Scottish Referendum

General Norman Arthur Better Together Campaigner for the Military

1. General Norman Arthur Better Together Campaigner for the Military

a. Norman’s family are extremely well connected in the South East of Scotland and enjoy a long and distinguished tradition of military service. He was destined, from birth to take up a position with a Scottish cavalry regiment and after boarding School at Eton he went on to attend Sandhurst Military Academy, from where he was first commissioned into the Royal Scots Greys. Members of his family also served with The Royal Company of Archers, a Scottish ceremonial unit that serves as the Sovereign’s Bodyguard in Scotland, a role it has performed since 1822 and the reign of King George IV, when the company provided a personal bodyguard to the King on his visit to Scotland. He had a long and distinguished military career and achieved the high military rank and other prestigious appointments expected of him.

b. He writes beautifully and possesses a wide and persuasive vocabulary. He is, as is the case with elderly gentlemen of means a bit of a romantic who sees the UK through the perspective of his privileged and sheltered upbringing in England. If he were ever wounded he would bleed, “red white and blue”. It follows therefore that he is entirely blinkered when, if ever, the subject of Scottish Independence is raised in his presence.

2. An extract from a letter he circulated to persons of influence seeking financial support for the, “Better Together” campaign

a. We need instead to debate the real prospect of fundamental and permanent change to the constitution of a great and ancient kingdom. The decision we come to may be the most important of our lives together. My thoughts focus on the history and greatness of the United Kingdom, and on its standing among the nations. Britain s strength comes from the contributions of all four of our own family of nations, so that the UK s gifts to world civilization are totally and indivisibly shared among us. This Union, which is Britain, is as old and true a parliamentary democracy as any in the world, perhaps the oldest. It is the prime example of a union of democracies, so closely woven that it may be called a family. How can we even consider splitting so great and long matured a state? What is the worth of divisive nationalism beside it? Our British voice is heard throughout the world, whether speaking from the heart of the 53 nations of the Commonwealth, as a trusted and reliable member of Nato and the western nuclear powers or just as a veteran nation with a rich, varied and stable 300 year history. Consider what Britain has given to the world in those years, in engineering, science, farming, the arts and music, medicine, literature, and, yes, in the practice of the Christian faith. We are both diverse and united, with Scotland giving much and receiving much.

b. There you are. There is absolutely no point in trying to persuade Norman to a different view. At the same juncture his perceptions are so right wing his opinions and/or pleas for a continued support of the Act of Union should be ignored.

3. COMMENT: Don’t throw away a shared history to be proud of in independence referendum

Scottish Referendum

Admiral Lord West of Spithead, former first sea lord, The UK is, “sailing into danger”

1. Lord West, Once the UK’s Top Sailor – Switched to politics and joined Gordon Browns government- Not long after he became a life peer and took his seat in the House of Lords. Prone to shooting himself in the foot his political career was short lived. He is a Labour Party member and his support of Better Together is not unexpected although his criticism of proposals for the defence forces of an independent Scotland should be balanced against his comments about the UK’s present set-up. A man of many coats is our Alan.

2. .In 2006 Gordon Brown chose a “government of all the talents”, he selected a new anti-terror chief with a heroic military background, a formidable intellect and a knowledge of the vagaries of Westminster. But within months the Prime Minister found, to his embarrassment, that Admiral Lord West of Spithead also had a talent for courting controversy.

3. In 2007 He said in a radio interview he was not, “totally convinced” of the need to hold terror suspects for 42 days. At the time Labour was pushing for police to be given powers to detain such suspects for six weeks. But two hours later, after meeting then prime minister Gordon Brown, Lord West reversed his opinion saying he was “convinced” of the requirement for such a power. He explained the switch (under 2 hours) by saying, “Being a simple sailor, not a politician, maybe I didn’t choose my words well.”

4. He was forced to deny extraordinary claims that he was having an affair with “the brunette one” from 1970s group Abba, after it emerged they had been friends for the past year or so. Amid gathering rumors, high level sources sought to divert attention by revealing that Lord West had admitted, “some years ago” to an infidelity during a routine vetting procedure – but emphatically not with the Abba star.

5. Labour was forced to apologize after former security minister Lord West branded Denmark and Belgium second-rate countries. He said the UK was still a first-rate military power, “not like bloody Denmark or Belgium”. His comments came as Labour delivered the findings of a 10-month review into defence procurement, aimed at getting better value for money from buying equipment for the UK’s armed forces.

6. Speaking in a question and answer session with 100 journalists and guests from the defence industry at Labour headquarters in central London, He said: “This business of a second-tier power – we are probably, depending on what figures you use, the fifth or sixth wealthiest nation in the world. “We have the largest percentage of our GDP on exports, apart from the tiny countries around the world, we run world shipping from the UK, we are the largest European navy. “We are a permanent member of the (United Nations) Security Council and I think that gives us certain clout and certain ability. “These mean we are not a second-tier power. We are not bloody Denmark or Belgium, and if we try to become that, I think we would be worse-off as a result. “I get slightly annoyed at this sort of statement.”

7. Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy and shadow minister Michael Dugher sat next to the peer, as he unleashed his rant. Mr Murphy looked embarrassed before saying: “Thanks Alan, and obviously for any friends from Belgium or Denmark, apologies. Or should I say former friends from Belgium or Denmark?”

8. Defence Secretary Liam Fox hailed the nations’ contribution both to the Afghan war and the conflict in Libya. He said, “I’m appalled to hear Labour’s Lord West insulting Denmark and Belgium, both of whom have been operating alongside British forces in Libya. “Forty-two Danes have lost their lives fighting alongside us in Helmand. “Lord West’s remarks are both stupid and insensitive.”

9. “Defence cuts imperil our proud nation”, warned Lord West. “Have we really decided that this great maritime nation of ours only needs 13 frigates”. “Has there been any realistic assumption of the requirement of the number of frigates – and I’m talking frigates not destroyers and other things – or is the number 13 purely based on an arbitrary cost figure? “In the final analysis, the defence of the nation is the top priority for any nation of whatever hue and I do believe we are standing into danger.”

10. Admiral Lord West of Spithead, a former first sea lord, said the country is “sailing into danger” because the Government is not planning to build enough ships. The Labour peer and former security minister under Gordon Brown said Britain’s proud naval tradition was at risk from bureaucratic and political neglect.

11. Friends say that Lord West is a bon viveur, fond of good wine, good food and good chat. Must have had a few at the time he lost top secret documents and was court marshaled earlier in his career.

Scottish Referendum

Whitehall Want’s Cuts I deliver States Scottish General

Major General Mark Strudwick CBE, former Aide-de-Camp to the Queen

Was, in his last post in the Army. General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland and Her Majesty’s Governor of Edinburgh Castle. He is a Better Together Supporter. In retirement he became head of the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust. (Classic case of a company man).

In the 1990s, Strudwick was Director of Infantry, and responsible for 12,000 officers at the time of the Army’s “options for change”. “We had to make 2850 officers redundant, that was a very difficult time.” Then in 2004 as a member of the council of Scottish colonels, Strudwick was handed the job of approving and publicly defending the politically-explosive creation of a single Scottish regiment, which also involved the merger of his own Royal Scots with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

“We had to come up with a solution, we couldn’t just go back to Whitehall (MoD) without one, they would have just imposed it. Inevitably it was enormously painful, because this is the ultimate change.”

He reflects: “What people find hard to accept is that the commitment and determination of our soldiers is not reflected in the way the Treasury is constantly driving down the costs, and the balance between having the right manpower and procurement – which always costs too much and takes too long.”

Scottish Referendum

Another General Adds His Support to Better Together

General Loudon – Governor of Edinburgh Castle & Better Together supporter – Adds his signature Supporting No in the Referendum

1. General Euan Loudon Keeps Proposed Changes From Soldiers

a. 2003-2005. A series of discussions, (at the highest level) were conducted within the Scottish Regimental heirarchy pertaining to major organisational change, at the time Scottish soldiers were deployed to the war in Iraq and other operational areas. Although there was some dissemination of information at senior levels, this did not include junior ranks in case they became upset.

2. A concerned ex-soldier – Major (retd) Michael Hamilton, wrote to the Scottish Herald- Opening up the Debate to a wider Audience- He was not popular

a. His letter. August 2005. Soldiers are being kept ignorant of Army changes – General Euan Loudon says that sniping from the sidelines dispirits the serving community. So what is General Loudon really up to? Sounding off about tartan, cap badges and the retired Army community. Both expect us to follow the scent of their red herring. The main issues are not cap badges and tartans, important symbols though these are.

b. Soldiers read the Scottish tabloids, not the Scottish broadsheets in which almost all the articles and letters on the changes have been published. If General Loudon had visited the Naafi and local shops in the Falklands (company group of the KOSB), in Colinton near Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh (Royal Scots) , Warminster (Black Watch), Canterbury (The Highlanders), Cyprus (RHF) and Omagh (KOSB) he would know that Scottish broadsheets are not on sale. We have asked men and their families serving there. Recently I asked the newsagent in Colinton how many Jocks bought the Scottish broadsheets. He scornfully said, “You must be an officer. They read the tabloids.”

c. In all Scottish regiments, there is widespread ignorance of the reform proposals. You can meet uniformed Jocks from the Royal Scots in the streets here in Edinburgh. They recently told me, “We are all right, the KOSB are amalgamating with us – we are not amalgamating with them, ” revealing a complete failure to appreciate what is really going on. Questioned about briefings on the changes from officers, they look puzzled and say no one has briefed them. Told that they would soon be wearing the kilt and a different cap badge they laughed and told me to stop taking the mickey.

