Four Lessons to be learned from the 2014 Scottish Referendum
Government authorities in the UK declared that the “Yes” campaign for secession had failed by a margin of approximately 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
Yet, even without a majority vote for secession, Scotland’s campaign for separation from the United Kingdom provided numerous insights into the future of the secession movement and those who defended the status quo.
Lesson 1: Global elites greatly fear secession and decentralization
Global elite institutions and individuals including Goldman Sachs, Alan Greenspan, David Cameron and several major banks pulled out all the stops to sow fear about Scottish independence. Global bankers recruited to the cause by UK diplomats and civil service treasury staff vowed to punish Scotland, declaring they would move out of Scotland if independence were declared.
A Deutsche Bank report compared independence to the decision to return to the gold standard in the 1920s and said it might spark a rerun of the Great Depression, at least north of the border.
When it comes to predictions of economic doom, it doesn’t get much more hysterical than that. Except that it does. David Cameron nearly burst into tears begging the Scots not to vote for independence.
The elite onslaught against secession employed at least two strategies. The first involved threats and “for your own good” lectures. Things will “not work out well” for Scotland in case of secession, intoned Robert Zoellick of the World Bank.
The late Senator John McCain implied that Scottish independence would be good for terrorists. The second strategy involved pleading and begging, which, of course, betrayed how truly fearful the West’s ruling class is of secession.
In addition to Cameron’s histrionics based on nostalgia and maudlin appeals to not break “this family apart,” Cameron bribed Scots with numerous promises of more money, more autonomy, and more power within the UK.
The threats that focused on the future of the Scottish monetary system are particularly telling. The very last thing that governments in London, Brussels, or Washington, DC want to see is an established Western country secede from a monetary system and join another in an orderly fashion.
Lesson 2: Secession movements will demand a vote
While the Westminster elite was desperate to see the Scotland referendum fail, few argued that the Scots had no right to vote on the matter. Some argued that all of the UK should vote on it, but most observers appeared to simply accept that the Scots were entitled to vote by themselves or through their politically elected officials on Scotland’s status in the UK.
Lesson 3: Secession is a good way to bargain
Centralizers fear secession to the point where they’re willing to throw a lot of perks at the secessionists. In Scotland’s case, the promises involved a lot of additional government welfare.
Threatening secession can be a useful tactic to obtain additional autonomy. Moreover, it will often force a central government to submit to a referendum on its legitimacy.
Ultimately, however, what really matters to Westminster is the ability to inflate the money supply and control the financial system.
Politicians from the Westminster government may be willing to part with many powers, but the power to inflate and control the banks will never be given up lightly.
Lesson 4: Centralization is unnecessary for economic success
As predicted by a host of observers of trends in state legitimacy, the state’s status as the central fact in the political order of the world continues to decline with smaller national groups and economic regions breaking up the old order in favour of both local autonomy and international alliances.
Scotland’s secession effort is one example and the short-term defeat in the referendum will do little to alter the trend.
In addition, the economic realities of the modern world with constantly moving capital and labour will continue to undermine the Westminster political system which was built on the idea of economic nationalism coupled with the myth that economic self-sufficiency can only be retained within the UK.
The proliferation of trade among nations with huge national markets, labour forces, and a willingness to trade internationally has destroyed the UK government claims that only the nation-state can provide the markets, coercive power, and international clout necessary for economic growth.
Scots see access to international markets as something that is quite attainable without the added baggage of the UK central state to which they are presently beholden. Scotland does not need England to facilitate its trade with countries worldwide.
Small nations do very well when it comes to economic performance, and smallness is hardly a liability. The assertion that bigger is better was always easily disprovable but remained popular for centuries.
The success of the Scottish secessionist claims that Scotland could indeed compete internationally has shown that the continued dominance of the old myth is failing.
The drive for Scottish independence will continue to grow as the UK economy stagnates, and the promises of Westminster Unionist politicians will fall on very deaf ears.
Summarised from an article written by Ryan McMaken, Editor and Economist at the Mises Institute.
The Irish Free State, comprised of 32 counties, came into being in 1916 and seceded from the United Kingdom under the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922. 6 counties under the control of Unionists, opted to remain with the United Kingdom.
The Irish Government introduced a republican constitution in 1937, which included a territorial claim to the 6 counties of Northern Ireland). The Oath of Allegiance to the British monarchy was abandoned and an elected President, Head of State, appointed.
In January 1939, the IRA Army Council declared war against Britain, and began a “Sabotage Campaign” a few days later. The plan involved IRA operatives based in Britain bombing British infrastructure, with a view to weakening their war effort.
But the British and Irish Governments cracked down hard on the dissidents and the campaign petered out. At the war end the severely depleted IRA membership faded into obscurity for a short period but recovered and formed a Dublin Unit which called for a ceasefire with the United Kingdom.
In 1947 a rebuilt and growing IRA held its first Army Convention since World War II and a new leadership was elected. It believed that a political organisation would be necessary to assist the progress of increasing its influence and members were instructed to join Sinn Féin. By 1950 the IRA had established complete control of the Party.
In 1949 the 26 counties formally became a republic under the terms of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, and terminated its membership of the British Commonwealth.
At the start of the 1950s the IRA started planning for a renewed armed campaign in the North and in the 6 counties, and in 1956 “Operation Harvest” was launched.
The border campaign, as it became known, involved various military units, “flying Columns” carrying out a range of military operations, from direct attacks on security installations to disruptive actions against infrastructure.
The Irish and United Kingdom Governments eventually curtailed IRA operations by breaking its morale through the introduction of internment without trial, first in Northern Ireland and then in the Republic of Ireland. The campaign faded and ended in February 1962.
The failure of the border campaign brought about a review of tactics between the leaders of the two distinct groups in the movement. A faction consisting of older IRA men who had served prison sentences together in the Curragh favoured traditionalism and now controlled Sinn Féin and a faction of younger, left-wing IRA members who now commanded the IRA Army Council.
It was made clear by the Army Council that Sinn Féin answered to the IRA, not the other way around. A hard-line stance that alienated the Curragh faction many of whom resigned from Sinn Féin in protest.
Sinn Fein/IRA adopted class-based political policies and rejected any action that could be seen as sectarian, including the use of IRA arms to defend one side, (the beleaguered Catholic communities of Northern Ireland) against the other.
In the period 1962-1969 the conduct and failure of international politics throughout the World brought with it an increasing incidence of USSR confrontational challenges to the Western nations of NATO coupled with sponsored proxy wars in Africa and South America and the Middle East. The Vietnam War resulted in the deaths and major injuries of many thousands of American and Australian service personnel.
The carnage went on for years but eventually people called time on the excesses of politicians and demanded that their voices be heard and their wishes acceded to.
The Civil Rights movement was born and millions marched for “equal rights” between 1967-1969.
In the six counties John Hume and other civil rights campaigners, appealed to the Unionist Government to ease its grip on the public, claiming they had a “right to march” and argued that other groups should be afforded the same right. But their pleas fell on deaf ears. Unionist politicians were not inclined to permit any civil rights protests or marches.
