to do so?

      • Regarding your last paragraph:

        A yes vote and then repeal the act of union. I am up for that. Short term chaos for long term gain.

  2. Great post Paul and well said.

    On the entertainer? Mr Clarkson is a man-child whose only interest is, well…. Mr Clarkson. I do agree with one thing he said though. He really, REALLY, doesn’t understand. Some high end click baiting in the ST, a bit of self publicity and some low drawer trolling of people who do understand the issues. Who are afraid for both their present and their future, and who are under some duress thanks to the actions of Westminster government, isn’t however a good look.

    Some cynical folk might even call it sheer empathy free, arrogant, metrocentric twattery, but others may consider that a bit harsh. (maybe leave out ‘sheer’?) On that bombshell…

    Aaaaanyroads, the lessons of the Syrian decision (UK geopolitical stance in general tbh), the SC challenge on the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd’s continuity bills and the ongoing Brexit omnishambles can be summed up thusly.

    Are we all now crystal clear on why a party of government vested with powers which put it beyond parliamentary scrutiny or accountability is a BAD THING yet?

    You either have a government that is within reach, or you don’t. They are either responsible, or they are irresponsible. They either practice ‘government of the people by the people for the people’, or as in this case. They do as they please to suit their own wants and needs.

    The Chilcot report wasn’t a serving suggestion. It was a warning for future generations.

    You choose. What kind of country do you want to live in?

  3. Thank you for a great article.

    I’m constantly amazed how willing our scumbag politicians are to wage war in far off lands. With absolutely no danger of harm to themselves or their inbred kids.

    These so called leaders should really be leading the way; give them a toy pistol and send them to the front line sans armour. Let’s then see how brave and willing they really are to commit murder and mayhem.

  4. Excellent post Paul. We I feel, in Scotland have never really trusted Westminster . Each and every day we are subject to a constant barrage of how bad Scotland is doing in literally everything from ” nae oil left” to ” Scotlands deficit ” and this will go into overdrive as a referendum date is announced . It is perfectly clear to me and possibly others on this forum, that Scotland is a very clear threat to this ? United Kingdom .

    The Supreme court will judge against us and not give a toss of the crisis that will cause, because they in my opinion have already got that sorted .

    We all must ensure that our SNP politicians are ready to walk away from Westminster and bring our case to the UN .

  5. I held my breath and read his article. The roaster is unaware that we already have our own legal system. Just like another Jeremy.

    In motoring related mood, I recently enjoyed a drive around Ireland and marvelled at their roads which are far superior to ours. So that’s what independence does. I suppose Trident and bombs for Syria won’t pay for themselves……

  6. I am sure that I am not alone in not recognising the English Parliament’s authority over Scotland.
    The Days of Empire and ‘the Motherland’ to quote the MSM describing the Widrush Children are surely gone.

    A wonderful piece,Paul.

    Not in our name, ever again.

    I am raging at the moment.

    We are about to enter a Range War.

    Mundell, Davidson, Murray, Leonard, Carmichael, Rennie, and their band of sell outs beware.

    Your tenure is tenuously short.

    How can any young Scot, by birth or design, and by young I mean those who are considerably younger than Gove’s and Davidson’s 40 plus brigade, even consider Unionism and colony status for Scotland as an alternative now?
    Back later.

  7. The true enemy of democracy is the Press until we change it there is no hope. We can but pray and I am not religious

  8. Great article but it doesn’t go on to say that Sturgeon is backing the English establishment line re Syria/ Russia. A great pity, but Sturgeon keeps her well paid job without really having to challenge the current settlement…

    • Well that’s what the people in her country told her to do in 2014
      They voted to leave such decisions in the hands of Westminster.
      I suppose that if the people of Scotland don’t like what Westminster is doing to Brown people with oil, they can vote them out….can’t they?

      • Pretty much Liz.

        The FM is a member of the Privy council and has one SNP member also on the Privy council and is bound to take heed of briefings by Westminster and the security services. Partly it was also her office and duty heed the outcome of these briefings. Partly I suspect something else.

        NO ONE outside of that council knows exactly what those briefings entailed or what proofs were presented. The FMs statements were couched carefully. Caveat with the term ‘as briefed’. What the FM actually, personally, thinks of the position we’ll probably never know.