d. The first main issue is that all ranks are forbidden to speak to the media and even to their own families about the proposed reforms. So let us now challenge the ministers of defence and the Army Board to open the ranks of the six affected Scottish battalions to the media with a guarantee of no victimization and the right to speak with back to the camera with voice disguised. Let them speak the truth. If the majority want their regiments to be abolished, the campaigners will respect their freely expressed wishes and fall silent. We do not fear free speech or the truth. We put no spin on anything. We do not need to.

e. The second main issue is that instead of moving in regimental communities in which wives travel with their friends, and children move en bloc from school to school secure in whole classes, the Scottish infantry and their families will be moved just as frequently but in penny packets from battalion to battalion thus disrupting military teams and the social fabric of whole regimental communities.

f. The Regiments of Foot Guards and the Parachute Regiment have a rather more preferential deal. The Guards are not being required to move from regiment to regiment, and the Parachute Regiment is now garrisoned in Colchester, so that a posting from one battalion to another involves no move of house and school. Jobs for wives are easy to come by in these regiments: try getting a job for your wife in Omagh or Fallingbostel.

g. The third main issue is that the Scottish regiments carry a DISPROPORTIONATE share of operational duties and casualties. Details of deployments and overstretch were published in The Herald on 18 August 2005. Statistics of British Army personnel killed and injured are published on the internet each year, showing deaths by regiment and corps.

Scottish Referendum

Military Veterans Called Up to Support Better Together

1. Military Veterans on both sides of the referendum debate are being lined up to issue a plea for voters to back their campaigns. Those voting No:

a. More than 400 former servicemen and women have signed a statement arguing that Scotland will be stronger and more secure as part of the United Kingdom.

b. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: ” Britain’s Armed Forces help make this world a safer place. “We are stronger and safer together. These veterans know it and will be voting to keep Scotland secure as part of the United Kingdom on Thursday. I urge undecided voters to listen to their words and back a No vote too.”

2. Opening Narrative

Confusing Confusing. One of the Signatories, (according to the Telegraph is Major General Andrew McKay (Retd). But his views of the existing Westminster / Whitehall Set-up is well reported. He resigned his command in protest at the level of incompetence placing our armed forces in harms way, ill trained, poorly equipped and operationally directed by incompetent Westminster politicians from London, (5000 miles distant). His story follows.

3. 03 Jan 2010 Ministry of Defence (MOD) is, “institutionally incapable” of succeeding in Afghanistan – Major General Andrew Mackay, former commander of Britain’s military operation in Helmand province:

a. Major-General Andrew MacKay said the MoD had failed to adapt to 21st Century wars, instead issuing messages from London that often had “no relevance at ground level”. He said the British Army had, “consistently failed” to understand the motivations of local Afghans and called for a fresh “hearts and minds” strategy focusing on the local culture and economy.

b. His critique, written in a paper published by the Defence Academy, Britain’s armed forces university, comes four months after he resigned his position as head of the British Army in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England in frustration at a lack of equipment and resources and the direction of the Afghan war.

c. The 40-page report was co-authored by Steve Tatham, a senior commander in the Royal Navy. The pair said the work is the product of two years’ experience on the ground in the battle against the Taliban.

d. “From the top of the Mod through to the army’s staff colleges, the structures, despite the best will in the world, are institutionally incapable of keeping pace with rapid change and the associated willingness to adapt – and quickly – at the same time,” the paper concluded.

e. The MoD was failing to keep pace with wars fought “in the information age”, when every assault is open to immediate scrutiny, and careers in the army are built on “budgetary and management competence”. Messages from Whitehall officials were branded by the report “a diluted and distant memory” by the time they reached the front line.

f. An MoD spokesman said: “While the MoD will consider the findings of all its reports, they do not represent the views of the MoD or wider government.”

4. Major-General Andrew Mackay – His Shock Resignation and the Reasons behind It

a. Major-General Andrew Mackay, a General who led the Afghanistan campaign has resigned over his disillusion in the direction of the Government’s strategy. Major Gen Mackay, 52, who was the architect of the military’s new counter insurgency doctrine, is said to have told colleagues of his anger at the lack of resources being put into the battle. He is also said to be “disillusioned” over the failure of the Foreign Office and Department for International Development in fulfilling their obligations in Afghanistan.

b. The resignation came as a significant blow to the Government and the Army as Major Gen Mackay, who led a brigade in Helmand, was seen as a leading proponent for readjusting Britain’s counter-insurgency plan that has foundered during three years of fighting in Helmand. He is the most senior officer to leave the Army as a result of disquiet over the direction of the campaign. Other high-profile resignations have included Brig Ed Butler and Col Stuart Tootal who have both later derided shortcomings in resources for Helmand.