But, adding insult to injury, on 12 August 1969 an Apprentice Boys march was given the go-ahead in Derry and proved to be the spark that lit the flame that became the Battle of the Bogside.
Nationalist protestors threw stones and bottles at the loyalist parade as it passed close to a Catholic area and Protestant supporters responded in kind.
Royal Ulster Constabulary officers (RUC) moved in and became involved in pitched battles with the nationalist in support of the Protestant rioters.
The rioting in Derry continued until 14 August 1969, attracting worldwide media attention. Within a few days, the trouble spread to Belfast ad the British army was deployed to Northern Ireland in August 1969.
From that time the population became totally polarised, sectarianism prevailed and barricades went up to keep protestants and Catholics safe within their ghettos.
But the citizens of the six counties wanted only to be afforded the same basic democratic rights enjoyed by other people of the United Kingdom and their wishes could have been conceded without any detrimental effect to the political arrangements in place at that time.
Luddite Unionist politicians in the six counties and London, with their stranglehold over the electorate, ignored growing tensions within the community, brought about by civil rights marchers and campaigners who encouraged civil disobedience and this led to a rapid escalation of violent clashes involving nationalists, unionists and the police. Unionist were bereft of vision and their stupidity brought the six counties to its knees.
The Provisional IRA wing of Sinn Fein took on responsibility for the defence of the minority Catholic population a policy change that morphed into a thirty-year armed struggle against the British presence in Northern Ireland.
Operation Demetrius, (Internment Without Trial) was introduced in Northern Ireland, by the Stormont Unionist Government, in the early morning of 9 August 1971 in response to warnings of a Protestant backlash if it did not act against the IRA.
Approximately 340 people from Catholic and nationalist backgrounds were arrested and locked up. The intelligence used in making the arrests was seriously faulty and scores of people ended up detained who had no connections with the IRA. Of those arrested more than 100 were released within 48 hours.
Internees were taken to the new built Long Kesh camp near Lisburn, (later known as the Maze Prison), Magilligan British army camp in Co Derry and the “Maidstone” ship in Belfast Harbour.
The operation prompted serious violence within the Catholic communities. 23 Catholic protestors were killed between 9 and 10 August, including 10 who died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in West Belfast.
The extreme measures alienated Catholics and Nationalists and provided a recruitment boon for the IRA, just as Bloody Sunday would do six months later in Derry.
Internment also added impetus to the unrest and it is estimated that nearly 150 Catholics were killed and many more severely injured by the end of 1971.
Many Catholic families fled to the Republic to escape the violence and were housed in special camps.
Internment, in which over 2000 people were locked up without trial, ended in December 1975. Of that total just over 100 were loyalists. The first loyalist being interned early in 1973.
The first years of the war were intense and ferocious. In 1972 alone the IRA killed 100 British soldiers, wounded another 500 and carried out 1,300 early warning bombings. In that same year 90 IRA activists were killed, a heavy toll.
But the tactic appeared to be vindicated when, in July 1972, the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, secretly met their leadership in London.
The talks came to nothing because IRA demands were too high and a fragile truce broke down in contentious circumstances. But the process convinced the Republican Movement that Sinn Fein/IRA possessed the motivation and the means to force Britain’s departure from Ireland.
In 1974 the political wing of Sinn Fein/IRA addressed its less than harmonious relationship with the 26-County Irish Republic with the issue of a new mission statement:
“Sinn Féin will lead the Irish people away from British 6-County and 26-County parliaments and reassemble the thirty-two County Dail which will legislate for and rule all of Ireland”.
The content of the statement was the subject of widespread discussion over many months since its acceptance would bring about an adoption of new political thinking while ensuring that the military campaign remained paramount but closely harmonised with the advancement of a political dialogue.
But the new pragmatic Northern Ireland leadership of Gerry Adams was determined to get Sinn Fein to occupy the political vacuum South and North of the border with the purpose of getting the opposition to the negotiating table and this meant participation in elections and required the abandonment of the Sinn Féin/IRA constitutional ban on taking seats in Dáil Eireann, the issue which split Sinn Féin/IRA in 1969-70 and led to killing feuds between the two factions for a number of years after.
Adams won the argument and with his enlightened pragmatists on board they worked hard to ensure there would be no new splits in Sinn Fein or the IRA.
Political progress over the next 10 years was hindered, stalled and often reversed due to sustained Unionist military activism against the minority population, the intransigence of ruling political establishment figures and armed para-militant organisations in the 6-Counties.
The military campaigns of both sides intensified and casualties soared amongst the innocents of the population of the 6-Counties and in England. (There were at least 10,000 bomb attacks and 3,635 killings up to 1998, including 257 children.)
Yet the impact of the setbacks also proved positive for Sinn Fein/IRA who developed sophisticated strategies and gained political support in the USA and military assistance of Libya who supplied large amounts of weaponry and explosives, (purchased using £3m, the spoils of bank robberies and kidnappings.)
In 1979 the Tory Party, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, took control of Westminster and adopted a hard-line policy against Sinn Fein/IRA .
In May 1980 on the day she was due to meet with Charles Haughey, to discuss the future of Northern Ireland, Thatcher announced in Parliament that “the future of the constitutional affairs of Northern Ireland is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, this government, this parliament, and no-one else”. Thus setting the tone for the discussions which achieved nothing.
Thatcher’s mettle was tested again in 1981, when on 1 March a number of Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners in Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison went on hunger strike to regain the status of political prisoners, which had been revoked five years earlier under the Labour government.
On 5 March 1981, the nationalist MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Frank Maguire, died creating the need for a by-election and on 9 April 1981, after 40 days on hunger strike, Bobby Sands ran for the vacant Westminster seat from his cell and won gaining Sinn Fein worldwide support and significant financial contributions.
Thatcher continued to refuse a return to political status for republican prisoners, declaring “Crime is crime is crime; it is not political” and Bobby Sands died of starvation few weeks later. Still she would not relent and nine more men died.
Rights were finally restored to paramilitary prisoners, but recognition of their political status was not granted. She later asserted: “The outcome was a significant defeat for the IRA.” In all, ten men died.
Thatcher’s determination to face-down the hunger strikers, against strident international opinion, sent a message to Gerry Adam’s that the British intended to remain in Ireland.
Sinn Féin, boosted by the election of the hunger strikers entered into politics in the North in 1981 and contested seats for the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982 on an abstentionist ticket.
Results were encouraging. The Party polled around 65,000 votes making deep inroads taking votes away from the long established SDLP.
In the June 1983 Westminster election, Gerry Adams’s stood as the candidate for Sinn Fein and won West Belfast. In his acceptance speech he said that Sinn Féin’s longer-term objectives (beyond 1985) was to “become the majority nationalist party in the North” and to make considerable political inroads in the 26 counties of the Republic.