        What we do know, is that by taking this position she very likely headed off the most appalling political and media assault on the Scottish government, the yes support and Scotland’s population in general at personal cost to her own reputation amongst the YES movement. Astute politically, probably. But also personally costly. I’d hazard there’s only one reason someone with the FMs track record on human rights and worthy causes would take that kind of potential hit and most certainly it left her opposition and the media entirely wrong footed.

    • mbiyd, the establishment will be challenged when we have the next independence referendum.
      That is coming, in the foreseeable near future.
      As for your dig about “well paid job”….
      It IS a great article by Paul.
      There is no way that an independent Scotland would act in the manner that the UK does.
      No way.
      That’s what we’re fighting (peacefully) for.
      A better world, a better future.
      Nicola Sturgeon has more vision of a brighter future than the entire Tory cabinet.

  9. There is a much more simple equation for those of us who want to finally see an end to our nation’s military adventurism and warmongering. A truly independent Scotland would simply never have armed forces with the capability and scale to wage foreign wars regardless of whatever species of Politician who happen to be inhabiting it’s corridors of power. So disregarding of the economic merits or demerits of independence, and the emotional call of of our shared history in the Union, I see this is as the the way for us to end this nonsense in our generation (At least us oldies can do this for the youngsters, given they seem so angry with us about leaving the EU). I can see no other practical way of finally “pulling the teeth” of the militarism in our islands. For me, I am afraid to say everything else in the independence debate pretty much looks like administrative detail.

    I don’t really care where the driving licence people are located (so what if it’s in Edinburgh and not Swansea?), or what the flag looks like, or exactly which politicians decide how much money we plebs are allowed to keep.

    So if what we get offered in a future Indyref is an pseudo independence where defence is still part of some greater UK structure, i.e. there is still a UK Army, Airforce, Navy and intelligence (yeah,right…) service, then

    • Not quite sure what you are saying grayhay27. Everything except having a UK army airforce etc when Scotland comes to vote for independence is ‘administrative detail’. Oh aye, right.

      For starters, by ‘nation’ do you mean England? My nation is Scotland. Scotland, with UK, US Trident and with massive weapons stores forced on Scotland, stored in Scotland! We are a target and I don’t think many people here would have any faith in the MOD, ie, effectively England’s MOD being bothered if Scotland was attacked.

      ‘Emotional call of our shared history in the union’. What?

      Scotland like any independent country can quite competently organise their own system of defense thanks. It’s being in the ’emotional’ union that renders Scotland a target and gets portrayed as war mongering, when it is England that is and has been the war mongers for centuries and centuries.

  10. You are correct Paul. The issue is trust, the lack of it.

    I read blogs and other web sites and know the lies, news omissions and distortions of our media and politicians. They are shameful. Here is a sample of BBC distortion from today.

    BBC Scotland and the Insider business magazine both reported on the Bank of Scotland’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI), issued two days ago. Here’s what Insider chose to emphasise:

    ‘Private sector output expands at fastest pace in five months. Scottish private sector companies ended the first quarter of 2018 with a renewed increase in output, according to the Bank of Scotland. The bank’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) revealed that higher business activity was underpinned by a moderate rise in new orders. Encouraged by the upturn in demand, firms hired additional staff to cope with the greater workload. Finally, an optimistic outlook towards activity over the coming 12 months was retained in March. Positive sentiment was attributed to planned company expansions, new product launches and forecasts of new business wins.’


    Here’s how BBC Scotland summarised the same report, yesterday morning, six times, during BBC Breakfast:

    ‘Output from Scotland’s private firms rose by a small amount last month combining two years of either mild contraction or very weak growth. The monthly purchasing mangers’ index said growth continued to be (curled lip) weaker than across the UK as a whole. It turned mildly positive in March due to the service sector seeing a rise in orders while on balance, manufacturing firms reported output was down. Confidence in recruitment were (sic) up and firms were found to be putting up prices as costs rose.’

    It’s difficult to believe these are reports on the same document. Remember Insider is by no means a pro-independence news agency. The miserable, grudging account by BBC Scotland can only be the product of an agenda aimed at talking down the Scottish economy.

    The choice of ‘small’, ‘mild contraction’, ‘very weak growth’, ‘weaker’ and ‘mildly positive’ in the space of only a few seconds, combined with the Graham Stewart’s flat delivery and disappointed facial expressions, reminded strongly of the Reverend I M Jolly.