c. Major Gen Mackay’s time as the Brigadier in charge of 52 Brigade in Helmand over the winter of 2007 was seen as an invigorating shake-up of the direction of the campaign and a template for future commanders. Upon arriving in Afghanistan, he was said to have been shocked that senior officers were “making it up as we go along”.

d. He realised that the British had to fully engage with the civilian population and led from the front in the re-taking of the Taliban held town of Musa Qala, at one point coming under direct fire from the enemy. He was awarded the CBE for his efforts. In a secret memo published in the book, “Operation Snakebite” by Stephen Grey Major Gen Mackay said much of the equipment was “tired, limited and failing regularly”.

e. In the document to Whitehall he described a “grave crisis” over equipment. Scimitar tanks could not go into reverse unless their engines were restarted and Vector vehicles were out of action because “the wheels just kept falling off, literally” and only one fifth of machine guns were working.

f. Major Nick Haston, who was Major Gen Mackay’s deputy chief of staff, resigned from the Army earlier this year in protest at bureaucratic incompetence. He said troops had been so short of vital equipment that his staff bought spares on the internet. “I would say that some of the people that procure [equipment] in our Ministry of Defence haven’t a clue,” he said.

g. Major Gen Mackay also talked about failure coming from the “top down” and that other Government agencies were not doing their part. The ‘bottom up’ approach, of soldier slogging it out in pitched battles with the Taliban, was only buying breathing space. Without reconstruction stepping in behind there was little chance of a long term solution.

h. The book said the “central tenets of counter insurgency doctrine” were failing. Senior military commanders are currently fighting for extra troops in Helmand and admit that they are suffering greater casualties as a result of not having enough soldiers on the ground. Downing Street is currently considering sending an extra battlegroup to Helmand of up to 1,000 men bringing the total to 10,000 but is said to be apprehensive about public opinion, cost and the potential for more casualties.

i. While the Ministry of Defence insisted that he had gone for “personal reasons” one general expressed “deep shock” at his departure.

5. Where is He Now?

a. Major General Mackay now runs a strategic advisory company – Complexas Ltd. – which provides specialist services to the international extractive industries, specifically in Africa. He is also Executive Chairman of IOTA Global(Information Operations Training and Advisory Services), a specialised Information Operations company established by his co-author Commander Steve Tatham. In Aug 2014 Mackay and Tatham collaborated with Professor Jim Derleth to write a new paper on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Africa.

Scottish Referendum

Lord Dannat Speaks Out and Gets a Reply

1. Opening Statement

a. General Dannatt was a controversial Army leader who was rarely off the television screens of the nation at the time of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He was criticized by the press for the failure of the British troops to take their main objective, Basra in the Iraq invasion and again at the start of the Afghanistan war due to the very high casualty rates suffered by the army.

b. His pattern of behavior, leaking information about helicopter shortages etc (however justified) revealed that he saw himself as more of a politician than a soldier. The fact he didn’t resign and then go public says more about his moral, “courage”. Servicemen can only have authority with the public and the politicians so long as they are willing and trusted to criticize in private and are seen as above politics.
2. The New Scottish Defence Force (Lord Dannatts view)

a. I studied the, Scottish government’s, “White Paper” on Scottish defence requirements and formed the view that the future defence of Scotland seemed to be the weakest link. A fundamental requirement of government is to provide fully for the security and defence of the state and its citizens. However, when the SNP says it can do that for between £2 billion and £2.5 billion a year, it reveals that it has little or no understanding of the real costs of defence. The costs of the commitments that the SNP has made about the size of a future Scottish defence force and inheriting, “Scotland’s share” of current UK defence assets just do not add up.

b. Manning all current Scottish regiments and “restoring” former Scottish regiments, as pledged earlier in the campaign, plus providing appropriate combat support units and some Special Forces, would take up the majority of the 15,000 Scottish defence force posts budgeted for by Alex Salmond on her future army alone. What about an independent Scotland’s navy or air force? And what about command and control, intelligence, countering terrorist and cyber threats, let alone protecting Scotland’s 11,000 miles of coastline and her airspace?

c. Scotland’s “share” of current assets – argued by the SNP to be a “fair” allocation of the UK’s current defence assets  would give her: five Chinook helicopters, 10 Typhoon jets, two Hercules C-130 transports, just over one-and-a-half destroyers or frigates, half an Astute submarine, one-sixth of an aircraft carrier, and just under one Red Arrow! What nonsense. These capabilities make sense only within an integrated UK.