The Republican Movement had finally demonstrated that it could fight an armed struggle and win elections at the same time. Most importantly they proved beyond doubt that they had a mandate acceptable to the electorate.
The gap between Sinn Fein and the SDLP also closed significantly. Sinn Féin got 102,601 votes and the SDLP, 137,012.
The cumulative results shocked politicians and provided impetus to the UK and Irish Governments to conclude the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Gerry Adams Statement to the Speaker of the House of Commons:
“My party holds a policy of abstentionism when it comes to the House of Commons. We believe the interests of the Irish people can only be served by democratic institutions in Ireland, not in Westminster. I will not swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. In adhering to this statement we are fulfilling the wishes of the electorate that sent us here.”
The Speaker’s reply:
“I understand your position. You will not be permitted to attend the House of Commons or participate in debates until you have complied with all requirements of this house. In recognition of your electorate’s wishes you will be afforded office space, an allowance for living accommodation and unrestricted use of the full facilities of Westminster, including allowances for the costs of staff, offices, and travel.”
Unfortunately on 17 December 1983, just as a dialogue with Unionist politicians was being established the IRA (acting out with the authority of Sinn Fein) placed a bomb in Harrods of London. There was confusion over the content and length of warning of the bomb and it exploded in the midst of Christmas shoppers, killing 8 people and injuring 80. The bombing was condemned by public opinion in the UK and Republic of Ireland and resulted in the cancellation of a political dialogue
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were furious and convened an urgent meeting with the IRA Army Council at which, with the support of the “Falls Road Think Tank”: Danny Morrison, Richard McCauley, Joe Austin, Tom Hartley, Alex Maskey, Paddy Doherty and Vincent Conlon, they re-established control by retiring a number of high ranking officers and local commanders.
There remained unfinished business with Thatcher and the Tory Party who would be made to pay for the deaths of the hunger strikers. In the early morning of 12 October 1984, the day before her 59th birthday, Thatcher escaped injury in the Brighton hotel bombing during the Conservative Party Conference. Five people were killed and many injured.
The attack was the prelude to another IRA bombing campaign, but with a major change of tactics. Attacks on Military and political targets would continue but the main thrust would be to damage the British economy and cause severe disruption through the destruction of infrastructure and commercial targets in England. This would put pressure on the British government to negotiate a withdrawal from Northern Ireland.
In February 1991 the IRA launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street, the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister, as John Major, then Prime Minister, was holding a Cabinet meeting. The mortars narrowly missed the building and there were no casualties.
In April 1992, the IRA detonated a powerful truck bomb in the Baltic Exchange bombing in the City of London, the UK’s main financial district. The blast killed three people and caused £800m worth of damage, more than the total damage caused by all IRA bombings before it.
In November 1992, the IRA planted a large van bomb at Canary Wharf, London’s second financial district. Security guards discovered it and immediately alerted the police and the bomb was defused.
In April 1993, the IRA detonated another powerful truck bomb in the City of London killing one person and causing £500m worth of damage.
In December 1993 the British and Irish governments issued the Downing Street Declaration accepting the right of Sinn Fein to contribute to peace negotiations, provided the IRA committed to a ceasefire, which it did in August 1994.
By 1996, the Tory Government lost its majority and had become dependant on Ulster unionist votes to stay in power. Irish nationalists accused it of pro-unionist bias as a result.
The government began insisting that the IRA must fully disarm before Sinn Féin would be allowed to take part in fully-fledged peace talks. Arguing that the IRA could use violence, or the threat of violence, to influence negotiations.
On 23 January 1996, the international commission for disarmament in Northern Ireland recommended that Britain drop its demand, suggesting that disarmament begin during talks rather than before. The British government refused to drop its demand. Responding to the commission, Major said in parliament that, for there to be talks, either the IRA would have to disarm or there would have to be an election in Northern Ireland. Irish republicans and nationalists wanted talks to begin swiftly, but noted that it would take months to organize and hold an election.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams argued that the British government and unionists were erecting “one obstacle after another to frustrate every attempt to sit down around the negotiating table” and warned American diplomats that the British government’s actions were “threatening the ceasefire”.
Th intransigence of the British Government infuriated the IRA Army Council who said this was one concession too much and a betrayal of the terms of the negotiations that had been previously agreed. Discussions foundered.
In an attempt to break the impasse, the British and Irish governments created an international decommissioning body, chaired by former US Senator George Mitchell. This was part of a ‘twin-track’ approach, with decommissioning to accompany political talks rather than precede them. Mitchell delivered his report in January 1996, setting out six principles that should be endorsed by all parties to the talks. This included a commitment to exclusively peaceful means. Mitchell recommended that all parties should sign up to these principles and that some decommissioning could take place during the talks. However, this was not enough to prevent the slide back to violence.
On 9 February 1996, the IRA released a statement announcing the end of its ceasefire. Two hours later a flatbed truck bomb detonated in the London Docklands, killing two and injuring nearly 100 people. Damage to buildings was widespread and estimated repair costs were put at £150m.
On Saturday 15 June 1996 the IRA followed up the attack when a truck packed with 1500kg of Semtex and combustible ammonium nitrate fertiliser, (the largest bomb of the campaign) was exploded in Manchester. The IRA gave a one hour warning allowing the area to be cleared of shoppers. There were no deaths but 212 people suffered injury. The explosion caused around £1bn of damage and destroyed the commercial heart of Manchester.
The 1 May 1997 election landslide of the Labour Government proved to be the catalyst for change since it provided Blair with the opportunity to deal with the Northern Ireland problem without the constraints of the Unionist politicians of Northern Ireland.
The IRA renewed its ceasefire on 20 July 1997, opening the way for Sinn Féin to be included in the inter-party talks that had begun under Mitchell’s chairmanship. The question of decommissioning remained though, and the British and Irish governments sought to fudge the issue rather than allow it to derail the process again.
This led to Ian Paisley’s hard-line Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) walking out of the talks, never to return. The DUP rejected the notion of making any concessions on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland or negotiating with Sinn Féin, whom they considered terrorists.
While deeply unhappy, the more moderate UUP remained in the talks. Given the DUP’s declared desire to break the talks, Mitchell wrote later in his memoirs that their decision to walk out actually helped the process of reaching an agreement. However, it was to have a lasting impact on the politics of Northern Ireland, as the DUP’s opposition to the Good Friday Agreement severely hindered its implementation.
Sinn Féin entered the all-party talks on 15 September 1997, having signed-up to the Mitchell Principles and after marathon negotiations, agreement was finally reached on 10 April 1998.
The Good Friday Agreement was a complex balancing act, reflecting the three strands approach. Within Northern Ireland, it created a new devolved assembly for Northern Ireland, with a requirement that executive power had to be shared by parties representing the two communities. In addition, a new North-South Ministerial Council was to be established, institutionalising the link between the two parts of Ireland.
The Irish government also committed to amending Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic’s Constitution, which laid claim to Northern Ireland, to instead reflect an aspiration to Irish unity, through purely democratic means, while recognising the diversity of identities and traditions in Ireland.