  11. The Vietnam war was started after the Gulf of Tonkin incident ,A Lie , check for yourself Every single statement by American administrations and this westminster government since is therefore highly suspect , have they suddenly become honest or just better at producing Fog to hide the Lies .

    This Mayhem made mess thats refered to as the Windrush – eh Problem , Amber Rudd appears to be being set up for a fall and having all the blame attributed to her , when it was her boss Mrs Mayhem who started the whole mess , The vicar’s daughter displays her christianity well , just look at everything she has been involved in ,- the migrants go home bus is just one of her Christian Acts

    My Sympathy goes out to Nicola Sturgeon in having to deal with the Evil Psychopath who has a real problem with the truth , Let’s hope this disgraceful act by the immigration service does for Mrs Mayhem ,this one thing that at first appears insignificant ballooning out of recognition , Karma ! .

    Lastly the BBC in Scotland cant help themselves can they , what was a obviously contrived politically planted remark by a director of this Cambridge Analytica , goes on to receive undue attention by the BBC , this Lot are in the dock and will use anything to save their arses , her remark of having done business with the SNP turned out to be a load of pish ” better luck next time Ruth ” it dosnt take much to figure out the source of that little contrived smear , they cant help themselves .
    And the BBC just have to push it by covently cutting out the Questions by a SNP MSP that unearthed the load of bull that was being presented as fact – An example – a guy comes to your door selling crap you tell him it’s crap he leaves , And that is the essence of a news story f/k me they really are desperate now , this is still on the BBC website despite it being a non story .

  12. “Britain is never going to change, but Scotland can.”

    Thanks Paul for a great and timely post. Case making for independence is not only about realising new opportunities but also what we can leave behind. I firmly believe that when promoting the case for independence, the merits of getting away from UK foreign and ‘defence’ policies should be prominent parts of the case. To this end, the SNP should give greater prominence now to a critique of ‘reserved’ policy matters.

    After Blair and the claims of Iraqi WMDs, Westminster and probably the UK political class as a whole no longer deserve our unthinking trust. But more, the Iraqi WMD lies demonstrate that we should no longer place our trust, without evidence, in the integrity of the UK ‘deep state’ and its security, intelligence and defence actors.

    A major challenge for us all – and especially for those younger than me – will be to ensure that in an independent Scotland our political leaders and other state actors behave with greater integrity than we have become so used to in the UK and can be truly held to account.

  13. The Tonkin Gulf incident was a set-up to provide a Casus Belli.
    There’s little evidence to suggest that the North Vietnamese attacked without provocation.
    Witness the double standard three years later when the Israelis mounted a sustained and deliberate air attack on the unarmed USS Liberty in the Mediterranean, killing several of the crew and tried to pin it on the Egyptians.
    What did Uncle Sam do? SFA.

  14. Great article Paul, thanks.

    Re; Nicola Sturgeon’s response to the UK London governments attack on Syria, she is not daft. As Macart has said, had she responded in any other way, the media and Britnat parties would have had a field day, and we would never hear the last of it. Not giving the media and Britnats ammunition to attack the SNP further, was no doubt a deciding factor.

    Corbyn’s response, faux concern imo. Just look at how his party abstained in WM re, the SNP at least attempting to get some answers, or even just the right to question the Tories on their actions and attacks agianst Syria.

  15. “We need independence because politicians cannot be trusted, and we need to keep them close to us so that their arses are within kicking distance of our feet.”
    The number 1 reason I have always been YES.

    • I have been saying this for years, it is a fact that corruption is the problem in all governments and to keep some kind of control of it we need independance, where arses would be handy for kicking when needed. That is why in the ten most contented countries the average population is about 7.5 million where the people is near enough the parlament for the kicking of the said arses. A good example of this being when Iceland sacked their bankers along with their PM. I feel I must add that we are lucky to have our FM she is one of the best polititions in the country, although when you look at WM their is no competition except for the snp MP’s. I admit that since the early 1960’s I would not believe the Liebour party were becoming the red tories, but then I am a stuborn guy, and it is not easy to admit you are wrong. .

  16. “There may very well have been a chemical attack in Douma carried out by the Syrian regime against its opponents. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if that was the case.”

    Er – it would have been absolutely astonishing, Paul; an act of incredible tactical and strategic stupidity, which, it’s pretty clear, the Syrian government didn’t do. The likeliest true options are: It was a false flag by the terrorists, egged on by their fukUS sponsors; or, as now seems the most likely, it never happened at all, but there was an even-more-shoddy-than-usual video stunt pulled by – who else – the Shite Helmets, complete with instant satellite video link arranged by their sponsors naturally, to foment and ‘justify’ exactly the ludicrous, pointless firework show that fukUS has just perpetrated.