d. Furthermore, the SNP’s pledge to remove the UK nuclear-deterrent submarines from their Clyde base by 2020 puts Scotland outside the nuclear-deterrent umbrella. Does that matter? I don’t know, but equally – and far more importantly – I do not know how the future is going to unfold, and nor does Mr Salmond. He is wanting to take the Scottish people on a gambling trip – why? Is it pride, or is it prejudice? Neither motive makes much sense in defence and security terms.
3. The New Scottish Defence Force (My Reply)

a. Lord Dannatt’s approach to the task of creating a new Scottish Defence Force (SDF) is influenced heavily by his own torturous experiences in the UK Armed forces. Although always provided with a very generous financial budget the UK armed forces has always been hopelessly over committed financially due to a perpetual insidious inter-service rivalry and a long history of incompetent acquisition, which routinely ended up in massive overspending and/or stockpiling of useless equipment, clothing, footwear, weapons ammunition, vehicles etc on a truly enormous scale.

b. The final make up and financing of the (SDF) is yet to be finalized but there would be a unified single command structure ensuring elimination of the wasteful practices of the UK armed forces. Detailed planning could only reasonably begin AFTER the outcome of the referendum is known and competent senior military personnel are in place. But £2Billion of the £20Billion, set aside for the purchase of the much mooted replacement Trident System would be transferred to Scotland, together with 10% of the overall defence budget. Clearly it would be in the best interests of Scotland and UKr if the initial transfer of finance would be in kind not money, (perhaps being set against the initial agreed budgetary transfer.

4. The Emotional Argument (Lord Dannatt)

a. And what about the Scottish people serving in the UK Armed Forces today? Those currently serving joined a fully professional set of UK Armed Forces committed to the defence of the entire United Kingdom and its wider interests. They swore a personal allegiance to the Queen, and not to any government of any political party or any particular part of the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that as professional military people, Scotland’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are far better off within our current UK Armed Forces. Do the Scottish members of those highly professional Armed Forces really want now to be part of a local home defence force, outside Nato and the EU, along the lines of Denmark and Norway?

b. Between 1969 and 2007, Scottish soldiers fought and died to keep Northern Ireland within the overall United Kingdom. The IRA fought a 38-year campaign to take Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and join the six northern counties of the island of Ireland to the Republic in the South of Ireland as one sovereign state. Do the families of Scottish soldiers who lost their lives between 1969 and 2007 to preserve the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom now just say, “Well, it no longer matters”? I cannot speak for them, but I wonder just how much thought, appreciation and recognition is given to the memory of those who have fought and brought this United Kingdom of ours to where it is today, and where it could be in the future.

c. Scottish soldiers have fought over several centuries and in so many campaigns to preserve the territorial integrity of their country from external threat, but in the Northern Ireland campaign more recently, they fought against internal threat, but what about today? I worry particularly about the extent that we will be letting them down if Scotland disappears from our country, just on the whim of a few thousand voters willing to gamble on an uncertain future rather than staying within the United Kingdom, whose track record is second to none in Europe. The United Kingdom is what it is today because of the common commitment of the English, the Welsh, the Scots and the Northern Irish – is it really right that a few thousand Scots should change the destiny of us all? And in the context of the Scottish soldiers who died to preserve the Union in the face of an armed challenge in Northern Ireland, is there not a democratic opportunity now to preserve the country we love in a better way? Just five million Scots resident in Scotland – or about 50 per cent of them – seem to want to redefine the identity of more than 60 million of the rest of us, and that of another couple of million Scots living outside Scotland who, like the rest of us, have no vote in this history-changing decision. Do they really have the moral right to do so?
5. The Emotional Argument (My Reply)

a. Any member of the existing UK armed forces would be allowed to elect to remain with the UKr armed forces. But all aspects and title of Regiments/units identified with Scotland would transfer to the newly formed (SDF). Recruitment and training off any shortfall in numbers would be achieved over time without undue difficulty since there are many thousands of ex-forces now looking for jobs due to the massive early redundancy programme, visited upon these loyal armed forces by the Con/Dem government. Scotland will join NATO at the outset and play a full part in the defence of the alliance, including, (as is the case for just about all other members) a nuclear shelter provided by the USA.

b. Raising the past troubles of Northern Ireland is jingoism and has no place in any discussion regarding the Scottish referendum on independence the rules of which have been discussed at length and agreed between Westminster and Holyrood. History will judge events and sometime in the future praise or dam the actions of UK governments in the period 1969-2005. The armed forces, being instruments of politicians and Westminster will be exempt from the foregoing.

c. In terms of other conflicts that Scottish forces have been drawn into by Westminster politicians I have attached references so that my views on the past are clear. In 1707 England stole a nation and hijacked the youth of Scotland to fight England’s wars of expansion.

A Heap of references for study so that a full picture of Lord Dannatt can be gathered.–A-honest-General.html#ixzz0TFtx5YV1

Scottish Referendum

For Queen and Country-But What Country?