Finally, a Council of the Isles was to be created, recognising the ‘totality of relationships’ within the British Isles, including representatives of the two governments, and the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Referendums were held in both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland 71 per cent of voters backed the Agreement, with 29 per cent voting against. While this was a significant endorsement, an exit poll for the Sunday Times found that 96 per cent of nationalists in Northern Ireland backed the Agreement, compared to just 55 per cent of unionists.
On 15 August 1998, 29 people were killed when dissident republicans exploded a car bomb in Omagh. This represented the largest loss of life in any incident in Northern Ireland since the start of the Troubles.
While the Omagh bombing was committed by republicans opposed to the Agreement, it returned the spotlight to the question of decommissioning paramilitary weapons, which the Good Friday Agreement had stated should happen within two years. Unionist anger at the refusal of the IRA to give up its weapons was combined with frustration at the refusal of Sinn Féin to accept the reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Power-sharing proved impossible to sustain and voters in each community started to turn away from the moderate parties giving their support to Sinn Féin and the DUP, displacing the SDLP and UUP.
For a significant part of the decade following the Good Friday Agreement, devolution was suspended because of the inability of the largest parties from each community to reach agreement on power-sharing.
Progress was made on decommissioning, which was confirmed to have been carried out in September 2005, but political agreement remained elusive.
Eventually, the British and Irish governments hosted crunch talks at St Andrews in October 2006. There, Sinn Féin finally agreed to accept the PSNI, while the DUP agreed to share power with Sinn Féin.
In May 2007, an Executive comprised of the DUP, Sinn Féin, UUP and SDLP was finally able to take office. This time, the institutions created under the Good Friday Agreement remained in place until the current political crisis led to the collapse of the Executive in January 2017.
Despite the fragility of the institutions created and the continuing bitterness between politicians representing the two communities, the Good Friday Agreement remains an important landmark in Northern Ireland’s history.
The Good Friday Agreement was able to bring to an end 30 years of violence allowing Northern Ireland’s two communities to pursue their contrasting aspirations by purely political means.
At 2015 Northern Ireland elected 8 Sinn Fein MP’s to Westminster all committed to the abstentionism policy which prevents participation in any of the activities in the House of Commons.
But the power and influence of Sinn Fein is progressing well in Northern Ireland and in the Republic and the heady ambition of reuniting all of the people of the island of Ireland under one parliament is very much on the horizon. The Abstentionism policy has been vindicated.
Content largely extracted and paraphrased from The LONG WAR: The IRA & SINN FÉIN’ authored by Brendan O’Brien (1999)
I chose to keep the article free from smut and omitted a deal of nonsense and obfuscation.
I was tempted to add in the relationship between Paisley and McGuinness but decided to concentrate on the contribution of Gerry Adams who did so much to keep the dream of freedom alive.
There are more hoops to jump through but the direction is firmly towards reunification.
The Gerry Adams statement could be amended for Scottish MP’s to include the “Oath of Allegiance” since the matter of a Scottish monarch is one to be resolved after independence.
This would provide for Scottish MP’s to retain their Westminster salaries and all other allowances and accommodations presently in existence.
A move to Abstentionism would cost the SNP nothing but cause great inconvenience to the Westminster system of Government and add strength to Scotland’s right to freedom from England.
The change would also add recognition that the presence of Scottish MP’s is not conducive to good government since they contribute nothing of any substance to the English political agenda.
The SNP have narrowly taken control of the city council in Dundee, affectionately awarded the title the “Yes” city after it voted to leave the UK in the 2014 Independence referendum together with Glasgow.
But Sturgeons claims that the results in Dundee vindicate her governments approach to independence are fanciful in the extreme.
A review of the voting pattern of those that voted contradicts her euphoric razzmatazz. Her plans for a referendum will founder badly. With luck she might then resign.
A significant number of the Alba Party founder members are former stalwarts of the SNP who became disillusioned with the Stalinist doctrinal centralisation of decision making on the Party leader to the exclusion of wiser council from the NEC and wider membership and decided to take the message of independence to Scots through the medium of a new party dedicated to taking Scotland forward to independence with this aim being the overriding purpose of the party.
Many Scots still have little knowledge of Alba which has only been in existence for a year, despite the sterling efforts of its members and candidates pounding the streets of their constituencies day and night throughout the month of April and early May 2022. The foregoing is coupled with a blanket media ban encouraged by the SNP leadership cabal who call the shots through the provision of significant financial support to newspapers and other media outlets preventing the reporting of ALBA party policies and candidates across all unionist and nationalist outlets.
In voting for the SNP many Scots are sticking with what they believe is a sustained and determined effort by the SNP leadership to gain independence for Scotland even when provided with facts and figures that completely refute this. Why? Fear is the motivating factor!! Many are aware the SNP membership are simply not interested in gaining independence since success would bring an end to the £31-£40 million annual financial gravy train presently transferred from the coffers of the nation to a select group of 800+ SNP politicians many of have been in the employ of the SNP their entire working life and their political careers are riddled with examples of incompetence so gross it is beyond any justification for them to remain in the public employ
I will wind up this article by addressing Sturgeon’s irresponsible claims about the outcome of the local elections which she is purporting to be the launch pad for an independence referendum in 2023. No it bloody isn’t !!!
I had a closer look at the Aberdeen results, see below. A count of first preference votes only is revealing. The outcome of a referendum in 2023 would bring a result unchanged from 2014.
That is the progress Sturgeon has made in respect of independence. Nowt.
Abdul Rauf convicted fraudster and resident of Govan
In 1993, Wheeler and dealer Abdul Rauf signed a 25-year-lease on the Brougham Street, Tollcross Post Office, Edinburgh owned by Post Office Counters Ltd. The annual rent was £9,200.
He was jailed in 1996 for four years for forging signatures on and cashing in 779 Department of Social Security payment orders to a value of £58,264 between June 1993 and July 1994. He did so by forging signatures on the payment orders and cashing them.
Rauf used cash gathered from his fraudulent activities to purchase a flat in Dalkeith Road, for £28,100 in 1996 , value £200,000 at 2010, which provided him with rental income of £10,000 per annuum.
He also purchased a large house in Glasgow’s Springkell Avenue, near Maxwell Park, Glasgow, for £93,000. The luxury home in Glasgow’s southside is valued at around £850,000 in 2022.
He went on to purchase a second flat at Lochrin Place, Tollcross, Edinburgh, near to his post office business for £14,000 in November 1994, which he sold on to his wife Irfana. Mrs Rauf sold the Lochrin Place flat in 1998, for £43,000. It is not known if she had rented out the flat or lived in it herself.
Lord Sutherland jailed Rauf for 4 years and told him: “This case discloses a very serious breach of trust which appears to have been carried on quite deliberately for a period of over a year and involved a very substantial amount of money.”