    We surely don’t imagine at WGD, do we, that outright lying and constant deception by the ukstate’s lamestream media is confined just to Scottish affairs? They do it all the time, about everything. Never swallow the idiot fake-news that ‘Assad gases his own people’. Every one of the alleged occasions when that rubbishy trope is supposed to have happened has been comprehensively debunked. They were either false-flags by the West’s terrorist proxies, mainly supplied with poison-gas materials by the gangsters running Arabia; or they didn’t happen at all, except fictionally, on the Shite Helmets’ video-making locations – some of those actually being in Turkey.

    Bit surprised, Paul, that an astute realist like you might have – even absent-mindedly – allowed one of the ukstate-lamestream’s long-running propaganda echo-chamber lies to seep into your subconscious. Something for which we all have to watch out, of course. That’s he problem with ‘proof’ by repetition…

      • Agree with both of you. The points have been debated as nauseam on Craig Murray’s blog but suffice to say the winning side is NOT going to deploy such a weapon during the closing phase of a decisive battle.
        Fiske’s report refers to an extreme dust storm exacerbated by the effects of conventional bombing.

      • Wag The Dog was an excellent book and movie Jack and I think it was too near to the truth of things to be shown on TV

        • Strangely enough, Graeme, it has disappeared without trace. No Netflix/ Sky/ Amazon/ BBC/ ITV airing?
          It is reported that the BBC destroyed its copy of ‘Scotch On The Rocks’ too. Might give us Unwashed ideas above our station.
          We live in a suppressed nation.

    • Rhisiart :
      “War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”

      However Paul’a point, I think, was that the whole business was a distraction, a red herring, whether true or faked.

  17. Great article Paul. I only quibble with the word ‘mistake’ in regard to Iraq and Libya. I don’t view deliberate destruction and death as a ‘mistake’ though I’m not sure of the word I would use.

  18. If you have an hour to spare, watch this talk by Mrs Assad recorded mere months before the Forces of Darkness spread their poison into yet another country that wanted to tread a different path to the Monsters of Wall St.

    • Is this not now a win-win situation for the Scottish Government?

      If Westmonster win (the most likely outcome) they demonstrate to Labour and LibDem voters that the Scottish Parliament is not safe in the UK because all except the Tories voted for the Continuity Bill I believe.

      If they lose then the Scottish Parliament is enhanced both morally and politically.

      • Pretty much Anne. Westminster have lost the moral and ethical battle before they even enter the courtroom.

        Their plan is to take without permission (theft by any other name).
        They plan to silence opposition by intimidation.
        They plan to use what they steal to act on another’s behalf against that significant other’s express wishes.

        The partnership of ‘equals’ was effectively over the very second they decided to take their partner to court. And if the partnership of equals has been shown to be a hollow sham, then what of the political union? What point a political union when the partnership is forced and abusive?

        Whatever else happens, we cannot allow progress of this case to hidden away on page 36 under the weather report and dear Deirdre. Blow by blow as it happens, the YES movement must blog, post, spread the word, tell the next door neighbour and their cat. But we do NOT let this go UNNOTICED AND UNREPORTED.

  19. Did you see the amount of union flags at Hampden? and what about Nicola and her cabinets reaction wasn,t it one of approval?yes for independence and I would declare it now we might then get a Scotland we seek after gaining independence we could get rid of the SNP who are turning out to be jus another bunch of poodles.

  20. Can someone explain to me why we are so ready to support Israel are they supposed to be strong allies if so when did they ever go into battle for us?Even more so the USA when did they ever support them yet receive billions in aid and unstinting support,why have we such a big Israel lobby.?

  21. “We went to war in Iraq (&Libya) without a plan resulting in a destabilised Middle East. .” . . A destabilised Middle East was the plan. The West doesn’t want any stable countries not alligned with the West. US & UK are strongly against Assad staying in power, they prefer the Jihadists to be in control, bringing their brand of stability. Will their be further action taken to undermine Assad?

    • Spot on Clydebuilt. Westminster lies and always has done. Only boneheads deny this is the case. In conclusion your logical default position has to be to always be suspicious of everything Westminster says.

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