1. Lord Dannat & David Cameron

a. General, (now Lord) Dannatt was Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009. In this period he had military responsiblity for the conduct of major army operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His resume reminds the reader that as a young officer, at the start of his military career, from 1971, he served, with distinction, a number of tours, with the Green Howards, in Northern Ireland. His Regiment sustained heavy casualties whilst on operational duty in Belfast. He was required to stand down from his post in 2009 and took up an advisory position with David Cameron as Defense Advisor to the Tory party. Cameron rewarded his assistance by gaining him a Knighthood, denied him by Gordon Brown. He stood down from his advisory position on defense at the time the Tory’s were elected in 2010. He now sits, as a cross bench member in the House of Lords.

b. I fully expected Cameron to play the military broken hearts, sympathy card attempting the emotional blackmail of Scot’s seeking add guilt to anyone voting Yes to independence. I was not wrong. In a headline article published in the, “Telegraph” 13 September 2014 Lord Dannat, (friend of David Cameron) made an impassioned appeal to Scots to reject independence, in the name of their countrymen who “fought and died” to keep the United Kingdom safe. In seeking to add substance to his article he reminded families, relatives, friends and colleagues of brutal murder of three young Scot’s soldiers in Belfast in 1971. Whilst the intent of his approach is evident his desire to raise hurtful memories is crass.

c. What Lord Dannat fails to mention is that one of the, “honey Trap” girls that lured the soldiers to their deaths might well be a well connected and greatly respected Tory Party Councillor. Strange bedfellows indeed.
Lord Dannat’s press articles

IRA Councillor welcomed back to Tory bosom. In a dramatic u-turn, Maria Gatland has been accepted back into the Conservatives.

2. The 1971 Belfast Murders Explained

a. March 1971 Belfast. Three young soldiers from the Royal Highland Fusiliers (RHF), (stationed at Girdwood Barracks, Belfast), Dougald McCaughey (23) and two brothers, John and Joseph McCaig, aged (17) and (180 years respectively, were having a drink in at Mooneys bar in the centre of Belfast. In those days. despite some localised rioting, off duty soldiers could still come and go as they wished in the bars, clubs and discos of Belfast. Out of uniform, off duty and well intoxicated, they were not thought to be targets. In a previous bar, two young woman had attached themselves to the soldiers, (the women were members of PIRA’s women’s group, the Cumman – na – mBan, one unconfirmed was rumoured to be Maria McGuire). After a few more drinks the party was approached by a young man and a male friend. After a drink or two it was suggested that they should go off to a party. What the three young Scottish soldiers did not know was that the friendly former soldier was the leader of an IRA group from Ardoyne. Well plied with drink, McCaughey and the McCaig brothers were driven to a lonely mountain road outside Belfast where they stopped to relieve themselves. As they did so they were shot through the back of the head and their bodies left by the roadside.

b. The horrific killings, the cowardly manner in which they were carried out, sent shock waves through the province and the rest of the UK. Both the Official and Provisional IRA issued statements maintaining that none of their units were involved. The Provo’s statement was carefully worded since, although the killings were carried out by members of the IRA, those responsible had not been authorized to do so. It is known that Billy McGee, by then commander of the Provo’s in Belfast had not given the go ahead for the operation. He regarded it as unsoldierly and contrary to the principles of Republicanism.

c. The former British Army soldier who had enticed the three young men to their deaths came from Ardoyne. At the time he was serving in Cyprus he applied to join the SAS, but was deemed to be mentally unsuitable. On his return to the UK he left the army disillusioned. The Special Branch knew him to be a psychopath who, (whilst deployed to anti terrorist duties in Cyprus had executed a civilian in controversial circumstances). The Ardoyne IRA knew he had had served with the British Army but were not aware of his controversial history. Special Branch officers were not at all surprised he was prepared to kill, it was his way of getting back at the British Army.

d. The entire Nationalist community, were deeply ashamed that such barbarity had been conducted in it’s name. The vast majority were not prepared for a campaign against the British Army, RUC and the political system but this proved to be the turning point. Had the government introduced internment at this time it is entirely possible the troubles would have been avoided.

e. The Winds of Change. Although not formally stationed in Belfast in a policing capacity the death of the youngest soldier at age 17, (by only 1 week) was unacceptable to the UK public and rules were changed immediately after instructing that soldiers could not be deployed to active service before age 18.

3. Maria McGuire, (Maria Gatland) Tory Councillor in Croydon, London for the last 20 years, Her life with the IRA in her own words.

a.In September 1971 Maria McGuire was one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. Armed with a .38 automatic weapon and carrying £20,000 in cash, she was being pursued by security forces from several countries over her role in a huge arms deal. More than 160 crates containing bazookas, rocket launchers and hand-grenades had been seized at an airport in Amsterdam, and a warrant had been issued for her arrest. McGuire found herself on the run with a member of the Provisional IRA’s ruling council – with whom she was having an affair. In Ireland, plans were afoot to kidnap the Dutch ambassador if she and David O’Connell were arrested. But despite a massive media frenzy, she and O’Connell were able to escape the Netherlands through Belgium and France before returning to Ireland to a hero’s welcome.