He was convicted in 2008 on fraud charges for a second time for claiming £80,000 income support from the Department of Work and Pensions while receiving up to £10,000 annual rent from the property in Edinburgh’s Dalkeith Road which he failed to declare. In his defence he told Social Security investigators that the ownership of the flat had “slipped his mind”.
11 Feb 2010: Nicola Sturgeon MSP for Govan
Aware that a custodial sentence for benefit fraud would be the outcome of his trial, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister wrote a letter of support for Abdul Rauf, one of her constituents in which she asked the court to consider “alternatives to a custodial sentence”. Defence advocate Donald Findlay produced the letter of support from Nicola Sturgeon.
In it she wrote: “Mr Rauf has accepted his wrong doing and has experienced the consequences of it through the effect on his health, the distress caused to his family and the impact on his standing in his community. He has already paid £27,000 of the outstanding balance to the DWP and will settle the remainder by selling property. He and his wife are anxious that a custodial sentence may be imposed by the court and of the effect this will have on Mr Rauf’s health and the impact on family life. I would appeal to the court to take the points raised here into account and consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.”
Sheriff Alan MacKenzie told Rauf that a jail term was “at the forefront” of his mind but said he would defer sentence for three months and released him on bail. He added: “I will take into account all that has been said on your behalf, including a letter from a member of the Scottish Parliament.”
11 Feb 2010: Holyrood MSP’s castigate Sturgeon
Sturgeon faced calls to resign after writing a letter in support of a man who could be jailed for benefit fraud. She responded saying she was “duty-bound” as a constituency MSP to make “reasonable representations” on behalf of 60-year-old Abdul Rauf who defrauded more than £80,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions.
But ever loyal First Minister Alex Salmond defended her decision to ask a court to consider alternatives to custody in the case, saying: “This is not a matter connected with her role as Deputy First Minister but, let me be absolutely clear, I absolutely back her.”
Bill Aitken, Conservative justice spokesman, said: “It is extraordinary to describe a second conviction for fraud as a ‘mistake’. Either she didn’t care about his previous fraud conviction or she didn’t check. Either would be unbelievable and a grave lapse of judgement. Ms Sturgeon trained as a solicitor, is an MSP and the deputy first minister of Scotland. Her judgement in this matter is completely flawed and she has serious questions to answer.”
Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said: “If the facts of the case are as they appear and Nicola Sturgeon made such an appalling error of judgement she must resign. Last week she was selling access to raise funds for the SNP. Now she is prepared to give a character reference for a convicted fraudster.”
12 Feb 2010: Glasgow’s Asians deny knowing Abdul Rauf
Rauf, the man at the heart of the benefits fraud scandal, was described by Nicola Sturgeon in her letter of support as being “heavily involved” in his community but Glasgow’s prominent Asians, said yesterday they had never heard of him.
Hanzala Malik, a senior councillor with responsibility for developing overseas links, said he did not know of Rauf or any work that he had carried out. Bashir Maan, a community leader, also said he had no knowledge of Rauf. A spokesman for the Central Mosque, the biggest in Scotland, said he did not worship there and had not been to their Islamic Centre, and he was not known at three mosques close to his home in the Pollokshields area.
16 Feb 2010: Extraordinary developments
It was disclosed that Sturgeon’s plea to the sheriff on behalf of Abdul Rauf was dated the day after businessman Khalid Javid paid £2,000 for a meal in the MSPs’ restaurant at Holyrood with the Deputy First minister. The February 2 auction raised money for Osama Saeed, the SNP Westminster candidate in Glasgow Central.
Labour’s business manager Paul Martin last night said: “this latest revelation adds to the suspicion that there was more to the story. Nicola Sturgeon has failed to answer the question as to why she took up this man’s case in the way she did. She has also failed to tell us who introduced her to Mr Rauf.”
Ms Sturgeon insisted she had acted “reasonably” and admitted she knew about Rauf’s previous conviction. She denied knowing Rauf socially, but conceded she “may have attended the same social events in the constituency”.
In her letter, the MSP stated she was aware of the case in July 2008 when her constituent came to her, saying: “Mr Rauf has accepted his wrongdoing and has experienced the consequences of it through the effect on his health, the distress caused to his family and the impact on his standing in his community. He has already paid £27,000 of the outstanding balance to the DWP and will settle the remainder by selling property. He and his wife are anxious that a custodial sentence may be imposed by the court and of the effect this will have on Mr Rauf’s health and the impact on family life. I would appeal to the court to consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.”
Rauf said in a statement to the press later that he did not know Sturgeon and he had not asked her to intervene on his behalf with a letter to the court.
Sturgeon – a statement of contrition
In a statement to MSPs a few weeks later, Sturgeon said: “I do believe in certain respects the letter could, and should, have been written differently. I regret the use of the word ‘mistake’ to describe Mr Rauf’s offence. On reflection, I should not have asked the court to consider alternatives to custody. Having drawn the court’s attention to Mr Rauf’s personal circumstances, I should have left it there. I should not have gone on to ask the court to specifically consider alternatives to custody. On reflection, that was a request more suited to my former occupation as a solicitor than to my current job as an MSP. In short, I assisted a constituent in good faith and for what I considered to be the right reasons, but in doing so I did get some things wrong and for that I am sorry.”
12 May 2010: Jailed
Abdul Rauf, 60 the convicted fraudster who found himself at the centre of a political storm involving Scotland’s deputy first minister has been jailed for two years.
May 2010: Health Secretary Sturgeon issues a “zero tolerance” warning to fraudsters
Only four months after she pleaded with a Sherriff not to send convicted benefits conman Abdul Rauf to prison she said this:
“Anyone contemplating fraud against the NHS should be aware that they will be caught, and if they are caught, they will have to face the consequences of their fraudulent actions. Fraudsters in any walk of life are opportunistic, tend to be fairly entrepreneurial, and will take the opportunity to exploit any weakness in the organisation they target. Let me be clear today about what is a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and to fraudsters. Fraud perpetrated against the NHS is, in my view, a fraud perpetrated against each and every one of us and that is why it is so important to combat it. So it does make sense for all of us, in our own ways and in our own roles, to act as counter-fraud champions.”
19 Feb 2012: Scottish independence: US debates UK break-up
Alex Salmond’s plans to remove Trident submarines from Scotland are to be raised in the US, in a fresh sign of the global ramifications of Scotland’s independence referendum. The issues will be discussed next month in Washington at a Friends of Scotland caucus, which includes 66 congressmen and senators. Organizers say senior US politicians are only just beginning to examine the implications for America if Scotland was to become independent and the UK to break up.
Senior defense figures have now questioned whether the UK could continue to have nuclear weapons, currently based at Faslane, if an independent Scotland insisted they be removed, because of the cost of finding and maintaining a new base.
On the economy, caucus organizers suggest that the break-up of the UK could shake markets across the world.
The event, entitled Political and Economic Implications for the United States should Scotland leave the United Kingdom to become an Independent Nation, will set out the key US interests.
