Scotch on the Rocks
At the beginning of the 1970s, the UK was in crisis faced with working-class challenges to an establishment that had failed to improve standards of living in preference for the retention of the “class” system which had endured for many years.
The Labour Party though hopelessly divided was given chances in government but failed to provide the consistent leadership required to improve the lives of those who voted it into government and the Conservative Party seized the initiative with the assistance of Mi5.
Its Director Joseph Ball, (believed by many to have played a central role in the 1930 Zinoviev Letter scandal that brought down Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government), established the Conservative Research Department (CRD) a secretive “Special Operations” unit and perfected the sustained delivery to the UK public, through the media and the BBC, of dirty tricks and disinformation campaigns many of which were designed to poison the minds of the electorate against the Labour Party, Trade Unions and Scottish Nationalists with false news accusing them of being fronts for the USSR and communist agitators.
Tory MP, Douglas Hurd, who had been recruited from the Foreign Office in Rome to the CRD wrote a novel “Scotch on the Rocks” a drama which told a story of Mi5 and Special Branch officers infiltrating a Scottish Nationalist paramilitary organisation, the (SLA) in an effort to thwart a separatist military coup.
The BBC actively supported the aims of the (CRD) in 1973, with the commissioning, production and delivery of the anti-Scottish nationalist television programme “Scotch on the Rocks” an adaptation of the book.
At the time of the screening, Hurd was Private Secretary to Prime Minister, Edward Heath and was well aware of the intent of the programme and its links to the Security Services.
“Scotch on the Rocks” was a provocative broadcast, released to coincide with the end of the Scottish Conservative Party Conference, during which the 80-year old founder of the National Party of Scotland, Wendy Wood was quietly removed from the hall at the Conference just one day before the programme was broadcast.
The series sent shockwaves throughout Scotland and the BBC Programme Complaints Commission upheld criticism by the Scottish National Party that its five-part thriller had seriously impugned the party by suggesting it was involved in using violence for political ends. The BBC responded by promising never to show the series again.
But the furore after the broadcast had no detrimental impact on the Scottish National Party. The energy the drama had pumped into the mythical “home rule” movement resulted in Harry Selby losing one of Scotland’s safest Labour seats, Glasgow Govan to the SNP’s Margo MacDonald and with a re-energized “it’s Scotland’s Oil” campaign the party won a further six seats in the General Election that followed and the SNP took 33% 0f the Scottish vote.
see clip at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCwIblx2VPc
Comments: Eton educated Tory MP, Douglas Hurd served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major as Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 1979-1983, Minister of State (Home Office) 1983- 1984, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 1984-1985, Home Secretary 1985-1989 and, Foreign Secretary 1989-1995.
His son, Eton and Oxford-educated Tom Hurd was appointed by Boris Johnson to the post of “Director-General of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism” in 2020 and was lined up to take over as chief of MI6 in 2021 before his transfer to the UN where he is a member of the UK/UN Security Council team. And there are many untold stories about his career in the underworld of politics.
The article highlights the similarities between the under the radar activities and successes of the European Research Group (ERG) and the Conservative Research Department (CRD)
4 thoughts on “The Tory disinformation Research Department and the BBC Scotch on the Rocks debacle”
Interesting historical summary and quite quite amazing that so many people do not recognise the extent to which the establishment, MI5 and other apparatus of the state intervene to undermine political parties and popular political will.
Up until 2014 the SNP was on peak form. The principal but not exclusive participant in the campaign for independence they were in the peak of form. Look now at how the party sits. Look now at how the Police and Prosecution who sought to destroy those who like Salmond had achieved so much. 2014 was a wake up call for the establishment. The independence sentiment, the SNP, the wider Yes movement ran them close – but look now at the becalmed crazy policy focussed SNP.
Reinforces how we all need to continue to push and exclude those who undermine popular will through dark means.
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Your comments are depressingly true. The SNP leaders have lost their way and the membership needs to waken up and get them out before the ambition is lost forever.
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Lost their way – or taken by the hand.
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They are enemies of democracy and Scotland and should be treated as such.