b. Even though their mission had failed, the pair became – for a brief period – the golden couple of the Irish Republican movement. In her book To Take Arms: My Year With The IRA Provisional’s, published in 1973, McGuire wrote candidly: “The press had made great play of the fact that we had escaped the British secret service; we had achieved another glorious failure. “It was better even than if we had been successful, because then the public would have had to confront reality. “Why did we want the guns? To kill people.” She learnt two months later that she faced three years in prison if she re-entered Switzerland, where she had exchanged currency.

c. In the space of just one year, McGuire became a close confidante of many of the Provisional IRA’s top leaders, before disillusionment set in over the group’s methods. She had signed up after seeing the Provisional’s publicity officer, Sean O Bradaigh, on Irish television. So keen was McGuire to talk to him that she rang the TV studio straight away and left a message. Within weeks she was put forward to the British press as an example of the new middle-class membership the movement was attracting.

d. But as violence escalated in Belfast following a failed ceasefire in July 1972, McGuire decided she could not support the sectarian killing, and fled to England. There she gave extensive interviews in the British press and published her book hoping to lift the lid on IRA brutality. Her defection prompted the Provisional IRA’s chief of staff, Sean MacStiofain – who she described as “narrow minded” – to warn that if she ever returned to Ireland she would face a court martial and possibly execution.

e. Her book – which caused a storm on its publication – revealed her thoughts on one of the most intensive bombing campaigns ever carried out. Following an IRA bomb in Donegall Street, Belfast, which killed six men and injured 146 in March 1972, she wrote: “I admit that at the time I did not connect with the people who were killed or injured in such explosions. “I always judged such deaths in terms of the effect they would have on our support – and I felt that this in turn depended on how many people accepted our explanation.”

f. Maria McGuire on her affair with Provisional IRA ruling council member David O’Connell, which started in Amsterdam. “It just happened, and seemed perfectly natural, even though our situation was very unnatural. We were under considerable stress together, and became very close, depended on one another, because of that. Possibly it meant more to Dave than it did to me; but when we managed not to worry about the outcome of our mission and our own chances of escaping, we were very happy.”

g. Maria McGuire on meeting the Provisional IRA chief of staff, Sean MacStiofain. “He seemed short and squat, and lacked Dave’s physical presence: only later did I realise he was in fact over six feet tall. He appeared a little taken aback by me too; I knew he had heard about me, but possibly he wasn’t expecting someone wearing hot pants to be interested in the Provisional IRA.”

h. Maria McGuire on the IRA’s bombing campaign in Northern Ireland. “The intention behind the bombing campaign was to cause confusion and terror. In 1971 bomb explosions averaged three a day throughout the six counties, and it was very easy to create confusion in the centre of Belfast. Sometimes the Belfast Provisional’s would give a succession of false alarms, and then just as the city was enjoying the lull, plant half a dozen bombs on the same day. We believed that the bombing campaign had a greater psychological effect in this way. By causing such terror we demonstrated that whatever steps the army took, the Provisional’s could continue the military campaign; half a million people in Belfast would be kept wondering where the Provisional’s would strike next, and would be forced to tell the British to make peace with us.”

i. Maria McGuire on killing British soldiers. “I agreed with the shooting of British soldiers and believed that the more who were killed the better. I remember occasions where we heard late at night that a British soldier had been shot and seriously wounded in Belfast or Derry – and we would hope that by the morning he would be dead.”

j. Maria McGuire on killing civilians. “I accepted too the bombing of Belfast, and when civilians were accidentally blown to pieces dismissed this as one of the unfortunate hazards of urban guerrilla war.”

k. Maria McGuire on being banned from entering Switzerland. “I happened to hear a television news item that two Irish citizens had been excluded from Switzerland – Dave O’Connell and myself. We had done nothing illegal in Switzerland that I could recall. Then the Swiss Embassy in Dublin telephoned Dave and asked us to call at the embassy to collect our exclusion orders. We naturally refused.”

l. Maria McGuire on becoming disillusioned in the face of escalating violence. “I could not avoid the conclusion that the probability of civilian casualties had been accepted, and perhaps even planned. Whenever such casualties had occurred before, there had always been the pressure of events to take my mind off them. But now, almost for the first time, I wondered about the crippled and the widowed and the lives that had been changed forever.”

I agreed with the shooting of British soldiers and believed that the more who were killed the better.

How I brought the Provisional IRA girl with a gun in from the cold. Last week a Tory local Councillor was revealed as Maria McGuire, a former IRA activist

Was it fair Gatland had to resign because of her past IRA links?

IRA Councillor welcomed back to Tory bosom. In a dramatic u-turn, Maria Gatland has been accepted back into the Conservatives.

Croham, a Ward in the London Borough of Croydon, elects Maria Garland as a Councillor 2006, 2010 & 2014.