“The geopolitical ramifications on US foreign and economic policy, and the impact on our national security strategy of an independent Scotland have not been well aired in the USA,” an advance notice states. “Before coming to power, the Scottish National Party long called for Scotland, to include the removal of nuclear submarines from their base at Faslane, in western Scotland. What would be the impact for the US if these things were to happen?”
The notice also says that the impact on global markets of a break-up of the UK could be “quite destabilizing, with ripple effects on the American economy. Few Scottish-Americans have publicly focused on these aspects”.
The event which started on 28 March 2012 with a video address from Alex Salmond was organised by the US National Capital Tartan Day Committee.
It’s chairman Robert Murdoch, a noted Pittsburgh lawyer said “This symposium will be useful for an exchange of ideas on the issues surrounding independence. Will there be a Scottish pound and an English pound, for example. My gut feeling is that independence will not happen. But if Scotland were to vote for independence, it could ultimately strengthen the ties with the US.”
The first signs of US concern over independence came in a report written by a veteran US Congressional defense analyst, Robert L Goldich, which suggested that Scottish independence “might not be too good” for American defense and foreign investment.
Goldich raised questions over how much Scotland would cooperate with Nato; the armed forces, intelligence and anti-terrorism services of “a truncated United Kingdom”; as well as those in other western democracies, including the US.
The SNP spokesman for External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Our international friends are watching the debate on Scotland’s future keenly, and those in the US can be sure that an independent Scotland will continue the strong and longstanding bonds of friendship and cooperation between our nations.” (The Scotsman)
11 Sep 2014: Congress split over Scottish Independence
The heads of the Friends of Scotland Caucus and the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus are split over whether Scottish voters should declare their independence and break away from Great Britain in a referendum on Thursday.
While the Friends of Scotland Caucus is officially neutral, Co-Chairman John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) broke from many lawmakers and from the Obama administration, which have indicated support for Scotland remaining part of the U.K. when he said: “I think it would be a good thing for Scotland to be independent, because when it comes to government, smaller is better, and closer to the people is better, If they follow free-market, small-government policies, they could become very, very prosperous.”
Duncan’s co-chairman, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), is in a unique position because he also leads the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
Duncan and McIntyre introduced a resolution stating that the referendum is a decision that can only be made by the Scottish people and that they believe “a strong and prosperous Scotland is important for United States national priorities.”
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a co-chairman of the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus, said: “I personally believe that it will be much better for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland if the United Kingdom stay united. If Scotland were to separate, this will only be a further negative disruption to global stability and the world economy. I hope the people of Scotland vote ‘no,’ but I do not get a vote.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said: “We certainly respect the right of individual Scots to make a decision about, along these lines,” Earnest said. “But, you know, as the president himself said we have an interest in seeing the United Kingdom remain strong, robust, united and an effective partner.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced a separate resolution advocating for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom stating: “It’s clear from this side of the Atlantic that a United Kingdom, including Scotland, would be the strongest possible American ally.” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, co-sponsored Sherman’s resolution.
Right winger, the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who claims Scots-Irish heritage, said: “To break up what is left of Great Britain, I think, would not be good for their economy, but I’m not going to tell them how they ought to vote,” McCain said. (The Hill)
Comment: The 2012 event contained a number of negative references to the SNP policy of a independent Scotland leaving NATO which is no longer the case. We stay!!! What is of concern is the credence given to a caucus which had only one member in favour of Scottish independence and he has since retired from politics.
What is required of US politicians is a caucus that fully supports the aims and aspirations of Scots, and its name should reflect this. The Friends of Scotland Caucus still functions but numbers are reduced to 18 from a high of 68. (https://www.billtrack50.com/committee/8784)
Following his key role in the success of New Labour in the 2005 General Election Alexander became a confidant of Tony Blair and the year following he was promoted to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Transport and Scotland.
But at the time of the upcoming 2007 Holyrood elections the Labour Government was in crisis. The aftermath of the illegal Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and Westminster scandals, (cash for honours) requiring Tony Blair to be interviewed by the police, gave warning of a humiliating SNP victory in Scotland.
Alex Salmond, fearing skulduggery lobbied Westminster seeking that the election process, in all respects be transferred to the authority of the Scottish Parliament. This was refused and the duty of election supremo was delegated to, “Wee Douglas” who would also run Labour’s electoral campaign in Scotland.
Elections to Holyrood, in 1999 and 2003 had used two separate ballot papers for the constituency and regional lists, preventing voter confusion.
But Alexander and Scottish (Labour) government ministers, without precedence decided that Local Council Elections would be held at the same time as the parliamentary election and both election selections would be printed on one ballot paper.
Civil servants and an independent marketing firm warned that the ballot forms would lead to confusion and a higher-than-average number of rejected votes.
The advice was ignored, Alexander and the Governing, (Labour) party claimed their changes would prove to be extremely popular. Civil servants and the, “Electoral Commission” were silenced.
In the election the SNP won by a single seat and Alexander was praised by Labour Party mandarins since he had just about, “saved the day” for Labour.
The elections, were badly tainted by a chaotic voting process, blamed on the Scottish Office’s design of ballot papers. In excess of 146,000 votes were declared void. The largest in electoral history.
Seventeen MSP’s were elected to Parliament with majorities lower than the number of spoiled ballots in their constituency.
There was a public outcry and, “Returning Officers” voiced their discontent about the election process.
Alexander, “Scottish Secretary”, the accountable person that organized the elections, stated there would be a statutory review of the election under the auspices of the Labour Party loaded Electoral Commission.
The Scottish Electorate was outraged and demanded an independent inquiry and Tony Blair was forced to concede this and an inquiry was commissioned.
Following an extensive, lengthy inquiry, an official report submitted by, Ron Gould, (a senior Canadian election official), heavily censured Alexander and the Labour Party stating that ministers in the Labour Scottish Government and at Westminster together with Mr Alexander’s political, “self-interested” moves, (as the Labour Party in Scotland’s election supremo), had abused their, “offices of state” making decisions about the election on “party political interest grounds”, with voters treated as an “after-thought.”
So be warned. Alexander and the Labour Party are “snakes in the grass”. They care only for the Party. The voter is a means to an end.
Mohammad Sarwar’s peerage blocked by Inland Revenue
No stranger to controversy tax investigators expressed concern about his tax affairs and soon after his election in 1997 he was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over allegations of bribing political opponents, and stood trial for fraud.
Mohammad Sarwar – officially the most expensive MP in Westminster.
The multi-millionaire Labour backbencher, with an estimated personal fortune of £16 million, claimed almost £100,000 to cover mortgage interest that he paid from an account with a Swiss bank.
Sarwar, then chairman of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, also claimed more than £3,000 for ground rent and service charges every year as well as around £1,500 for council tax and hundreds of pounds for home phone bills that included calls to Pakistan.
Sarwar also claimed a total of £174,882 in expenses 2008/2009 but turned up for only 55 per cent of votes, spoke in only nine debates and asked 55 parliamentary questions.
In the period 2004/2009 he claimed a total of £86,497 in second homes allowance (Additional Costs Allowance £600,000 flat in an exclusive building just over the river from the Houses of Parliament. and a total of £638,640 in other expenses, including office and staff costs.
Mohammad Sarwar announced he would not stand for election in 2010.
The ex Govan Labour MP gave up his British citizenship so that he could be appointed governor of Punjab, the largest state in Pakistan. The third most senior figure in Pakistan.
Anas Sarwar – Son of Mohammad Elected.
Sarwar 27, was selected for and elected to the safe Labour Glasgow seat previously held by his father. His rise to the top echelons of the party is spectacular, but not unexpected. He was the head co-ordinator of the, “No” campaign in the 2014 Scottish Referendum. How’s that for nepotism!!!! No end to it, as yet.
2011: Sarwar appointed Deputy leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.
In his address to Party loyalists he said ” I will never define my politics by allegiance to the Scottish flag but rather to the values and principles of the Labour movement”.
2014 Relinquishes MSP status transferring his allegiance to the Unionist Labour Party in England taking up the post of shadow spokesman at international development.
Clearly a diehard, “Red Labour” unionist supporter intent on furthering his career in England, piggybacking on his Glasgow constituency.
2013: Sarwar attacked the Scottish Government for its alleged failure to mitigate the worst effects of the Bedroom Tax.
But , during a vote on the said tax being repealed in Westminster on 13 November 2013, Sarwar along with 45 other Labour MPs abstained, with the subsequent vote being lost by 252 to 226 – fewer than the number of Labour MPs who had failed to vote.
The bill was carried with the assistance of the labour party and the Bedroom Tax was imposed upon Scotland. And it was the Labour party that had called for the debate and vote.
Anti-Bedroom Tax Protesters visit Anas Sarwar MP
A few days later, adding insult, Johann Lamont (Labour Party Leader) had the gall to submit a bill, to the Scottish Parliament requiring the Scottish Government to use their, limited fiscal powers to reduce the effects of the tax.
The SNP government, already alerted to the urgent need to provide help to many thousands of Scots had brought forward measures cancelling any negative impact that the tax might have on many unfortunate Scots on welfare in Scotland.
But this required a transfer of finance away from other programmes and would have been unnecessary had Scottish Labour MP’s turned up at Westminster and voted for a cancellation of the Tax.
Feb 2015: Jackie Baillie, ever willing to claim credit for the good works of others had the audacity to make claims in the press that it had been her intervention that had saved the day for Scots forcing the SNP government to find recurring finance cancelling out the effects of the Bedroom Tax. The brazen bid for glory exposed her to the ridicule of the Scottish electorate who were well aware that £30m had to be diverted away from the Scottish health Service to fund the new tax burden. the Scottish electorate.
In 2014, Sarwar came under criticism for choosing to send his son to Hutchesons’ Grammar School, the same exclusive independent school that he himself attended, rather than a state school highlighting the hypocrisy of Labour Party politicians who preached social justice and public services while sending their own children to private schools.
Scottish Labour deputy leader claims Holyrood not democratic.
14 November 2015: No such thing as a free lunch? Ousted MP Anas Sawar throws a banquet for scores of Scottish Labour faithful
Plotting his political comeback, Sarwar, who lost his Glasgow Central Westminster seat in May, contacted parliamentarians, councillors and activists with an invite to hear his “view on the future of the Labour Party and Scotland”.
Guests were treated to a free dinner at the Riverside Palace, one of Scotland’s leading banqueting venues which can cater for up to 500 people and boasts of its high degree of elegance and grandeur. The move raised eyebrows amongst senior party figures, who believe it to be a pitch to re-position himself at Scottish Labour’s top table.
Wary of yet another failure Sarwar ruled out a head-to-head election battle with the SNP as his route back to Scottish politics preferring the safety first approach getting himself onto Glasgow’s regional list, which now must be based on a male and female taking the top two slots.
But in what some colleagues describe as a one-man show, questions are being asked as to why, after four years as deputy, Sarwar is now seeking a fresh platform for his views on the party.
A Scottish Labour parliamentarian said “The present and future of the Labour Party in Scotland isn’t about an individual’s view. It’s a collective approach, a team approach. Do the people on the street want to commit to supporting one person’s vision for the party? People are apprehensive about the ambitions of Sarwar. ”
Feb 2016: Sarwar tops the Labour Party list for Glasgow and is guaranteed a seat through the back door
Scottish Labour’s list for the Glasgow region was topped by former MP Anas Sarwar, followed by former leader Johann Lamont, current MSP James Kelly and former MSP Pauline McNeil.
Hi Everyone. I’ve been following the Scottish Independence referendum campaigning for some time. Most of the fallacious arguments I’ve seen have been pretty well knocked down, but there’s one in particular that keeps cropping up which is absolutely ridiculous and needs to be dealt with.
I live in Washington DC and I do policy work. Since no other foreign policy and government policy geeks have knocked down the NATO argument and the defense spending argument, I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ring. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I’m a supporter of Scottish Independence.
My main reasons to hoping you go for independence have a lot to do with the military issues I’m about to discuss. Scotland didn’t want to go to war in Bosnia or against Iraq and Afghanistan, but your soldiers ended up in the desert with ours anyway.
Scotland didn’t want nukes in the Clyde, but because of decisions made in London, ended up with them anyway, including the hosting and maintenance of visiting American nuclear subs.
These sorts of events create a lot of distrust, and a lot of friction that just doesn’t need to be there between Scots and Americans.
If we had a direct relationship with the Scottish people through Edinburgh instead of a second hand relationship through London, none of the foregoing would have occurred.
I guaran-damn-tee you that even though Americans are fighting hard to bring an end to the aggression there will soon be another warmongering President sitting in the White House. So if you elect to remain in the UK, I can’t guarantee you that something like Iraq or Afghanistan will never happen again. Sometimes my country just loses its damned mind.
But enough of that. The main thing I wanted to dispel was this myth that somehow if you don’t want Nuclear Weapons in the Clyde, NATO and the US will have a tantrum, and then will decide to punish Scotland somehow. Let me say that this is complete and utter bullshit.
First off, the only NATO program that obligates a country to store nukes is what’s called Nuclear Sharing, which is a fun way of saying America gets to park our nuclear weapons in your country. The current NATO policies that exist in the UK exist ONLY because the UK already has Nukes.
Most NATO Members do not participate in nuclear weapons sharing. The ones that do are Germany, Turkey, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. The rest of the 28 nations don’t have any American nukes sitting in their territory or their ports.
Thanks for your informed contribution. With Westminster and the UK media, who are supposed to be ‘leaving the decision to those living in Scotland’, resorting to subterfuge and lies against the case for independence, it raises the spirits to read an honest, intelligent opinion.
I have great admiration for the 13,413 Dumbarton voters who on 5 May 2016 supported the SNP candidate, Gail Robertson. So close to defeating Jackie Baillie who enjoyed a pyrrhic victory by 106 votes.