Scottish Referendum

Charity & Scottish Independence

Devolution affords Scottish charities the opportunity to forge their own relationships with MSPs providing them with access to parliament in a way they have never had before. This freedom of access does not have the support of many UK, (London) controlled charities who are unwilling to cede power to their Scottish branches.

In 200* The Scottish ******** ******** charity management team, submitted a proposal, (to the UK umbrella organization) that the charity should be autonomous of England, including control of financial contributions made in Scotland. This was rejected leaving the Scottish management team and staff well and truly deflated. A significant number of people, (who had been volunteers actively supporting the charity) resigned and the Scottish management team were suspended. A number of key managers then left the charity.

An important patron of the charity, in Scotland, who, in addition to provision of moral and physical support, had provided significant financial donations resigned her position, citing distracting and demoralizing seemingly endless internal rows with the charity’s London office. Paraphrasing the statement of resignation the Patron said;

“I have not taken the decision to quit my position as patron lightly. In the last year the Scottish team and myself initiated and attended a mediation session, in the hope of sorting out long-standing and escalating conflicts between the Scottish management team and officers in London, driven by the imposition of changes and ever increasing control measures, from England. Unfortunately little was achieved. With mounting frustration and disappointment, I have been witness to the resignations of immensely dedicated people within the Scottish ******** ******** and the increasing demoralization of staff whom I have come to know and admire over the last ten years.”

The suspended, (shortly after ex-Chairman) of the charity in Scotland briefed staff that the patron might be persuaded to reconsider standing down if the charity cut its ties with London.

London based controllers instructed members of the charity in Scotland that a breakaway could result in a loss of £550,000 research grant finance. A postal ballot was then conducted, a majority of the 25% of the membership voted in favour of retaining the status quo, (Pity a 40% majority wasn’t written into the ballot.)

There is much to admire about the leadership of the Scottish charity and the strongly worded statement of the patron, who clearly fully supports independence from London as the best way forward for the charity.

The patron!! JK Rowling. The Charity!! The Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland. The Source!! (

Scottish Referendum

Naval Forces Overstretched – The First Sea Lord Speaks Out

Naval Forces Overstretched – The First Sea Lord Speaks Out

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, (recently parachuted in) replacing, (the publicly humiliated Sir Mark Stanhope) has been trotted out, (on the orders of David Cameron & the Westminster Mafia) to publicly add negative comment that Scots independence would leave the Royal Navy less efficient and weaken defence.

But the measure is of course a nonsense. We need to be mindful of the views of vastly experienced and therefore more credible military figures speaking out against the future size and shape of British forces, to be implemented regardless of the outcome of the referendum:

America’s former Defence Secretary, (Robert Gates) recently warned that naval cuts, (forming part of a significant reduction in the size of British armed forces) would mean the UK would no longer be a full military partner to the United States. He went on to say that, for the first time since the First World War Britain does not have an operational aircraft carrier and the carrier being built, (due to be introduced into service in 2020) will not be fully operational for some time after since it will not be capable of launching any of the aircraft presently in service. A new carrier launched airplane is being developed by the USA but it will not be operational for some time. He concluded: ‘With substantial reductions in defence spending in Great Britain, what we’re finding is that it won’t have full spectrum capabilities and the ability to be a full partner as they have been in the past.

His concerns echoed those of senior military staff in the UK. General Sir Nicholas Houghton, “Chief of the Defence Staff” told the Royal United Services Institute military think-tank that the Royal Navy was ‘perilously close’ to its ‘critical mass’ in terms of manpower.

Cameron humiliates First Sea Lord over Libya, in Commons;

Britain’s chief naval officer, “First Sea Lord Sir Mark Stanhope” has been left humiliated after David Cameron said he had summoned him to Downing Street to challenge his claims that the fleet could not continue the Libya campaign indefinitely without affecting other naval operations. The meeting was the culmination of a turbulent 24 hours for Stanhope, who infuriated No 10 by talking about the strains on the navy, which is heavily involved in the Afghanistan mission as well as in Libya. In a briefing on Monday, Stanhope said ministers would have to “make challenging decisions” once the Libya campaign ended. “Beyond that we might have to request the government make some challenging decisions about priorities,” he said. “a ship might need to be diverted away from British home waters”, “It’s not simply about giving up standing commitments. We will have to re-balance.” His remarks provoked the displeasure of Downing Street but serving and former officers provided public support, saying Stanhope was only stating the obvious, especially now the navy has axed ships and thousands of personnel as part of the government’s strategic defence and security review (SDSR).

Secretary of Defence Statement;

“The Ministry of Defence has issued an order to stop officers briefing the press to try to prevent the government being embarrassed further, but a Whitehall insider said: “The first sea lord is a senior official and he deserves to be treated with respect. He shouldn’t be dragged into politics in this way.” The truth has many faces eh!!

Scottish Referendum

Who Started the Carnage of World War 1 ? World War 1