But her victory was achieved at great cost to the party she purports to support. Her stance also further confirmed the deep divisions within the Labour Party in Scotland. The shaky truce between, “New Labour” supporters and the Corbyn team is now well exposed and unfortunately the further demise of the Labour Party will continue for some time yet.
26 October 1999: Minister Jackie Baillie Backs Scrapping Trident
A Minister in the Scottish Executive has admitted publicly to being in favour of scrapping Trident, it was confirmed last night as the Opposition SNP moved to exploit Government concern at the controversial judgement of a Greenock sheriff who ruled that Trident was illegal.
In the wake of Sheriff Gimblett’s ruling that the nuclear deterrent based on the Clyde contravened the law as viewed by the International Court, the Opposition SNP last night asked if ministerial collective responsibility in Scotland applied to reserved as well as devolved areas.
Ms Jackie Baillie, Deputy Minister for Communities, replied to a CND questionnaire posted on the Internet before the Scottish Parliament elections saying she supported the scrapping of Trident. (Highbeam)
27 February 2007: The Pork-Barrel Component of Trident
I suspect there is only one job Jackie Baillie is anxious to protect at the moment. Mrs Baillie has put on a bravura performance pretending to be concerned with employment while actually defending Scotland’s place as a humble cog in the US military industrial machine and her own interest in the pork-barrel arrangements which flow there from.
Trident is about the British taxpayer subsidizing the US defense industry and providing, gratis, an ICBM submarine squadron to the US Navy.
The pork-barrel part is that impoverished / Labour – dominated (same thing, really) areas like Mrs Baillie’s constituency (20% of households living in poverty) get very few relatively well- paid, ferociously subsidized defense jobs. (Highbeam)
19 October 2007: Reasons to be cynical
Jackie Baillie tabled a question at Holyrood about the cost of the summit “Scotland Without Nuclear Weapons” convened by the Scottish Government. Her concerns, (related to the cost of the hire of a hall and some sandwiches) is in stark contrast to her support of political policies forcing the Scottish taxpayer to fork out billions of pounds being the nations share of the Trident renewal programme. This new charge being, added to the billions already paid for Trident system. Ms Baillie has become Scotland’s most vociferous supporter of nuclear weapons, no doubt in the hope of continuing to save her political skin as MSP for Faslane. (Highbeam) comment: But she said she was anti-Trident ?
Jackie is “New Labour” to the core
28 October 2012: Jackie Baillie Trident job loss claims challenged by official MoD figures
Claims by Labour MSP Jackie Baillie that the Trident nuclear weapons system sustains 11,000 Scottish jobs have been called into question following a Freedom of Information request by Scottish CND. Figures obtained from the Ministry of Defence by the nuclear disarmament group show that the total number of jobs directly linked to Trident is a mere 520. According to official figures only 159 are employed by the Ministry of Defence and 361 are employed by contractors.
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has been a regular critic of the SNP’s policy over the siting of nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Ms Baillie has repeatedly claimed that having Trident creates 11,000 jobs, with thousands more set to be generated through plans to expand the naval base. Speaking on her official Labour party website, Ms Bailie said: “There are over 11,000 jobs dependent on the base.
The SNP would remove Trident, devastating our local economy and turning Helensburgh into a ghost town.” Ms Baillie also claimed that the renewal of the nuclear weapons system and the expansion of the base would create thousands more jobs and added: “The SNP also fail to acknowledge that almost 3,000 new jobs will be created with the impending expansion of the base. These too would be jeopardized by the SNP plans to scrap Trident.”
Scottish Referendum: Baillie and her Unionist Tory colleague Jackson Carlaw at Better Together fundraising event in Gartocharn, January 2014
19 November 2015: First Minister Holds Shameful Jackie Baillie to Account
You need to look no further than Labour’s Jackie Baillie to see why the people of Scotland have rejected this unionist party in their droves. Baillie shamelessly prodded Nicola Sturgeon by saying “She hopes the FM will eventually agree with Labour in restoring the cuts to tax credits”. When asked in a recent interview how Labour would pay for restoring the cuts, her answer was ridiculous gibberish that insulted the intelligence of every Scot.
The hypocrisy of Baillie is breathtaking…as the First Minister pointed out, Labour voted with the Tories against devolving tax credits and voted for spending £167 Billion on “independent” Trident nuclear missiles, that we can’t use without America’s permission, while children go hungry and homeless. Needless to say, the First Minister held her to account in no uncertain terms and exposes her shameful hypocrisy.
22 April 2016: Jackie Baillie Goes Rogue on Labour with support for Trident Nuclear Weapons Upgrade
The Labour politician currently MSP for the Dumbarton constituency is standing for re-election. She is also at the top of the party’s West of Scotland regional list. But questions are being raised about her suitability as a Party (list) candidate after she publicly vowed to defy the Party’s official policy on Trident.
In refusing to back her party’s manifesto commitment opposing the renewal of the nuclear weapons system she provided support to the GMB union who represent defense and shipyard workers at Faslane and also voted to retain Trident. Their representative also rebuked the conference stating that the debate was a nonsense and utter indulgence and the GMB was standing against “Alice in Wonderland politics.”
Baillie, whose Dumbarton constituency includes the naval base, said: “Faslane is the biggest single-site employer in Scotland. More than a quarter of West Dunbartonshire’s full-time workforce are employed there in good quality, well-paid jobs.” She then hit out at the SNP, who want to move the Trident submarines from the Clyde, describing their stance as “nimbyism on a national scale and “the worst kind of gesture politics”. Baillie’s husband Stephen, a high ranking officer with the GMB union did not contribute to the debate but was no doubt pleased with his wife’s contribution.
A report published last year by union umbrella group the STUC and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament stated just 520 civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde are “directly reliant on Trident”, 132 of which are held by workers from Argyll and Bute and 178 by staff from West Dunbartonshire. The STUC, which calls for the establishment of a Defence Diversification Agency, says alternative roles can be found or created.
At the STUC congress in Dundee this week, Jane Carolan of Unison said her union has a “proud record of defending quality employment”, but argued replacing Trident would be “catastrophic”. She said Government figures show no jobs would be lost for 15 years, adding: “For the cost of Trident we could have 100,000 more firefighters, 120,000 nurses, 120,000 teachers. It is a gross misallocation of taxpayers money, our money, where there are so many more vital and constructive ways in which it could be spent.”
South of Scotland region Labour MSP Claudia Beamish told delegates there was a firm commitment to protect defense workers’ jobs regardless of Trident renewal.
Speaking for the locals a Councillor said: “Night and day, the Ministry of Defense is transporting nuclear material through our streets. Jackie Baillie’s view has nothing to do with local jobs, it is to do with her protecting her own job. Her argument has always been the local economy is so reliant on it, but the Helensburgh economy has almost collapsed. It has empty shops. It is a fallacy.”